The rise of the 5-9er: How one woman turned an eBay hobby into a successful business – while still holding down a full-time job
09:11 GMT, 1 November 2012
Like many people, Lindsay Drabwell joined online auction site eBay to make some extra money to make ends meet. But the 32-year-old found selling baby clothes proved to be so popular, she was able to start her own business.
She's now one of a growing number of so-called 'five-to-niners' who are defying the economic downturn by running successful businesses alongside their day jobs.
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Business venture: Lindsay Drabwell went from selling clothes on eBay to starting her own business. She now sells baby products through her own website and at markets
They are an eco-friendly retailer, specialising in organic and
ethically sourced clothing, gifts and accessories for children aged up to five.
Lindsay from South East London said: 'I started off buying and reselling children's clothes and toys on
eBay to raise some extra funds for my wedding.
'I found I had more
interest in clothing than the toys so I started DaisychainBaby mainly with a view to providing an income for
myself and future family if I wanted to give up full-time employment.'
Lindsay began contacting suppliers seeking out unusual, high
quality children's clothing to provide parents with an alternative to
the High Street.
In order to maintain Lindsay's desire to be eco-friendly, all the products use organic materials and come form Fairtrade
certified suppliers where possible. They also use
recycled packaging and even their web hosting company uses green
5 to 9er: Lindsay and her husband have worked to make the business a success alongside full-time jobs. They manage the website in the evenings and run a stall at weekends
Thanks to her efforts, Lindsay has been able to secure exclusive rights to sell products including
handmade reversible dresses by Lovely & Lovely and items by
Scandinavian brand Green Cotton.
The business has been completely
self-funded since it was started four years ago and growth has been
steady with Lindsay expecting the turnover this year to be
She spends her evenings updating the website and packaging up orders, while her weekends are often taken up with attending craft and handmade markets selling her products across Greater London.
She said: 'On an average weekend we can make anything from 150 at a regular monthly market to 700 for a two-day annual event. At one very popular annual event we sometimes make around 1500. All the money goes back into the business.'
Lindsay sells baby clothes and accessorises from her website after contacting suppliers for unusual, high quality products
Since starting out, they have doubled the number of brands they stock and have made sales across the UK as well as Japan, Israel, USA, Australia and New Zealand. Lindsay even counts BBC sports presenter Jake Humphrey among one of her happy customers – he bought from her at a recent market in Richmond.
Lindsay said: 'It can be tough to juggle a full time job with running a business.
Sometimes you have to force yourself to take a break, rather than coming
home and switching on the laptop, and to stop resenting anything that
takes you away from business time – it’s clichd but getting the right
balance is key.'
Lindsay now hopes the results of her efforts mean she will be able to make the jump to running the business as her full-time career in 2013. 'What keeps us going is the knowledge that at some point it will be the
full-time venture for me,' she said.
For anyone hoping to follow in her footsteps by starting their own business while still in full-time employment, she recommends being patient as the business grows.
She said: 'I would recommend continuing with a job whilst setting up a
business, especially if you have patience and are not looking to take on
any financial assistance. You may not necessarily have the time to
devote as much as you like, but I’ve seen so many small businesses fail
by putting all their eggs in one basket, and then the business folding
as someone has to go back to work to pay the bills.
'Since we started,
the entire business has been self-funded – my aim from the start was
organic growth and I’ve kept my word. The time will come when I take a leap of faith and give up the job to really push the
business to the next level and when that happens, I’ll be ready!'