The unlikely business duo connected via Instagram and created a dropshipping business together in April 2021. Since then, the pair have hit six-figure earnings and are aiming for the million mark, all while Mr. Epie continues his title. doctor at Lancaster University.
Mr Mlamali has been successful in trading, turning £200 into £200,000 at the age of 19.
At the time, Mr Epie had just finished his GCSEs and was working at McDonalds, a job in which he said he “didn’t want to stay”.
After reading a newspaper article about Mlamali’s success, Epie reached out to him on Instagram. “I was trying to learn new skills to make money. Honestly, I just reached out for marketing advice and we just clicked from there.
Mr Mlamali explained that after his role he was inundated with “hundreds, if not thousands of messages”, but Mr Epie’s knowledge “in areas where he had no idea” forced them to create an unlikely partnership. .
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The couple immediately went to work looking for ways to increase their income and diversify their income streams, with Mlamali now dispirited with the world of investments.
He shared: “The market just wasn’t what it was when I started my investment journey. At the same time, it’s easy to lose purpose in these types of races. Trade does not benefit society in any apparent way shape or form by lining a pocket. That’s why I turned to social media and we shared tips.”
The couple decided to create a dropshipping business, a sector that became incredibly populated by entrepreneurs and side hustlers during the pandemic. Mlamali commented: “Although it was a saturated market because everyone was doing it, there was also a lot of opportunity.”
Epie added that making dropshipping a legitimate business in the eyes of the general public “has become much more difficult” to establish as “a real brand rather than a cheap knock-off.”
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The business didn’t take off from day one, but over the summer the founders honed their marketing strategy to perfection, earning over £21,000 in a single week.
Since then, the pair have surpassed the market’s elusive six-figure profit planning to “climb that and hit the million mark eventually,” according to Mr. Epie.
He shared his initial reaction when they hit £100,000: “I was actually quite overwhelmed. That’s when we really realized that this is really working. I did not expect that.
Mlamali added: “The opportunities that have been opened up to us now just from having a six-figure income have been ridiculous. Things that we never expected to happen or expected to happen. We’re part of something bigger than we really thought would be fair, it’s really impressive. He started out like, ‘What can we do with this?’ and very quickly we scaled it to six, hopefully soon to seven, figures.
“It’s a crazy experience.”
It hasn’t all been sunshine and rainbows for the couple, as they have found that having a thriving business at such a young age has taken its toll on them.
Mr. Epie shared that it was “pretty hard to balance” his education alongside the business, saying: “Even now, in the first year I missed a lot of social events and I’m constantly trying to work. It’s definitely made my life hectic.” , but it’s something I always enjoy doing, even when the days are hard or stressful.”
Mlamali had her first brush with entrepreneurship when she skipped college to take an apprenticeship, then dropped that midway through to focus on her business.
He shared, “I really wanted to go to college just to have that experience and also have an alternate plan. I have neglected friends and family along the way. Last year, when I left my apprenticeship, I got my own office, and it was a big moment of celebration like, ‘I got my own office for the first time,’ but at the same time I was there almost every day from morning. until late at night or even the next morning, it was really intense.
However, he added: “Now it’s more worth it and now I start to see what I missed. Business is doing very well.”
The business is doing so well that Mr Epie “was looking for a Tesla” and Mr Mlamali was able to buy his own house in Birmingham, saying: “At least once a month I try to take a vacation.”
Despite all the ups and downs of their incredible story, the couple never met in real life.
Mr. Mlamali shared: “I never thought it would get to this point, especially with someone I just met online.”