The number of self-made millionaires selling goods on eBay has increased by 300 in the past year.
Now, for the first time in eBay’s 22-year history in the UK there are over 1,000 British eBay millionaires and the list of top businesses includes home furniture and DIY, car parts, clothes and computers.
An eBay millionaire is defined as a British registered business on eBay.co.uk with an annual turnover of £1million or more.
Working mothers Clare Haines’ and Melissa Burton’s, left and right, Lingerie Outlet eBay business is soaring, having grown by an astonishing 2,000 per cent in just a few years
Ms Haines said: ‘The past few years have seen Lingerie Outlet go from strength to strength’
Monty, right, runs the business from an office and warehouse space in Mere, Wiltshire with fellow young entrepreneur Dan Beckles, left
Mark Radcliffe became the UK’s first eBay millionaire after starting out selling phone accessories from his garden shed before going on to establish an online bathroom retail business and founded Victorian Plumbing in 2000
The greatest volume of eBay UK millionaires per capita are concentrated in Manchester, Birmingham and West Yorkshire
The first ever UK eBay millionaire was Mark Radcliffe who, at just 30, earned his first £1million after setting up First2save – a mobile phone accessories business from his parents’ garden shed.
Mr Radcliffe, 38, went on to establish an online bathroom retail business and founded Victorian Plumbing in 2000.
His turnover inreased from £30,000 in 2001 to an eye-watering £74million in 2016.
One of the new million-pound companies to join the list is Compare the Bathroom, a successful family-run business.
Ken Dawson and his two brothers Paul and Stephen, who are from Newcastle, have been running their bathroom showroom business for 40 years, and opened the online shop, Compare the Bathroom, on eBay in 2010 to help boost sales
They now receive an average of 80 orders per day, taking their turnover more than £1 million on eBay in 2017.
Mr Dawson said: ‘Sales have increased significantly over the last two years as younger customers increasingly choose online to source the products they need for their home improvement projects.
‘Unlike other customer segments who tend the prefer the physical store, younger consumers are much more comfortable shopping online, even for larger purchases like bathrooms.
One of the new million-pound companies to join the list is Compare the Bathroom, a successful family bathroom business run by Ken Dawson (pictured) and his two brothers
‘We’re increasingly seeing customers opt for showers over baths as changing lifestyles mean people are living faster-paced lives in smaller spaces.
‘Over the last year, we’ve also seen a trend for vanity units and bathroom furniture as customers seek stylish solutions to store an increasing array of bottles and cosmetic products in their bathrooms.’
Ms Haines said: ‘The past few years have seen Lingerie Outlet go from strength to strength.
‘By focussing our sales drive on online channels such as eBay, we have been able to free up budget which would have otherwise gone on a bricks and mortar store or marketing budget.’
A surprise entrant into the millionaires club are four pet product entrepreneurs.
These firms have grown as millennials increasingly spend on pets. The average Briton has increased his or her spending from £0.80 to £5.40 per week in the last five years.
Aquatic pet supplies business, Aquacadabra is one such business to benefit.
The Compare the Bathroom team: The firm now boasts three showrooms across North East England. They began selling on eBay in 2010, and now receive an average of 80 orders per day
Aquacadabra started in 1992 in south-east London before owner Peter Amos, 48, expanded operations onto eBay in 2003.
Online sales took off almost immediately and have been growing ever since. The firm now occupies an 8,000 sq. ft. warehouse, which includes a physical store, and employs more than 20 people to cope with demand.
Mr Amos said: ‘When we decided to try selling on eBay, we were amazed at how quickly the first few items we put up sold.
‘Fishkeeping has become an incredibly popular hobby in the UK, and it’s become a lot easier to get in to over recent years thanks to the technology and range of products on offer, such as LED lighting.
‘Nowadays, it’s easier than ever before to keep fish, including types that people may think of as requiring more time and effort, such as tropical fish.
‘Today’s technology and equipment makes care a lot easier – today’s tanks are effectively ‘plug and play’, coming with heaters, pumps, lights etc. built in for ease of use.’
The greatest volume of eBay UK millionaires per capita are concentrated in Manchester, Birmingham and West Yorkshire.
Peter Amos is one of the new eBay millionaires after his Aquatic pet supplies business, Aquacadabra, went from strength to strength after expanding and starting to sell online
A previous eBay study in 2015 found that Greater Manchester had a higher concentration of small online businesses than anywhere else in the UK.
Rob Hattrell, UK Vice President of eBay said: ‘Around 23 million Brits continue to visit us every week and it’s no surprise that the nimble small businesses, which understand and cater to the ever-changing tastes of British shoppers, are flourishing.’
