Jen is such a great person. A real tough-as-nails business person but a soul as kind as they come. Jen has been through some tough times but has the optimism and enthusiasm of a 5 year old on candy. (She might disagree and say it is just a strong front) My wife and I have been fortunate to spend time with Jen (and a few other friends) a few times at a local gift show and have been able to watch Jen’s transformation from a shy and quiet seller to a person with a zest for life. She knows time is precious and there is no chance she is going to waste it. Get ready to understand it can and does happen to YOU! (She was You this time) Life can and does go on sometimes not as you planned.
Transcript: (note- this is a new tool I am trying out so it is not perfect- it does seem to be getting better)
Stephen: 00:00:00 Wanted to take a second and recognize my sponsors this week. You know Gaye Lisby million dollar arbitrage as Edge and list. That’s a mouthful. It is. But guess what. It’s a great opportunity. You know you can build a big Amazon business. You don’t need a lot of capital when you start. I mean we all started you know most of us started selling books and then move into retail arbitrage. That is the place that you can turn your money. The vastness and online arbitrage. And so by having that skill set by learning those skill sets you can get the best bang for your buck. And so Gase group will help you learn online arbitrage. It’s more than just a list service they’re going to give you a whole bunch of actionable inventory every single day. Right. Monday through Friday.
Stephen: 00:00:50 However there’s also a mentor ship that goes on and that mentor ship is so important because sometimes it’s great to know what to buy but it’s more important to understand why to buy it. And it’s that you know learning to fish or just getting fed. You know you really want to learn because ultimately you want to strike it on your own. And this is a great way to do it. So how about seven days free trial how about a free trial. Right. Very very cool. So it’s amazing freedom to come forward slashes a mouthful the word momentum carries a hyphen. And you put in the word arbitrage. So it’s amazing freedom does come forward slash momentum dash arbitrage and you’re going to get a free trial in Gase group. You got to tell her I sent you right. I also have the link in the episode. But it’s such a great opportunity.
Stephen: 00:01:40 She is amazing amazing I’m in that group. So you’ll see me there an amazing amazing person who’s there to answer your questions who’s there to help lead you and help guide you and that’s what Kay does. She does it every single day. The testimonials are real. Go take a look. You will be blown away. And again it’s a free trial.
Stephen: 00:01:58 I have the link on this episode. Reachin you know Sellar labs Jeff Cohen and the team they have blown me away with this scope project. We use this all the time for our business. We do a lot of private label we also do a lot of wholesale and wholesale bundles you know or multi packs that kind of thing which a lot of people do but we use scope to help us figure out what are the key words. And so it’s really simple. You basically figure out where you’re going to sell what you’re going to sell what category find that like product. Find the top couple sellers and find their keywords. Boom magic. There you go. You copy the best because it’s working. And guess what. That’s a proof of concept and scope allows you to do that. So it’s Sellar Lapps dotcom forward slash scope Sellar labs dotcom buzzword slash scope use the code word momentum and you’re going to get a couple days free trial and you’re going to save a little bit of money and you get to get some free keywords.
Stephen: 00:02:57 It’s worth every penny. I’m in that group. Come and check me out. Celebes dotcom forward slash scope again use the word momentum. Solutions for e-commerce. Karen Locher great great great group. I’ve
Stephen: 00:03:11 been using them for a long time and I guess over 2 years and I’m in there and pages like everybody else. Yes she’s a sponsor of my show but she makes me pay. And I get the same 50 dollar discount that you can get. Oh by the way you’re going to get that through my link and my link only. Oh and you’re also going to get the free inventory health analysis. Great way to start 2018 get your inventory in line and Karen will help you do that. We use it for everything. I mean basically you know long term storage fees coming up. Guess what she will evaluate. She’ll make some recommendations. And also check check check take these out this return blah blah blah blah blah. And magically it’s done. I
Stephen: 00:03:49 love it. Love it. Love it. I love the fact that they take and get rid of stranded inventory for me. I see it in there. And then next time I go in and it’s gone. Love it love it love it. Got an IP infringement. She’s going to help you work your way through that. This is the kind of service that you get from Karen Locher that solutions for the number for e-commerce solutions for e-commerce dot com forward slash momentum. Right. So you got it forward slash momentum and you’re going to save 50 dollars a month six bucks a year by just clicking that link. She pays me. I want to hide that I never do. I’m always upfront about that but it doesn’t cost you anything additional. And you’re going to get that inventory Health Report the only way you get that is through mine link solutions. The number for e-commerce dotcom forward slash momentum.
Cool voice guy: 00:04:39 Welcome to the e-commerce momentum podcast where we focus on the people the products and the process of commerce selling today. Here’s your host Stephen Peterson.
Stephen: 00:04:52 Welcome back to the e-commerce momentum podcast. This is episode 271 Jennifer simmers. This is a very special interview for me because I’m friends with her and my wife and I are friends with her and we become closer over the years. But it’s a story and when I was with John just this past week I said I want to bring you on because I want to tell the story of resilience and you know you’re here and that common theme for a lot of the successful sellers but Jane Jane got hit with some some tough news a while back and she came through it and we talked to after the call about you know that we didn’t harp on it because my comment to her and then she said I didn’t want to be defined as that is that that is not what defines her in my eyes.
Stephen: 00:05:41 Never did. It was a stage. And I think we handle it you know as well as I could because you know I’m uncomfortable and I don’t want to be. You know I have to try to be a little delicate but I’m not the most delicate person or know me know that. So I think we get through it in a great way as a segment of your life and I think that’s what you got to do is the challenges that come up in your life. You got to think of them as segments. There are moments in time they can define you if you let them. But do you want to be that defined by that. Is that really that important to you. Or are you deeper and are you much more than. And there’s no doubt in my mind that Chen is so much more than that.
Stephen: 00:06:23 I mean when I when she told me you know that she was diagnosed Lidiya a little bit there I knew that there’s no doubt in my mind she would come out on the other side of it. There’s just no doubt when you’re Noar you meet somebody you just know it. So is that the way. Now that I define her no defined or is this incredibly successful business person successful family you know a wife to a great husband successful mom two great kids successful daughter to an incredible dad. DAD. DAD You did well. I hope you hear this dude. I get choked up with that note. So anyway it’s a great interview. I think this is a great great listen to as a couple. Type of thing. Bring your spouse in and listen to this because I just think it’s such a great story. Let’s get into the pod cast. All
Stephen: 00:07:13 right welcome back to the conversation in a podcast very very very excited about three very excited about someone who I’m actually able to call a friend for my wife and I. We’ve got to spend some time with her.
Stephen: 00:07:26 I guess three maybe four different times. Jennifer simmers welcome Janet. Thank you again.
Stephen: 00:07:34 We were just together this couple a few days ago at the Philly Gift Show. I
Stephen: 00:07:40 look forward to it every year and sometimes twice a year because I get to see local friends and we have become friends. And it’s very least my world. I find it easy because we have so much in common to make friends in this world. Would you agree with that.
Jen: 00:08:02 I would absolutely agree with that. Some of my best friends are in the e-commerce world. It’s a really great community unlike any other that I’ve seen and it’s how about this. I
Stephen: 00:08:14 mean I ask you this is you’re a mom mom groups used to be this way I think. But were they ever as deep as this. No
Jen: 00:08:24 . I don’t think so. I never really was involved in any mom groups. I’m definitely friends with other moms and we do talk about our. But this is a little bit different. This is a little more exciting.
