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

By Sasha Fedorenko April 18, 2019 - 4:59 pm

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

  • Peter King
    4 months ago

    “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

  • Jim
    4 months ago

    We knew before we looked who wrote this article

  • bring back child labour
    4 months ago

    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?

    • 4 months ago

      An irrelevant and inaccurate rant, but otherwise, yeah…good job!

  • Rob
    4 months ago

    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.

  • alan paterson
    4 months ago

    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?

    • 4 months ago

      @alan paterson When my first granddaughter was born I did say I was surprised that there was not a “Baby In A Box” delivery service for long distant grand parents. My daughter was not sure about that being one of my best ideas.

      From the age of 11 I worked every w/end for £2.50 a day and at school had a small business selling cigarettes individually. I purchased my first stereo using cigarette coupons, not that I have ever been a smoker.

    • JoeB
      4 months ago

      The article is so badly written that it sounds like his pet dog brought in £6000 in a year. I ‘think’ it’s saying the business is named after his dog, and the business brought in £6000 in a year.

      I don’t think he’s actually sending dogs out in the post.

  • Frank
    4 months ago

    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.

    • ifellow
      4 months ago

      Great if your Dads got a farm as well. Everyone else being screwed over royally just for warehousing.

  • JoeB
    4 months ago

    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.

  • 4 months ago

    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!

  • 4 months ago

    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.

    • Jim
      4 months ago

      Selling for 2years according to the article?

    • 4 months ago

      Actually it looks like the account is registered in his fathers name and if he’s overseeing his son and taking responsibility for an underage child that’s perfectly ok – the legal agreements are with someone who is over 18 years old. Also his trading history is only a couple of months, but if you read his listings they had a glitch with an account and (ahem) had to start afresh with a new eBay ID.

    • Peter King
      4 months ago

      Its not ok for him to use his dads account, its a clear breach of the user agreement. – ‘You shall also not permit, either directly or indirectly, any other person to utilise your User ID or password. ‘

      Also it sounds like he’s been banned previously, and falsely claiming to be a powerseller.

      Then there’s the breaches of the paypal agreement and almost certainly money laundering laws.

  • Stephen Wright
    4 months ago

    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?

    • Jim
      4 months ago

      With those sort credentials The ebay business award is his

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