A bobby pin for a house seems like a fair trade, doesn’t it? Maybe not, but Demi Skipper, a 29 year-old product manager for OpenTable in San Francisco seems to think so. The TikToker has been racking up millions of views on the platform since she set out in May to be the first woman to trade up from a small object to a house.
Skipper, bored in quarantine after her bridal dress rental side hustle faltered due to canceled weddings, was inspired by a TED Talk by Kyle MacDonald, who successfully traded a red paper clip for a Canadian farmhouse in 2016.
Kyle made the swap in just 14 trades, which included a fish-shaped pen, a doorknob, a snowmobile and a part in a Hollywood movie. Kyle eventually got the Saskatchewan house of his dreams after starting with a measly office supply.
Skipper set up @trademeproject, and her pursuit of a new home began. Her only rules are that she can't trade with someone she knows and cash can't be involved.
Skipper’s first trade in May was a set of fashion earrings, which she then swapped for four margarita glasses.
Next, she went from the glasses to a Bissel vacuum. She fixed up the vacuum, replaced a screw, removed scuffs and traded it for a snowboard.
She’s been finding the trades on sources like Craigslist and Facebook, but her millions of views per video isn’t hurting her cause, either.
By the end of May, she was on her fifth trade and went from a $95 snowboard (that she refurbished) to a $200 Apple TV 4K. She found that trade on Facebook.
On May 31, she went big -- from the Apple TV to a pair of Bose noise-canceling headphones to an Xbox One with controllers and two games.
In June, she traded the Xbox up to a used Macbook Pro.
The laptop was swapped for a Cannon camera, complete with batteries, a light, a lens and a memory card.
In part nine, around the end of June, she hit a bit of a wall with a lost UPS package. Thankfully, her package was found and she had swapped the camera for an $800 pair of Nike Blazers. These are a pretty rare pair of sneaks, with only 200 available in the world.
In July, she went from the Nikes to another pair of shoes, Nike Hyperdunks (worth around $1,000), which she immediately traded for Air Jordan Shattered Backboards, worth over $1,500. These are some serious shoes, people.
Her next trade? An iPhone Pro Max 11. She found someone who wanted the Air Jordans, but didn’t have anything good to trade, so she sent him a short wishlist, for which he procured the iPhone.
For her next trade in mid-July, she had people driving cross-country from Minnesota to California to give her a car -- a 2008 Dodge Caravan -- in exchange for the iPhone. Unfortunately, the car was riddled with issues. No one was willing to trade for it...
...until she found someone with a mechanic friend who was willing to swap for a Booster Board (an electric skateboard worth around $1,600).
She then went from Booster Board to a brand new MacBook Pro (worth more than the last at about $1,600 -- a pretty even trade with the Booster Board).
She leveled way up to a $4,000 electric bike food cart. Feras Bashnak, owner of Ferla Bikes and the man who gave her the food cart, realized the Macbook was worth half as much as the cart, but "he decided to make a deal with Skipper when she told him she hoped to trade up with somebody who had lost a restaurant job because of to the [sic] pandemic." I’m sure the free advertising of his company on TikTok was also helpful.
Skipper shared an FAQ video about how she only trades with one person out of 1,000 inquiries. A lot of leg work, research and coordination needs to happen before the one trade you see on TikTok actually occurs.
August was a little quiet, until toward the end of the month, when she swapped the bike for a 2006 Mini Cooper convertible ($6,500). Again, another $2,000 value jump.
Her latest trade is truly amazing. Just last week, after the help of friends willing to head to North Carolina on her behalf, she traded the Mini for a $19,500 diamond and sapphire necklace. That's an increase of over $1,300 -- just, wow. What will she trade for next?
It seems like Skipper is on the right track. The fact that she already went from a bobby pin to an almost $20,000 necklace is stunning, so it seems like a no-brainer that she’ll reach her goal eventually. And the fact that she’s racking up followers and publicity? Even better. I feel like this latest trade will be a turning point for Skipper, and things are about to get interesting.
Do you have anything you would be willing to trade for the necklace?