Stephen: 00:08:38 It’s exciting because you know the kids are one thing and don’t get me wrong I’m not downplaying that.
Stephen: 00:08:44 However you have an amazing impact on your family doing what you do. And we’re going to talk about some of that. But there’s not much else you can do other than go and you get a job and then and then you add a burden to your family right because now everyone is going to be out the door by a certain time oh mom can’t pick you up moms get to work late. Mom is going to do this in addition to Dad or vice versa whichever it is. That’s a huge burden. But because you’ve been able to choose this or chose you I think actually I would argue that you absolutely are an outlier. You’ve been chosen. I think it’s a different different type of thing altogether. Exactly
Jen: 00:09:24 . I completely agree.
Stephen: 00:09:26 I definitely think you’re an outlier. I’m going to stay with them. OK. So what I love about Jennifer’s story is Jennifer’s a story of triumph however not an easy triumph.
Stephen: 00:09:40 Very difficult challenging. Last year and change and I want to get there. But I first want to go to the I want to build it up because it was a great run. Up
Stephen: 00:09:52 until that moment fair.
Jen: 00:09:55 It really really was.
Stephen: 00:09:57 So let’s go back and start. You went to school what were you going to be.
Stephen: 00:10:02 Oh my gosh we’re going back going back F.R. you’re not that old you’re younger you’re way younger than I am I got socks older than you.
Jen: 00:10:10 I I went to school too. As a history major. Yeah. It really doesn’t excite me to even say that right now.
Stephen: 00:10:20 What were you thinking then. I mean you know where are you going to go into politics where are you going to go into law what were you going to do with a history degree. I
Jen: 00:10:29 think that I had a really good high school AP history teacher so I thought I wanted to be a history teacher. But it turns out I just went to class.
Stephen: 00:10:39 OK. So that was cool. Did were your parents any were any way entrepreneurial or even grandparents.
Jen: 00:10:50 Well now that I think of it yeah I suppose my grandfather did own his own business.
Stephen: 00:10:56 Grog’s Grogs did that rub on you at all. I mean when you think back now knowing where you’re at now and knowing that I mean to me this is Steve on the outside looking in now knowing him for several years. This is and I want to say easy you make it look easy. I’m sure it’s very difficult just like it is for all of us. But you make it look very easy. It’s like very natural for you. Do you think that that’s possible that that rubbed off on you. I
Jen: 00:11:22 think it is. And it’s funny that you say there because I realized that my grandmother were also entrepreneurs.
Jen: 00:11:29 You know ever stopped to think about it before but they owned a dog grooming business.
Stephen: 00:11:34 And so when you went there they probably had joy. I mean you know think let’s face it generally most dog groomers are pretty happy people you know they get to you know enjoy the good ones. You know I’m sure they get a vicious one every so often but generally they look pretty happy they get you know to make something you know really cool and somebody who goes picks up. Oh my gosh. And they love their animal. And so they get to be a part of that. I think that’s pretty cool.
Jen: 00:12:00 It is pretty cool. It was actually my first job when I was 13 working for my aunt and the groom shop. Also a very dirty job.
Stephen: 00:12:07 Oh yeah. No chance I’m washing anybody. I wouldn’t wash my own. Well we don’t have a penny more. But I don’t like washing dogs estimate they’re not like in my face. I’m kind of a German phobe so freaks me out. I wouldn’t do well in that environment for sure.
Jen: 00:12:23 Yeah it wasn’t some place that I wanted to stay for sure.
Stephen: 00:12:26 Well what what did you learn though. I mean did you learn something that you know hard work pays off. I mean what was it.
Jen: 00:12:32 Oh absolutely. That was something that you know my dad definitely instilled in me from a young age. That hard work pays off. It’s a work ethic. He really passed down to his children.
Stephen: 00:12:47 When you look back when you said hey I’m going to go to school dad and mom and I’m going to be a history major. Is there any chance that you remember that conversation was her satisfaction because you chose something or was there hmm. What are you going to do with that.
Jen: 00:13:03 Jan No. I think that you know I think that my dad was okay with that and Dom I don’t know but I think he was okay with that. I
Jen: 00:13:17 think he has he has been incredibly supportive of me and he is really a special person in my life I have a letter here.
Jen: 00:13:28 Actually he just made me think of this idea that you’re crying you’re going to get me correct. Go ahead. Now it’s a very short letter. I’m choking up.
Jen: 00:13:37 You gave it to me with a birthday present a couple years ago and he said Dear JEN as I look back over your life you always had a resilience to excel in your endeavors. Your successful business is another example. I’m very proud of you and a very proud father to have an entrepreneur in the family love Dad.
Jen: 00:13:57 That’s the most special letter I’ve ever gotten. And I keep it right beside my desk so I definitely have family support that is so powerful to think about.
Stephen: 00:14:09 Well let me let me go here. You’re a woman. And for a man to accept that and to basically say you did it and probably he’s probably a little envious sometimes of your lifestyle. Would you agree with that.
Jen: 00:14:27 I don’t think so.
Jen: 00:14:28 Now I think that as a father he wants me to do as Lauer.
Stephen: 00:14:33 And I don’t mean it I don’t mean in that envy in a negative sense I’m sorry. Probably the wrong choice of words. I’m proud obviously he’s proud of who he just said it but it’s just that he’s like I didn’t teach her. I didn’t feed her. She knows how to fish. I mean she completely there’s an independence as a dad. Well your mom. So you know with your kids you want their true independence right you really want your boys to be completely not self-reliant but able to fend for themselves no matter what you did it that’s very cool as a dad.
Stephen: 00:15:13 OK. All right sorry I’m getting choked up. Well it’s just so cool.
Stephen: 00:15:18 You know I think I’m going to get my boys a note today. That’s a good idea. You know that’s a very very good idea because I’ve had a meaningful impact on your life.
Jen: 00:15:25 Yes I’ll change it forever. The funny thing is that I sat down and had lunch with them about a year ago and I mentioned the letter to them and he said what letter no.
Stephen: 00:15:36 For him. Well you know what that makes it more real. It means he didn’t do it for an effect so you could quote it on this worldwide nationwide podcast. OK. So let’s left that one off. So you you got this history degree and you’re going to be this teacher and what happens.
Jen: 00:15:56 Well actually I get a degree. I dropped out of college. Because well after a time I would have told you that I didn’t have enough money to continue forward and I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. Now I think I could say that there was a lot of energy involved in that decision. And if I had really wanted to move forward I could have found a way to make that happen. Well
Stephen: 00:16:22 you are a resilient person and I mean now we know that when the story people will know it too. What was what was it when you look back at it. What was it other than immaturity was it deep down you really knew this wasn’t the right path.
Jen: 00:16:37 I didn’t know it wasn’t the right path. I just had no idea what was the right path. So
Stephen: 00:16:41 that is let me just tell you that is a maturity that is not an immaturity. You didn’t have the tools to deal with it for sure. Okay that will give you however the fact that you recognize it and stopped it rather than going through your life going through the motions. I mean quite frankly it’s one of the reasons that many many people fail. They take on something because they’re expected to. And they’re not designed for it it’s not. They’re not wired that way. And so to me you know from the outside looking in that’s a mature thing to do again you just didn’t have the tools to deal with it. Maybe the most mature way of dealing with it but my son came to me my younger son sent us a note. We were done and I were I think we were in Orlando at a podcast event and we get a note and my wife goes oh no our son wants to change schools.
