Editor’s note: In celebration of eBay’s 25th anniversary, we’re spotlighting a seller every week from our global community in our Mini-Stories column through 2020.
Music plays an integral role in Jake Harris’s life. Whether it’s studying music in college, ensuring that everyone can afford their own instrument or teaching private lessons in his local community, Jake strives to help others find that same passion for music that he lives and breathes every day. Now, with the support of his family and the start of his eBay store, Into Music, Jake has found a way to translate his personal interests into a successful full-time profession.
Family, along with music, play a continuous harmony in Jake’s life. As a full-time music student at The Sam Newson Music Centre, Jake was first introduced to the art of reselling by his grandfather. The pair went to car boot sales on weekends, where Jake searched for old musical instruments to purchase, repair and resell on eBay as a hobby. In addition to the car boot sales, Jake soon also started sourcing affordable, pre-loved instruments on eBay in addition to his selling on the platform. When he realized the profit he was making repairing used instruments, he decided to take his hobby to the next level and eagerly launched his own eBay store, Into Music in 2018.
His goal was straightforward: to help others access instruments at value. “As a music student, I wanted to create a place where drummers could go to buy affordable, quality, pre-owned and refurbished equipment,” said Jake. “I had no business experience, so eBay was a great way to get my business started with minimal risk or outlay.” His store specializes in used drums and percussion instruments sourced from across the U.K., with an inventory that spans everything from high-quality drum kits to cymbals and accessories, in addition to the affordable equipment the business was founded on.
British Drum Company Maverick Snare Drum
When he first opened his store, Jake ran his business from a bedroom in his grandparents’ house where he stored and dispatched his inventory. Since then, he’s relocated his operations into a brick-and-mortar music shop in Horncastle, England. “Only this year did I move into a new premises with a shipping department, storage facilities and a large showroom. But my grandparents are still here every day helping out,” said Jake, who credits his grandparents’ support for his success. “Without them giving me that back bedroom and a place to get started, what we have today simply wouldn’t have been possible.”
Fulfilling hundreds of orders a week, Jake knew early on that he would need to not only expand his space, but also that he would need more people to help meet the demands of his growing business — so he eagerly employed a few family members to help out. “It means the world that this means as much to them as it does to me,” said Jake. “Like everything about business, it has its ups and downs, but it’s amazing that I get to work so closely with family members every day. We have a great laugh, and it makes things so much easier for me, as they get exactly how I work.”
Indeed, Jake’s business has steadily grown over the last three years and made sales of £250,000 last year alone. With some capital behind him, Jake turned his attention to making Into Music a brand and building relationships with companies that would make for good sources of stock. “I then made the biggest purchase that I had up to that point, which was purchasing a company van so that I could cover more ground and collect more stock,” said Jake. As a result, he’s already well on his way to having one of the largest inventories of pre-owned drums and percussion instruments in the U.K. His instruments have even had moments of fame. “I managed to sell some of my vintage products through eBay to production companies that work for the BBC,” he said. “The items have made it onto well-known shows and seeing products that we have handled and refurbed on the TV was amazing!”
Despite his success, family still stays top of mind. When asked about favorite sales, a particular story immediately pops into mind that dates back to his original sourcing with his grandfather. “I will never forget the first big profit I made from trailing the car boot sales with my grandad,” he said. “I picked up this battered rusty old John Grey vintage snare drum for £10 and couldn’t wait to get back home to strip and refurb it. That same weekend it sold on my eBay store for around £200 and as an 18-year-old lad I remember thinking all my Christmases had some at once!”
In addition to his U.K. sales, Jake and his team now export their quality, pre-loved stock all over the world, using eBay’s global shipping option. Most buyers come from Spain and the U.S., but the team also exports English-made drums to music shops in Hungary and Spain. Those sales are entirely based on Jake’s tireless work building relationships. “By selling in such a niche category and specializing in pre-owned items, much time and effort goes into sourcing products and liaising with contacts,” he said.
Along with his reselling business, Jake also teaches private music lessons in his studio — all in the name of finding any way possible to help others enjoy music as much as he does. “I teach part-time in Horncastle, and that’s where the name came from,” said Jake. “Whether I was teaching or providing equipment, I was helping people get into music. We are called Into Music for a reason — I’ve been that young musician chasing every opportunity to play and be involved in music, so I’ve always jumped at any chance to sponsor, gift and provide music equipment to to give young people the chance to get Into Music.”
In 2019, Jake was recognized as part of the 2019 eBay for Business Awards, which celebrated the most inspiring sellers among eBay U.K.’s community of 300,000 small and medium-sized businesses. Jake won the category of Young Entrepreneur of The Year by The Prince’s Trust for his determination, creativity and positive vision for the future.
Jake holding the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award certificate
“Winning the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award was definitely one of my biggest achievements and highlights of my business career so far,” said Jake. “I was only 18 when I started my business, so I missed out and gave up a lot through my teenage years to be working constantly on my dream and investing all my money and time into growing and expanding. To be recognized for that hard work meant the world to me and certainly gave me a massive confidence boost.”
Jake just recently passed his half million pound mark in sales on eBay and looks forward to his continued partnership. “eBay made my business and gave me the opportunity to pursue my dream!,” Jake said. “My eBay support team genuinely cares about me and my business, and it is so refreshing to have the support of such a massive company. I honestly feel like part of the family, and I think that’s what sets eBay apart from other online marketplaces.”
Empowering entrepreneurship and creating economic opportunity for all has been our philosophy at eBay since we were founded 25 years ago. Our marketplace has been enriched by the hundreds of thousands of independent small businesses and entrepreneurs worldwide. We win when they do. Learn more about how we partner with our sellers.