EBay Side Hustle Turns Into $140M Revenue Business: 5 Tips For Success From The Mom Who Got Started With $300

Zinger Key Points
  • What started as a hobby bloomed into a full-time e-commerce business that generated $141 million in 2021.
  • The idea for Pink Lily blossomed from an eBay side hustle that required only $300 to get started.

One entrepreneur figured out how to turn a part-time passion into a mammoth e-commerce business, and she got started with just a few hundred dollars.

What To Know: 36-year-old Tori Gerbig is the co-founder and CEO of Pink Lily, an online fashion platform for women. What started as a hobby, has bloomed into a sales machine that generated $141 million in 2021, according to a CNBC report.

Gerbig, who is also a CNBC contributor, has a passion for shopping online, but when she got started in 2011, there weren't many options specifically made for women. That's how the idea for Pink Lily blossomed. 

It all started as a side hustle on EBay Inc EBAY. She and her husband worked out of their living room, kept overhead low and put $300 toward buying clothes and accessories from a wholesaler.

See Also: Side Hustle Brings In $14,000 Per Month For Millennial Working 8 To 10 Hours A Week

In the early stages, Gerbig generated up to $1,000 per month in profits. The business accelerated when she started a Meta Platforms Inc META Facebook page to help with marketing and built a website to sell from.

Less than three years later, she was bringing in more than $100,000 per month. So she quit her job and started working on Pink Lilly full-time.

"Currently, we sell more than 11,000 products on our site every day, have a brick-and-mortar store and ... 250 full-time employees," she said.

Tips For Success: Gerbig has identified five things that helped her grow the side hustle into a flourishing business.

  1. Those who want to try to replicate her success should look for a gap in the market. "When I started my side hustle, I saw an unmet need for fashion-inclined women who wanted to be able to find a dress for $50 or less. I knew I could help to fill that need in my own small way," Gerbig said.
  2. Reinvest profits. Gerbig was reinvesting almost all of her profits in the early stages. She also worked up to 60 hours per week and lived a frugal lifestyle with her husband.
  3. Engage your audience on social media. Gerbig regularly asked Instagram followers what they were interested in, which helped customers feel like they were part of the Pink Lily family.
  4. Turn some of those loyal customers into brand ambassadors. For example, Pink Lily offers paid positions — with a 10% commission offered on every sale — to an exclusive group of longtime customers who can "authentically vouch for the products," Gerbig says, crediting this strategy for generating about $7.5 million in sales in 2021 alone.
  5. Find something you can truly own. Gerbig noted that when she would find a product she liked, she would try to gain exclusive access to it. "This way, we end up with curated collections that can only be found at Pink Lily," Gerbig said.

Next: 26-Year-Old Gets Paid To Live In A 'Luxury Tiny Home' In Her Own Backyard

Photo: Shutterstock

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