Stephen: 00:17:30 He made a mistake and blah blah blah blah blah. Long story short it was hard. Cost me a whole year. Real Cash. However I’m proud that he chose rather than settled and gets a lesson. I mean I just think it’s a lesson and I wouldn’t beat yourself up on it. I think it’s a mature thing you did. So anyway. OK. So you were then decided to do what where.
Jen: 00:17:57 I read tables for a while and then my husband got married we had kids and I was a stay at home mom OK.
Stephen: 00:18:04 So homemakers are very very responsible thing. Do you feel like you know and I think I’ve had anybody on talk about this. Do you feel like running the household has prepared you for running your business.
Jen: 00:18:21 Eric can and it can be a very demanding job for sure.
Stephen: 00:18:25 Well we showed this morning. We both walked through our roll this morning. Everything that went on in our lives. I’m tired from listening to yours. You’re tired from listening to ma. I mean it’s just that’s the way life happens right yeah.
Stephen: 00:18:38 So now though that’s a different role. It’s especially as they get older and they get more independent. OK so let’s talk about how you find I guess it would have been pockmark first or eBay first though. Passmark
Jen: 00:18:54 I did grab a rib here and there. Passmark was good.
Stephen: 00:18:58 I mean I would let’s just make sure people understand what Passmark is so posh Mark is a high and relatively high used to be probably more high end marketplace. E-commerce only and you can sell as an independent sellers or do retailers actually sell on there too. I’m not familiar with it. Independent sellers OK so independent sellers. So clothing jewelry and shoes is that pretty much it or also accessories accessories also.
Stephen: 00:19:31 So Pearse’s stuff like that.
Jen: 00:19:33 Exactly. And I wouldn’t go so far as to call it hard either. I would say brand names do better but you could sell any brand on that is it does it evolve to that. Or
Stephen: 00:19:43 did it start off thinking they were gonna be high brow and it’s evolved to what it is now or was it just always because the name pockmark sounds like exclusive.
Jen: 00:19:54 Well the idea originally behind it was a platform where it was just women’s clothing shoes and accessories. Now they allow. They’ve all been around kids in men’s clothes. But originally it was an iPhone memory app.
Stephen: 00:20:11 And it was there or her just women’s clothing and accessories. How
Stephen: 00:20:17 quickly did you started that March 2013. How long has it been. Was it going before you got on it.
Jen: 00:20:24 I don’t think it was going for very long. I’m not sure. Maybe a year later.
Stephen: 00:20:28 So you were very early adopter. And let’s just qualify this Jen has sold real money on passmark. How many followers do you currently have.
Jen: 00:20:39 I looked before this interview. Four hundred and sixty two thousand seven hundred ninety three.
Stephen: 00:20:46 Oh my gosh. I just want to pause on that for a second. That is a massive massive audience. I mean it is you know think about it even the best you tubers would die to have half a million subscribers. You know I mean it’s just an enormous amount of people that see what you do. Why are they following you.
Jen: 00:21:05 Well whenever I first started I was selling a good bit and I got selected to be what they called back in the day suggested user they now call them posh ambassadors.
Jen: 00:21:18 But there were very few of us. And one summer with newly joined the platform they would automatically be following certain suggested users.
Stephen: 00:21:27 So I had when people joined automatically following me and being able to see what I had for sale and it was based on what you were selling is kind of the way for example look on Mirch certain people get it get approved for certain things because of their history right. Is that kind of the way Passmark worked back then you think back then. I
Jen: 00:21:49 think it was just as simple as I was selling a good deal on a platform. So that tells me.
Stephen: 00:21:55 OK. So you hit a threshold and they’re like OK this is a mover and shaker. And so let’s call. You still sell on passmark. A little bit a little bit but nowhere near this scale what you did I mean you were a serious seller. Yeah.
Jen: 00:22:10 You know my closet they call it a closet that has your offerings for sale my closet has been up there it doesn’t cost anything for me to leave it up there. And occasionally when I’m on vacation and you know I take a little vacation over Christmas I take about three weeks off from Amazon. Well I get a little bored some hours and things on passmark.
Stephen: 00:22:32 You can’t get rid of it. It’s a habit I guess not. What would the most quantity of Skewes that you had on passmark. I don’t know what did they call it or not Skewes. I mean maybe they looked down at their nose at me right on that one.
Jen: 00:22:44 You know I’m not sure usury Erbert a couple thousand.
Stephen: 00:22:51 OK. So let’s just pause on that for a second. That is an enormous enormous undertaking. How do you as a mom raising little kids at that time handling a household. How do you handle getting thousands of listings up and I understand it’s a phone app but still I’m.
Jen: 00:23:13 I guess I just did it. I was very motivated. I really wanted to just make some extra money so our family could go on amazing vacations. That was my motivation and that was it. I
Stephen: 00:23:24 mean it was basically you know there has been a good job and benefits and stuff. You have a nice home you got great kids. But it would be awesome if I can contribute more. I love. I love that. Because for you it was passmark. Today it’s Amazon. I’ve seen some amazing sellers on Etsy or on eBay is a great example to write to me if you can figure out Lulu wrote. There are people selling that junk right. If you figure out what’s cool and you can contribute it changes the relationship for you and your husband doesn’t it you don’t feel this is this is not critical. I mean please don’t get offended by this. You don’t feel like a user or not that you ever were. It completely takes because you are now a huge contributor. Is that fair.
Jen: 00:24:10 I’m not offended by it at all. That’s that’s a very real thing. Bert my husband and I came from families where we had a stay at her mom. We have a strong appreciation for the hard work that it takes to be a stay at home mom. So when I say this I need to qualify right and so my husband never made me feel that way. But there is to some degree. You feel a little lesser when you’re not making any money in the household.
Stephen: 00:24:38 I absolutely do. I’ve always made four or five times what my wife did. And once in a while she’ll bring it up and I’m like. There’s only one way I got to get that was because of her contributing to everything. That’s what allowed me all those things right. You know and so and that’s what makes you know married 31 years that’s what makes it that bond so. OK. All right. So posh Marc’s going well the other thing is where do you store thousands of pieces of clothing or jewelry. I mean that’s some serious quantity.
Jen: 00:25:06 Most of it was jewelry a good deal of it was clothing I had an entire closet set aside for clothing and it was all organized either Haining or in bins and the jewelry was in little like the copper wear jordans on the doors what type of item was in there.
Stephen: 00:25:24 So now let’s let’s just give some professional advice here for somebody who’s looking to scale up either because it works for eBay Amazon self fulfilled or merchant fulfilled or any threats. So I mean did you tag your clothing in some way with an item number or something or description. And then Joel read the same thing if you could just give us some advice on that. No
Jen: 00:25:47 I really didn’t like that.
Stephen: 00:25:50 By the time it got to be enough items that I said Have It was kind of hard to get back so I can I can speak to this because Steve’s in that boat.
Stephen: 00:26:01 I have four thousand three hundred Skewes live on eBay and I don’t know how many thousand on Amazon merchant fullfil and so. Same boat and we have I think like three sections of our warehouse that are old old items that aren’t inventoried right. So my advice is start today wherever you are. No matter if you’re thousands of items and start today and going forward and eventually you’ll cycle past those others don’t go back and fix them but you’re going to have something sell something. So this morning matter of fact in that group I’m like oh God here we go. And then I got to go searching and then other things sold in one of my two warehouses and it was like there they are right where they’re supposed to be.
