A San Francisco woman has big plans to trade up from one single bobby pin to a house — and she’s already managed to swap up to a MacBook Pro 2017 through 16 transactions.
She’s already had a shocking amount of progress, making 16 trades in less than three months and landing herself a laptop worth about $1,400 — while trading for rare sneakers, an iPhone, and even a car along the way.
Ambitious: Demi Skipper, 29, from San Francisco, is trying to trade a bobby pin for a house through a series of swaps that have thus far seen her earn a used car and then a MacBook Pro
Starting small: After being inspired by a similar project in which a man managed to trade up from a red paperclip to a house, Demi decided to try the same thing with a worthless bobby pin
Demi explained on TikTok that she was looking for something to do during the pandemic when she was struck with the idea.
‘I’m trading a bobby pin up until I get a house,’ she said in her inaugural video.
Using platforms like Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook, Demi is offering to trade one item at a time, with the intent of trading up little by little and eventually ending up with a house — all from that single bobby pin.
She started out with baby steps, swapping that bobby pin for a pair of Marysol earrings worth $10.
She traded those for a set of four margarita glasses worth $24, and those for a $60 Bissell vacuum cleaner.
Demi managed to get someone in need of a carpet cleaning to give her a $95 snowboard for the vacuum, and then traded that snowboard for a $180 Apple TV 4K.
‘This trade, specifically, was one of my most valuable so far,’ she said in a TikTok video.
She went on to trade the Apple TV for $220 Bose noise-cancelling headphones, and those headphones for an Xbox One, two games, two controllers, and a Kinect sensor bar valued at $320.
Starting small: She started out with baby steps, swapping that bobby pin for a pair of Marysol earrings worth $10. She traded those for a set of four margarita glasses worth $24
Inching up: She traded the glasses for a $60 Bissell vacuum cleaner. Then she managed to get someone in need of a carpet cleaning to give her a $95 snowboard for the vacuum
Getting into tech: She traded that snowboard for a $180 Apple TV 4K: ‘This trade, specifically, was one of my most valuable so far’
Moving up: She went on to trade the Apple TV for $220 Bose noise-cancelling headphones, and the headphones for an Xbox One, two games, two controllers, and a Kinect sensor bar
Demi then found a guy who ‘really wanted the Xbox’ — so much so that he was willing to trade her a MacBook Pro 2011 valued at $400.
That was swapped for a $550 Canon camera set, which became the first item she had to spend any money on because she had to ship the laptop.
That was followed by a $750 pair of Off White Nike Blazers in a men’s size nine, a pair of Off White Nike Hyperdunks, and Jordan 1 Reverse Shattered Backboards.
Here, though, she was stuck in the ‘sneaker game,’ making repeated trades with sneaker fans. She wanted to get out, so when she found someone who desperately wanted those Jordan 1 Reverse Shattered Backboards, she told him what she wanted: an iPhone 11 Pro Max.
That man went out and bought the new phone, and they made the trade.
Her next trade may not have been the biggest value, but it was certainly the most impressive: She swapped that iPhone for a car — specifically, a 2008 Dodge Caravan.
Most recently, she has traded the car for a $1,400 Boosted Board V3 Plus, and that for a 15” MacBook Pro 2017.
Demi then found a guy who ‘really wanted the Xbox’ — so much so that he was willing to trade her a MacBook Pro 2011 valued at $400. That was swapped for a $550 Canon camera set
Sneaker land: That was followed by a $750 pair of Off White Nike Blazers in a men’s size nine
Stylish: Now swapping with sneaker lovers, she moved on to a pair of Off White Nike Hyperdunks (left) and Jordan 1 Reverse Shattered Backboards (right)
Must-have: Someone wanted the Backboards so much, he went out and bought a brand new iPhone to trade for them
Beep beep! Her next trade may not have been the biggest value, but it was certainly the most impressive: She swapped that iPhone for a car — specifically, a 2008 Dodge Caravan
Bit by bit: She traded the car for a $1,400 Boosted Board V3 Plus
Increased value: Most recently, she traded in for a 15” MacBook Pro 2017
‘Can you believe this MacBook Pro was once a BOBBY PIN?! I still have to pinch myself,’ she wrote on Instagram, showing off her newest item, which came still in the box.