Mr Hattrell added: ‘We provide Brits with the opportunity to make a living out of their passion – and our entrepreneurs are becoming more successful than ever, with a significant increase in the number of millionaires on the platform over the past twelve months.’
The release of the figures coincides with the launch of the 2018 eBay for Business Awards – a celebration of the most successful and inspiring firms amongst the 200,000 small and medium sized businesses which sell in the UK.
Aquatic pet supplies business, Aquacadabra, is one of the new millionaire eBay businesses
The eBay millionaires, aged 20 and 19, who skipped uni to launch their own VERY lucrative furniture business
Online furniture business Furniture Box was launched in 2015 by young entrepreneur Monty George, who was aged just 18 at the time and decided to pursue a career in business rather than attend university.
Monty runs the business from an office and warehouse space in Mere, Wiltshire with fellow young entrepreneur Dan Beckles.
Now aged 20 and 19 respectively, Monty and Dan have led Furniture Box to rapid growth within just a year of launching.
Now aged 20 and 19 respectively, Monty, right, and Dan, left, have led Furniture Box to rapid growth within just a year of launching
Monty George, who was aged just 18 at the time and decided to pursue a career in business rather than attend university
Monty runs the business from an office and warehouse space in Mere, Wiltshire with fellow young entrepreneur Dan Beckles
The business turned over £1.06m in 2016.
Monty and Dan are eyeing up further growth this year, including expansion into supplying commercial property projects.
Managing Director Monty George discusses how he achieved rapid growth for his business:
‘A lot of people of my age would find launching a business daunting, but it’s a simple case of knowing your market, and which channel makes the most sense with your target audience in mind.
‘We launched Furniture Box into a readymade marketplace with eBay, so instead of investing heavily in marketing we could invest in inventory.
Monty and Dan are eyeing up further growth this year, including expansion into supplying commercial property projects
Now aged 20 and 19 respectively, Monty and Dan (both centre) have led Furniture Box to rapid growth within just a year of launching
‘This meant we could keep up with the rapidly growing demand coming from our rising number of customers.
‘Customer service is also important when growing a business, with online stores allowing new buyers to read the feedback left by others who have shopped with us before.
‘We’ve built up a long list of positive reviews, and this is great for building confidence among those thinking about buying from us for the first time.
‘If I was going to give one bit of advice to someone wanting to rapidly grow their business online, it would be to study the marketplace and find your niche among competitors.
‘If you can identify a unique offering for consumers, your sales will fly!’
From play dough and fishing line to lingerie that’s fine! Working mums grow their underwear business by an astonishing 2,000%
Clare Haines went into business in 2009 having bought a van load of products from play dough to fishing line with her remaining £15,000 in savings.
Having broken even on this and somewhat chastened from this experience, she used the lessons learned to found Lingerie Outlet Store on eBay from her garage in Swindon soon after.
It was an immediate success, which led to Clare being named Wiltshire Small Business of the Year in 2011.
Melissa Burton, Clare’s best friend became an equal partner in the business in 2015 when looking for a new challenge after fifteen years working in telecoms.
Clare Haines, right, with business partner Melissa Burton, went into business in 2009 having bought a van load of products from play dough to fishing line with her remaining £15,000 in savings
For all Clare’s entrepreneurial skill and tenacity, she admits that Melissa has brought a strategic approach to the business which has led to the firm’s 2000% growth in the past few years.
Both are working mothers who no longer work evenings or weekends.
They also employ 32 staff and are looking for a new warehouse having outgrown their 18,000 sq. ft. space.
They cite the ‘explosion’ of stores like Victoria’s Secret as key to the continued expansion of the lingerie market.
Clare, pictured, and her business partner also employ 32 staff and are looking for a new warehouse having outgrown their 18,000 sq. ft. space
Both are working mothers who no longer work evenings or weekends. Picture Clare Haines
‘The past few years have seen Lingerie Outlet go from strength to strength. By focussing our sales drive on online channels such as eBay, we have been able to free up budget which would have otherwise gone on a bricks and mortar store or marketing budget.
‘This has also freed up the time of our staff; who have more time to devote to fulfilling orders and dealing with customer queries – which is key to building brand love and ensuring that customers buy from us again and again.
‘My main advice to someone wanting to launch their own business is to keep a close eye on sales data.
‘This has enabled us to start mapping out seasonal product trends to plan our inventory throughout the year, for example in the spring when we know that swimwear sales rocket as people plan for their summer holidays.’