Charlene has been selling wholesale a long time. A real long time! So here is a clue- listen close to someone selling for a long time. (psst.. she has figured out a few things!) Great conversation where we talk vendor relationships, trade show planning and general business common sense.
Charlene’s previous episodes:
Charlene’s Group: Wholesale Sourcing Experts
Transcript: (note- this is a new tool I am trying out so it is not perfect- it does seem to be getting better)
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Stephen: [00:02:09] I didn’t 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 save $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?
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Stephen: [00:04:28] That’s what you want to. You want to take advantage of that, right? I mean, it’s fair, uh, 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 surface. 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 in 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.
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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.
Cool voice guy: [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: [00:07:26] Welcome back to the ECOMMERCE momentum podcast. This is episode 310, Charlene Anderson. I love talking to Charlene. This is our third time on. She was previously episode 76 and [inaudible] 97 $76 or story one 97 is a very cool discussion about her and her husband and they’re separate businesses both on Amazon, um, and the places where they crossover and the value that that brings. And that’s a very cool one too when you’re ready to get there. But when I, she’s like an artisan in this business, like a crafts person, somebody who’s just that, you know, where I could put in a door, but she puts it in with fine details. I think that’s the best way to describe Charlene g really is an expert. I’m very direct, very matter of fact, uh, pulls no punches, but you know, you know, you’re going to get a straight answer and I just think it’s valuable.
Stephen: [00:08:16] Um, she gives so many great tips here about wholesale and in her world wholesales not to add wholesales, thriving. As a matter of fact, she believes it’s the only business to have on Amazon. And so she has a group and I let her pick your group. Um, I don’t benefit other than, again, if you find success there, I, when you know, that’s my theory on life and I’m so excited about it. I think she just brings so much value. Let’s get into that story. All right. Welcome back to the ECOMMERCE momentum podcast. Very excited about today’s guests are return guest. One 97 was the episode that’s a long time ago. Back in 2017. So I guess it was more than a year ago. Charlene Anderson. Welcome Charlene.
Charlene: [00:08:59] Thanks. This is my third time on the show. This is your third time. I’m sorry, number 76. I’m sorry, number 76. I apologize. That was. I love it. It’s like we have an annual update because,
Stephen: [00:09:13] you know, it’s funny. In our pre show we were talking about it, things are changing so quickly. Your description is you wake up every morning and you don’t know what shoe is. Gonna drop. And it’s not only from Amazon, right? I mean it’s from your vendors. It’s the announcement today that sears is closing another 72 stores. That’s going to impact somebody somewhere that we know in some.
Charlene: [00:09:35] Exactly. Exactly. It is interesting. I’m in a fortunate position that my fear of the change doesn’t come from my vendors because I have vendors who have been smart enough to realize that selling to anybody and everybody doesn’t mean they’re going to sell more product. So they, most of them have limited who they’ve taken on as their wholesale sources for Amazon and are very good about controlling that because face it, you know, if you’re going to sell 100 widgets, it doesn’t matter if you have two people selling number 20 people, you’re still only selling 100 widgets. It’s just spread out over a whole bunch more people, which means more paperwork and more collections and more hassle.
Stephen: [00:10:16] And, and you know, worry about other companies you know, need money so they’re going to drop the price when they know you, when you have a few people that you know, they know that relationship is deeper and you could work out things right? You could go to them saying, Hey, I’m having trouble moving this product. You know, can we work something out when you have a real sales rep and I love that we have real sales reps.
Charlene: [00:10:37] you are totally correct because I just had to do that. I had one bit of a line. I’m one of my suppliers. I carry like 600 skews from them, but I had one product that just sat here and no matter what I did, I couldn’t move this one product and only had 10 of them, so not a big deal, but they sat here for like a year. So I recalled them from the Amazon warehouse and called rob up. I said, rob, can you just take these back? They aren’t selling. He’s like, sure, no problem. Like, isn’t that great? You know?
Stephen: [00:11:06] Well I was thinking about your world too because you sell in the craft world and when I think about sears and Kmart and a um, some of those kinds of companies, they touch into your world. No, no, no. We’re deep. I mean they have, you know, what, 100 skews or something like that. But does those closes affect you?
