Dan Coton from Myldan Auto Design was a finalist in the Young Genius category of the eBay for Business Awards 2017. I really like Dan’s story of how he fell into becoming a full time eBay trader as it links an engineering business (not the sexiest of businesses and somewhat overlooked) with the modern day world of marketplace selling.
It’s a tough world out there for school leavers, so working for your dads company might seem to be the easy route but when you hear how Dan grew his business it’s obvious he’s a driven determined entrepreneur and when he spotted an opportunity he grabbed it with both hands. At his current rate, Myldan Auto Design will hit 100,000 eBay feedback early in the New Year.
This is Dan’s story in his own words:
How Myldan Auto Design got started
Back in 2011 I worked for my dad’s engineering company. My friends were always asking me to make small components for their cars at work. I got more and more people asking for these parts so I placed a few on eBay and quickly the demand grew.
I registered Myldan Auto Design in August 2012. Back then I was only 19 years old so the world of business seemed very daunting, Thankfully the eBay platform is very easy to use so I soon got to grips with managing orders and stock.
We quickly gained a range of about 50 products in the first few months, Average sales were around 30-40 a day which proved to be very difficult to manage whilst still working for my dad full time. Around 6 months in, I took the step to solely work for my business. I rented a unit and started to grow the range more and more. Soon the demand got out of hand and I had to take on an employee to help with the large influx of orders.
The struggles of a fast growing business
In 2014-2015 we struggled financially, The business grew far too fast and cashflow became an issue, It’s OK having thousands of pounds worth of stock but if there is no money in the bank it doesn’t help pay the bills! We battled for good 12 months to keep our heads above the water and I took no money out of the company during this period, just to make sure everyone else got paid when they should.
I was very close to giving up but that’s just not me, I changed the dynamics of the company and made it run much more cost effectively. It was hard work but, looking back now, I believe you have to go through the bad times to enjoy the good!
Myldan Auto Design today!
We have just turned 5 years old and now employ 3 people full time, An average day sales is 150-200 orders which is fantastic for such a small business. We believe turnover will be in excess of £1 million next year and the majority of the income is generated from eBay sales.
I cannot thank eBay enough for the fantastic platform they provide. If you’re prepared to put the work in finding / designing products and fight to keep going during the bad times then you will see the rewards.