Stephen: 00:26:43 And so literally you buy time by spending that little bit of organization effort up front and you don’t get to a place like Jen and I were at I just can’t imagine. To me this is a guy whose eyes jewelry all looks the same. If it’s gold it’s cold you know gold colored even that hole looks the same to me. How do you is that. Quite frankly one of the reasons you were so successful because you have an eye for that.
Jen: 00:27:07 I’m not sure about that but I know that sometimes I’d be tracking arresting looking at the recipes and I would say that I didn’t necessarily have 2000 schools like that weren’t from Passmark but more like maybe six hundred at once.
Jen: 00:27:21 But they were still cycling savvy.
Stephen: 00:27:24 That’s still a lot. I mean there must have been times though you search through a jurors can’t find it go down in the next door can’t find it and then go back to the first or finally find it right. I mean that had to happen.
Jen: 00:27:34 Oh yes.
Stephen: 00:27:35 Times suck. So there’s the professional advice from two unorganized at the time people who didn’t learn their lesson. Fix it today. Start today. Going forward. And then eventually you’ll cycle because you know to be honest with you that pile of stuff for us that wasn’t immature it has gotten so much smaller over the years a common sense right. And so it just gets easier over time. So all right OK so posh marks doing things are happening. I do want to tell you jewelry story because it’s a cool story but I don’t want to.
Jen: 00:28:07 I want to hear how you got to Amazon so my youngest was going to be starting kindergarten soon and I was listening to podcasts to try to expose myself to different types of entrepreneurs like the John Lee Dumas podcast in the patch.
Jen: 00:28:26 I actually listened to him from the time he started. No kidding. Yeah. When he trained me for my podcast Ticino I don’t know him and his girlfriend came one day. But yeah it’s cool anyway. I will guy.
Jen: 00:28:40 But yes. So I was looking for something to do and I heard Kaplan’s podcast on with Jessica Larue and it just instantly clicked. I did not stop to think about it.
Stephen: 00:28:55 I just started what clicked though was it the the possibility of not looking through those bins. Is that what it was.
Jen: 00:29:05 It was the possibility of scaling. Okay. I wouldn’t have to ship directly to customers anymore.
Stephen: 00:29:15 The customer service side of Passmark on how involved does it do they ask a lot of. I would tend to think they would ask a lot of questions.
Jen: 00:29:24 No not really. They’re really pretty hands on.
Stephen: 00:29:29 So customers they basically buy based on pictures and well that make sure that you put a big description out.
Stephen: 00:29:34 I apologize. Yes it’s very I’m sorry. It is very hands on with the customer themselves. I thought you meant that Passmark intervening with the transactions OKane. No. Yeah it’s very hands on.
Jen: 00:29:46 It’s not scalable in a real sort of way. You
Stephen: 00:29:51 know it’s one of the things that I think is still missing in this industry somebody should do it is customer service nobody right now. Think of every industry you’ve ever seen or worked in. There’s always a customer service angle to it in our business right now. Very very very very few people have someone dedicated or a team dedicated to customer service. And quite frankly it’s probably you know the difference between incredible service and OK service right. So if you could quantify the value of that right now there’s a dollar amount. If that works and you say it we have 24/7 customer service or accused whatever it would be it is a miss and it’s a miss in our business. I mean and our look in our little business Donna’s eyes it’s just a miss because it’s overwhelming right I mean trying to answer a zillion questions.
Jen: 00:30:38 Yes so Amazon was very attractive as far as that.
Jen: 00:30:42 And you know I had the money and you know I started on Passmark by selling my maternity clothes so I never actually invested any money outside of my maternity clothes into that business. And I started purchasing things to resell with that money and I just kept rolling it in use about half of it to pay for really nice vacation for my husband and I to go to Jamaica for our 15th wedding anniversary.
Stephen: 00:31:09 And this was prior to Amazon.
Jen: 00:31:13 Well the version actually happened like six months after I started Amazon. OK. So that at that point.
Stephen: 00:31:19 Was it Passmark money or Amazon money that got to share it with Passmark money.
Stephen: 00:31:24 OK so it’s Passmark money and I don’t want to miss this because I want to finish Passmark with the jewelry story. I love it because it’s a cool story. It was like I was sitting there listening to this I’m like oh my God it’s just a very cool story. Go ahead tell that story.
Jen: 00:31:38 Well one of our local stores had a staff a jewelry bag sale.
Jen: 00:31:43 So I and it was all brand new with tags items.
Stephen: 00:31:49 But this is custom jewelry right.
Stephen: 00:31:51 Costume jewelry. All mall brand jewelry. You know the Express Lane Bryant in New York and Company type jewelry. And you could stuff the bags for five dollars. And at the time I was selling on Passmark and oh my goodness I could really stuff a bag. So you just had to get the bag closed so I was a master at it.
Jen: 00:32:14 I saw how many pieces would fit in one depending on the size of the pieces. You know from anywhere from like 20 to 50. Are you kidding 50 items for five dollars. Exactly.
Stephen: 00:32:26 Ten Cent Cost of goods. And so what would those average items sell for.
Stephen: 00:32:31 So at that time I was probably averaging about five bucks an item.
Stephen: 00:32:35 OK. OK. So you got one bag. You sell one. You got your bag back. But that probably wasn’t the most efficient way to run that was it wasn’t the most efficient way.
Stephen: 00:32:48 Irv Aurox you can make money. But it worked.
Stephen: 00:32:52 It’s very difficult to scale at five dollars right to get a meaningful amount of money. I mean that is you’ve got to sell a lot of items at five dollars to get to a meaningful number right. Well
Jen: 00:33:01 people would usually bundle items together so you would sell maybe 10 items to one person and then that’s why said the average cost is five dollars.
Stephen: 00:33:10 And did you get to the place where people could buy volume. I mean that is that at the end of the cycle of Passmark really as Amazon ramps up or I mean is that you get where I’m going with.
Jen: 00:33:26 Well you mean what happened to the jewelry store. Some of it that’s the fact that you still have some other things that how many pieces do you think you bought. Realistically
Jen: 00:33:39 cars need a copywriter for that.
Jen: 00:33:42 At least 35 pieces her bag and about 50 bags.
Stephen: 00:33:48 So it’s 6500. Something like that. Oh my gosh. I just can’t imagine taking 6300. What is it. Three photos. Is that what the average recommendation is per item.
Stephen: 00:34:01 Sometimes I already wern. OK. It’s on the third. Yeah. I mean I would just I was quick and dirty get the listings out of Sheen.
Stephen: 00:34:07 You were a machine. I mean it’s really OK. But it shows it can be done. Looking back what did it teach you when you think about. I mean obviously it teaches you the business model you don’t want. Hence the reason Amazon was so attractive to you.
Jen: 00:34:22 But what else do you think it taught you. It taught me that I had an eye for things that could sound unnatural.
Stephen: 00:34:31 I mean it was like it’s almost like. Let me ask you this when you think today of where you are. Do you think that you were always meant to do this and you’re just so fortunate to find it. Yes. I mean to think about that and how many friends do you have that can say the same thing.
Jen: 00:34:54 Not as many as I’d like to thank.