Charlene: [00:11:27] You know what? No, I’m going to say no because my craft niche is a slightly higher end stuff than you would find at Walmart or kmart or anything. It’s probably an on the whole, a notch above what you’ll find at a michaels or Joanns, which are the big craft. Big Box stores up into way ahead. So I’ve made a concerted effort. I don’t sell the brands you can find at big box craft stores because they are profitable because every other day michaels or Joanns has a buy one for 50 percent off coupon, you know? Well there’s no way we could do that. So I don’t carry those brands. That’s a good lesson because what they would have told you is that charlene, look, nobody’s getting it at a lower price than you. Nobody. Well, yes, if you can offer a 50 percent off coupon off of one of them, that’s 25 percent cheaper, guess what?
Charlene: [00:12:16] They’re buying it cheaper than you are right now. And then. And just because you get the lowest published price doesn’t mean they aren’t getting a price that isn’t even published. You know? I mean, people can say, well, I’m buying in that column on the price list. That’s the lowest price. Well, yeah, on the price list. Yeah. But there may be other price lists. Is there, there may be unwritten prices too, you know, and it wholesale isn’t there. There are other terms that you can get that give you discounts in other ways. A prepayment discounts, a different, different other ways. So the price is the price. However, your bill isn’t necessarily your bill, right? It could be free shipping, it could be a free credit on your next invoice. Um, your advertising money marketing dot. Yeah. I run sponsored product ads on a lot of the lines I carry and I have one of them who will pay for half of my advertising dollars up to a certain point.
Charlene: [00:13:13] So that’s. Yeah, it’s a discount. I mean it allows me to advertise more because in my budget, if I have $100 and they’re going to pay 50, I could still spend 100, you know, and be ahead. So there’s lots of little things I have. One that I love is a company who gives me net 30 terms, so that means I have 30 days to pay for the product and then they let me pay for it with a credit card that gives me two percent cash back and another 28 days float basically. Nice time. Everything, right. You theoretically could have almost two months to pay for the product and get the points or dollars back on your credit card. Now one time you had a significant number of skews. Do you still? I do. I actually have more than I. I’m always increasing. Um, I try to add at least one skew from a particular supplier every time I reordered, which is about once a week, um, just to test them and they allow me to just buy one, which is wonderful. So it’s an easy test. Light and expensive I remember. Yep. And the small and the light are the two most important. Um, I have found that I have a certain product line that, that accounts for a huge part of my business that is not expensive. The average selling price on it’s about $17 and I don’t consider that expensive, but I sell a ton of it myself hundreds every day. So you know, even though I’m only made four or $5 each, when you sell hundreds of them it up to real money pretty fast.
Stephen: [00:14:53] Now let’s, uh, let’s give a little context for people. If they don’t know your story, they should go back and listen to [inaudible] 76 because that’s the real story. But one of the things that struck stuck in my mind is that you live in the middle of nowhere in paradise and you have no warehouse, right? You don’t have any of those things. And so it is by design small and light. And what’s interesting to me when you said that is that you’re going a notch above the stores, pretty much all the retail stores the way you described it, because there’s not many, I guess, I don’t know if you have it.
Charlene: [00:15:25] There are mom and pop higher end stores in the craft field and know that’s what I am, you know, so you’re online version of it. Yeah, exactly. Okay. There’s a Dick Blick in my market that’s they compete with me on some of my products. They are. They are there, but they are more the art side of arts and crafts. I’m one of the craft side of arts and crafts, if that makes sense. It does. It does. How they carry a lot more painting and drawing and sculpting stuff where I carry a lot of textile stuff and jewelry making stuff and all that, but there’s a point in the middle where we do meet,
Stephen: [00:16:00] you know, the other thing that came up in our pre discussion was how things are changing so rapidly outside of our control. Right, and I was thinking about that. When you have that number of skews, does, does that make you pause or is that the reason you’re adding a skew because you just know that at any moment I could lose this line. I’m hopefully not. I guess like you said,
Charlene: [00:16:20] you’re not really worried about that side. I guess relationships, losing the line, it’s that things go out of style or out of fashion. So one particular niche, micro niche in the field maybe. Great for six months or a year and then people are tired and they move onto something else. So what I sold six months ago, like crazy, I may not be able to sell as well now because not everybody’s interested. They’ve moved onto some other technique or product or something like that. So
Stephen: [00:16:49] how do you stay up on those trends? Because you’re right, that is a Yeti is a business that crocheting today, but it might not be tomorrow or.