Demi’s journey has certainly proven popular, and she has amassed 3.8 million followers on TikTok and 222,000 on Instagram.
Impressive: Demi said she was inspired by entrepreneur Kyle MacDonald, who managed to trade a red paperclip for a two-story farmhouse in 14 steps in 2006
Demi said she was inspired by entrepreneur Kyle MacDonald, who managed to trade a red paperclip for a two-story farmhouse in 14 steps in 2006.
MacDonald spent just a year on the 14 trades, going from the paperclip to a fish pen, a door knob, a coleman stove, a red generator, an ‘instant party kit,’ a Bombardier Mach 1 snowmobile, a holiday to Yahk, a cube van, a recording contract, a year’s free rental in Arizona, an afternoon with Alice Cooper, a Kiss snow globe, and a part in the movie Donna on Demand.
After one year of internet bartering, Kyle — who was 26 at the time — completed the deal and moved into a two-story, three-bedroom farmhouse in Kipling, Canada.
‘I’m really pleased. I’ve never been to Kipling, but I’ve seen pictures of the house, and it looks great. It looks perfect,’ he said at the time.
The inspiration for the project was a children’s game called ‘Bigger and Better.’ Growing up in the suburbs of Vancouver, he watched children go door to door trying to trade their toys for something more valuable.
Another guy: An anonymous software engineer, 28, from Northern Ireland, is determined to swap an old pencil (pictured) for an item worth one million dollars
Progress: He has already managed to trade the worthless object for a box of 12 DavidOff Nicaragua Diademas Cigars worth $230 (pictured)
Step by step: The first item that was traded for the pencil was a single King Edwards cigar worth around $6.00
‘I didn’t know how I was going to get to my goal of house, or how long it would take me, or where the house would be, but I figured that if I kept at it, I would get there in the end,’ he said.
The town of Kipling decided to make the offer for the publicity, Mayor Pat Jackson said.
‘We are a small community, just over 1,100 people. We are trying to promote tourism. And who knows, maybe someone out there will think, “This sounds like an interesting town,” and decide to move here. That would be just wonderful,’ he said.
MacDonald has inspired several other people to make massive trades as well.
An anonymous software engineer from Northern Ireland began trading with an old pencil and now has a handcrafted table worth hundreds of dollars.
The 28-year-old is on a mission to help people in need by bartering his way to a million dollars online and donating the proceeds to charity, and is documenting his journey on Instagram.
Working his way up: Next was a signed copy of a children’s book, donated by it’s author Mikael Lindnord, worth an estimated $25
It’s all a game! A set of three Rubik’s cubes worth $29.99 and some stickers was donated as the third item
The project began in October, after the man discovered the old pencil at the bottom of his bag.
He traded it first for a single King Edwards cigar worth $6.00, then swapped that for a signed children’s book donated by author Mikael Lindnord worth an estimated $25, and then traded that for a set of Rubik’s cubes worth $29.99.
The anonymous man continues to trade, getting a box of 12 DavidOff Nicaragua Diademas Cigars priced at $230; a rare, out-of-print hardback copy of Buffy Season 9, Volume 3; and a Skinny Dip London gift card for $325.
His last update was in April, when he traded that gift card for aLive Edge Walnut side table that was handcrafted from a single piece in Ohio.
The anonymous trader believes that getting to a million dollars will take around ten years, and he has already been offered some bizarre items, such as sex toys and guns.
Speaking to Metro, he said: ‘I have to be really careful when deciding what to trade, I am always after something that appeals to a wide range of people. I am in negotiations right now.’