Stephen: 00:34:57 Outside of this world I mean outside of this world very very few love what they do. I saw you you still have a passion for this. Now what I would argue that it’s accelerated because you know that life is fleeting. Yes. So let’s go there and let’s talk about how things are going so you get into the Amazon Women’s Conference in Seattle correct. How did that go about.
Jen: 00:35:29 Well that was that was I was invited to go to the Amazon Women’s Conference.
Jen: 00:35:35 We had. It was like 100 people right. It was very interesting two 200 200.
Jen: 00:35:40 It was supposed to be the top you know entrepreneurs on the platform.
Jen: 00:35:45 It was you know it was just a really amazing year. We had taken money out of the business for the first time up to that point. I had just you know I had a couple significant jumps in my business leading up to that point but again with the goal being is that you’re going to pay for vacations and add to the family.
Stephen: 00:36:10 But at that point you really are. It’s become much more than that. Right. Is that fair.
Jen: 00:36:16 Yes. First with Reker much more than that.
Jen: 00:36:18 I mean 2016 really started with my very first church at the Free Gift Show and up to that point I was very happy and are my favorite sourcing stores with a Hurme girds Martial’s T.J. Maxx.
Stephen: 00:36:37 I mean you were like scaled. All right. Grab your car. Can barely get in the car or a woman. Absolutely
Jen: 00:36:45 right.
Jen: 00:36:46 I am you know I I started by scanning and I hate scaring hate it. I am starting to notice that there were items that I scanned that weren’t in the endzone catalog. So I would just great listings for them.
Stephen: 00:37:02 Now you know it’s funny when we get to your private label experience you and Ellie we had this conversation where you don’t launch things and it’s just but you clearly know. Although the really important metrics and what I say to you and Shawn said the same thing to you is that don’t downplay that. I mean that is a fact that you know how to do all that just is a natural thing for you. That is a talent. Let me just tell you that is a talent you’re not faking any of it. And so you really do have an eye for these things so the fact that you recognize right your Noticer the fact that you recognize that these other things. And I remember I remember going to one of these shows with you and I remember you talking about a particular thing and you’re like I think it was an animal.
Stephen: 00:37:50 You’re like these animals cell Steve and I’m like wow that I mean this is not how Steve thinks at all. I’m looking at it like what. But you have a completely different thought pattern when it comes to this stuff. Is that a mom thing. Is
Jen: 00:38:03 that a just a on a three I think it’s from being a consumer myself you know my thought process when I was doing the original art was really as simple as wow this costs ten dollars. I
Stephen: 00:38:19 could totally sell this for 40 so even the items that weren’t in the catalog you were just like I see value here. I can see that’s worth four times the amount I would pay that especially the items that weren’t in the catalog. I
Jen: 00:38:32 mean I intentionally looked for items that weren’t in the catalog when I was doing retail arbitrage.
Stephen: 00:38:38 But didn’t you field but maybe not maybe you didn’t feel the pressure. Hey I got to get more stuff I got to get to the next door I’ve got to get more stuff I don’t have time to pause. What do you think. Thinking back is the pausing that you did. The reason you having the most incredible success you’re having now. The fact that you took the time.
Jen: 00:38:57 You know I mean I feel like it was two significant jumps that the first was where my husband got laid off. OK. And he got laid off two days before we were up for that Jamaican vacation. I had only been doing Amazon for six months and we had erm we got an important choice to make. We had to decide whether or not to get the money out of that business or to reinvest it. And my husband asked me if I thought I could make something out of it. And I told him yes. So he said I will take care of the kids. I’ll take care of the house and you concentrate on making this work.
Stephen: 00:39:36 Was this going to be a long term layoff do you think.
Jen: 00:39:39 Well we were concerned.
Jen: 00:39:42 You know it took a while for him to find a job. The unemployment was going to be up in six months. And the goal was for this to be a Plan B that in six months I would be able to cover the mortgage and the bills.
Jen: 00:39:54 And thankfully he was hired got an excellent job at right up a six month mark. And at that point I had a really healthy business. And like you said I was going from store to store to store but I wasn’t scorning I was picking out items that I was planning to list so I would buy three.
Jen: 00:40:16 I would buy three of this year to this here and buy 12 of the items. It would be worth creating a listing for. And I wasn’t really scanning at all.
Stephen: 00:40:27 So this is a very powerful powerful point I want to pause for two things one my bet is the reason that your husband got that incredible job is because the there wasn’t panic because you know you were more than pulling your weight and he was pulling his weight. Now and then reverse roles and it was a couple working together towards common goals not working apart not working. Not many working aside each other no that’s a great way. I want to say it. You’re really collaborating. And to me that’s very very powerful. And then the second thing you said was you stopped scanning and you just started buying. You became a buyer. I think I said this to you is that you could. Absolutely. I know I said this this past weekend you would absolute literally be an incredible buyer for a retail store because you have it.
Jen: 00:41:18 Now that would be a Hummes are really what our health store does at my retail store.
Stephen: 00:41:25 But you know well there’s another statement you made Steve I’m not going to put that much energy and effort in to support someone else’s brand. I’m going to do it for my brand and I was like you know who you serve me notice right there you’re like Steve sit back in your chair. Listen here. I was like whoa that was profound. And I think it’s very proper. I want to go back to that because you were just not you stopped scanning. And I think what do you say to somebody who someone who has similar traits.
Stephen: 00:41:55 How do you how do you take that risk. How do you get because that’s a risk. I mean the scanner is never wrong generally right. The data is relatively good at least it’s a better decision making and it’s not true it’s not perfect but it’s a better decision making thing. And for you to say that’s great I’m going with Jen scans as opposed to scan power inventory Lab. Amazon scans I’m going Gen scanning warning was riskier for me. I took a bath on a target and kept to the point where I didn’t want to go into a target for like six months.
Jen: 00:42:31 You know you.
Jen: 00:42:33 But that doesn’t mean it’s going to stay that price. Then you have a lot of competition. I was putting up things that I had no competition for and doing much better than anything I could scan for.
Stephen: 00:42:45 Well let’s be fair. Not everything was successful. Correct.
Stephen: 00:42:49 Oh absolutely not. Not everything at all.
Stephen: 00:42:52 But did you learn from each of them and then you learn.
Jen: 00:42:55 I mean it’s we’re back to that what your dad teach you need to fish as opposed to being fed Yeah I definitely learned I learned so much from the retail arbitrage experience and moving into wholesale you learn this color sells are that animal cells or I want to avoid this because that doesn’t sell and then every time you choose another product you just take a sidestep and say well this is similar to that. Let’s try this. And it’s not really so much a risk as it is a calculated guess.
Stephen: 00:43:28 It’s an education. It’s almost like that is where the real learning happens because you blindly scanning if you do rely on a scanner only you really aren’t learning anything. You’re learning. Listen for the beep right. I remember one book. This was years ago. Oh my gosh. 2011 2010 scanning books. Those book sales and all you do is back then it was a PDA wasn’t even the headphones that were doing it but you literally have this little thing in your ear and beep beep beep. And it would tell you to buy it or make a dollar so I forget what it was. And that was it. That was the decision how fast you could put it in your basket and if it didn’t it never looked. Why you never thought about it because you’d had other people scanning those things you had to be below through those thousands and thousands of books. I never learned a thing.
Jen: 00:44:18 That’s what sounds exhausting.
