Lessons Learned: Million-dollar Jeweler Launched with $300

Industry Insight, Partners

Robin Weber started his jewelry website when he was 18, with $300 from selling his high school textbooks and from tutoring classmates. He now runs a multi-million dollar business.

In 1996, at 10 years old, Weber, who grew up near Stuttgart, Germany, migrated with his parents to Belleair Bluffs, near Tampa, Fla.

Born into a family of entrepreneurs — his paternal grandmother ran a restaurant, his maternal grandfather owned a manufacturing plant, and his parents opened a website design business when they arrived in the U.S. — Weber always knew he’d run his own company.

Thanks to some of his parents’ business contacts, he started selling fashion jewelry on a drop shipping basis on his website, BillytheTree.com.

When customers proved reluctant to spend more than $100 on jewelry on his site when the recession hit in 2009, Weber expanded his product line to include pieces for $50 to $100, which sold well.

“Doing this helped me expand the business enough in 2010 to open a brick-and-mortar store in Belleair Bluffs, which could accommodate website operations,” Weber said.

BillyTheTree.com’s gross revenue has grown from $15,000 in 2004 to $1.6 million in 2013, with projected revenue of over $2 million for 2014.

Read the complete article by Elizabeth Hollingsworth at Practical eCommerce