Charlene: [00:16:56] That’s right. Exactly. That’s exactly right. Um, adult coloring member, how you coloring books. It’s gone. I mean it’s still got a little toehold from the diehards but the numbers are nowhere near what it was two years ago. Is that our attention span? Is that what it is? Yeah. And people did it because everybody else was doing it. Right, right. Sure. And then they find out they really don’t like it all that much, you know, I mean that’s, that’s what happens with a lot of craft stuff is they find out they don’t like it, you know, and then they move on. So. So do you find those markets? Yeah. Do you play in those markets? I did. I got into the coloring market in a very, very small way with some very, very high end pens that still appeal to, I don’t want to say real artists, but more serious artists, you know, instead that.
Charlene: [00:17:49] But I never got into it in any big way because I could see that it was going to be a fad. It grew too fast too quickly. When you start seeing something in airport, a gift shops, coloring books and pencils and airport gift shop, you know that it’s, it’s a fad. It’s the fidget spinner. It’s there when everybody has it, you know, and they’re all right. But we were at a conference or a trade show, I don’t want to, I want to say it’s New York now, but one of these trade shows and there was a, a office supply company and they had pens and I because I sold office supplies before and pens and stuff like that. Knew these were high end expensive pens and I remember, and I might have told this story last time we talked, so if I did, I apologize, but it was basically the prices, it was a distributed, turns out they were distributed and so even at the prices that they could get it down to, I couldn’t find the price to match on Amazon.
Charlene: [00:18:41] They were selling below maps so far below map that it had to be a distributor selling direct. This the only way somebody could make money. And so there was no way I could get in the middle there. Are you seeing that in your world? Um, with some of the, what I call the kind of fringe products that I sell. Yeah. But in one particular vendor and, and it just pops to mind. But for the most part I’ve been fortunate that the, the, the, the wholesalers I have found in most cases are the manufacturer and they know that their strong suit is developing and manufacturing products not retailing them. So they, they are very clear that that’s not what we do. Um, we’re better, you know, designing, inventing, designing something and making it, then I’m trying to retail it. So, um, those are the kinds of vendors people need to look for and ask, ask them if they sell themselves.
Charlene: [00:19:44] Let’s talk about that as well because I want to go to trade shows and I want to talk about it because you are an expert at trade shows or finding wholesale accounts. Um, and so I think we should talk about that because it’s more than just going up less trade show. Is that everybody? You’re the eighth person that told me you can fix Amazon for me. Steve, come on. Right. That’s what they’re saying to you. Right? I’m finding that they know a lot more about it, so they’re much more educated, but it’s still a big issue. What, what do you say? What are the questions? Are you asking? Because I think it’s important just not to find an account. You want to find an account that works for both of you. I think that’s really important. So let’s talk about that. So he can’t be all about you.
Charlene: [00:20:25] It has to work for them too. Or there’s no point. So yeah, that’s that kind of, you know, the only deal is the deal when both people are unhappy. Kinda that saying it has to be good for both of these. So I asked flat out give you sell on Amazon as a manufacturer, you know, and I’ll have done my homework before, I’ll look at the list of boosts and I will check before, but I just want to see what they say. And then I will ask, do you sell to Amazon on you? That’s the big one. You know, and you will find a lot of vendors think that’s the holy grail of their, their businesses. Once Amazon starts buying their products, they’ve got it made.
Speaker 5: [00:21:05] It was like everybody used to say about Walmart. Yeah. Once Walmart takes my product. And then you look at the people that are in Walmart and they’re like, man, this was the biggest mistake I made.