Stephen: 00:44:20 It’s exhausting. The ones who still do it. I applaud them because man it’s just a lot of hard work and you’re resilient if you can keep doing it. But again I just want to pull back and listen to this one more time. Stop asking and start learning. Do you think if you had the financial well I guess you had the financial pressures to do that midstream that’s a pretty gutsy move.
Jen: 00:44:47 I did yeah.
Jen: 00:44:49 I had only been doing Amazon for six months and then six months later my husband had a job and had a real business.
Stephen: 00:44:58 OK so things are going well. You’re cranking along now all of a sudden you get chosen.
Stephen: 00:45:02 You’re one of the chosen ones that put you in a pod the spaceship comes picks you up takes you to Seattle. You are now inducted tattoo you. You get shots or whatever. Tracking devices installed.
Jen: 00:45:15 I had to sign a nondisclosure agreement. OK. The abduction are you can’t tell anybody.
Stephen: 00:45:21 OK so what did you learn there. I mean when you think about you know the group that was there because I know tons of people that one amazing amazing people. What did you take away from that.
Jen: 00:45:32 I took away something that really was instrumental. And that is just networking with other people. That was the absolute most important thing about that conference is that I got to meet other women who do what I do. You know I know that if I had to say what was the second most significant jump in my business and I would say it was when I finally reached out to other sellers in the community when I had I’d been in the business for you know in a vacuum really for about a year and a half and I couldn’t really talk to anyone about it. Or you know you can talk to people about it but you’ll spend most of your time trying to explain what it is that you do well.
Stephen: 00:46:16 And also when you’re in a scanner you’re competitive with your fellow scanner’s right because you don’t want to tell anybody your secrets right your ear yet secret spots and you have tech you don’t want to share that with local people. Right. You can’t because they’re going to go in dry. I mean you’re both feeding off the same trough. And so in this case by expanding and growing you grew significantly.
Jen: 00:46:45 And I you know I joined a local Meetup Group in Pittsburgh the Steel City e-commerce meetup group. And then it’s a great group of people. Yeah they’re a nice group of people. And in September that year I joined Charlene Anderson’s wholesale sourcing group and that’s where I met another seller Ellie Lippitt who’s the current level.
Jen: 00:47:05 And she has been so amazing in so many ways and she encouraged me to go to the Philadelphia Dep’t show.
Jen: 00:47:13 It’s a five hour drive for me and I’m not sure if I would have gone. But I wanted to meet her and have dinner with her. So you know that was 2016 not all that long ago that I went to my first trade show and it absolutely changed everything for me.
Stephen: 00:47:28 And I want to get there and talk about that because we had a great experience. Again this is third or fourth time we were together at that show. OK. But first let’s go things are rock and you get back from that amazon thing. You’re pumped. Everything’s going great. And walk me through what’s going on in your business when you get that call.
Stephen: 00:47:51 So when I when I got the invite to go to Amazon.
Stephen: 00:47:55 Nope nope nope past that. I’m telling you when you get back. Yeah you got the networking going now all of a sudden your business is going even further when you look for the route. You see nothing but success right there are no clouds on the horizon. It is smooth sailing there.
Jen: 00:48:11 Yeah I had the most amazing year. You know I went to my first trade show I took I started paying myself for the first time we took the kids to Disney.
Jen: 00:48:21 We took the kids to the Turks and Caicos. In fact on the way back from the Turks and Caicos we had a layover in Atlanta. And Scott my husband took the kids back home to Pittsburgh and I flew directly to Seattle for the Amazon Women’s Entrepreneur conference came home and two days later went to New York for a trade show. I really felt like I was very successful.
Stephen: 00:48:45 And you figured it out really happened.
Stephen: 00:48:48 I remember you just I don’t know if you just came back from the Turks and Caicos or you were going when we had met and it was like you were beaming. I mean this was like this was the coolest thing in the world you had figured it out.
Jen: 00:49:02 Getting anything in November right in the middle of Q4 I got the call that I had breast cancer.
Stephen: 00:49:13 Now let’s let’s just pause for a second. You’re younger than I am and I’m 52. So you’re significantly younger than I am going to say your age. But you know whatever.
Jen: 00:49:24 I was diagnosed at 39 and that’s not something you expect now.
Stephen: 00:49:28 I mean and at 39 young kids successful marriage now an incredibly successful business. No clouds on the horizon. You get what is a showstopper. I mean it is a life stopper. It is. You know I said this to you. You know how do you not curl up in the corner and suck your thumb and your comment was Steve. Sometimes I did. But how do you how do you not just you know collapse and that says something about you and your family that you don’t. I mean that’s a resilient again. This is your dad’s dope to you over again. And he wrote that way before that. Right.
Jen: 00:50:11 Right before them.
Stephen: 00:50:13 When you think about that. I mean I would that’s where I’d go with that letter and like ooh it’s like he’s almost like a visionary. Like
Jen: 00:50:20 he knew I get the chills Yeah I mean well later on in my journey you know my dad is also a cancer survivor. And you know he took me to some of my chemotherapy appointments. So how about that. Going through it yourself and then taking your daughter or his baby. You
Stephen: 00:50:43 want to take his baby. OK. So you get this call does you know when I told you I wanted to have you on. What I was hoping to have come out in this story is the value of having this business and what it was able to do for you to get through this. Because I think there you know there are others that don’t have the luxury of having the ability to set their hours and that’s a plus and minus right because that means sometimes you’ve got to work when you don’t want to. Right. But the flexibility the freedom that you have where you can just say you know I’m not going to work today I don’t have to answer and I have to worry about FMLA and all the rest of that stuff right. That’s the negative also is that you don’t get those checks.
Stephen: 00:51:33 So I mean I know there’s a tradeoff but from a health point of view would you credit this. I mean of course a loving family an incredible support. But but this type of business this freedom this energy that you still get from this today as part of your healing process.
Jen: 00:51:52 Definitely. Absolutely. The fact that I was still able to not not a lot I was still able to work through it on my own on my own terms on my own terms.
Speaker 25: 00:52:05 I was able to learn a lot about outsourcing about things that maybe didn’t work done in my business and personal life on everything. And what was most important when you think about what was most important.
Stephen: 00:52:20 I mean now versus what was then.
Stephen: 00:52:25 It’s amazing how this is really not a criticism because I’m this guy. How selfish you were like Oh. You know how dare that person turn in front of me. How dare you know. I mean who I am. You know and this. And I said parking lots you know or whatever. Oh now that just blows off your back doesn’t it.
Jen: 00:52:42 Oh yeah. All of it. I mean I went to bring up my back hurts you.
Jen: 00:52:47 But you know there’s just a certain life seems a little more fragile than it did before. At 39 you certainly don’t expect to be in a situation where you have to have your spouse take care of you.
Stephen: 00:53:03 You’re only able to take care of yourself. You know that’s something that my husband and I have gone through that maybe is before our time.
Jen: 00:53:14 Very similar to having a baby. I think that having a baby can make a strong marriage stronger and make a weak marriage fall apart and it definitely made this made our marriage stronger. But it is hard to be that person taking care of somebody and it’s hard to be that person that gets taken care of.
Stephen: 00:53:36 Especially at such a wow you’re so independent so strong. And now all of a sudden you had to completely rely on others. That’s a very very humbling thing. Very humbling. So coming through the other side of it now are we cancer free.
