When he was looking for surfboards on eBay and kept getting random things in his search results, such as security cameras and skateboards, Cameron Dart wished for a site limited to *only* what he was looking for, a specialist site, if you will. Two years later he and a mate created MyKidsStuff.com.au a website that trades only, well, kids’ stuff.
Newly minted, MyKidsStuff.com.au launched on Australia Day and is a trading site targeting mums and dads who are tired of sifting through the monoliths such as eBay and Gumtree for buying and selling second hand goods, such as outgrown prams and bicycles, or change tables and toddler toys. And of course, conversely, it’s for mums and dads hunting for a bargain.
“People are getting sick and tired of eBay,” Dart (pictured right) said. “I’ve searched for surfboards and you get security cameras, skateboards and other things.
“(Also) there seems to be a change out there in the internet where specialist websites are popping up here and there,” Dart said. He also realised in a post-GFC world consumers were looking to be careful with their money, and efficient with their time, wanting to sell things from around the house or buy things at a bargain price. So the time was ripe for such an idea.
After Dart had the a-ha moment two years ago, he and a mate decided to try and get the idea off the ground and quickly found it wasn’t going to be as easy as they’d hoped. The pair churned through website developers before they arrived at one who seemed to be able to deliver on his promises, and create exactly what they wanted.
“It’s taken six months longer than we anticipated,” he said, “but we’ve saved about $10,000 (by taking our time and shopping around).
“(Are we happy with it?) Yes and no. We’ve got different stages planned for its development. We wanted to get it to a certain level so we could get it out there and get it going. We’ve got three or four upgrades already planned. We’re about 85% or 90% happy with it so far. There are a few things we’ll have fixed in the next few weeks,” father of two Dart said from his Gold Coast home.
The part-time property developer, part-time mining director, part-time entrepreneur, husband and father has been working 16 hour days to get his new project off the ground. Using only an excel spreadsheet he’s slowly, painstakingly built a database of more than 2500 retailers – names, phone numbers, fax numbers, Facebook pages, email addresses and website URLs – by combing the internet, including the Yellow Pages online and every other listing site he could find. He now plans to contact each and every one listed in his spreadsheet to see if they would like to use his site to sell their wares online.
“I’m a bit of an entrepreneur, I guess you could say, and my wife doesn’t really get very excited about many of my projects, and probably rightly so,” he said. “But she’s excited about this one and she thinks it will work.”
And she’s not the only one. Within just a couple of weeks of trading children’s products retailers had already noticed MyKidsStuff.com.au.
“Surprisingly, we’ve already been approached,” he explained enthusiastically. “A retailer from South Australia and a couple who sell kids’ clothes, so that’s encouraging,” he said.
“It’s been a real surprise. When we had the first people contact us I thought this was out of the blue, then in a week someone else, then someone else, then someone else!”
And if he was thrilled with that level of success, it didn’t match the ecstasy of that very first sale.
“The first thing I personally sold was a Fisher Price toy phone and the lady who turned up at my door had her little son with her. ‘Here you go,’ I said and she went to give me the money. I said, ‘You keep it but you have to tell everyone about the site’. So I’ve made a sale but no profit!” he laughed.
MyKidsStuff.com.au launched in January this year and Dart is now in a big hurry to get the site populated with buyers and sellers in readiness for the next stage of his site’s development, which will include selling banner ads. In the meantime, much like the proverbial calm duck on a peaceful pond, the legs are going a million miles an hour behind the scenes as Dart and his partner pedal to keep up with success.
You can also see MyKidsStuff.com.au on Facebook.