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Tori Gerbig started selling clothes on eBay in 2011 as a side hustle to pay off student loans while she and her husband, Chris, worked their corporate jobs.
When their son arrived in the fall of 2013, Tori went on maternity leave and started a Facebook group to ramp up her selling. “We had people coming over shopping from the trunk of my car, in our house and our dining room,” she told Insider.
On January 1, 2014, the couple rang in the new year with the launch of their e-commerce site, Pink Lily, and set a goal to reach $50,000 in sales that year. They continued working their full-time jobs, and on nights and weekends they packed and shipped orders, bought inventory, handled customer service, and marketed their brand.
Four months in, the couple surpassed their $50,000 goal. The company was already more successful than they had expected. Tori quit her job, and Chris followed a couple of months later. They moved their operations from their dining table to their first “warehouse,” an old 1,200-square-foot hair salon. They outgrew the space within three months, recruited their sisters and Tori’s mom, and hired their first non-family employee in August. By the year’s end, they’d hit $4 million in sales.
“The sheer amount of work that goes into it was not expected,” said Chris, who was also studying for his MBA when they launched the site. “It was just crazy. We were up at 2, 3 o’clock in the morning packing orders and doing homework.”
As the Gerbigs grew their company for the first year and a half, they worked 40- to 60-hour weeks and holidays, reinvesting profits in the business. “We used all of it just to grow the business,” Chris said. “And we were able to really grow that inventory collection …read more