An entrepreneur figured out how to turn a part-time passion into a giant e-commerce business, and she started with just a few hundred dollars.
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What you need to know: Tori Gerbig, 36, is the co-founder and CEO of Pink Lily, an online fashion platform for women. What started as a hobby has turned into a sales machine that will make $141 million by 2021, according to a report from CNBC.
Gerbig, who is also a CNBC contributor, has a passion for online shopping, but when she started in 2011, there weren’t many options made specifically for women. This is how the idea for Pink Lily was born.
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It all started as an afterthought eBay Inc (NASDAQ: eBay). She and her husband worked from their living room, keeping their overheads low and spending $300 buying clothes and accessories from a wholesaler.
In the early stages, Gerbig was generating up to $1,000 a month in profits. The company gained momentum when she became a Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ: META) Facebook page to help with marketing and a website built to sell from.
Less than three years later, she was bringing in more than $100,000 a month. So she quit her job and started working on Pink Lilly full time.
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“Currently, we sell over 11,000 products every day on our site, have a physical store and… 250 full-time employees,” she said.
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Tips for success: Gerbig has identified five things that helped her turn the hustle into a thriving business. Those who want to try to replicate her success should look for a gap in the market. “When I started my sideline, I saw an unmet need for fashion-conscious women who wanted to be able to find a dress for $50 or less. I knew I could help fill that need in my own small way,” Gerbig said. Reinvest profit. Gerbig reinvested almost all of her profits in the early stages. She also worked up to 60 hours a week and led a frugal lifestyle with her husband. Engage your audience on social media.
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Gerbig regularly asked Instagram followers what they were interested in, making customers feel like part of the Pink Lily family. 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,” says Gerbig, who credits this strategy for generating sales. about $7.5 million in sales in 2021 alone.
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Find something you can actually own. Gerbig noted that whenever she found a product she liked, she would try to get exclusive access to it. “This way we get curated collections that can only be found at Pink Lily,” Gerbig said.