How did you end up launching your own eBay shop?
I had taken out a £10k loan to repay the debts that I had incurred when studying to be a solicitor and hit on the idea of trying to sell some upcycled furniture, as a way to earn a little extra money I could put towards paying off the loan.
I’d always been interested in interior design and eBay seemed the perfect way to get started. As a platform, it offered me a way to get in front of lots of potential customers, without having to spend a fortune on marketing and creating a website. There was also no worrying about Google rankings.
When did you sell your first item on eBay?
The first piece I sold on eBay was a set of dining chairs, myself and my husband had been given. I painted and reupholstered each chair and listed them individually. The first one sold within 5 minutes! I was absolutely amazed.
With the money I made from those sales, I started looking for other items to buy on eBay, which had potential but were in need of some ‘tlc’. I started buying and listing more and more items, and interest in my eBay shop quickly grew from there.
How did you grow the business?
Shabby chic was a huge trend at the time and so I started looking for chairs, dressing tables, wardrobes and other furniture that was good quality and had the potential to be turned back into something people would be interested in. I found items on eBay and would also go to charity shops at the weekend.
Alongside this, I developed my own network of local couriers, who I could trust to deliver the items - which would often be large or fragile.
I made sure all the products I listed were styled really well in the photos, using flowers and other accessories. It struck me one day that these items could be sold too, so I thought I’d test the market.
I found a great wholesaler and bought some silk flowers. At the time there weren’t many good options around, and I was very selective. They went down really well, so I started adding more items, such as clocks and candles, and slowly expanded the homewares range. Sales for these types of products quickly overtook interest in the furniture, so the business just naturally moved more towards décor.
To ensure the product range is always on trend and appealing, I keep track of current interior design trends and seek inspiration from bloggers and influencers. I have really high standards when it comes to the products we sell.
My main focus is quality and it’s also important to me that we source our products from local and fair trade suppliers as much as possible.
Providing excellent customer service is the number one priority and it’s the reason the business continues to grow. I have also started building relationships offline too, by going along to trade shows and meeting with suppliers.
In 2016, the business was turning over £36,000 and I’m expecting this figure will exceed £250,000 this financial year.