What It's About
These vintage toy cars sell for grown-up money.
Words of Wisdom
Dave share some important advice, “Don't be afraid to ask stupid questions. You may get laughed at, but you may also get a golden opportunity that anyone else could have had if they had only asked!”
For Dave, toy cars are truly a lifelong passion - he has been playing with them even before he learned how to walk.
Notes from Chris
For Dave Gilbert, collecting toy cars has been a lifelong obsession. Even before he could take his first steps, infant Dave was already pushing around a gold 1959 tin Cadillac. There was just something about scale model cars that fascinated him, and this interest persisted many decades later even as he neared retirement. But it wasn’t until 2018 that it turned into something more. During the funeral of his brother-in-law, one of the attendees was sharing about how he had lost his uncle recently, who had left behind an entire basement of toy cars. When Dave heard that the collection would most likely end up in a dumpster, he immediately introduced himself and offered his condolences—before offering to help liquidate the entire collection. Although those toy cars didn’t belong to him, he couldn’t bear to see them go to waste. Introductions were made, and two days later, Dave found himself standing in front of a basement looking at a treasure trove of vintage toy cars. He offered $1,200 for the whole collection, not being sure of their true value, but suspecting it was at least that much. To his surprise, the owner of the stash immediately agreed. On the way home, Dave started to regret his decision. All he had wanted was to keep a portion of the collection for himself and to sell the rest off to recoup his expenses, but he worried he might not make any money at all. Still, after picking out the toy cars that he wanted to add to his collection, Dave began the huge task of listing the others on eBay. He was dreading this task because of the sheer amount of work that was involved, but it turned out that selling toy cars was actually fun. Each time a notification from ebay arrived that said “you’ve got money,” he felt a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Unable to deny the dopamine rush, Dave started thinking more about selling cars and less about collecting them. It didn’t hurt that by the time he’d finished shipping out the last item from his first collection, he’d turned in a $10,000 profit. With the gears turning, Dave reached out to several manufacturers and distributors. This quickly turned into shipments from Italy, Germany, and China, which Dave was able to resell pretty quickly on ebay. The next turning point came when he realised that ebay fees were eating heavily into margins. Having his own store was essential because Dave wanted to control the look and feel of the customer experience, and the easiest way for him to do that was to start his own Shopify site. A quick Google search told him that the domain toycargeek.com was available, so he snapped it up. Today, sales have crossed six figures annually. While Dave is happy that his collecting hobby has grown further than he could have ever imagined, he doesn’t intend to scale the business any further to the point where he would need employees. The additional income is comfortable enough for his golden years, and to go further would turn his lifelong passion into something that is more akin to work, which is the last thing he wants at this point.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Learn more about Dave and check out his online dealership at, ToyCarGeek.com.
- Car Enthusiast Sells $1 Million in Products Over 13 Years of Hustling: A car enthusiast follows up on his curiosity and creates a project that earns $5,000/month on average and has brought in over a million dollars after a decade.
- Consignment Sale Secrets: Ask to Sell Your Grandma’s Stuff: In need of extra money, an enterprising grad student starts selling his unused items online. He then branches out into consignment sales, with a twist: most of his inventory comes from friends and family.
- Woman Earns $7,000 in Three Days by Selling Glass Nail Files: How an impromptu trip to a local farmer’s market leads one woman in California to a sustainable six-figure side hustle selling glass nail files online.
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