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318 : Ken Reil – You have to learn how to have a silent conversation with your customers on Merch by Amazon

merch by amazon podcast, selling on amazon podcast

Love that phrase: Have a silent conversation. Never thought about it until my conversation with Ken. You see someone with a phrase on their shirt. You believe that defines them, good or bad. You pass judgement and make an inner statement to yourself. Then you move on. Guess what, that is a silent conversation. You connected or not with the individual based on what their shirt said. I will never look at a phrase in the same way again. I will be conversing with them. Albeit silently! 🙂

 

Mentioned:

Merch Dojo- Chris Greens Merch Course

Merch Watchdawgs- Learn about copyright infringements and how to combat them

Merch Life

Merch Success 2.0

Ken’s Facebook Contact

Sponsors

Gaye’s Million Dollar Arbitrage List

Solutions4ecommerce

Scope from Sellerlabs

GoDaddy

Grasshopper

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]               I’m excited to talk about my sponsors today, Gaye Lisbey’s million dollar arbitrage group. Amazing, amazing group. This is a teacher. This is Gaye, she was a teacher. She is a teacher. Still. You need to learn. This is the type of environment you want to be in because she’s going to help you understand why, and I think that’s the hardest part of this business is understanding why. Why is the red one popular when the green one isn’t? Well, there’s usually a reason and what Gaye does is probably parse that better than anybody and she’ll explain the reasons for those things. I think that’s really powerful. Yes, she puts out a list. You’re going to get a good use of that list if you get in the group. Now here’s the deal. The group isn’t always open, right? So you get on the waiting list and you can join the waiting list through my link.

Stephen:                             [00:00:46]               Doesn’t cost anything to get on a waiting list and if you like her service, which I find that most people do that, that’s why there’s not so many openings. Um, you’ll be with her for a long time. And so it’s amazing freedom.com. She’s part of Andy Slam. It’s group amazing freedom.com. Forward slash momentum. And you’re going to get in the waiting list. That’s all I can get you on right now. You can use my name and see if that gets you anywhere. But what I like about in the uh, what I like about what they teach in that group or the things that are going on, you know, the current things. I’ve seen a lot of stuff going on about stores going out of business. Well here’s where an opportunity is, here’s why you want to do this. Hey, be cautious about this, you know, with toys r US coming out, you’ve got to think about this and that’s the learning that you need to do.

Stephen:                             [00:01:30]               And Gay is better than anybody else I’ve seen. So I’m amazing. Freedom Dot com. Forward slash momentum will get you to the waiting list. Then hopefully I can get you in the group and then you’re going to see me in there and we can chat anytime you’re ready. Karen lockers, group solutions, the number for ecommerce solutions, four ecommerce.com, forward slash momentum. It’s going to save you 50 bucks. Karen’s our account manager. We recommend her to everyone because she’s done so well for us. I mean that’s quite frankly the reason we’ve been paying her for last few years, but she’s become an important part of our team. Her and her team are so involved in our account. I just see the emails coming back and forth, hey, we did this for you. I just saw two listings today. I’m like, wait a second. Why did they show up?

Stephen:                             [00:02:09]               I did put any listings up. They got a. They got a set off to the side by Amazon and they reactivate them for me. You know what I mean? That’s the stuff that just happens when you have a strong team and I can’t recommend Karen enough if you use my code. Momentum. Karen pays me. I don’t want to hide that. Of course we all know that, but you’re going to say $50 and it’s a great opportunity to really, really build out your team with somebody you can trust. That’s why I recommend them. So solutions four ecommerce solutions, the number four e-commerce dot com, forward slash momentum. It’s going to save you $50. Oh, and by the way, she’s going to do an inventory health report. Why is that important? Well, guess what fees are going up. Is your inventory health number declining like ours is?

Stephen:                             [00:02:57]               Well, here’s why and what they can do. What I like is I get a spreadsheet from them and it says, Hey, here’s a bunch of inventory. Here’s what we recommend. And I’m like, Yep, read refund. I mean a delete a return to us, blah blah, blah, whatever it is and it’s or destroy and it just happens. That’s what I like. The other thing that I have Karen helped me with a lot is creating new listings. We do a lot of the research ourselves. We upload our images and then boom, magically the listing goes live and I don’t have to worry about it. Those are the services that Karen offers. CanNot recommend her enough solutions. Four ecommerce.com forward slash momentum. Save 50 bucks. Use My code. You save $50 a month every single month and it’s a great service. Plus you get that free inventory health report. I think it’s a really powerful way, so I can’t.

Stephen:                             [00:03:45]               I’m so excited how many people have been joining her because I see it and I’m excited because the messages I get from people saying, hey, this is great. I finally feel like I can focus on something else because Karen and her team are watching this for me and I highly recommend her. Next up is scale a seller lambs and scope and we’ll set it wrong. It’s, it’s amazing. I mean, it really is amazing when you sit back and think about, hey, I want to get this product up and it similar to this product and that’s, that product does well. Well therefore, if that product does well, they have the right keywords, they’ve chosen things correctly, so guess what? You scope and you could see all that stuff and that’s what the most powerful thing in the world is to copy somebody who’s done it right.

Stephen:                             [00:04:28]               That’s what you want to. You want to take advantage of that, right? I mean it’s, it’s fair to see and so therefore you can take and apply it to your listing and immediately get that same benefit. That’s what scope does for me. Sellerlabs.com, forward slash momentum. It’s going to save you $50 on the service. Oh, by the way, it’s free to try. So sign up, try it and say, oh, this is how it’s done. Boom. And then you’re going to. The light’s going to go on and you’re going to be like, man, I can get my products out there. I just can’t wait. Can’t wait. So are labs.com forward slash momentum? The other day I bought another domain. Yes, I bought it the other domain. It’s almost like A. I’m admitting guilt, but it’s because I had an idea and it was something that was a pretty good idea I think is going to go pretty far.

Stephen:                             [00:05:18]               And so what do I do? I go to try Godaddy.com forward slash momentum and save 30 percent. So domains aren’t very expensive. You get a few services, it adds up a little bit and I usually buy three years. I usually by privacy, by the way, I recommend that to buy that, you know, it’s not that much money, but when you can save 30 percent it makes it that much sweeter and it makes it easier when you’re buying domains and especially if you buy a bunch of domains. I am a domain collector and so I do tend to do that, but that 30 percent makes it a lot easier and I use godaddy because what I like is I can pop in and address, I’m thinking and it’ll say, nope, nope, could try this version or try this extension and then boom, there it is. Hey, you better hurry before it goes away and the right, you know, and so try Godaddy.com, forward slash momentum save 30 percent.

Stephen:                             [00:06:07]               Also want to mention about grasshopper. Who was that? Just talking to somebody the other day and they were like, Oh yeah, use this company called grasshopper. I’m like, Dude, did you buy it through my link and save 30 percent? Hello? No, they missed that. So save 30 percent. It’s try grasshopper.com. Forward slash momentum. No surprise there, but you’re going to save 30 percent and what the real cool part about that is they’re using it for their private label business and it gives them virtually a second phone on their current phone without having to get another number. They can make up a vanity number. They don’t have to go and do all the grief and sign loan contracts. Pretty easy stuff, and so if you’re creating a brand that you want to identify, you want to look professional, you want to look like a real company. Grasshopper is a great tool. It’s an app you put on your existing phone and boom, you now have a customer service to. You now have a sales department. You’d have a manufacturing division. You could forward it to somebody else. You can have it go to different voicemails, different departments, and it’s all included. So try grasshopper.com, forward slash momentum. Save 30 percent.