Stephen: 00:53:51 I am I am officially cancer free. I had 16 rounds of chemotherapy surgery and 30 rounds of radiation. I finished up in September. I was actually cancer free. Now it is cancer. So
Jen: 00:54:08 those you know there’s no guarantee that it won’t come back but I am officially cancer free and they say that my prognosis is very good that it won’t come back.
Stephen: 00:54:17 So and you get this Joan Jett rock and hair going on right now.
Jen: 00:54:22 Oh my goodness my hair is really it’s gone back Curly and wild.
Stephen: 00:54:28 Chant. So. So think about I mean what can you do with this. I mean have you thought about I mean you don’t have any obligation so Steve. Not make putting pressure on you. Please don’t take it that way. But can you do something with this. The fact that you were so young you got through it right and you’re a survivor now a second generation survivor. The fact that you’re a independent successful business owner a woman business owner who’s blowing many men away the fact that you’ve been able to have a successful marriage through it and come out stronger. Is there something you can do with this have you thought about it.
Stephen: 00:55:04 I’m not quite sure that’s a good question. You know I really just finished my treatment in September.
Jen: 00:55:10 I’m only months out from from being cancer patients ernan sordid mentally transitioning to a cancer survivor now.
Stephen: 00:55:22 You know one of the things I noticed. I think this is Steve’s observation now. No I think it’s been two plus years at these events. Seeing you were very very timid and shy then you’re not so high and timid anymore Jen. Have you noticed that.
Jen: 00:55:39 Oh I don’t know.
Stephen: 00:55:41 I’m not an aggressive way. Not in an aggressive way but you’re definitely more comfortable in your skin. Let me say it that way.
Jen: 00:55:48 That’s gullibly true. Yes and that does feel like again that’s a competitive I.
Stephen: 00:55:55 There was a confidence view at this last show where you were like oh I can take that and do this and blah blah blah blah blah. There was no question it was there was certainty in your voice and the way you described things.
Jen: 00:56:08 I definitely feel you know you feel more and more certain and more and more comfortable as you go to the shows. I was never particularly intimidated by trade shows. I wish I would have started going sooner. I remember I remember what I was thinking the first time I walked into my first trade show was walking and it was at that bad.
Jen: 00:56:30 Very good so looked around and I was thinking this is the best Martial’s.
Stephen: 00:56:38 It’s true with a lot of the stuff isn’t Martial’s.
Jen: 00:56:41 Well it wasn’t just about that.
Jen: 00:56:43 It was that instead of running around to find 12 of a product to make it worth listing I could order as many as I want and have them delivered directly to my house.
Stephen: 00:56:55 And each one is like a department. Right so you can do 12 in this department 12 in this department.
Jen: 00:57:00 Yeah I mean that that trade show was full of stuff not listed on Amazon. It was like a magical Harry Reid and it still is.
Stephen: 00:57:07 And that’s a little tradeshow relative to the Atlanta Gift Show and it’s Dinky. I mean Atlanta I think is ten times the size.
Stephen: 00:57:15 It’s a very small trade show relative to theirs.
Stephen: 00:57:19 But my advice to people I have met a million people there is you go to these then it’s not so intimate because Atlanta is intimidating or go to the Javitz. Oh my God.
Stephen: 00:57:28 Five floors. It’s huge here.
Stephen: 00:57:30 The vendors it’s overwhelming you know and so by going to the smaller ones you do get a better perspective I think it’s very healthy. On the smaller one let’s talk about what else you get from A Gift Show. You typically unless are a distributor you get to meet the manufacturer or a rep of the manufacturer so that you immediately can start a relationship at these events you agree agree and no relationship can make a huge difference. Well let’s talk about some of the relationships you’ve had you’ve had some success from companies that you’ve bought with and when they come out with a new product or a new line they’re like Hey Jen would you be interested in this.
Stephen: 00:58:14 Yes they call me. They let me now. You know I walk through the trade show it’s always you know there’s a sales rep you get a hug there’s a sales rep oh hey have you seen this new mine. And it’s a mutually beneficial relationship because they weren’t to sell their product.
Jen: 00:58:28 And I want to find good products to purchase. But
Stephen: 00:58:32 in your case it’s a little deeper in some cases. You know Ellie tells me the story that you know many of these manufacturers kept in touch with you through your whole cancer treatment and recovery. I mean that’s that’s rare. Think about that. I mean do I know you know how special that is. But that’s a pretty amazing thing. That’s a depth of relationship.
Stephen: 00:58:53 Now. No I really had I don’t know I’ve had a lot of special people in my life and good people that you want to continue to work with.
Stephen: 00:59:05 You know one of the other topics came up as we were talking about private label and you had a lot of success bring in private label products. It’s really where you’re headed. Right. I mean you do wholesale and stuff but but you’re you’re really headed on the private label. And one of the conversations we get talking about one of your vendors and pricing and stuff and you were. Now I need to make sure she makes money not matter what that isn’t all for Jen. That’s all for my team and they are a pretty big piece of your team aren’t they.
Stephen: 00:59:35 They’re big news to my team and I think the question was why are you doing so much volume now. Have you talked about getting better pricing.
Stephen: 00:59:44 That was probably Steve BNF control or that he is.
Jen: 00:59:46 Well it’s a good question. But you know my answer to that was that I want her to be happy with this relationship and are making money at our current sprint right now. You
Stephen: 00:59:56 know you think about the Wal-Mart stories of people going the Bentonville and they tell the stories that they beat them down on price and they would force you as a manufacturer to go back to your suppliers and get them to lower the price so therefore you can offer a lower price and therefore Wal-Mart can make you can sell it at a lower price. And that worked for a while but that doesn’t seem to be working anymore because the relationship right they just it’s not a it’s not a win win relationship in any way. Right. Everybody has to. Everybody must swallow some so we can sell this. We’ll
Stephen: 01:00:31 know why don’t we improve the quality why don’t we keep the console. And then a cutback you know the 12 ounces becomes 10 ounces right over the container. You know all the little things. That’s a race to 0. What you’re saying is no I’m going to make sure they do a great job because they’re paid fairly. I’m going to make sure that we can work together. You’re looking long game long term there.
Stephen: 01:00:54 Oh absolutely. That particular private label item I plan to build out this year. So I I I never you know you had spoke briefly before about how I didn’t launch my item which are good. Right Lauren. All organic. I wrote a good listing and I got your all organic. I have almost 50 reviews on it. So by the way organic. It’s about 1 percent. So I thought about 5000 units of about and I have 50 reviews on it and I’ve noticed the same for customer feedback on you know on the personal feedback I get about 1 percent of my sales are people well read the feedback because I don’t use any feedback assistance or anything like that.
Stephen: 01:01:42 And so you created the titles. You do the keyword stuff. You take very photos are a huge portion. And the other thing you said was packaging is very important. Is it important no matter what category you’re selling in or is it really kind of specific you know for. Let’s go to jewelry. If you were selling jewelry for example you know is that really part of it. It
Jen: 01:02:03 depends. If the packaging is part of what you would have to graph in the listing.
Stephen: 01:02:09 So give me an example.
Stephen: 01:02:11 If you’re Senthil where you might not have the jewelry box and the listing it might not be so important you might just have the piece of jewelry there.
Stephen: 01:02:19 But you know I’m trying to think of an example but jewelry would be important for me for Valentine’s Day. Mean if I’m buying my wife a gift I’d want to make sure that it came in a great box and a great package. So that would be maybe that’s a seasonal way of looking at it but that would be important to me.