Charlene: [00:21:13] They’re killing us on everything from taking 120 days to pay to returns. I’m wanting you to take back all customer returns to um, changing po number. So you get a nice little thousand unit po from Amazon and two months later as you’re busy manufacturing all the products, they say, no, we really only want $100. So what do you do with the other 900? He announced we didn’t really mean that zero. Yeah, exactly. But, and if you look at their terms in their, their vendor terms, those are things that they have the right to do. They are ruthless to their suppliers. So especially small businesses, small manufacturers, it may not be the best thing in the world for them to sell to Amazon because they may not be able to afford to wait 90 days for payment or in some cases 120 days for payment, they may need to pay their employees now and that’s where we come in. We can say, well yeah, we’ll pay for it before we get it.
Speaker 5: [00:22:14] So when you say that that opens up the door, I mean, are you afraid of an account where they sell themselves online and then you would be the second account?
Charlene: [00:22:23] Do you for those days, you don’t like that either so much because they have all the power and the pricing, meaning even if they have map pricing in place, they don’t have to abide by it. Right. That’s a big one.
Speaker 5: [00:22:36] So, but that account is somebody. I wouldn’t, if they’re not trustworthy, I wouldn’t want to be with them anyway.
Charlene: [00:22:41] Exactly. Exactly. So I tend not to, um, fortunately a lot of the small companies I deal with, I’m just don’t they want to be on Amazon, but they don’t want to learn about their, like brains are maxed out with all the things it takes to invent and develop a product and manage the production and all that. They want to be on Amazon for sure. But they don’t want to have to do it. So that’s where people like you and I come in.
Speaker 5: [00:23:09] Yeah, that’s a good point. So thinking about the accounts that you deal with where you have 600 skews from one vendor, right? That’s a lot of different pieces. Yeah. I guess we don’t consider it because here we are in, we’re in the private label world. Some of us and we’re bringing one product to market and we see how difficult is for one product and and we have the luxury today of all the sourcing agents and all these freight forwarders and all this stuff that we didn’t, they didn’t exist not long ago and here this vendor’s letting you sell 600 of their. How many?
Charlene: [00:23:39] So one of them’s got like six, $7,000.
Speaker 5: [00:23:42] Okay. So they’re bringing in 6,000 because they have to reinvent these things. It’s not like they can get it there and then let it go for 20 years. Generally most things have to get
Charlene: [00:23:53] tools and that’s, I mean we’re talking on one product and we’re overwhelmed. Can you imagine? Six or 7,000. This one they have. Most of their products are made in India and they have agents who are there full time supervising the production of the products. I’m just because of those numbers and they can’t afford things to go wrong because there are really, really well known name and they can’t afford for things to slip through the cracks and the quality not be there. So I’m. So I’m happy to let them do that part because I want to.
Speaker 5: [00:24:26] Right. I can’t imagine what that’s like. And then for you to step in and take the other part off of them is a valuable thing. Tell me this, why do they want to use you as opposed to. I mean, is that piece of their business getting taken away from the whoever the retailers are that are still left? Are those, are those retailers exempt from this move to the Internet? Are they feeling the crunch? Are they going out of business
Charlene: [00:24:52] business? Well, here’s the thing I found in the crafts and arts and crafts market. I’m not. Everybody has a store within driving distance that carries these kinds of things. I mean, I’m the perfect example. The closest store to me would be Salt Lake City and that’s 300 miles. I’m not going to drive that far. Can you bring home a loaf of bread on your way home, honey? Exactly. So, so you think of how many Americans are in that same situation. So pick the niche area and let’s just say it’s artists and made jewelry. Okay? That’s what you’re selling. How many people live near and artists and jewelry store, you know, probably not as many as you think. So you have the opportunity to sell to all those people who don’t have a brick and mortar store available to them. I don’t know that, that I scrape off a lot of business from the brick and mortar stores because in the arts and crafts field, there’s something to be said for going and touching and seeing and looking and all that, you know. Um,
Speaker 5: [00:25:52] so those buyers are dedicated to their stores that. Right. It’s not like they’re going to buy one and then they go or they go into the store and they match it online and do all that just because it’s one offs in that kind of thing.