Speaker 2:                           [00:07:13]               Welcome to the ecommerce momentum podcast where we focus on the people, the products, and the process of ecommerce selling today. Here’s your host, Steven Peterson.

Stephen:                             [00:07:28]               Welcome back to the ECOMMERCE momentum podcast. This is episode three, hundred and 18 can real. Alright, I’m pumped. Yes. I get pumped and I say that a lot, but it’s so inspiring and I just talking to one of the best dads in the world, a dad who understand his responsibilities, that he’s got to be more than just the breadwinner. That was the role that we were all told that we had to be, but no, no, you want to. You want to be involved in your kid’s life and man, I’m telling you, you gave me the tingles a bunch of times in this conversation, the things that these kids are learning and even more important that he learned, which is very cool and very hard to admit as a guy based on his experience with selling merch by Amazon as a family. They’re competitive. They have their own accounts and yet they’re having success and some of the dinner conversations all about merchant by Amazon, but guess what?

Stephen:                             [00:08:23]               They’re having a dinner conversation. Did you hear that? Their kids, his kids are talking to him and his wife telling me, these aren’t great. Parents are actually having conversations with their kids. I’m one of the other things we didn’t mention it in here and I do want to add in it. He’s part of Chris Green’s merge Dojo, so if you’re in there taking his class or if you’re interested in, and I’ll have a link to it, join it because Ken is one of those coaches helping people through that, so I don’t want to miss that because it’s important and you know, again, uh, you have to buy time sometimes and you have to take training and anything Chris Green does, I’m always one percent supportive

Stephen:                             [00:08:56]               of because he’s just, just a phenomenal individual who gives a lot. So this is a very interesting episode because if you’ve been thinking about finding a way to get your kids involved in your business, this might be a way. This might, or at least it might be an approach to getting your kids involved. And I think Ken and his wife have done a phenomenal job. Let’s get into the podcast. Alright, welcome back to the ECOMMERCE momentum podcast. We’re excited about today’s guest because I think today’s guest is an example of what you can do. Um, what you can reinvent yourself, but in the meantime really take an approach to family life. I mean, to me the all encompassing family. I always say this about our business, our business and our personal lives mingle’s so much on a positive way. Um, but this family is doing it even more. Ken. Real welcome, Ken. Good to be here. Is that a fair statement? It’s completely intermingled in your whole life.

Ken:                                       [00:09:51]               Everything. Everything with our family now is, it’s intermingled

Stephen:                             [00:09:55]               and it’s a family, uh, is a five. Is that correct? Yep. Okay, so it’s a family of five. And did I re watched this TV show where basically all five of you are having your own business?

Ken:                                       [00:10:08]               Yeah. All five of us are involved in the merchant by Amazon world.

Stephen:                             [00:10:13]               It’s incredible to me to think that your kids, which are how old?

Ken:                                       [00:10:18]               Uh, right now I’ve got a 14 year old, a 17 year old and a 19 year old.

Stephen:                             [00:10:22]               Okay. So all three of those. What would, what? Well, without the Amazon, because let me ask this question. What would you and your wife have suggested to your kids? What they need to do with their life. What was the normal track that you were going to put them on?

Ken:                                       [00:10:34]               Uh, well, it is part of the tractor on now even is a good education and get a part time job and learn how to do your chores around the house and, and hopefully get onto college and establish yourself with a job.

Stephen:                             [00:10:47]               Okay. So go to college. Is that an absolute in your mind? Was it?

Ken:                                       [00:10:52]               Uh, no, not so much because I actually never did finish my college degree. I’ve got a part of the way through and then I got involved in, in a job and got involved with real life. But uh, I, I’m have the sense that whether you go to college and get a degree and get into the workforce or a trade or even an entrepreneur always that people can, can do. Well

Stephen:                             [00:11:16]               yeah, he said something new or you didn’t finish but you got an education. Um, so I mean that’s where I always get to is that there’s, I, I use this example that about half of your education is generally not related to what you’re learning. You know, what you’re going to school for. Um, I’m an accountant by half of my classes weren’t related to accounting and so, uh, what about those other half, you know, what could you have done with that time if it was real work experience, would that have served me? But I don’t know, but it’s such a different world and it’s so interesting. Especially with kids now you’ve got kids in the, you got them in the, in line now. I mean, you’re not planning 20 years out, you’re looking in the next two to three years, uh, for. So that’s a much different decision today. Could you, can you imagine what it’s like to, to plan for your two year old today?

Ken:                                       [00:12:00]               Oh, no, no, I wouldn’t even want to go back there.

Stephen:                             [00:12:03]               Yeah, I just don’t know what you would do. I mean, how do you say, well, you know, Julie, you know, you’re going to be a doctor or a lawyer or whatever. I don’t know. What are those jobs gonna look like in 20 years, right? I mean, I, I don’t even know.

Ken:                                       [00:12:16]               Well, I’m, things change so fast today, uh, within a year or two, things can completely turn around, so you have to be able to adapt and you have to be able to pivot.

Stephen:                             [00:12:26]               I think that’s a good point. You are not and designer by nature. Is that fair?

Ken:                                       [00:12:33]               Yeah, that’s fair. Uh, I’ve always been a bit of a geek and always been kind of tied into computers and things like that, but my background actually was in science and going into the hazardous waste management in the oil field developer.

Stephen:                             [00:12:47]               And so when you think about what you did then, is any of it relevant to what you do today? I mean, it did. Did that allow you, I mean, was it math, was it, you know, uh, man, I don’t even know. I mean, was it, did you see spectacular land and saw the beauty of the world and therefore you have an appreciation for it and then that translates to art or something like that?

Ken:                                       [00:13:10]               No, not really. I’m more, it’s funny, I mean I’m trying to get, I want to see a connection between that and what you do now and I’m struggling to find one there. That was a stretch. There really is no connection. Uh, I managed in the gas and oil, oil sector and uh, you know, it was a good job at taught me a lot of things. As I said, I didn’t finish my school. I was taking school as I had gotten involved in the business, but I got into management and you know, a lot of the training was in the job and within three or four years I was interviewing people with masters and doctorate or Gary’s and, and here I am with basically a, a onsite training and, you know, it, there came a point where I had to make a decision, what did I want to do with my life, whether it was, uh, you know, continue on managing or maybe start my own consulting business, which I thought about. And before long a friend of mine asked me, would you like to move to Vegas or Fort Worth or maybe Winnipeg Canada. And I said, what for? He says, well, I got into the sign business and we’re interested in people that can manage for us. And the rest, I guess you could say is history from 2004 on.

Stephen:                             [00:14:23]               So he recognized your management talent and saw that that might be applicable to assign business. Did you have to have a. Did he say, well, you know, Ken, can I see your art degree? Can I see your graphic design degree where your skills in that field? Or did he say that stuff can be taught and we really need somebody who knows how to run a lead. I guess it’d be a better phrase, a business.

Ken:                                       [00:14:50]               Correct. Uh, he, he knew, he knew there was never even a question whether or not, you know, do you, can you draw and Kent, are you a graphic designer? Can you know, can you use digital programs? That was, that was all expected that they would teach, uh, the, the main ability you needed was be able to build a business and, and for assigned business, get out on the street and Hustle and build a network and cold calling people. And you know, building upon the service after and things like that. So I mean, we’re salesmen a very much. So I, I very much enjoy the one on one interaction with customers. So that’s a skillset that came from somewhere. Where did that come from? That came from the oil and gas there. We found the connection. Oh my God, right there. I knew there had to be something there. So yeah, that’s fair.

