It Began With a Bobby Pin. Now She Has a New Home

TikTokker Demi Skipper describes 'surreal' trading spree that nabbed her a Nashville abode
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2021 12:33 PM CST
In 28 Trades, a Bobby Pin Became a House of Her Own
Demi Skipper started out with a bobby pin just like this.   (Getty Images/EkaterinaZakharova)

(Newser) – A few months into the coronavirus pandemic, Demi Skipper offered up a bobby pin for trade. She's been trading up ever since, acquiring an Xbox, a diamond necklace, and several cars. But the 30-year-old San Francisco resident, who amassed 5 million followers while documenting her trades with strangers on TikTok, is done trading after her 28th deal. As NBC News reports, Skipper last month handed over a $40,000 solar-powered trailer in exchange for a house near Nashville, Tenn. "It's been so surreal," Skipper tells NBC. "Working towards something every day for more than a year and [a] half, and now I wake up and think: 'Is this actually real? Is this actually my house?'"

Skipper was aiming for a house from the beginning. She'd modeled her quest on that of Canadian blogger Kyle MacDonald, who described his 2006 trading journey from a red paper clip to a house in a 2015 TED Talk. "Given all the time we have in quarantine, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try," Skipper told Insider in February, by which time she'd acquired a $9,500 tiny house. She'd traded the bobby pin for a $10 pair of earrings, then acquired a $24 set of margarita glasses, a $60 vacuum, a $95 snowboard, a $180 Apple TV, a $220 set of headphones, a $320 Xbox, an old MacBook valued at $400, and a $550 camera set. After trading in pricey sneakers, she acquired an iPhone and traded that for a 2008 Dodge minivan, valued at $2,200.

The vehicle soon broke down, but she traded it for a $1,200 electric skateboard, that for an $1,800 MacBook, that for a $3,800 bike food cart, and that for a $5,000 Mini Cooper. She then acquired a diamond necklace she thought was worth $20,000 but was appraised at less than $2,000. She kept going, eventually acquiring a $6,000 Jeep, which she traded for the tiny house. She took a lot of flak for moving on to a Chipotle celebrity card, but "Chipotle's biggest fan" turned up offering a trailer worth $40,000, Skipper tells NBC. And late last month, a house flipper in Tennessee offered to take it in exchange for a house. Skipper and her husband plan to move in in January—and try to do it again, this time with the goal of donating the eventual house to someone in need. (Read more TikTok stories.)

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