Charlene: [00:26:03] Yeah. I just don’t see that, that those are the same people who I’m getting on Amazon. I mean, I’ve had feedback come back that said I went to my local knitting store to buy this and they were all sold out, so I got bought it on Amazon. Well, that’s the local knitting store’s problem that they didn’t stay in stock. You know, I’m not an internet competition issue. That’s a for inventory management. Exactly. So I have no guilt in stealing those kinds and customers because they made a choice by not staying in stock and I was in. There you go. So, um, I’m having owned a brick and mortar store. I understand the difficulties and all that, but I also understand the advantages they have in the arts and crafts niche. The touchy feely thing is huge and I can’t do that online. And I think it’s important for people to understand is that the reason you’re doing so well in the arts and crafts world is because you did have a retail store and that is your life.
Charlene: [00:27:01] You enjoy that piece of that world. It’s not an easy business just to run a scraper on and just source these things because a, there’s so many skews and then you have to go deep on them and then all of a sudden year, 2000, 3000 skews in and we’re talking pennies on some of these things. How about this? Because you are, her group Charlene’s group is called wholesale sourcing experts. So that’s the facebook group and it’s a paid group if you’re interested in it and I’ll put a link to it, but in your group, what do you advise people, because obviously you don’t want them to go into your world because that’s not their love and maybe it is, but probably not in the group who are in the same world because they love it. That’s what they were interested in before they ever joined the group.
Charlene: [00:27:44] So let’s talk about when somebody new comes to the group and they’re like, you know, Charlene, I, you know, I just don’t know where to start. What’s your advice? You got to pick a niche. Definitely. You have to pick a niche. You cannot just be out there looking for wholesalers Willy Nilly and every category you can think of, well what’s it to you? Tell me what, what that would mean to me, which is what all the things you’re looking for work in a brick and mortar store. That’s the way I’ve explained it. So. So you don’t have to say that I’m going to sell clothing. It could be that you’re gonna sell beach things that includes clothing, but that also means you can sell towels and sand chairs and sunscreen and all those related things. So our theme is that the better way to say, yeah, that’s how I think is the easiest way for people to understand because they get hung up in the Amazon categories, right?
Charlene: [00:28:33] Well, I want to sell in the home and garden category and what does that mean? Right? That’s exactly know weed killer to. We’d kill it, right? Two dogs. I mean, you know, you have to at least start narrowing down as to where you’re going to start looking otherwise, where do you start looking? There’s, it’s, it’s endless. The things you can sell. So you need to pretend you’re gonna. Start in brick and mortar store and one, I’m going to south. Well, you know, it could be that you’re going to, you live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and you’re going to sell all southwestern related things. Maybe it’ll work, maybe it won’t. You know, or you live in New York and you’re going to sell all apple thing things for the big apple. So that could be huge because that’s everything from decor to food to clothing, but it’s two gifts.
Charlene: [00:29:23] It’s apple related. So. So when people are searching, you’re going to be known as the apple person. When you’re buying, you’re buying with that mindset, hey, I’m looking for your apple related stuff. Smart. Or you know, there are stores that sell just lefthand and things. There’s a store that sells just purple things. So what, whatever it is that you’re starting in the wholesale space, you have to narrow it down somewhere. You can also narrow it down by trade shows. Right? So trade shows, and I’m not talking about general shows like asd, I’m talking about more specific shows like the national hardware show or the housewares show in Chicago or the New York stationery show or New York. Now you’ve mentioned that by having that niche, then you know what shows you can start looking at or you can look at the shows and develop niches that way. But I think the worst thing to do when you’re starting out wholesale is to go to a general. I show like asd and think that’s going to solve your problems because there’s, there’s no relationship from one thing to the other there. There’s no overlying theme.
Speaker 5: [00:30:33] Now they’re likely, if you’re in nothing, let’s go back to the apple team. There are likely, you know, 20, 30, 40, maybe 300 vendors that sell apple related stuff. And if you knew that in advance, that would be helpful. Right. That would help you because you can’t get through the whole thing. I mean you can’t even get through one building to do it. Right. Um, so that would allow you something to do.