Stephen:                             [00:15:38]               I mean, so he recognized because you met those people, you just know they could, they could sell ice to an Eskimo. Is that phrase goes right? I mean you could see that. So you’re one of those guys. Of course. So do you think that, you know, looking back, could you have gone into any sales job? Did you have that ability?

Ken:                                       [00:15:57]               Uh, I could have but I wouldn’t have wanted to. Hm. Well what made this one attractive to you? Vegas. I mean it was, it being my own boss. I control my own destiny, that kind of thing.

Stephen:                             [00:16:10]               Thanks. So did you come from a family of entrepreneurs or anything in there that would lead you to believe that working for someone is not as nice as working for yourself or where did that belief come from?

Ken:                                       [00:16:21]               I’m actually not a, there’s no real breakout entrepreneurs in my family. I come from a family where both my mother and father were high school teachers.

Stephen:                             [00:16:31]               Oh, how interesting. So, so when you look back now, did you know that you were meant to be an entrepreneur? I mean, when you think about it,

Ken:                                       [00:16:40]               um, I look back at it and I think it was the right thing for me. Uh, and, and sometimes you find things in life that come across your plate that just, uh, they, they, they fit, right? The puzzles of the picture come together and uh, he kind of found what you were supposed to be doing.

Stephen:                             [00:16:58]               Hmm. And when you think about the alternative, I mean, I don’t know how the oil and gas industry is. I know it’s up and down a lot, um, at least in the United States. How, how was, what would your career look like had you stayed with it, do you think?

Ken:                                       [00:17:14]               Uh, I would have done fairly well with it. I would’ve seen myself more going into business for myself, still probably doing environmental consulting with a lot of the bigger corporations and

Stephen:                             [00:17:28]               yeah, and that’s where that sales background would have or sales skills would have come in. Okay. That’s interesting. It’s just neat to see. I always liked to see how people get from one place to another and uh, so he recognized not only your management, your sales ability. So you go into sales in Vegas and this is a brand new location, not open, not an established one taking over.

Ken:                                       [00:17:48]               Is that actually it was a newly established one and had been there just about a year and the current owner was completely struggling.

Stephen:                             [00:17:57]               And what were they struggling with that mean? Were they not a salesperson where they just a, a buyer thinking that, hey, all I have to do is buy a business and it runs itself or what

Ken:                                       [00:18:07]               they were, they had the employee mentality a, they want it to be somebody that could be told what to do and you know, cruise with a job, but the ability to go out and meet people face to face and build a business and build the relationships was probably the week.

Stephen:                             [00:18:24]               Now, where are you a one person shop or did you end up having a staff?

Ken:                                       [00:18:28]               It was myself, uh, that was kind of the beauty of the business was a, uh, you know, I could run it from home and that’s what enticed me and I could be closer to my family and I could learn these things and build relatively good business then that, that’s

Stephen:                             [00:18:44]               machines in your home or was it outsourced where you would just, you know, uh, you were the salesperson, maybe graphic designer and then the rest comes from someplace else?

Ken:                                       [00:18:53]               No. Will you actually had the, uh, the equipment for the business? It was a rental business, a side street signs that would be rented out to businesses and you had everything. It was all on, all in package.

Stephen:                             [00:19:05]               Wait, now what does that mean? So I don’t understand what that means. Is that like where they put up a barrier and it says, you know, a street fair or something like that. I don’t understand what that means.

Ken:                                       [00:19:14]               Uh, no. In Canada where the business originated, uh, there’s quite a prolific a street sign business or temporary rentals and uh, they’re meant like say you pass by a pizza shop, you see it, uh, the, you know, the advertised, that temporary sign that they rented out front to say, hey, special this weekend is and trying to drive that traffic off the off the street. So, uh, it’s a rental sign business that they were trying to break into the US with and some intricacies that are a little different down here. But it was a, it was an interesting take that allowed you to understand what graphic design was, what layout was, how conventional science work and have all that as a kind of a turnkey.

Stephen:                             [00:20:00]               How long did it take you to get that general skillset to be able to start cranking out signs?

Ken:                                       [00:20:06]               Uh, I had it going pretty good because within about a year and a half I’d split the franchise and half

Stephen:                             [00:20:12]               because it was doing so well when it made sense to pay it off. Okay. And so, uh, the skill set that you brought there, other than sales, do you think it was the computer ability because you had said you dabbled in computers. Indeed. It’s always been a techie guy.

Ken:                                       [00:20:26]               Yeah, it definitely helped. It made the transition very easy. I had also played around with some website creation and you know, I’d always played around with photoshop and it was something that interests me. It wasn’t so much that I could draw a stick man, but it was something that had my interest in one thing you’ll learn about me if I’m interested in it, I can get very passionate about it.

Stephen:                             [00:20:46]               Again, it just had, um, Helen Kinston on said the same thing, you know, she wants to stay interested. If she does, then she does well with it. Otherwise you kind of drift away from it. Another march person. So, uh, if you haven’t figured out is a merge person and we’re going to talk about that in a few moments, but I want to get to how you leave, not leave because I think you still have the sign business, is that correct? Okay. So how do you, how do you let that go and get into Amazon merchant there an in between, in there?

Ken:                                       [00:21:16]               Uh, I’m actually, there’s not a lot of in between. I’m actually taking a hard look at selling it off, but a part of the sign business, you’re very involved. It’s not something that you can just sit back and let the business come. You have to be involved with your customers and on the street and, and selling and, and so you know, it. If you don’t do that, I’d better just look at selling off.

Stephen:                             [00:21:41]               Is that, did you lose interest in it or did you find something else?

Ken:                                       [00:21:46]               Uh, in some ways I’ve lost interest in it because, uh, I enjoy what I’m doing more and I’ve kind of found my groove plus the fact that I live in Las Vegas. And if you can imagine how hot the summer’s are. Oh, it’s brutal. This is a lot of. This is outside work. This is a 110 degree heat.

Stephen:                             [00:22:07]               Hi Ken. It’s a dry heat. Yeah, right. As the flesh is burned off, but it was dry at least. Yeah, we, we, uh, there’s a asd we always tried to go to and then was trying to get me to go in August. I went in once and I’m like, oh my God, what is this? I can’t even go out in the sun. And then all of a sudden my white skin is like burnt to a crisp. And I’m like, what was that to know? So as an editor, no, there was no humidity. I’m not liking humidity, but I must admit I have a different appreciation for it after visiting Vegas in August. I agree with you. I don’t think we think about it, you know, all those trades and everything else that makes that city home has to operate in that wicked weather. Yeah. So, so when did you find out about merchant and, uh, when did you say, hmm, this would be something I could add on to what I’m doing?

Ken:                                       [00:22:59]               What actually I found out about merge right at the very beginning in September of 15, but how I got interested in it probably backs up a little further because tied into the sign business, it became a natural that a customer, you’ve found that, hey, I need the other kinds of advertising. I need business cards, I need t shirts, I need apparel. Uh, I even broke out into decorative window tint and uh, what happened? What happened was it just naturally progressed. And as I was online learning about these things, I started to realize that there’s print on demand and there’s ways that I can integrate, you know, printing within the apparel business very easily into my business. And in some ways it became a bit of a hobby. I’m seeing what I could learn, earn online, and this was separate from the franchise at that point. Right. You were adding on yourself. They didn’t offer these services, so you get coffee mugs and stuff now, were you doing the work or were you using one of those outside companies? Uh, I did a lot of the work or have my own suppliers around the Las Vegas area mainly for things like t shirts and sweatshirts and apparel. I mean, you didn’t buy the screen printing equipment and all that kind of jazz. So I, I got my own accounts for wholesale and

Stephen:                             [00:24:14]               I think that’s pretty smart. I think a lot of people probably have that equipment sitting in their place, right? They thought, oh Ken, I’m going to make it big. I’m going to make shirts. And yet the value is. And selling shirts, not making sure it’s correct.

