A woman who quit her job because of a lack of support for working parents is now turning over £1.5million a year on Amazon.
Omotayo Adebisi, 33, was inspired to walk away after her boss at a utility company refused to let her visit her daughter in hospital.
“My breaking point came when my husband called to tell me that my one year old daughter was in the hospital and my manager refused to let me leave work early to go see her,” Omotayo told The Mirror.
“I resigned without having the slightest idea about my next steps,” she said.
A few weeks later, a friend suggested she look into starting her own business online.
Omotayo gave up work to support her family more
“Tilzmart, was born shortly after,” she said. “It’s my own one-stop-shop targeting seasonal sales, with a focus on toys, gifts, food hampers and fitness items.”
The mum-of-two from Northampton started the business in 2017 with £5,000 of her own savings.
“I had an idea but no clear idea of where to start,” she said. “My goal was to generate profit and stay afloat, no matter how hard I had to push.”
As a sport science graduate, Omotayo, decided to start with a fitness range, reselling bulk-bought items online.
“I started Tilzmart from the comfort of our home. We would get goods delivered here and my husband and I would pack and label all boxes overnight or when the kids were in nursery,” she said.
“We manufactured our first branded product the breast support band. The product generated sales but wasn’t as high as expected,” she admits.
“So, we decided to go for a fast-selling product, fidget spinners – all 300 units sold out, so we restocked.”
But Omotayo ran into a problem after the items had been shipped. There was a new safety requirement for fidget spinners and the goods were seized in port, resulting in a total loss of £15,000.
“I took about a month off due to increased stress and anxiety,” she said.
“Straight after my break, I picked myself up and started training myself on another Amazon selling strategy.”
Omotayo says she was desperate to learn from her mistakes and make the most of the free resources available such as on YouTube videos and the Seller University on Amazon.
“Eventually the breast support band started picking up again and finally we broke even. I started reselling again with returns from the breast support band and as time went by, I got better with product sourcing, and I kept recycling every little profit.”
Dream team: Omotayo's husband [pictured] would help her package the orders while the kids were asleep
After its first success, Omotayo was lucky enough to get further financial backing from family members who agreed to invest in her project.
She launched her own website Tilzmart.com alongside her Amazon page in 2019.
“My biggest supporters, including my husband and my best friends, have all rallied around me throughout this journey offering endless physical, mental, and financial support.
“They have been the driving force behind to take my business to the next level,” she added.
“In early 2020, we went back to the initial strategy of building our brand.
“We focused some percentage of our capital on manufacturing our own branded goods in home and garden, sport and fitness, pets, toys and groceries.”
Today, Tilzmart specialists in gifts – its busiest seasons are Christmas and Easter. The website sells everything from a £9.99 hot chocolate gift set to £100 garden furniture and outdoor heaters.
“We have over 70 own-brand products and turned over £1.5million in 2020/2021 and are on track to double that this year,” Omotayo explains.
So far, every penny has been reinvested in to the start-up and Omotayo says she’s now looking for further financial back up from banks as she takes the business to new heights.
Omotayo says workplaces should have more measures in place to support working parents
She’s ambitious, but says you need to have strong willpower to make it.
“In October 2019, thieves broke into our home and stole the pallets of shipments that we had prepared.
“I have also faced my fair share of discrimination and glass ceiling experiences, especially at the start when I could only afford products at a bargain and had a lot of face-to-face meetings.
“Also, the burnout rate isn't equal to the success rate. The hours I need to work to ensure everything is running smoothly can be very challenging especially with having young kids.”
Tilzmart now employs seven full-time workers with up to 25 part-time employees.
“We currently operate from a storage facility and hope to lease our warehouse space soon.
“That said, we store a majority of our stock at Amazon fulfilment centre to enable Prime customers to get our products quickly.”
Omotayo best advice for anyone else feeling inspired is to “be comfortable saying no”.
“Don’t get sentimental about it either,” she says.
And lastly, don't forget to learn from your successes along the way.