Stephen: 01:02:36 That’s a great point too. So I guess it would depend on whether or not you’re showcasing the packaging in the Amazon listing okay. I’m always looking at the perceived customer of our. So
Jen: 01:02:47 I want to see what can I buy or what can I read it for. And what is the perceived customer value. Packaging can add so much to that. So if I buy it for five I want to be able to sell for 15. And I want the customer to think it’s worth one.
Stephen: 01:03:05 Protip. So the perceived value when you look at competitors then don’t get specific but when you look at competitors do you look at a listing. You know so you found a product. It’s not on there but there are. You know I can’t imagine that there’s a product yet that’s not in some form on Amazon by somebody else not that same manufacturer right somebody else. But when you look at that what do you look for. I mean because you have to add value otherwise it’s just price right if all things being equal its price period. So when you’re looking at what you can do give us some tips on what people can do to show that they can do it better.
Jen: 01:03:46 Sometimes you can make the product itself better by enhanced packaging or improving upon something on products. But sometimes it’s as simple as the listing. If you have a better listing better photography colors or digraph better and I’m having very strong keywords in your title and background without the word stuffing that’s never done me any good.
Stephen: 01:04:11 Well you know I think about the example Ellie was showing me a picture of some jewelry that she had up there. And there was the minute I saw it I’m like oh man look at that beautiful flower in the vase over to the side. It was just gorgeous red color or whatever. Oh yes. She goes that’s a thing. I need to add that in there because it’s otherwise it’s just a piece of gold jewelry. It looks like every other I mean this is a protip. It looks like every other gold jewelry piece out there and so on Amazon you’re not allowed to do that. But you still can do it lifestyle photos when you can see that that it really gave perspective that red color in that vase really told me that this is this piece of jewelry used for a special event. That’s what I saw on it. Is that what your goal was is that what the advice was.
Stephen: 01:04:56 Yeah absolutely. And on Amazon your first photo has to be you know there are certain specifications you can get. But you can have lifestyle photos you can sell your product in use. You can kind of do what I call a beauty shop. So I direct answers to my listings.
Stephen: 01:05:14 So that’s a pro tip there. So it’s Jen’s beauty shop. That’s that that’s the term before the because it gives you a perspective right. You want to see back to that jewelry. You want to see that it’s an event type of jewelry. It’s going to fulfill that dinner is going to take you all the way through it. Love it. OK. So we now have seen Jen go through some tough tough challenging times come out on the other end. Sounds a little stronger a little wiser more focused. Is that is that fair. I mean you were focused at that last show I mean you had boom. I had goals you weren’t wandering around aimlessly you had specific things to accomplish.
Jen: 01:05:54 Yes. No I’m I am goal building.
Jen: 01:05:57 I specifically want to double what I’ve done with my current private label product or one that’s very successful and Tokar takes some lessons from people who are doing things very well on the private label world and apply them to mine already organically successful product and see how that goes.
Stephen: 01:06:19 So let’s do this let’s close with. Well first let me say if somebody has a follow up question Can I put your Facebook contact out there.
Stephen: 01:06:28 Yes you can absolutely put my facebook contact out there and send me a message because I don’t generally accept requests from people I don’t know. So just send me a message saying you heard me. Steven’s podcast and I’m happy to connect with anyone in this space.
Stephen: 01:06:45 Yeah. Great. Pockmark expert here too. I mean really his scale I mean it’s it’s got a half a million followers. For God’s sake. Well what I want to do is I want to close with what you would suggest to somebody to that stock. Right. I mean because. And maybe you’re speaking to women only maybe you’re speaking to women who have challenges in their life. Maybe maybe not. I mean they can speak to guys too but it just I want to make sure that they see that you know this isn’t easy by any means but it is doable to get with me right. So give us what you would help somebody get unstuck because you see people that are stuck. What would you advise them.
Speaker 25: 01:07:31 To get unstuck I would say ask yourself this.
Jen: 01:07:37 Can I afford to lose 100 dollars if you can then allow yourself to be able to lose that allow yourself to make that purchase and to try something and allow yourself to fail. Not all the products I bring to market are successful failure. I don’t even like to use that word. But you know products that I don’t reorder are a large part of my inventory. I would say get organized too.
Jen: 01:08:08 I have I have a lot of different binders and I like to use one for inventory invoices. I get like a four inch Surinder every year.
Stephen: 01:08:17 Maybe this doesn’t help people get unstuck but sometimes when you’re organo I think it’s I think part of it is certain they’re mired down in it so I think absolutely getting organized would help somebody get unstuck.
Jen: 01:08:26 But yeah I mean I have these great big binders. You know it’s titled 2017 inventory invoices and there’s tabs inside for each of my vendors are you the three hole punch. And I found them under the vendor and I referenced these binders almost daily. They help me or what and order they help me remember what things cost what with that vendor from last year and I do the same if you know if you’re at the next level and you’re looking to outsource your product. I do the same with binders and inventory prep sheets or my prep people. So I create prep instruction. I take pictures of the item and pictures of each step of the crap put them into a word doc with written instructions and then prepared them ski sticker aren’t that was going to plastic sleeves and then give them to my prep people to put in their binders that can keep them so they’re always under the standard that you want and if you change the standard or if Amazon changes its standards right you just modify that and then it just gets done. You
Stephen: 01:09:29 know we didn’t get into it and I’m not going to get into it but I’m going to leave you there is that you have local prep people that you’ve developed over time and so when you come back next time we’re going to talk about that. How about that.
Jen: 01:09:41 That’s a dangler isn’t all right great. That sounds great even tent.
Stephen: 01:09:45 I am so a I’m so fortunate to be able to call you a friend my wife and I cherish you and me and we just really do. And you know I know you’re very inspiring. You know you really are because your attitude is just incredible. And you know you family you are all that’s so important and it just love to see it. I love the story of getting through this with this e-commerce business. I honestly believe that it’s so important to love what you do and there’s no doubt in my mind and that’s why you’re so successful on it. I wish you nothing but success. Thank you so much.
Stephen: 01:10:24 And just in so I made it through. And yes I did get choked up. I’m not embarrassed to admit that. Because when you know somebody and you saw some of the struggles. It really helps. It brings it home. Let me say it that way. And so I hope you got something from this. I mean this is a very very smart person who really really doesn’t understand how gifted she is and what she’s doing. It just comes natural to her. Way more natural than it does come to me. I think my wife is similar to her in some ways. And I need to make sure we keep keep that in perspective and keep that it’s so important to recognize your skill sets. And so I think very cool lady and just an amazing story e-commerce woman dot. Don’t forget my sponsors.
Stephen: 01:11:15 Andy’s course is going to close again. I will prep for you for free for that one shipment. Your initial one so you can work on your business and getting that launch done. Very very important getting that right. Getting all those details. I’ll take care. The other side more information to disseminated note about it. I’ll give you all the particulars because there are some particulars but generally speaking you’d send it to my warehouse and we’ll take care of it for you will become part of your team in that way. Just once. Not looking long term but once e-commerce momentum dotcom e-commerce momentum dotcom ticker.
Cool voice guy: 01:11:50 Thanks for listening to the e-commerce momentum as toll holdings mentioned today found that e-commerce momentum dotcom under this episode numbered. Please remember to subscribe and like us on iTunes.