Ken:                                       [00:24:29]               Correct. Correct. Yeah. And so, so you found other humans

Stephen:                             [00:24:33]               using one of these, you know, print on demand companies without even really knowing that there was such a thing. Now all of a sudden it’s the word right, that the pod is the big bird. A phrase, you don’t realize it, that you were a trendsetter. Can have you ever been told that in your life?

Ken:                                       [00:24:48]               Ah, sometimes I don’t get that at my age. I don’t get it. Not so much that I set the trend, but uh, I do latch onto things and see things that are trans and, and do enjoy going for the ride with him.

Stephen:                             [00:25:04]               Well, that’s clearly a skill set when you’re talking merchant design, recognizing trends and then running them for as quick as you can because again, it’s going to be fastest to market, right? Um, I think most people are not that they do not recognize trends. So what, when you think about recognizing trends, what are you looking for? I mean, can you give me an example of something that you were like, Huh, this is a trend and then boom, that you were able to capitalize on that? Probably a whole bunch of people didn’t.

Ken:                                       [00:25:34]               Well, even going back to the early days of what I call print on demand. This, this concept of being able to post something online and have somebody else print it and ship it and handle everything and pay your royalty. I can remember being on some of the tee shirt forums, uh, you know, just generally learning about apparel and came across a post by the now creator of Teespring, throwing out this idea of crowdsourcing the shirts, you know, and, and Kinda, you know, post it how the teespring and the print on demand model works. And I thought that’s kind of cool. And before long I realized they actually pulled this off and that’s kinda where I started was posting things on teespring. And so learning about you are definitely an early adopter.

Stephen:                             [00:26:17]               You know, it’s interesting you say that because I think most people again wouldn’t follow that way, wouldn’t be doing the work because you said you were out there in the, uh, these groups, these message boards or whatever it was, where this conversation was going on. That’s research. I mean that to me, and this is my theory on education today, that is education, doing that work. Most people want to jump ahead and say, Ken, you know, let me just the design, so let me just, you know, upload it for me, let me do all that shortcuts so I don’t have to do all those things because you know, I’m smarter and I could just jump ahead. You’re talking about actually learning and doing the work there. That’s, that’s hard work and that takes discipline.

Ken:                                       [00:26:57]               It does. And I still say even right now, 80 percent of my time is research. Regardless of what you’re doing. I’m researching what I’m doing and how I’m doing it. Uh, I don’t. One thing you’ll learn about me is I don’t like to take a lot of shortcuts in that, in that caused, like you talked about, hey, I can do a turnkey thing. I can hire va’s, I can hire designs, I can have somebody upload them and everything will run itself. And, and sometimes that works. But a lot of times the research hasn’t put in and people fall on their face.

Stephen:                             [00:27:27]               Yeah. And they do because everybody, it’s, it’s a million dollar business, right? That’s what, that’s what, that’s what said, of course. Is it a million dollar business to you?

Ken:                                       [00:27:40]               Uh, my merch by Amazon? Yeah.

Stephen:                             [00:27:43]               Well, I mean I guess I guess let me pull back and say this is the potential to get to a million dollar business when you think of print on demand because I want to make it broad because I think you have to, to get to that concept. I don’t think you can do it without that concept but that’s my opinion. But I think when you consider that you can be on what is their 17 different other print on demand sites that I know of. I know there’s more but you know, and then like you said you can expand into, I mean still people are selling coffee mugs or phone cases or you know, guitar covers and stuff like that, right. Tire covers on the back of cars. That’s still being printed by somebody on demand. When you think about it from that entirety, it is possible, isn’t it?

Ken:                                       [00:28:26]               Oh, it’s completely possible. And I, I mean, the, the neat thing about print on demand is a viral illness or the trend setting of some of these designs and you can see millionaires are made off of one tee shirt design, new kitty. Uh, I mean, one shirt takes off and you’ve got an original concept on a shirt. Yeah, I mean it can become very iconic, uh, and, and sell just tens and hundreds of thousands of coffees.

Stephen:                             [00:28:56]               Which, do you have an example one that you’ve seen or where a company that’s been able to do it?

Ken:                                       [00:29:01]               Uh, I wouldn’t be able to say an exact example, but I mean, I’ve even had a breakout shirts in my own. I haven’t had the million dollar seller or anything like that. But, you know, take a look at the solar eclipse. Kim Jensen is what you’re thinking of, right? I, I mean, I chased Kim Jensen the entire time with one of my shirts and my shirt was right up next to her is I can never quite catch her. I mean I had a shirt that sold 40 or $50,000 worth of stuff, you know. So

Stephen:                             [00:29:28]               is that, is that blow your mind when you pull back and think about it?

Ken:                                       [00:29:32]               It’s absolutely, it absolutely blows your mind. One day you’re selling, you know, a regular trend of shirts and all of a sudden the next day you’ve doubled, tripled, quadrupled. And you’re saying, where the heck are these people coming from?

Stephen:                             [00:29:46]               Well, let’s go back to that. When you think about what you did, you were chasing him but you still had incredible success. What was it that made that stood out? And you’re going to be like dusty, but if I knew that I’d have $40,000 shirts on everyone, right? But I mean there still has to be a pattern, you know, a common sense approach to patterns. So you were one of the first to market, right? I mean I would assume that’s one of the things, right? So you recognize a trend, again, a skill set that you have, right? That’s what you said. You recognize you’re trends, you’re one of first to market first movers advantage. Right. What else would you say that would be a skill or a or something that helped you get there when you think about it?

Ken:                                       [00:30:25]               Bringing something different

Stephen:                             [00:30:26]               so that table. Oh, that’s interesting. And what’s different mean to you? I mean because a lot of the shirts I see are just plain and they have words on them or not much original art, although there’s artists, their talent, I, I’m not talent. But then what, what would be different for you?

Ken:                                       [00:30:44]               I think the difference is in the research that you do get back to that. Yeah, I, I keep coming back to the research side of it is understanding who your audience is, is, is key, uh, understanding, you know, simple things like colors and trends and sayings and you know, are you tied in with who you’re trying to sell to? Because if you are, then it becomes very easy on the design process to put something in front of them that has a chance of selling.

Stephen:                             [00:31:12]               John Lee Dumas says, you always in the podcast world, you always have to talk to your avatar. You know, who is that person that you’re speaking to? And then that’s who you talk to and you don’t worry about everything else. And then magically, boom, you have success, right? It’s like a formula. So you’re saying the same thing. So when you’re doing that solar eclipse shirt, you’re thinking of somebody or whoever that is and you’re designing it for them and them alone, and then they happened to be a whole bunch of them. Is that kind of

Ken:                                       [00:31:39]               correct? Uh, you realize that that one person you’re designing for is a whole bunch of people because you’ve already identified who those people are and what you’re trying to bring to them. So it may, as I said, it makes the design process much easier to, to accomplish and success

Stephen:                             [00:31:54]               once you dig a deeper on that one because that’s interesting. Who would, who would the view thought it was because obviously you got it right. Who did you think was going to be the eclipse person?

