Elaine Mingus


Last seen: 337 days ago

Curb Vulture started out of desperation. As a homeschooling mom of seven, our large family had never flown on a plane together, so I thought taking them on an "official vacation" was a great idea...until I got back and realized we had $10,000 worth of credit card debt that we had no way of paying off. After weeks of post-vacation depression and tears, I got my "aha" moment after passing a piece of furniture that had been set curbside for bulk trash pickup. It was only moments before the trash truck would come pick up this still-useful item and discard it into the landfill -- where NO ONE would be able to use it. I quickly grabbed it and shoved it between the seats of my 15-passenger van. It had minimal issues, but I made sure to repair them and clean it off. I utilized the 5-foot wall that served as my entry way to "stage" the item nicely and posted it to Facebook Marketplace. It sold within hours. One day, grabbing the steering wheel I exclaimed, "I'm a Curb Vulture for I vulture the curbs!" Thus, CurbVulture was born. I repeated this curb-vulturing process over and over again, until 6 months later every last cent of that $10k debt was paid off. I did this all while homeschooling six school-aged children and wrangling a wild toddler. Not only was the debt was paid off, but my family who had once been a recipient of food stamps was now able to pay cash for groceries. I also was able to make a cash purchase of a small vintage pop-up camper so my family could take more affordable camping vacations. Then, the pandemic happened. Fortunately, what was a time of financial insecurity for most of the world, actually spurred my business to the forefront of success. Our financially challenged family had never been more financially stable for a few key reasons: the rise of Facebook marketplace, the acceptance of Venmo payments and the insatiable desire for people stuck at home during the pandemic to redo their living spaces. After the pandemic, we continued to do our work as resellers, but took it to the next level when we acquired a storage unit filled with vintage items for only $50. This was the major shift to vintage reselling rather than picking up curb items. In January 2022, we started an e-commerce Shopify store under the name of What started out as a way to get out of debt, turned into a 6-figure product-based business by the end of 2022. This has allowed me to "retire" my husband from his job so he can help me with homeschooling our children. We are creating a family legacy by teaching our own children how to establish a business. Three of my teenagers have already begun their own types of reselling through Facebook, Depop an Poshmark. Since then, I've been featured on podcasts and spoken on stage about my success to empower other stay-at-home moms with children by teaching them how to earn extra income with little effort. I've also begun importing vintage Moroccan and Turkish rugs from overseas, which employees native tribes people in the Atlas mountains, specifically women weavers. More recently, I've created a free online e-course for people interested in learning how to begin reselling. This free course leads into a paid 3-Day Reseller Intensive training. The response has been overwhelming. I continue to inspire people online and offline through meeting people as I acquire furniture, make deliveries, create how-to reels on social media or share my story from the stage. I am continually excited to see what the future holds and how I can not only impact families, but also preserve vintage items and keep history out of the landfill.

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