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The fine art of trading on up

The conversion of one red paperclip into the owner’s new home makes an interesting tale, one that long simmered as an inspiration to Elmira’s James Keachie, who’s now taken on a couple of trade-up ventures of his own.

Keachie was inspired by the well-publicized 2006 exploits of Montreal blogger Kyle MacDonald, who made a series of trades that turned a paperclip into a house. He calls his effort ‘The Stabbing Moustache Project.’

“The reason for the kickass name, is that I was gifted for Christmas some moustache-shaped pushpins from my sister-in-law. We used them for a little while, but really they aren’t needed, and mostly just were pinned to a corkboard not even holding anything up. I thought this would be a cool item, lots of curb appeal, I guess you could say, for a starting point,” explained Keachie, who was inspired by MacDonald’s 14 trades from red paperclip to a house in Saskatchewan.

Keachie had heard of MacDonald’s venture around 10 years ago, filing it away as a task he’d like to emulate some day.

“[I] just never did start it, until this summer. We recently had another baby, and I am taking a bit of time off work so I thought even though we are busy with the family, I can use my more ‘flexible’ schedule to work out some deals.”

In his second part of the project, the first attempt that began early July Keachie held the goal of trading his way up to a remote control car.

“I hoped I could quickly get to the goal so I could use it during the summer and fall.”

Keachie parlayed the pin into a cross-stitched picture of a wolf, then turned that into a Yamaha receiver and CD-player. With that he acquired a blu-ray player and surround-sound system, traded up for a gaming keyboard and mouse, which in turn landed him a Traxxas Stampede remote control car without a body.

“Took me 27 days and only five trades to get a pretty awesome RC, even though it needs a body and new battery/charger – it’s where I stopped and have had tons of fun with it so far.”

Now Keachie has bigger aspirations for part two, a role in a music video. His two favourite bands are Tool and alexisonfire,  with the latter perhaps easier to contact due to locality.  The idea is for the group to set Keachie’s goal, and if he reaches it, they will hopefully trade him for a role in their music video. “Maybe they want a Blue 1980 Volkswagen Beetle to blow up… or a giant rubber band ball to roll down a hill? Whatever it may be, that would be the goal, so I have started just trading to see where I get,” he said.

At this point, Keachie has been documenting the process to put together in a YouTube video in the future. Part two of the project is now well on its way. He has traded from a moustache pin up to a Apple Macbook pro in just three weeks.

All trades have been made within Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph and Cambridge through the use of Facebook and its marketplace as well as posts on his account.

“What I have learned from the experience is items I think will be easy to trade, aren’t always. Be patient and have fun with it. It’s OK to say ‘no thanks’ to a trade offer. You need to make sure you have something somewhat easy to trade as to not get stuck with something too long, at which point would need to take a bit of a loss to move forward – one person’s junk is another person’s treasure, and they will find you. I started adding the cash offer amount because I was getting them anyways, people wanted what I had but didn’t have anything worth trading, giving a dollar amount and some trade ideas seems to help guide people to better offers,” Keachie explained.

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