Ken:                                       [00:32:06]               Uh, that I would kind of keep to myself. That’s your secret sauce. Okay. Well, that’s fair. No, I appreciate it

Stephen:                             [00:32:12]               that the fact that you know it and you’re aware of it is very cool. To me. That’s very, very cool because again, you’re back to that research. I have a secret way of research, Steve, and I’m not telling you I get it.

Ken:                                       [00:32:26]               It’s not even so much a secret way to research. It’s just simply a, uh, a market that you understand, um, has a fascination and you’ve identified a niche or a trend market within that group and, and even to this day, it’s a very lucrative market as well. So

Stephen:                             [00:32:48]               would you, let me see, let’s see if you’ll give it away this secret. When you think about points of interest, right? So when you, you just said that unique group, would you say there are five or six or seven unique points about them that helps you isolate them down into that, that pile of people to get what I’m saying? I’m not sure I’m saying it right. Okay. Oh yeah. How many, how many points would you say? Because I think that’s a fair thing, right? You just don’t say, okay, there mail, boom, that’s point one there 20 to 30, that’s point two. And you just keep going, oh, they happen to have blonde hair and they like combs instead of, or they grow beards and like oils and they like blah blah, blah, blah, blah. Right. And so how far do you parse that down? Is it, is it a 10 point, six point,

Ken:                                       [00:33:31]               uh, you know, there’s, there’s usually four or five main points. Okay. Um, when, when you really dig into, I guess as you would call a niche or an area that you’re going after, it’s, as I get back to it, it’s understanding that niche and, and being able to design to it. Because you, you were talking about putting yourself in the place of, you know, your avatar. I like to look at it as putting myself as if I’m a buyer. Like sometimes when they talk about copywriting, you want to put yourself in the place of the buyer, like your, you know exactly who that person is. And that really is key and fundamental. I think having success in this, it’s like a conversation, right? You’re having a full conversation that they’re interested in. It is. And, and you’ve got to think from their perspective, would this person, am I one of these people in this trend that would want to wear this apparel? And if you can answer yes to that question, then you start designing. And it’s part of the reason that a lot of the areas that I’m in, it’s not just thrown against the wall, but it’s things that I actually have a personal interest in. Oh, that’s interesting. Yeah, that’s very good.

Stephen:                             [00:34:48]               Interesting. So because you have an interest, therefore becomes sort of passionate, you’re able to translate that because you speak the same. You’re a geek, Ken, your peak language. God, that’s it. I got you identify now. But it’s interesting you say that. I was sitting here actually thinking I’m like your don draper, your don draper with the design side. You’re really, you know, because how does the image speak to a per head is an image. Have a conversation with somebody, but you figured that out.

Ken:                                       [00:35:15]               Don Draper, what I’ve thought very early that if, if the design I put in front of somebody, if their first reaction was, hmm, they don’t really understand us, you’ve, you’ve missed the boat somewhere on that, right? You’ve missed the ability to do that research is I keep coming back to, you have to be able to connect with them in a seller type of a feeling. But as a buyer, I know, would you buy that?

Stephen:                             [00:35:41]               One of the big challenges in this business, and this is where I think this is a fair statement, this is Steve speaking, is that we only tend to show the upside. We only say, Hey, Ken merchant is the place to go. It’s unbelievable. You can do millions and yes, there are outliers doing millions. We already discussed that, right? Or you can apply and get a $40,000 on a shirt, but my bet is you don’t have every shirt doing 40,000. Right? And so there’s downsize lots, right? How many, how many swings do you take where you actually have a hit?

Ken:                                       [00:36:16]               Uh, that depends. I mean, I’ve got a very high percentage of shirts that have sold, but, but that comes down to the game of a print on demand and a different areas such as evergreen shirts, stuff that’ll be up all year, that will sell all year. They’re not going to sell crazy numbers, but they’re going to consistently sell over the course of time. Holidays. I mean, we’ve got all kinds of holidays that come in trends. You know, what’s the next politician that says a stupid remark. Right? And everybody’s got it.

Stephen:                             [00:36:44]               Somebody just said it. They just said it. There goes another one. Wait, there goes another one. No, it’s interesting though, but those are where the lessons are, aren’t they? When you were talking about narrowing down that audience and figuring them out and speaking to them, how many times have you not spoken to them and therefore is it you getting the message saying, Huh, I thought this would connect. It didn’t let me try another message. Or do you it words? Is it come down to the research? Because you could see the ones that sold and you’re like, oh, that’s how they connected with that group.

Ken:                                       [00:37:14]               Well, I see that. That’s an interesting one with this because as you’re doing your research, part of it is understanding what is selling within those trends within those niches. But part of it as I back up, is getting to know that niche, like you’re the buyer and that’s why my interest plays a bit of a part in. Okay. There. There’s not a lot of areas I’m in that I say, oh, that was a complete strikeout because I already know that there’s some interest. I’ve already got some connections with a niche and so you know, maybe the design is wrong. Maybe it doesn’t connect with that niche, but I know that I’ve got a designer too that’s going to connect with them eventually.

Stephen:                             [00:37:51]               Okay. So you figured out, Hey, this is a group that’s going to. They’re going to be solar eclipse buyers, period. Right. Everyone’s gonna want to say they were on the gravy train. We’re on the bandwagon. I participated. Right. That’s a pretty, pretty interesting thought, right? I was there, right. Of course, then you’re going to say, okay, my designs didn’t work, but look at this person’s. They are what’s different in their. They’re connecting somehow. There’s a different conversation. Let me adjust. Is it, is it kind of like when you ever hear you hear him talk about changing the direction of one of those giant a shipping containers ships, right? That they have to change in small degrees because it takes so much to turn. That big thing around is that kind of the way it is designed to get that, to get good it you’ve got to keep making these really small adjustments often to zero in and then boom, you know, your target.

Ken:                                       [00:38:44]               I’m a little bit of a different difference of opinion on that. I’m more of a pivot or okay, I. I like to hit the pivot and completely go off on another direction. You move. I move and it may be in the same field of interest, but I looked to try and bring something and the word would probably be contrast. I want something that completely contrast what the norm is out there because if you understand who the buyer is, a, you can start to piece together what that contrast is that might stand out for the buyer. Plus you don’t want to be where everybody else’s, right? You will. I don’t know if you want to stay. I don’t want to be a part of the flock of sheep. I want to be the black sheep out there and stand out and not in a bad way, but in a way that you’re recognized as, oh, that’s kind of a neat take on this. That’s a, a neat addition to what my interests

Stephen:                             [00:39:37]               do. You think, um, because you’re not this 21 year old, your seven, your 19 year old probably is. You have, you know, when you look at their approach to the tee shirt design and stuff versus yours is a different. I would assume it is

Ken:                                       [00:39:53]               completely different. Uh, you know, they can spot trends a little quicker. They’re in with the lingo there, end with what uh, some of these younger generation wants to wear or be seen with. And of course, a lot of times, you know, my kids will look at me and say, oh, that’s weird, you know,

Stephen:                             [00:40:10]               mom says that’s every time I go out the door. She was like, you’re going to wear that. I’m like, all right, I’m going back to change. And I’m thinking, I thought I looked good, but then no, you can’t wear that. But that’s interesting because they’re growing up in an information generation fair, right? I mean, they know nothing, you know, they don’t, they don’t know who is the 20th president, they just Google it and there it is. Hey Dad, here he is and here’s this whole history and here’s blah blah blah, blah, blah, where we would have had to learn it in that kind of thing. I was hoping that you were going to say, well, you have a different wisdom and therefore that’s your strength that you bring to it that they don’t have yet because they just haven’t, you know, gotten hit by a car or fell off a curb. But whatever the stupid things that we did, right. I mean that, that’s the reality, right? Is your wisdom and advantage in some ways?

