NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It started with a Hook.
She then traded in jewelry, a skateboard, Air Jordans, iPhones, year-old burritos, several cars, three tractors, and a Tesla food truck, and ended up with a house.
Demi Skipper was a 29-year-old newlywed working at home during the pandemic giving advice to people on how to save money with a tech app when she decided to try something crazy.
In May 2020, Skipper started with this idea: exchange a hairpin for a house. That sounds incredibly crazy, but you can follow every step he took on social media. She sent 300,000 business proposal emails, joined so many Facebook groups that the social media company thought she was a bot and banned her (temporarily), and traveled the United States and Canada to complete her mission.
Today it is world famous with 5.1 million Tik Tok Followers (more even than Paris Hilton, who became part of Skipper’s journey). He has made television appearances on networks around the world and has a corporate sponsor.
Oh, and he has a new house in Clarksville, Tennessee, for which he paid a hairpin.
“I’ve always liked weird side hustles,” said Skipper, contacted at her home in San Francisco. This hustle is no longer on its side.
She was scheduled to arrive in Tennessee on January 8, and she and her husband Bobby Sudekum will oversee the renovations to their new home.
They will stay at a nearby AirBnB until the venue is ready.
And then, you won’t believe what Demi Skipper is going to do with that house.
Side hustle success
He was an architecture student at the University of Virginia. He took a computer map design job at Apple and moved to San Francisco.
While doing her day job, she came up with the idea of buying used wedding dresses and renting them. That parallel hustle was so successful that it became too much. He said he stopped after renting more than 1,000 wedding dresses. She is still in the process of selling all of her used wedding dresses.
His ideas were not always successful. He once started doing laundry and dry cleaning for corporations. People brought their clothes to work, Skipper picked them up, cleaned them, and returned them for a fee.
“It was horrible,” he said. Too much work, too many logistical problems.
Skipper was sitting in her home during the coronavirus lockdown when she saw a YouTube video of Kyle McDonald’s Ted Talk. mcdonald became famous in 2006 when he traded a paper clip for a house. He wrote a book called “One Red Paperclip”.
I was disappointed that I hadn’t thought of the McDonald’s idea.
So Skipper decided to give it a try and searched his house for something worthless. He considered a Q-Tip swab, but decided against it. He found a box of 100 hairpins.
She took one out.
Skipper made a video of herself holding the hairpin, asking who would trade anything, anything, for this worthless item. “This hairpin,” he said, “is going to be a house.”
She made three rules. 1) Do not trade with family or friends. 2) Without spending money (except for some shipping costs when otherwise unavoidable). 3) Returns are not accepted.
At first, she received rejection. “All these people thought it was a ruse,” he said.
Her first trade: She traded the hairpin for a set of earrings, owned by a woman in Atlanta who hated them.
The trade continued, with each item more valuable than the last.
He knew the plan would be successful when he changed an old snowboard. He exchanged messages with a boy who needed the snowboard because he was going to the mountains that weekend.
Because his need was so great, he traded in an Apple TV.
There’s nothing stopping me, he thought after that exchange.
Social media haters
The comments on her social media posts were less than encouraging. People wrote that it was stupid and that this would never work. They accused her of being a scammer.
But she kept going.
There were 28 exchanges in total, all done in addition to his 8 to 5 job.
He finally got a pair of Air Jordans, which he traded in for an iPhone 11 Pro Max.
Things didn’t really explode until he signed up for TikTok. He made his first video with zero followers. And his followers quickly grew to 5.1 million.
Swapped the iPhone for a minivan.
The next morning the minivan wouldn’t start. She thought that the whole search might end there. Who would trade for a damaged vehicle?
So he slid under the car and made a video of the bottom. A mechanic saw the video and explained how to fix it.
A priest exchanged an electric skateboard for the minivan. A skater in Oregon traded in a MacBook for a skateboard.
Along the way, he switched to an electric bike with a food cart on the front, a Honda CRV, and three tractors.
He traded in the tractors with someone for a year of free Chipotle burritos (valued at $ 20,000).
Does Paris Hilton like chipotle?
It was then that he tried to contact Paris Hilton. Would the TV star / ex it girl / mega rich socialite want a Chipotle year?
In the email exchange with Hilton, Skipper noted that, at the time, she (Skipper) had more followers on TikTok and this could boost them. Hilton’s credibility on that platform.
So Skipper traded in the burritos for a trailer with a Tesla electric wall, solar panels, and a refrigerator that could be an upgraded food truck worth about $ 55,000.
The problem with the trailer was that it was in Canada and had to wait five months for the border to open during the pandemic.
During that downtime, he found a real estate agent in Tennessee.
Ciera and Bill Netherton of Legion Realty agreed to purchase the Tesla-powered trailer for an $ 80,000 home. The Nethertons plan to give away the trailer in a competition inspired by the reality show Great Food Truck Race.
“I was prepared for it to be a scam,” Skipper said.
It was real.
Ciera Netherton was impressed with Skipper.
“She just didn’t give up,” Netherton said. “If you have the drive, the only person standing in your way is you.”
The home has two bedrooms, two baths and sits on just under an acre of land. She came to Tennessee and Netherton handed her the keys.
“I cried in the front yard,” Skipper said.
Her husband, who watched the whole trip unfold, said he was happy when he heard that she got the house.
“I don’t think crazy is the word I would use to describe her,” Sudekum said. “She’s really awesome. That’s the word. She worked her way through this.”
Your next adventure
Demi Skipper learned a few things about herself.
“I have to stop saying I’m lucky,” he said. “I have to give myself credit.”
With each trade, he learned something about people.
“I trust random strangers so much,” he said. “The people are pretty good.”
Now that you have a house, which will have renovations in April or May, you have another idea.
This can be even crazier than swapping a fork for a house.
“I’m going to trade the house for a hairpin,” he said.
She is a merchant.
“I have to give this house away,” he said. “Life is strange. Everybody has a dream.”
Follow reporter Keith Sharon on Twitter @KeithSharonTN.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism