Turning Tragedy into Triumph: The Inspiring Story of Jill Tucker Selling Her Ecommerce Business for $533K on Flippa

Jill Tucker is an enterprising woman with an inspiring story of how adversity can ignite an entrepreneurial spirit. After her personal experience with breast cancer (and having a breast removed), she was motivated to create a health-oriented business that would help women in their recovery post-surgery.

Erilan, named after a combination of her two children Dylan and Erin, became so much more than a successful business providing post-mastectomy clothing, sun-safe headwear and accessories. It was a safe space for women going through their own cancer journeys to support and help each other move forward with their lives. 

Jill sold the business on Flippa for $533,460 USD in late 2022. At a time when her business was experiencing tremendous growth and boasted a loyal customer base with a 32.51% repeat rate.

“I thought it was always going to be successful, but how successful is another question,” Jill remarks. 

Read Jill’s inspiring success story about founding, growing, and exiting Erilan.

How It All Started

Jill Tucker loved growing up on a farm. “Living in a rural town instills this strong sense of community and helping each other out. But you can also feel very isolated,” she explained. 

Source: Google Video “Jill Tucker: Impact the world from anywhere”

For Jill, founding her business Erilan, was her way of creating another kind of community of women who could support and help each other navigate through the hardship and vulnerability of their experiences.

“Wagga Wagga is a country city with a big rural population (~67,000). Before Erilan, there were no services or anyone here to provide women with what they need. So I just thought this wasn’t good enough, I could do something about it,” she said. 

Erilan serves women locally and beyond through both a brick-and-mortar store (an extension added to Jill’s home) and an online store.

As a trained bra and prosthetic fitter, Jill offered professional fitting services that took place in the privacy of her homestore.

Jill’s main reason for selling online began as a lifeline to many farmers doing it tough in the 2017-2020 droughts.

“I thought, how could they possibly afford to travel two and a half hours to Canberra, which was the closest access to a store.” 

So, in addition to running the homestore for in-person appointments, Jill started offering remote online video appointments.

The Big Learning Curve

During the first 10 years of running Erilan, Jill also managed and taught 200 students at a speech and drama school in Wagga Wagga.

Despite having no experience in Ecommerce or the clothing industry, Jill was set on her purpose and mission with Erilan.

“I am a dreamer and always think positively. But it took a long time to get going.” 

Luckily, Jill’s son was able to set up the website and integrate it with Shopify. 

The business slowly grew. Albeit with very little social media activity and sporadic email marketing (which Jill’s son eventually took over). 

“I posted things on Instagram and Facebook, but it wasn’t regular. I started getting customer stories and knew they were valuable, but I got busy with other things,” Jill admitted. 

“I employed a manager (Sarah) through word of mouth, who is now working with Erilan’s new owner. We started with 3–6 hours a week and grew from there. I also had two other part-time employees, plus my husband was always lending a hand.”

When Jill retired from teaching three years ago (2018), all focus turned to Erilan. 

The first turning point and acceleration for Erilan’s growth: Google Ads.

Jill also believed her experience as a speech and drama teacher gave her a great base for building the business.

“Hosting charity fashion parades, morning teas, community group meetups—I could speak to people. And people wanted me to tell my story,” Jill said.

Erilan experienced 128% growth from 2019-2020, 84% growth from 2020-2021, and as of the end of May 2022, 49% growth compared to the previous year. 

Time To Sell

“It hit me when my husband retired and turned 70. I was thinking I’ve got to stop and do things together, there’s more to life than working!” Jill recalls.

“I would recommend selling your business on Flippa.”

As there were no local options available in their small town, Jill reached out to someone in Canberra for assistance. They couldn’t help. Jill’s son Dylan suggested using Flippa as an option for listing the business. 

“Flippa ended up being the only option for us, and Dylan helped with listing the business as I am not as computer-savvy. Once the business was listed, I initially panicked about what to say and do. However, Ashwin was extremely helpful and responsive, which made the process easier,” Jill said.

To Jill’s surprise, the sale ended up being more than she ever thought it would be. “I even questioned the price at first, but Ashwin assured me that it was accurate.”

Initially, Jill had a buyer who wanted to purchase the business but backed out due to vendor financing issues. Within two months, they had another interested buyer. 

“The buyer was a doctor who I trusted, and we were able to negotiate a deal.

Throughout the handover process, I stayed in touch with the new owner and was involved in the transition,” Jill said.

As the buyer was based in South Australia and had difficulty finding a storage location for the stock, Jill ended up moving $100,000 dollars worth of stock to the part-time employee’s (who had been helping since day dot) home for better management.”

“I would recommend selling your business on Flippa. My accountant initially estimated that my business would sell for around $300,000, but Flippa’s expertise in online businesses allowed us to realize its true value. They helped me understand the global potential of my business, and I am convinced that working with Flippa was the best decision.”

Sale Details

  • Erilan sold for $533,460 USD
  • Age: 13yo
  • Monthly Profit: $21,647
  • 24% profit margin
  • 178,812 monthly page views
  • Sale profit multiple 2.1x
  • Revenue multiple 0.5x
  • Last 3 years of growth:
    • 128% increase for 2019-20
    • 84%increase 2020-2021
    • Currently up 49% compared to the previous year as of the end of May 2022. (based on net turnover & Australian tax years). 
  • 3 part-time staff
  • $101 AOV
  • $1,067,634 annual revenue

Happy Retirement

Looking back, Jill is content.

“I haven’t missed it, so it was the right decision. The only thing I would have changed is diversifying earlier, getting into sun protection instead of only focusing on breast cancer and breast surgery.”

“I would have spread out earlier into lymphedema areas, which is a side effect of having breast cancer. And become more cancer-focused in general, with hats for skin cancer.”

Jill is looking forward to traveling, meeting her new grandchild and visiting her son in the UK, building memories with her three grandchildren in Canberra, revamping her garden, getting more involved in her church, taking up playing croquet, and going on day trips and road trips with her husband.

“I believe that out of hardship, good things can come.” 

Many would argue that Erilan—and everything the business stands for—is far better than simply ‘good.’ It’s a shining example of how one person’s struggles can lead to a positive impact on the lives of countless others.

Inspired by this story? Read up on others who have successfully bought and sold their businesses here.

If you’re ready to sell, check out our First Time Seller’s Guide.

Like this buyer and seller, you too can master proper buyer and seller communications etiquette. We’ll show you how to that here.

    Courtney is the founder of Scribble Content and specializes in writing for eCommerce and related SaaS businesses.

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