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This 35-year-old mom quit her job to work on her eBay side hustle—and made $141 million in one year


You could find me shopping online in 2011, even though I wasn’t earning my $25,000 per year insurance job.

At 24 years of age, I found it very enjoyable to browse the Internet for clothing that was both trendy and reasonable. There weren’t many choices back then. I was inspired to open an eBay side-business selling women’s clothing.

It started out as a hobby. It was a hobby that I enjoyed at first. But ten years later my husband Chris would join me in running. Pink Lily full-time. The online clothing store generated gross sales of $141 million last year. Our social media following has grown to over 3.6million.

An eBay side-hustle to $141 Million in sales

Chris, my husband and I invested about $300 in our eBay store to start it. Accessory and clothing from a wholesale site

As I didn’t know much about pricing strategies, the items I price were what I would charge a customer. Our living space was our office, and we had no overhead other than shipping.

While our profits varied over the years, we made an average of $300-$1000 per month. This money was used to repay student loans and to invest in the company.

In order to place products orders with vendors in Los Angeles, I would fly there. Then, I started to attend trade shows to increase our product selection.

Pink Lily founders Tori Gerbig and Chris Gerbig.

Photo: Tori Gerbig

A personal Facebook group was created in 2013 by me to sell my clothes. Our products were well-received by loyal customers, particularly in the local area. in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

We had approximately $20,000 in savings by the end of 2011, which we used for Pink Lily’s official site. This is when the business boom really started.

Our monthly revenue surpassed $100,000 by May 2014. Pink Lily had been my side-business for over three years. In May 2014, we surpassed $100,000 in monthly revenue. Chris came along a few months later and helped me oversee finances and operation. With more than $4million in revenue, we closed out the year.

In 2019, after achieving $70 million in total sales, we received a minority stake investment to support the business’ rapid growth. It allowed us to increase our product lines and scale an impressive team.

We currently sell over 11,000 products per day on our website, operate a brick and mortar store, and are among the largest employers in Bowling Green.

Pink Lily’s warehouse in Bowling Green Kentucky.

Photo: Tori Gerbig

We still attend trade shows but we have established a network of vendors partners with whom we can create custom designs.

The journey that led to Pink Lily was unforgettable. My husband is also a founder. These are some of my top tips to help you start a business that is successful.

1. Locate a market gap

This is probably something you’ve heard before. However, I cannot start my entrepreneurial advice without stressing the importance of finding a niche in an existing market.

My side business was born out of a need I noticed in fashion-sensitive women looking to buy dresses for as low as $50. This was a need I recognized and knew that I could fulfill.

Pink Lily 2022 Resort Selection

Photo: Tori Gerbig

Pink Lily celebrates one million Instagram Followers

Photo: Tori Gerbig

Our company logo is also printed on custom bags and we ship our products with #pinklilystyle. Customers who share a photo on Instagram with their updated outfit will be featured on our site.

4. Loyal customers can be ambassadors for your brand by being empowered

Always encourage entrepreneurs to think carefully about the best way they can create brand ambassador programs that are memorable for their customers.

At Pink Lily, our program 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. It is an integral part of our marketing strategy and generated approximately $7.5 million sales last year.

5. Buy something you love

A niche is something you must create for yourself or your business. How will your brand name be remembered by consumers?

If we are able to find an exclusive product or a seller’s complete inventory, we’ll buy it outright. Pink Lily is the only place that Pink Lily can find curated collections.

Tori Gerbig co-founded Pink LilyAn online shop selling women’s clothing, e-shop. It is one of America’s fastest growing online stores. Tori, a Western Kentucky University graduate, resides with Chris, her husband, and three of their children in Bowling Green. Follow Pink Lily Instagram Facebook.

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