Updated: Mar 1, 2019
Who is the teenage boy that created a toy empire making over £15,000 a year?
Tommy Howard is a 14 year year old schoolboy and entrepreneur from Hawkchurch in Devon, who has built an online toy shop which now turns over £15,000 annually. Tommy stocks over 1000 products which are shipped world wide.
‘If Only They Knew’ also spoke to Tommy about his top tip for young entrepreneurs, read further to find out what that tip is.
Tommy got the idea 2 years ago when his younger brother asked for a £35 toy for his birthday but Tommy realised he could purchase a bundle for much less than what the toy was worth alone.
Using the money he received from selling eggs at his family farm, Tommy bought his first batch of products and reinvested to keep the business going.
Tommy sold over a thousand foam guns, which led him to officially launch his eBay shop called Dog In A Box (named after his pet, Oreo) which now sells a variety of toys.
The 14 year old entrepreneur works highhandedly to fulfill around 70 orders per week, which allowed him to earn a profit of £6000 last year - mostly from his perfecting timing of supplying paddling pools during the heatwave.
What problems has Tommy faced whilst running his business?
Due to his age, Tommy has had some people not take him seriously which has impacted his supply as some sellers on eBay have made it harder for him to purchase their products by refusing to deliver, however, Tommy's Dad would then make the purchase separately in order to get the delivery.
"People shouldn't think because I'm young I can be taken advantage of. I know my stuff!"
Tommy fought through the challenges and went on to register has a business on eBay in March 2018 and ordered over 200 different kinds of products from wholesalers and his Dad Charlie, even converted their milking parlours at their farm into a store for his products.
What can young entrepreneurs learn from Tommy?
Young entrepreneurs can learn that if you want to be successful in an area of business, you must not only understand the market but also be proactive in researching it constantly and preparing for the next big thing. Tommy did this by finding out about a new product called Glove-A-Bubbles that were releasing TV campaigns which would boost their sales. Knowing this, Tommy placed an order for 72 units of the product and sold over 34 units very quickly, he then went on to place another order for 122 units to capitalise on these sales.
However, suddenly his sales dropped as the manufacturer of his best-selling product ceased advertising, but this taught Tommy a valuable lesson in the business world:
"There's no guarantee in business"
Tommy made a comeback with his paddling pools and will continue his journey as a young entrepreneur, learning valuable lessons along the way.
If Only They Knew spoke to Tommy who said the main thing he has learned since starting his business has been that:
“You have always got to be ready for the unexpected as anything can happen at any stage”.
Tommy also reflected on his struggles to buy new stock which made him really want to give up, however he kept pushing and made it through the dark moments of owning a business.
“You have to persist through the worst days”
Tommy’s tip for young entrepreneurs is “to not be afraid to start“ and for the young entrepreneurs, “you don’t have to always wait until you’re an adult”.
If Only They Knew wish Tommy the best of luck with his business, ‘Dog in a Box’.
Follow Tommy on Instagram: @tommy.howard.ebay and finds his website at www.doginabox.co.uk