‘Any money that I make, I make for myself:’ Dog in a Box founder

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Any money that I make, I make for myself,” is how eBay’s 14-year-old entrepreneur, Tommy Howard, founder of Dog in a Box describes his life after joining the marketplace as a seller.

Tommy Howard, an eBay children’s toyseller is an exception as an underage merchant who runs his own business on the marketplace. eBay’s user agreement states that users can’t use eBay’s services including trading on the platform “if you’re under 18.”

Tommy has been selling on eBay for two years, joining eBay when he was only 12 years. He’s store boasts more than 1,000 products in stock, selling an average of 10 items per day and shipping to customers in more than 70 countries. Last year, his rebranded eBay store ‘Dog in a Box,’ coined after his pet Shih Tzu, brought in £6,000 in profit during the first year.

From contacting manufacturers to liaising with wholesalers, Tommy does it all. On a typical day, he has only 30 minutes when he arrives home from school at 4pm to pack and label his products before jumping on his bicycle to meet the local postman at the town mailbox, half a mile away.

I’ve always wanted to start my own business and have something that I owned myself and that allowed me to have confidence and pride in,” said Tommy. “And I quite like the whole warehousing and logistics side of things and the fact that any money that I make, I make for myself.”
– Tommy Howard, founder, Dog in a Box

18 Responses

  1. “Any money that I make, I make for myself,”

    so he’s avoiding tax as well as breaching the merchant agreement?

    Does anybody bother to fact check at tamebay?

    He’s been a seller for 2 months, not 2 years.

    He has 235 product lines, not ‘boasts more than 1,000 products in stock.

    And he sells pound shop tat not toys

  2. lol. the gig economy has a lot to answer for.

    next weeks feature; meet John, another wonderful entrepeneur who started his own company at only eight years old.
    John sub-contracts himself as a coal miner, zero-hours contract worker, and chimneysweep.
    John only has ten minutes leisure time per day.
    what a trooper! let’s all be like John!

    Sure it’s illegal, immoral, against all T&C’s as highlighted in the article, and frankly reprehensible, but why let that stop an article?

  3. Great for the kid and well done. Think this country would be in a much better place if there were more children with the same attitude as Tommy. The school he goes to probably hate it that he is not sat in his bedroom studying to get good grades to make the school look good on results day. It looks like he has chosen to set up his own business and not been forced to.

    Doing work at 15 never did me any harm, it teaches you the value of work hard to get a reward as opposed to waiting for handouts.

  4. If you took a dog and put it in a box and then posted it to a buyer …… is that fair on the dog? are they alive when the box is opened at the other end? I am sure (at least) the dog is going to be VERY unhappy especially if you post it by Yodel who are usually several days late with the delivery.

    or am I being too literal?

  5. Great business – if you have someone else paying for your living.
    So essentialy, *if* you have someone else covering your expenses, *anyone* could earn some pocket money.

  6. Interesting that he has a ‘mystery box’ for sale which isn’t allowed under eBay rules. Is he exempt from this too?

    The articles on Tamebay just keep getting worse. And they’re not proof-read it would seem.

  7. Good for the kid I say, I hope my children show the same entrepreneurial spirit. I much rather see a 14 year old not pay taxes than a Chinese seller!!!! He’ll find out who HMRC are sooner or later, which will be his next lesson in business!

  8. He is registered as a business seller, and as he’s only been going 2 months he will have tax allowances like everyone else.
    You are allowed to trade on eBay under 18 as long as you have the permission of the account holder who is an adult.
    Good for him.

  9. Few policy violations going on

    For example

    192887290179 – Search and browse / keyword manipulation? Its a flea collar not flea drops.

    192863476801 – website address in image – diverting traffic etc…

    192826723341 – Image with watermark not of sellers name (suggests they stole the image from another site / company).. Actually it turns out its one of his suppliers – dig deeper and his profit margins are minimal after paying ebay and paypal. Take item #192856454719 – cost price on his suppliers site 46p plus VAT, he is selling it for £2.29 shipped – leaving roughly 48p profit after paying ebay, paypal & post.

    I know 48p isn’t a bad margin on a small item, but you have to sell a lot of 48p profit items to pay your wages.

    Isn’t the wording “but be rest assured that we are a Trusted eBay powerseller :-)” a policy violation as well?


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