Ken:                                       [00:40:55]               It is a definitely the ability to, um, to have had my history, you know, being able to deal with customers face to face, having a totally different career, I guess you could say has, has certainly some steel in the fire. Right. And uh, you know, directions that you would go very quickly. Lessons that they’ve got to learn for themselves eventually.

Stephen:                             [00:41:19]               That’s it. That’s it. That sounds like a piece of advice that you just casually dropped an innuendo there that look, Steve, go back and look at what you were. You were an accountant in your world. You had all those stupid accounting jokes in that nobody else would get. And that might be a place to go look for designs. Right? I mean things like that.

Ken:                                       [00:41:36]               Yeah, because you, you look at that example for per se, you were an accountant. Well, you know, all the funny jokes. What you also know what an accountant would or would not wear. Like would you show up at your accountants, you know, whatever party at starbucks wearing a shirt that didn’t make sense. You would wear the one that you know connects with those other 10 accountants and you would all laugh at it and who cares what the people in the next table. Thank you guys. Get the joke and that’s part of this research and part of understanding what’s going on and and too many people, I’ll use that an example, jump into this and say, oh, I’m going to do accountant shirts. Oh, I, I think I found the best phrases on the Internet. They pass it off to a Va. The va gets them a bunch of designs.

Ken:                                       [00:42:17]               They put them up and they say, why didn’t you sell what you as an accountant goes on, amazon looks at these shirts and says, well, that guy doesn’t understand what it is to be an accountant. You know, we don’t wear that color. We don’t wear that style. We don’t, we don’t want that phrase. And I think that’s somewhat some of where the disconnect is. And so that’s why passions and hobbies and interests and even professions that I already have something to do with make it very easy to sell into because I’m in the perspective of a buyer.

Stephen:                             [00:42:45]               How about this? There’ve been so many more people coming into merge, right? There’s, you know, when you started, how many designs were up? I don’t even know if you know those stats.

Ken:                                       [00:42:57]               Oh, I saw times when there were, you know, 200, 300,000 listings. You know, what’s it not? Oh, it’s over well over a million. I mean, it, it fluctuates. Designs are going up and now they’ve got rules where, you know, if they haven’t sold for 90 days or 180 days, they come down. And so there’s, it’s, it’s cyclical. but, uh, you know, a lot more designs up. But the market is huge. And with the right research and the right designs, you know, nothing has slowed me.

Stephen:                             [00:43:29]               Yeah. You don’t sound like, oh, woe is me. You know, everybody’s coming in, steve, there’s no opportunity. You’re saying no, you know, do you have to work smarter? Or is this where your discipline, your consistent discipline pretty much sounds like from day one is paying off because everybody else is lazy and therefore you cannot work them?

Ken:                                       [00:43:52]               No, I wouldn’t say everybody else’s lazy, but a lot of people don’t get how to formulate a plan of attack. I guess how They go about this and part of this, the neat thing about print on demand and a lot of things with merchants, this is like a new hobby for me. I mean I could go 16, 18 hours as if it was my favorite hobby and even the remedial type tasks within it. Uh, the things that are fairly redundant, like uploading and over and over and over again, they don’t really bug me because at the end of the day I’m seeing the finished product and it’s something that I created and something that I fun doing and a lot of times can’t keep me from talking about it.

Stephen:                             [00:44:35]               Yeah. It was going to go to the family dinner table discussion because it must be interesting. Do you feel like an artist sometimes.

Ken:                                       [00:44:43]               Sometimes yes, but more a more a creator or more, uh, you know, not so much an artist because the interesting thing I’ve found in the print on demand, the apparel business, you’ve got some great artists, but they have no idea how to sell these, how to sell their artwork.

Stephen:                             [00:45:01]               You’re back to being a salesman and there’s a connection right there. All right, so tell me how nerdy is dinner. Sometimes

Ken:                                       [00:45:09]               it can be pretty bad when the dinner conversation is about who got their uploads done or how much you’ve uploaded or you know, some of the ideas that come up and, and some of the ideas that actually get held back because you don’t want a sibling to know what you’re asking.

Stephen:                             [00:45:24]               Is there a competitive. Oh yeah. Oh definitely, definitely. I think about this andy, andy simon, so he says this about that amazon and how we speak in fba, but I think now it’s global because there’s so many places. It really is the family farm business back in the day. It really is. It’s our version of that. I mean, think about, could you have had these conversations with your parents? I mean, that you guys are having now, do you remember these kinds of conversations around the dinner table?

Ken:                                       [00:45:51]               Uh, they were different. certainly weren’t like this, but as you said, yeah, more of the family farm, you know, I, I think back to my, my father who was a teacher, but on the side was a beekeeper and the beekeeping goes back for hundreds of years in our family and uh, there wAs always discussions about beekeeping because me and my brothers had always come in from helping my dad, uh, tend the bees, right and, and extract the honey. And so the discussion is different, but the discussion is also the same.

Stephen:                             [00:46:21]               But those things, just the fact that you remember that that was sown into you. Now you’re doing that with your kids. Had you just kept your corporate job. And this isn’t negative and I don’t mean to down anybody, but I, there’s a side benefit you’re describing the fact that you’re having these conversations and you’re both interested in the same thing. I’m sure it connects you in so many other ways with those kids. You’re not distant from them. Do you get what I mean?

Ken:                                       [00:46:45]               Oh, it does, and that’s part of what I enjoy being away from the oil field is I would never have come home, eat dinner and start talking to my kids about, you know, what can I do on the oil lease or what a well was drilled or were what cleanup you did because they just had no connection to it. And now you’ve got a connection with.

Stephen:                             [00:47:05]               Can you talk about any other benefits that you’ve seen with your kids? Um, from, from them owning their own business and, and similar business in the competitive stuff. All that.

Ken:                                       [00:47:16]               I think the greatest advantage or, or thing that I seen with them is it makes them aware of what they can and can’t do at a very, at a relatively young age. There’s things that they’re learning that I, I would’ve learned, you know, 30 years ago because it would have completely changed the course of how I was affected. A lot of things I wouldn’t have had to have learned. I mean, all of us have to learn these things, but it gives them an advantage. I mean, come on, I’ve got a 14 year old that’s been doing this for a year and a, I mean, he, he just got into high school

Stephen:                             [00:47:51]               and Israel and I’m like, what, you know, let’s go hang out. And he’s like, damn, I’m got, I got things to do.

Ken:                                       [00:47:57]               Or, or his friends are saying, hey, you know, that’d be a cool idea. We should, you know, put it on a tee shirt. And he says, I can do that.