Charlene: [00:30:54] Yeah, there has to be some way of narrowing down the whole world of retail products in some way. And it also, it has to be something that you will be happy living, breathing, thinking at 24 slash seven. So for me, I use the example, I could never sell toys. I don’t have children, I don’t know anything about toys and I don’t find them in find it interesting. So that would be torture. That would be hating my business because I have to think about toys all the time. I’d have to look at what the trends are coming. I would have to go to do focus groups, you know, all that kind of stuff. I don’t want to do it for toys. Arts and crafts. Yeah. I’m happy as a clam to do it for that. So you got to remember, no matter what it is you’re selling, I think you have to like it. And that’s where we have an advantage over the data driven people that just scraped listings and look for stuff to sell.
Speaker 5: [00:31:49] Well, I think there’s a valid point in what you just said because you know what selling because you’re in that niche. So when you see similar products or you’re looking for complimentary products, you just, you already know that you can tag it and sell it. Right? I mean, that’s a, that’s important. I think, like you say, when you’re selling, when you’re a walmart approach to this business, a, you don’t have enough money, um, be. It doesn’t work and you’ll never get, you’ll, you’ll tread. I don’t even know if you’ll tread water. You’ll never make it in any of those areas a deep.
Charlene: [00:32:21] And you’ll make sensible doing it. Yeah. And you’ll be miserable at the same time. Which to me is even worse. You know, we kind of do. This man says, because we don’t want to be unhappy at our job. So we chosen to start our own business. It doesn’t seem that freedom. Yeah, exactly. So, so it’s got to be something that you are willing and happily think, think and breathe and eat 24 slash seven, whatever that niche may be. And it may be something that I would absolutely hate, but that doesn’t matter because you’re the one who asked to love it.
Speaker 5: [00:32:50] Do you recommend a number of vendors that new sellers start with? So they’re in wholesale, they’re there, they picked her, their theme, and I think that’s a better way to say the niche because like you said, people go to categories and Amazon, we don’t mean it that way. It’s a theme and I think that’s a better description. A visually. So they picked their beach theme and now they’re getting ready to start working for vendors. How many do you recommend when they’re starting out?
Charlene: [00:33:15] The first one’s always the hardest one. All right. One isn’t easy. You recommended one. It all depends on how many skews each of them carry. Okay. You can see theoretically you could run a successful Amazon business with just one of my vendors. But is that a good plan? Um, I don’t think so because I don’t want everything tied just to one.
Speaker 5: [00:33:39] Right? Because you don’t know their succession plan. You don’t know what
Charlene: [00:33:41] exhibit world. And that’s a very good point. The secession plan. I don’t, I know the owner quite well. I know he is right hand woman, very, very well, but I don’t know what his plans are. He got the business from someone else when the person sold it bought 15 years ago. So it has happened once. Fortunately a great person to person took it over, but you don’t know what’s going to happen. So, um, I definitely suggest more than one. Um, but I also suggest that people go wide, not deep when they start sourcing. That means buy as few as possible until, you know, it’s gonna sell like crazy. Yeah, I mean I’ve got tons of my vendors will let me buy one, two, three. Is there, there minimum on stuff because you don’t know how long it’ll last. And I got an interesting conundrum going on right now.
Charlene: [00:34:36] I have a book that I’m selling in it, so really expensive book. It’s retails for almost $70 that I buy directly from the author. He wanted me to do Amazon because he didn’t want to. He has a regular job but wrote this fabulous book. I’m in the craft snitch that is like the go to thing. So I’m selling it for him, but it’s been on the market now about eight months. Um, it used to be when I’d get a shipment of a man, I would sell out like overnight, you know, I’d put up the 36 books because they came in and they would be gone the next morning. I’m merchant fulfilling because I never had time to get them into Fba, you know? So, but now it’s slowing down. I got a shipment in yesterday and I’m only sold two. Oh. So you can tell everybody who has this very expensive craft book pretty much has it, you know, um, so I think it’s a book that will pick up again at Christmas because it will be one that people will buy as a gift for someone.
