London-based Nepali migrant takes eBay by storm
Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 14, 2011
By Alastair Lawson
A Nepalese man who moved to London as a teenager has been confirmed as Britain’s biggest seller on the online auction website eBay.
Sudip Gautam, now known as Dario Lopez, came to England in November 2002 with his mother to join his father.
He set up a mobile phone accessory company which now has a staff of 13 and an annual turnover of more than £3m.
Mr Lopez has opened his first shop in London and aims long term to set up a chain of stores across the world.
An eBay spokeswoman confirmed him as the site’s biggest individual seller – despite intense competition from chain stores – with more than 600,000 sales in under five years.
Originally from the district of Gulmi, about 250km (155 miles) west of Kathmandu Mr Lopez began his business at the age of 13.
“I lied to my mother by saying that I needed to pay for something and used her credit card to register a website,” he told the BBC.
“If I’d told her that I needed £10 to register a website domain name, she wouldn’t have let me use the card. It was enough to enable me to start selling sim cards on eBay in 2004.”
Mr Lopez said that he realised in 2004 that while sim cards cost £10 in the shops, he could find a supplier who could provide them for 50p. He now sells more than 2,000 items a day on eBay and more through his London Magic Store business.
If you are able to have good relations with your supplier and customers, products and orders are only going to increase.”
End Quote Dario Lopez eBay’s biggest seller
“This is what started the business for me,” he said, “and my interest for consumer electronics and the mobile industry grew as I was selling sim cards.”
He says that he is delighted finally to have become the number one seller on eBay after coming second and third in previous years.
“We worked extremely hard on our feedback score by replying to queries, issues and complaints as quickly and efficiently as we could and ensuring customers received their orders as soon as possible.”
At the time of his company’s rapid expansion in 2009, Mr Lopez had to sleep in his office as there was so much to do.
“I would go to sleep around one in the morning and I would be working again by six,” he said.
The entrepreneur says that there is “no way” he could have launched such a venture in Nepal.
“Over there you need a lot of money to set up a business. The postal system is not reliable and not many Nepalis use computers. Furthermore it’s difficult to import from the far east. Nothing is as straightforward as it is in the UK.”
But he says that he does have long term plans to launch a similar venture in Nepal in addition to launching a new social networking website “different from Facebook or Twitter”.
And the pros and cons of making money through eBay?
“On the plus side eBay do all marketing work and bring customers to buy our products,” Mr Lopez said. “We just get the products, make their images and list them.
“On the negative side, we don’t own the contents eBay has for our store. If someone at eBay clicks the wrong button our business could collapse overnight.”