Stephen:                             [00:48:03]               Yeah, I can do that. You know, how about this, now you have one daughter or maybe two, but, but is, is the law is the playing field level for her and your two boys

Ken:                                       [00:48:15]               a little different there because uh, you know, the dynamics of all three kids is, is, uh, is pretty wild there. The differences in them. She’s very, very bright. She’s at, uh, just finished her first year at university, valedictorian of her class, you know, she’s always done very well academically and this is a becoming an interesting way on the side to passively earning income while she’s at school. Um,

Stephen:                             [00:48:43]               well to me though, you, I mean, and now it doesn’t sound like she needs it, but a family that does, she could realize she can be just as good as the boys, you know what I mean? Because think back to the day where, you know, hey, my wife tells the story that her father who came from Italy, so being in fairness said, you know, oh, you can always go be a secretary. that was the phrase, you know, and that was done generationally. I mean, it is what it is. He’s a great guy, but that was the way he was raised right when your daughter can see now obviously she didn’t sound like she needed it, that she can do just as well as those guys and actually have sales and support herself independently. That is big. And today’s young women for self esteem. That is huge.

Ken:                                       [00:49:26]               It is. It’s a massive thing. And, and the neat thing about it is actually she’s got a rather saying we can be like, or their, you know, their big sister.

Stephen:                             [00:49:35]               Oh, you just gave me the chills when you said that. Uhm, I actually got the goosebumps because that’s powerful. I think about that. That’s so different than what we’ve all been, you know, it is the way it was. I’m not saying right or wrong, it is the way it was, but now we see different. So the whole family. So you’ve gotten a little bit of recognition for this. They actually, you, you kind of becoming an expert out there, right? Yahoo reached out to you for some information for a story.

Ken:                                       [00:50:01]               Uh, yeah. That was just recently, um, yahoo finance. There was a recent story that was out there and I know they interviewed the director of the program as well and uh, you know, they took a few sound bites and

Stephen:                             [00:50:14]               the fact it’s still pretty cool though, isn’t it? It’s gotta be pretty cool. Yeah. You got a little swagger and your step and then to make it on tv. I mean, I’ve watched this and I’ll have a, I’ll link it in this, uh, in this episode. I’m, you guys were quite a story on las vegas.

Ken:                                       [00:50:29]               Cb and mr. Pretty good segment. I mean it was really interesting. Well, we actually were, we had a lady from the las vegas business review reach out to us and that story is still forthcoming, uh, in the newspaper. Yeah, she’s actually finishing that story off. We’re just finishing off a couple of last questions, but a part of that story was picked up by the, uh, channel 13 here in vegas and the habits come in for a, a live spot early morning on saturday. And it was about a two minute spot. And from that the interviewer, the reporter was so interested the anchor lady that she phoned back and said, hey, we’d like to actually come to your house and do a full blown interview and have you on the [6:00] news. And so there were actuallY two interviews that were done, uh, with a channel 13 year in vegas. You got your start on your 15 minutes. You realize that of course, you know, it’s cool though is your kids get that,

Stephen:                             [00:51:29]               to see that to wheat. You mean there is something special about what we’re doing. You mean mate? Because it. Because you know the, the risk is that that becomes just a standard stuff. You know, you’re expected, oh, we’re all doing church. Yeah, that’s just our way. But then they realize how special that really is to a, to have enterprising young people that want to kind of create something that’s a big deal.

Ken:                                       [00:51:52]               NoW another good lesson. Well, and they also understand that the story wasn’t generated because of what dad was doing, what dad was doing with same merge and with fernanda man though I was standing out, you know, ahead of the crowd, you could say in some ways the story really generated because they say, wait a minute, you’re kids are doing this. What have your kids learned? What are your kids earn? And that’s where the story developed and actually took off. Would you say that’s the best part of what merchants? I mean, I, I understand you have freedom, right? And that’s something that’s attractive to you and you don’t have to go out into heat very attractive to you and I both. I’m in on that one. I get that.

Stephen:                             [00:52:33]               The family unity, the rowing together. Even though there’s some, you know, a little, uh, um, uh, sports, uh, you know, metaphors there for um, you know, competitiveness, the family unity, the ability to know what’s going on, to see my bed is when you, you can see when your kids are off pretty easily now, right? You just, you, because your temper, you understand their temperament probably better than most ads. Would that be the biggest win so far? Our

Ken:                                       [00:53:03]               biggest win is family participation. Everybody’s in audit. Everybody enjoys it. And uh, just simply not being away from them, you know, it’s, sometimes you want to separate your business from your personal life, but in many ways if you’re having a lot of fun and enjoyment from it, you’d like them to be intertwined. Absolutely. I think a wig dinner table and talk about these things in the ads, not but grudgingly talking about chores. It’s actually talking about, you know, the winds and even the losses and those are important lessons for

Stephen:                             [00:53:37]               kids still are not allowed to lose anymore. They shouldn’t get. All trophies can know. I. Everybody needs to lose now. I Agree with that. You learn about this. How would you say, and thIs is a, this is, I want you to be honest about this, what have you learned from your kids, you know, not the trends and all that jazz. I don’t really care about that. I meant as a dad who could swallow hard and say, you know, because you’re supposed to know everything. You’re invincible. You don’t ask directions. Your kids are having some success. Have you learned anything from them?

Ken:                                       [00:54:08]               Uh, yeah. I’ve, I’ve learned from them a measure of honesty and a measure of being able to accept when I’m wrong.

Stephen:                             [00:54:16]               Ooh, that hurts. Not really. It doesn’t hurt now, but it went. No, I’m serious. When you were out in the oil field or wherever you were and you came home, you weren’t wrong because you had a day and blah, blah, blah and life happening. To be able to accept it and to accept it with grace in front of them. You’re right, I’m wrong. That’s a big. Because that’s the life lessons that you want them to learn, right?

Ken:                                       [00:54:43]               It is it a, you know, being honest with yourself and being honest with what you’re doing.

Stephen:                             [00:54:48]               Give me the tingles again, teach you again. I love these family stories because quite frankly it’s the miss with a lot of families, right? I mean this is one of those places where, you know, I, and I think, you know, dads want to, I’m speaking for myself, dads want to do the right thing they wanted, but they got a lot of responsibility and it sounds like to me that, you know, you’ve made some adjustments to help deal with that. I think it’s very powerful or it’s very, very hArd to reach out with kids now to this day and age of the internet and this is a great way to be able to do that. So is your recommendation because I’m sure you get a whole bunch of people. Wait, how do I get my kids involved? How do I get them interested? Have you been able to give some advice to that?

Ken:                                       [00:55:31]               Yeah, actually I have, I have a number of people that have asked me because of the story and because of some of the interviews they said, oh, well, you know, what can I do to get my kids going? and I’d say, well, you know, how many slots have you got on your account? What’s your tear? And get them going, get them onto the computer next to you, get them designed and get, you know, use some of the tools that are out there and let them just throw their ideas out. And, and the other thing is, is you have to watch it because you’re dealing with kids that have to be molded, they don’t understand copyright, they don’t understand trademark and you know, help them out with that and teach them and help them grow and, and just allow them to experiment and you know, if you’ve got the account, you’ve got the ability to get your kids putting stuff up. and that’s how we started. My son came to me the one day and said, hey dad, can I put some shirts up? Like, can I make some money doing this? I said, yeah, let’s put them on my account. And anything that sells she can, you can earn a. So it’s as easy as starting out that way.

Stephen:                             [00:56:32]               All right. What’s next for the real family? Like what do you, what do you see, uh, you know, it sounds like your daughter’s in school, one of your sons is getting close to it. Uh, what do you think? Where do you see this business or this lifestyle business that you’ve created as a family going,

Ken:                                       [00:56:50]               uh, just increasing. I mean it’s, it’s building it into a stronger and stronger passive income. A merchant is a lot of work but can become quite passive depending on how you build your, your success and build your brand. And that’s another thIng is building into some brands and taking it from there and, and continuing on, just having fun with it.

