Millionaire by ebay: martin menz makes 51 million euros in sales

A 20-year-old from Halle has bought 2.000 euros borrowed from his brother to sell head massage equipment on Ebay – today he makes an annual turnover of 51 million

Professional photo Marleen van de Camp

At the age of 20, Martin Menz was determined to become a millionaire.

Chance and his younger brother came to his rescue.

Since then, he has doubled the sales of his online store every year. In 2019, he reached 51 million. In the meantime, however, Menz no longer cares about the money at all.

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Martin Menz likes to get up between five and seven in the morning and plan his day before he goes to the office. He has tried many scheduling systems, but "the coolest feeling" is still "rattling a pen" over a completed item on the to-do list, he tells us in an interview.

The online store Relaxdays, which Menz founded in 2006 and which today generates annual sales of 51 million euros, goes back to a 2.000-euro loan from his then 18-year-old brother and success in selling a head massager with a manufacturing cost of no more than 30 cents.

Martin Menz wanted to become a millionaire

In 2005, Menz had told his parents he wanted to become a millionaire. Today, he dismisses this as a "typical rebellious phase" of a young man. Our objection that he had made his announcement true, the 34-year-old relativizes with the statement that he was "only a millionaire in sales" and that wealth was no longer so important to him.

2005 was also the year Martin Menz started auctioning things he no longer needed on Ebay. Of course, the average 20-year-old doesn’t own an infinite number of things he doesn’t need, so this business model didn’t succeed for very long. That’s why he was looking for products that he could buy cheaply and sell again for a profit on Ebay. In vain.

The miracle of Alicante

A year later, Menz was on vacation in Alicante, Spain. A market crier brandished a head massager, also known as a head crawler, at him. Menz found it "just gross" at that moment, as he reports. He had no idea how much this actually trivial moment would change his life.

Back in Germany, he opened a wholesaler’s magazine and found an offer that looked familiar: Head massage devices. Ten units should cost four euros, 50 only three euros. He decided to give it a try. The business took off. However, he did not have enough money to enter the trade in a big way. Fortunately, he has a brother.

"My brother was and is a more frugal guy than me. He earned the money with side jobs and lent it to me, because he didn’t need it at the moment. Half a year later I paid him back." The 2.Since then, Menz has doubled his sales volume of € 000 every year.

Dropping out of university due to acute business crisis

He began his business studies at the University of Halle-Wittenberg with moderate enthusiasm. "In 2006, we still had a diploma in business administration, and the idea of studying for five years and not earning any money bothered me from the start."

He initially considered shortening the curriculum to 3.5 years, but decided otherwise. "After a quarter, I was out of sight at the university because my business was doing so well," he says.

The plan against the planned economy

He obviously got the entrepreneurial spirit from his parents. Even in the days of the GDR, they circumvented the barriers of the planned economy by selling homemade sewn goods at flea markets. They even used it to finance cars.

The end of the GDR was a liberation for his family in more ways than one. His father went into business for himself, and his mother, a teacher, went back to college in her mid-40s to expand her teaching repertoire. Menz thought about trading stocks, but dismissed the idea again.

He learned early on that he had to work hard if he wanted to achieve anything. His elementary school teacher had advised against sending him to high school because of his below-average performance in reading and writing.

He decided to do it anyway. While everything fell to others, he had to learn with discipline. In the end, he achieved a high school diploma grade of 2.3, of which he is "proud as punch".

Of full drawers and unfinished foundations

Today, Menz is no longer solely responsible for his success, but each and every one of his nearly 300 employees. "At our size, any success is a collaborative effort," he says. "I have many more topics in my drawer than I can handle."

He describes the relationship with his employees with a single word: Clear. "We have to be brutally honest with each other to identify which projects are promising and what we invest our energy in," he says.

He deliberately dispenses with classic reporting obligations so that figures are not glossed over. We try not to be driven by any KPIs, investors or numbers," he explains. Our drive is a general added value in organization and business."

Menz does not rule out the possibility of going public. But he emphasizes that it feels good right now to still be strengthening the foundation with his team in the background before everyone looks to them to judge the company. He says it’s perfectly okay to still do "homework" over the next five years.

Beautiful moments in life

By the way, the name Relaxdays comes from his first Ebay store in 2005 and was significantly influenced by the fateful head massage device. At that time, Martin Menz did not expect that a head crawler would become a trendy product.

So he planned to build an Ebay store of massage accessories around the head scratcher. Since he did not get good prices from suppliers of corresponding products, he expanded his assortment to other products. The name remained and today stands for beautiful moments in life.

This article appeared on Business Insider back in February 2020. It has now been reviewed and updated again.

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