A former City high-flyer who quit his £55,000-a-year job to become an eBay trader is set to make £1million this year – as an online ‘Del Boy’.
Savvy Anthony Ponsford, 40, quit his lucrative job as a corporate lawyer in 2003 after becoming disillusioned with the gruelling hours and lifestyle.
He shunned the opportunity to earn £500,000-a-year as a law firm partner – and started selling camera and phone memory cards from his bedroom.
Employee Andrew White at Piranha Trading
Eighteen months later, he went into business with old university pal Marcus Caston and started importing bric-a-brac like desks and pet furniture from China and selling it online.
Just like 80s comedy character Del Trotter, he branched out and started buying anything he could get his hands on that might turn a profit before storing it at a warehouse in Wiltshire.
And this year his company, Piranha Trading – which sells on Amazon and eBay – is set to coin in £1.3million selling everything from gazebos to cat scratchers.
Andrew, of Shepperton, Middlesex, said: ”I often joke to people that I’ve basically set up an online version of Trotter’s Independent Traders.
”It started out, as many things do, as a very small enterprise turning over a very marginal profit for quite some time.
”I have to admit my heart sank when the bottom fell out of the market during the recession.
”When Lehman Brothers collapsed and the value of the pound dropped 40 per cent against the dollar I was fully expecting the business to fold.
”But weirdly, I think it actually helped in a way, because people were still looking to buy things like computer desks and office furniture but were now after more of a bargain.
”Where people previously went to John Lewis, they turned to the internet. And because we don’t have any retail premises or massive overheads it worked in our favour.”
Anthony went into corporate law working with London law firm Freshfields after finishing his law degree at Keele University, Staffs, in 1992.
There he was involved in the sale of #multi-million companies in a highly pressurised working environment which saw him working between 16 and 20 hours a day.
But he became fed up with the demanding lifestyle and in 2003 quit his £55,000 a year job to sell memory cards for phones and digital cameras.
Unable to compete with blackmarket sales, he turned to importing bulkier items and in 2005 set up a business selling small items like cat scratching posts and dog grooming tables.
Piranha Trading was formally set up in 2007 and turned over a modest £39,000 in its first year, which rose to £820,000 last year and is expected to rise to £1.3million this year.
The company – which also sells office furniture, tools and gazebos – employs two full-time members of staff, one customer services representative and a warehouse manager.
Anthony, who lives with wife Elizabeth, 35, and 19-month-old son James in Shepperton, Middlesex, said he has never been happier.
”I couldn’t bear the thought of staying in London in the daily grind,” he added.
”I was making other people lots of money for comparatively very little reward with the prospect of one day becoming a partner with no life of my own whatsoever.
”I was working with people who literally saw their partners and children for five minutes on a Sunday afternoon and I just couldn’t face it.
”It was a lifestyle choice and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”