Stephen:                             [00:57:11]               Yeah. I think about that. life is good brand, right? That’s a good example of one that somebody took shirts and made this. That’s still possible, isn’t it?

Ken:                                       [00:57:19]               Of course that’s happening all the time because because people, t shirts aren’t going anywhere and, and this has become even more prevailing with. Everybody wants to wear their phrase on their chest, right? They want to, they want to wear what they’re thinking. It’s a state message. Yeah. they don’t necessarily want to walk up to you and say, this is what I believe they want to walk past you with it on their shirt and have you turned their head and say, oh, what was that guy that that’s what he thinks, you know, and, and that’s, it’s part of the world becoming very polarized, but it’s also a good thing because people are now finding a medium in which to bring out their thoughts and their expressions, whether regardless of what it is, whether it’s a hobby or a business or, you know, maybe it’s just a funny thing that they want to walk by with. But uh, they’re here to stay. They’re not going anywhere. The trend isn’t going to change and all of a sudden, oh, nobody wants to put a graphic

Stephen:                             [00:58:13]               phrase on a tee shirt. Right? Like you just described though, is a conversation again, when that person walks past me with that shirt and that statement and I read it, it’s a conversation, right? They communicated with me. I read it in my mind, I, I put my thoughts together on it. It was an unspoken conversation, but it’s a conversation nonetheless. Hence the reason there’s the connection and the success. yeah, and like yourself, that’s very like being an accountant.

Ken:                                       [00:58:40]               You can walk up the street and have a silent conversation with every accountant on the boardwalk because of what you’re wearing on your.

Stephen:                             [00:58:47]               Oh, tcc committed. Yeah, you’re right. I mean, I’ve never thought about it this way. You blow my mind. All right, so if somebody has a more questions, do you have a group? Is that it might correct that you have a group or you’re part of a group or somethIng? Uh,

Ken:                                       [00:59:03]               you help admin. Uh, chris green’s big merch by amazon group, merge dojo goop. Uh, it’s emerged. Oh, joe is on the side. I did some of the training with him in la, but the big merch by amazon merch life or marriage life, go had that connection there and then merged success two point. Oh, the one that I had been merged success, but I would actually put a bigger punch out to a new group that I started. It’s called merchant watchdogs and it’s an initiative that’s not so much about designing shirts was initiative go after frivolous trademark owners and that’s become a real problem in the industry. And there’s a real passion there and we’re growing and we’re actually finding a way to beat back a lot of these frivolous trademarking. Somebody will copy, rigHt? They’ll just copy your stuff and then put it out there and say, oh, you know, you’re infringing on my trademark.

Ken:                                       [00:59:54]               And it’s like, no, uh, I had this before you write already copyright, excuse me. Um, no, I was there first. Right? Is That, is that an example? A part of it is a popular phrase, hits the market and the first thing somebody tries to do is go to the us pto and trademark that phrase with a thought process that if I can trademark that for tee shirts, I can take everybody else down and that’s actually an incorrect way that trademark work. So there’s not the way trademark, but that was what was happening. Correct. It was, and is, and it’s still a real cancer within the industry right now. Uh, so we’re attacking, you’re attacking it and so if somebody was interested in saying, hey, this has happened to me, you could join merchant watchdogs and you can join the discussion and start being part of the solution.

Ken:                                       [01:00:40]               Definitely. And we are making a change in the industry. We’ve identified a way to protest these and we’re now starting to get some of these applications killed. Uh, which is good for the entire industry. We’re taking it across. Originally we started with merge by amazon now, or no, no, no, this is etsy. This is t for t spring. This is t public. Anybody in the print on the mat. It could be create space, it could be jewelry, it could be other classes because this is really, as I said, a cancer in the industry that’s occurring. And I finally said to myself one night, we, we either sit around and complain or we’d go and do something. And so I put up a group and you know, there’s, we’re closing in on 4,000 members and we got people donating to help get lawyers put in a, a oppositions.

Ken:                                       [01:01:25]               And people are writing letters of protest. And it’s, it’s really changing things. It’s really been so you, that 15 minutes is getting extended. It is going to be a little longer than that. I’m just like, all right. So if somebody wants to follow up with the question, what’s the best way to get you? Honestly, the easiest way is just hit me up on facebook, so I’ll put your name, tag me or send me a private message and I’ll try and get. All right. So my final question to ask everyone, and I think you just gave some good examples, um, is that this is merchant amazon specific. I’m going to make it that way or print on demand. I guess it’d be a better one. You know, a lot of us opened up those accounts when crude screen says, hey, you should join merge by amazon, right? Whenever he says anyThing, we all just do it, right? We’re like lemmings and we all just do it. Ninety nine percent of people did nothing with it. And then all of a sudden they’re like, wait, this is really taken off. I better go start doing things. But they put up those shirts. They have no

Stephen:                             [01:02:19]               success. Um, they struggle. They don’t, quite frankly, there probably didn’t do the work, didn’t do the research, didn’t do all those things. what’s your advice to those people rather than walking away because it, it breaks my heart to see because listen to the story of kennedy’s family, listen to what it can be, right? The fact that I sell $250,000 collectively as a family. How many family farms do that in the first couple of years? Not many. So the fact that that potential is still there, and ken just, you heard him say that there’s absolutely. The demand is as huge opportunities. Great. But they walk away from it. Can they never see it through? What’s your advice to get them past that stuck point?

Ken:                                       [01:03:00]               The advice is they’ve got to enjoy it. They’ve got to enjoy what they’re doing and they’ve got to research it. Um, we’ve been talking about this over and over through this conversation is they have to put themselves in the role of a buyer a, they have to be, like you said, the accountant walking down the street, having that silent conversation with other accountants because what’s on your shirt connects and I’ll, I’ll be the first to say some people will not figure that out, but for a lot of people, um, there’s different ways they can go about this. It can be a such thing as local merchant can be licensing. It can be somebody that’s really good about crafts, it could be people that are realizing they can tie it into their facebook group. A, they need to put in the time they need to be able and willing to probably spend 80 percent of their time researching before they even designed something very powerful. Absolutely. Very powerful. Alright man, I wish you nothing but success. I can’t wait to see where the family goes next. Thank you so much. It’s been good at being here

Stephen:                             [01:04:04]               guys. Very cool. Is that a cool story? I mean, just imagine actually having a conversation with your kids and they don’t have their phones in their hand and their visit a wow. I think there’s a, you know, bringing it back then analogy of the family farm and, or him and his dad and his brother talking about beekeeping and having those discussions at dinner. Uh, now he can do that with that. I didn’t get to come home and talk accounting with my kids. That wasn’t something that we had a conversation, but now the ability to have a conversation over a similar interest. How cool was that? Especially with a daughter that has similar. I mean, it’s just so cool to think about that. This potential is here, but it’s intentional. It’s ken doing the research. You heard him say it, you know, half a dozen, maybe more times. He’s trying to beat it in me, steve, you have to do the research and he’s 100 percent right. That means there’s work. This is a four letter word. There’s work here, but if you love it, that’s a four letter word. Even stronger ecommerce momentum.com. Ecommerce momentum.com. Take care.

Speaker 2:                           [01:05:02]               Thanks for listening to the ecommerce momentum podcast. All the links mentioned today can be found at incomers momentum. Doug, come under this episode number. Please remember to subscribe and like us on itunes.

 

 

 

Stephen-Peterson

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