Girl, 7, opens antique business and make hundreds from things she's salvaged

Besty-Mae Lloyd is only seven but she is already making hundreds of pounds from the antique bottle shop she has opened in her parents’ back garden.

Her Victorian-style play shed is filled with all the things she has dug up from historic landfill sites.

The schoolgirl and her dad Jason, 49, collect their finds from old landfill sites across the West Midlands using only a pair of shovels.

They then take them home, clean them up, place them in the shop and list them for sale on Facebook.

The young entrepreneur sells 12 bottles for £10, which she gift wraps herself, and has already made £600 from her business venture within a few months, which she has used to buy a laptop.

Betsy-Mae said: ‘The bottles are from the olden days, I like them as they are different colours and sizes.

‘My favourite part is digging and getting dirty though. I find it really good fun.

‘I’ve got about a thousand bottles in my shop and people come to buy them in person and on Facebook.

‘I think my shop is super. My dad helps me with the prices but I help find them and clean them up myself. I enjoy going digging with my dad.’

Dad-of-two Jason, who lives in Wednesbury, West Mids., with wife Frances, 32, said their daughter had been helping collect bottles since she was aged two.

He said: ‘It has always been a hobby of mine, so I’ve sort of passed the torch. I took her out of her first dig when she was aged two and she’s loved it since then.

‘We were getting fairly inundated with bottles and leaving most behind, so she came up with the idea of selling them and we thought we’d give it a go.’

Jason, who used to work on fairgrounds and now builds playhouses for a living, said that he was already busy with his current business, so although he helps out, most of it is done by Betsy.

He added: ‘She washes the bottles in her outdoor kitchen after we find them in historic landfill sites, they’re 100 years old or more, it’s not modern rubbish.

‘It’s almost like a time capsule, as sometimes you’ll find an old bus or theatre ticket inside them and it’s a fascinating look at a different era.

‘They date back to between 1870 and 1930, and we’ve found all sorts. Its great to get kids out of the house in this day and age of the internet and she really enjoys it too.’

He still goes digging with her a few times a week to keep the stop well-stocked.

Jason, who is also dad to 19-year-old Jake, added: ‘We get permission off the farmers and they’re happy as long as we fill the holes back up afterwards.

‘There’s no high tech equipment, we just go down there with a couple of shovels and start digging.

‘We get old maps online and look where there was an open mine, then compare it to a map from about 10 years ago and if it’s been filled in, it’s landfill.

‘She has a steady flow of customers now, to get money for something that has been left and smashed up, is nice really.’

But even Jason was surprised by the amount Betsy has already made from her new business.

He said: ‘She has been selling a fair bit as well. The other day I found £200 on the mantelpiece and I said ‘you better hide that’.

‘Then she said ‘there’s more where that came from’, went up to her room and came down with another £200 odd in cash.

‘That’s not bad going for a seven-year-old primary school pupil and she’s already treated herself to a new laptop.

‘I think it’s a good life lesson for her as she has worked hard and earned that money, she fully deserves it.’

Jason made the little shed for her shop himself to store all the bottles and said that most people buy online but some people come to see them in person too.

He said: ‘Antique shabby-chic style items are still in fashion at the moment, so people just buy them for decorative purposes as the colours match their homes.

‘She sells online but people are welcome to come on down and have a look in person, she does little history talks about the origins of the bottles as well.’

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