Ebay and other market place platforms such as Etsy and Not On The Highstreet have changed the world for retail traders and home producers. There is barely any barrier to entry and eBay has become the home to over 250 British millionaires. From former supermarket shelf stackers to ex-city traders, retired silver-retailers to smart-cookies re-investing their redundancy packages, one message is absolutely clear, anyone can do it and you don’t need to be in the billionaire boys club to get going.
Whether you are a husband and wife team topping up your income, online shopping poacher turned gamekeeper, making money from your hobby, house clearing or going for big bucks gold, could you be the next Sophia Amoruso, the poster girl for eBay success, who started selling a few vintage clothes to become the huge Nasty Girl fashion brand with over £60m turnover.
If you are a buddy eBay success story or E-Tail hero? ParcelHero would love to hear your story and champion your online business.
Supermarket shelf stacker to eBay millionaire
The first Brit to hit £1m eBay sales, Radcliffe was a former shelf stacker who used £200 to launch his store selling mobile phones and accessories from his parents’ garden shed. The rest, they say, is history. Fifteen years later Radcliffe says he owes everything to eBay and anyone can do the same with the right knowledge and skills: ‘Being aware of the latest technology has always been important’.
City lawyer to modern day Del-Boy
Describing himself as ‘a real life Del Boy’, Ponsford abandoned his job as a city slicker legal eagle to launch Piranha Trading selling predominantly office furniture. Starting out as a micro enterprise with marginal profits, Ponsford survived and flourished in the recession, capitalising on people in search of bargains. ‘When the value of the pound plummeted, I fully expected the business to fold but because we don’t have retail premises or massive overheads, I think the recession helped.’
Cancer survivor and eBay poacher turned gamekeeper
Nail & Beauty Emporium
A mother of three, earning only £70 a week as a nail technician turned her addiction to eBay into a business after breast cancer forced her to stop working. In only six years, her cosmetics business went from one room to grossing over £1m a year. ‘Looking back, it’s incredible to think this all started in my bedroom. It has been really hard work but, if I can do it, anyone can.’
John & Gill Hewitt
Husband and wife career changers
In 2005, John and Gill Hewitt branched out from their jobs to launch an eBay store selling tools, hardware with just £2k in start-up funds. When the recession hit, the business did well out of the upsurge in DIY and now turns over £1.5m-plus a year and in May 2014 hit total sales of over £5m on eBay alone. John Hewitt says; ‘There is a lot more competition now and many eBay sellers are professional. It takes a lot of work.’
From redundancy to a growing embroidery empire
After being laid off from her call centre job, Marshall launched Thread Squirrel as an embroidery business selling bespoke bags, cushions, pillow cases, aprons and Kindle covers. ‘I wanted something I could do from home and I found it really hard to sell online as I had to learn everything from scratch. Turnover is now approaching £50k and other members of the family have come on board as the business expands. Proof that a hobby can easily turn into a flourishing business.
From small time seller to eBay entrepreneur
Starting out in 20014 selling sim cards, Lopez now hosts 90% of his mobile phones, accessories and fashion items business via eBay. He has learnt the hard way what you need to flourish online: ‘You have to focus and be committed. It’s really competitive, you have to keep watch on fellow sellers in the same market or they will swim right past you. Having eBay top-rated seller status increases sales dramatically.’
Rachael & Colin White
Inspired by the kids to a £1.5m turnover
The Whites launched Thingimijigs, a store for busy mums, after thinking if their three kids wanted something, so must thousands of others. Both with retail backgrounds, they initially they kept their jobs until the store’s success meant they quit and went full-time. They now employ eight permanent staff. ‘We had nothing more than a computer and £200. We went and bought a few little bits, sold them in a week and thought, ok – let’s get a few more little bits.’
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