I’m adding this article for those who can relate… working moms, with kids of any age, are heroes! So if you are a working mom – this ones for you
|When this handbag junkie turned her passion into a multimillion-dollar online business thanks to eBay, the Fairfield, CA, mom of four opted out of a law career.|
By: Sarah Davis We had no money coming in but a lot of money going out when I was in law school back in 1999, and my husband was in medical school.
I got the idea for my business at a mall while shopping at a Gymboree. A woman was buying a stack of clearance blankets for $17 each. She said she’d sell them on eBay for $40.
eBay was something I thought I could do. So I started selling everything in our house that wasn’t nailed down and that was easy to ship.
I soon began selling my own handbags. I’ve always loved fashion, so I came up with Fashionphile.com as the name of the business.
These days I sell high-end bags like Louis Vuitton and Gucci that have been preowned. If someone buys a Chanel handbag for $1,000 and gets tired of it, we sell it for her.
But when I was starting out I’d buy bags on sale at luxury department stores and resell them on eBay. I had a good reputation for authentic luxury bags.
There’s enough room for lots of people to sell on eBay. What I think worked was that I was very responsive to customers. I answered emails promptly. I shipped items in new, clean packing materials.
When you’re selling an Hermès bag for $28,000, you need to develop a good feedback rating so that people trust you enough to send the money first. When someone said a bag was smaller than she thought it would be, I gave her a quick refund.
I was doing so well that I decided not to pursue a law career, even
I was making $30,000 a month on the bags. I paid off my school loans.
It’s good to recognize your weaknesses and find smart people to fill in your gaps. I had no business training. An accountant asked what my five-year plan was. I had no plan. He recommended I read The E-Myth.
I opened a high-end boutique in Beverly Hills in 2008, because that’s where the bags are. We had 12 employees. So I was operating online and offline.
My work is all about family. I get to spend more time with my kids—Izzie, 12; Aerie, 10; Ike, 6; and Zoie, 4. As an entrepreneur I spend many nights up until 2 a.m. but still get up for the kids by 6:30. And everyone in my family has worked with me at some point.
The advantage of an online business is that it’s global. Bags that are out of date here are hot in Germany. We sold $4.5 million in bags last year. This year we’re aiming to bring in more than $6 million.
I wear five or six different bags all the time, rotate them, then sell them. My favorite exotic bag is the Hermès Crocodile Birkin. It’s a piece of art. It would run you $20,000 to $35,000.
I think I’m successful because I have a tight niche. We’re the go-to luxury handbag people.