This company started in 2004 in my apartment. I was looking to buy some belt buckles just to wear around and I stumbled upon a wholesale site for my custom belt buckles. I had never seen them before but the prices were really good and I realized that I might be able to put some of the items on eBay and make a little money.
Well I placed my first order for $150, which was a huge risk for me since it was a large amount of money to me at the time. I had always wanted to run my own business so it was worth the risk.
So I signed up on eBay and started listed auctions. When I sold me first belt buckle I was so excited I could wait to do it again. Slowly of the first year I began to sell several buckles everyday and make a little money for me to waste on college stuff.
About a year after selling custom buckles on eBay I began to buy different style buckles to sell. I still have one of the buckles that I bought two years ago from the first batch of new buckles that I was selling.
I finally realized that I needed to open a website to sell my belt buckles on so that I could earn another stream of revenue. My first site was YourBuckles.com. I had no idea on how to build a website so I found a guy on a forum I browse to built it for me. He charged me $400 to build the site and host it for life. It sounded like a great deal at the time and it really wasn't that bad. Knowing what I do now though, the site he made for me would take me about 20 minutes to do now. He did help me get set up with credit card companies so that was something valuable from that transaction.
I spent about two weeks customizing my site and figuring out how to run it. When it finally launched I didn't know if I would get any orders, but a few days in a started getting a few each day. After about two weeks I had about $400 and I was stocked but there was a problem. None of the credit card payments were showing up in my bank account. I checked my site settings and I had accidentally set my credit card processing to TEST instead of PROCESS. So I had sent out $400 in orders without receiving any payment. As you can image most of the customers didn't respond when I called or emailed them about the mix up. It was definitely a valuable and expensive lesson to learn.
So things went well for about 8 months and then the problems started. The server I was hosted on was acting weird and would go down every so often. It was more annoying then anything but it really wasn't an issue. One time though it was disaster. The server completely died and my site was down for about four days. I tried to get in contact with the guy that created my site for me to find out what was happening and I come to find out he is no longer with the company. No one else at the company knows who I am but they tell me they have to switch servers and the site will be back up shortly. Well when the site was finally up again it was a wreck. I couldn't process orders or receive emails from customers. I tried to get the host company to help repair the site but they either didn't know what to do or care.
I figured it was time to rebuild to site somewhere else and just start over. I would just move the domain name and I'd be alright. That is where my biggest problem started. In my hurry to start a website I let the guy who made my site register my site in his name and I had no access to it. I was new to websites so I had no idea how process of registering a website worked. Needless to say this was probably the biggest mistake I ever made and really cost me a lot of time and money. I tried to get in contact with the guy and since he had moved companies he would not return my emails or my messages. My site was screwed and I basically had to stop selling on a website all together.
I basically quit selling online for about four months during the summer. I was still in college and had moved home for the summer. I was mad about everything that had happened I didn't even want to bother with eBay or creating a new site.
Once I got back to school I either had to get a job or start the site up again. I decided that I really didn't want to work the the Gap so I started up again. This time it was full time eBay. I bought more products and things started to go well. I continued to do that for several months and then decided to start the website up again. The first try at it was TheBuckleStop.com. The site did okay but I had made it myself and it really didn't look professional at all. Then about six months ago I decided to come over to Volusion. Things have been going well since, sales have gone up each month and my site looks better then it ever has. There are still a lot of things that I need to do, but things are getting done and the future is bright.