Charlene: [00:35:38] Um, but you know, I didn’t want to order pallets and pallets of the book because every product has a life cycle, you know, and you have to know the minute things start slowing down to back off on your orders too because you don’t want to be stuck with a warehouse full of stuff that’s now unsellable. Now in that case, would you consider sending it into Fba or something different or like you said, sponsored ads or something like that? Do. So I run sponsored ads and he is a very well known name in this craft niche and he, he does classes and webinars and um, and does enough social media stuff on his own. But, um, I will continue to keep into soccer. I think I’m still going to merchant fulfill it. Um, just because I have enough of the book fold boxes to put them in. And it’s pretty simple, um, and the margins are far better and there’s nobody else selling it on Amazon.
Charlene: [00:36:34] So it’s either me or nobody. If there were other people, then definitely I would send it into FDA. I think this is another point that you just mentioned that is really important for new sellers coming on. Keep it simple, right? When you’re starting out complication, you’re going to have enough complications, right? I mean, there’s just so many moving pieces to this world. Keeping it simple as that. How does that advice go? You have to, especially if you’re renting a one person or a two or three person business. Um, I made choices when I started the business on how I wanted to run it. One I didn’t want to warehouse, um, to. I didn’t want employees just because I didn’t want to have to get dressed and go somewhere to work, especially when it’s 40 below and snelling, um, two warehouses that are incredibly expensive here.
Charlene: [00:37:23] You know, I have a 10 by 10 storage unit for all the, you know, the winter stuff in the summer, in the summer stuff in the winter. And it’s a couple hundred dollars a month just for an unheated storage unit. So, um, so warehouse space, you know, you’re looking for $5,000 minimum plus utilities. So no, I didn’t want that. So, um, so my limiting factors are those two things, right? I can only, um, I only have enough space for so much stuff and I don’t want employees to supervise, so I have to find a way to either process and myself or use a prep center. And I’ve chosen to process it myself mainly because the vast majority of my products don’t have upc codes, which means the person prepping it could very easily make a mistake. They all look alike, you know, but there’s small valuable and Steve Remember the exact stuck in my head.
Charlene: [00:38:19] Small, valuable. Yeah. And you know what, I have another kind of benchmark that I use. I usually ship one box at a time because I can get several hundred units of almost everything in one box and I want $500 profit on that box. Nice. So, you know, those are my parameters. So, um, if I get things were only four of them will fit in a box and I only make $20 each. That doesn’t fit my parameters to well does it? I only made $80 on the whole box instead of $500. So you’ll walk away going forward on that product? Yeah. Okay. Yeah. And that’s smart. That’s really smart. I think I use a hassle factor for me if it’s a hassle, I don’t like hassles. I don’t want to have to do extra bubble wrapping stuff. I bag everything polybag and um, I have a nice little foot operated sealer but most of my bags are like four by 10 is my most used bag and the things in it are almost flat.
Charlene: [00:39:17] So you can see how fast that can be processed and having seen how stuff comes back from the Amazon warehouse. I still a firm believer that everything should be poly bag no matter what it is. But I, I don’t disagree. We sell books and no matter what book I always tell my wife and my son, same thing, I don’t care how it goes out, it goes into polybag because I just assume it’s going to get wet somewhere. That’s right. And we’ve been selling for books for Oh God, I don’t know, almost 10 years. And it’s like I’ve never had a complaint about a web book and I’ve had other complaints, but that take away those things. And ypo by poly bagging every item you’re taking away generally the possibility of a getting mixed up into something else. Yeah, that’s very true too. And if the, the um, the FN skew label is on under the poly bag, then odds are that labels are going to come off either, which is another plus.
Charlene: [00:40:10] Is that a pro tip? Hold on, pause, pause, pause. Let’s just do that again. So you sell a lot of small and light. So let’s just use an example. You are selling knitting needles. Okay. So those knitting needles a, let’s just say we’re going to take and put them in a polybag. So you would somehow band them together so they stay together and then put a label on the inside of the bag. Well, knitting needles come in a polybag already. I’m usually with a hole punched in the top, so a retail store could hang them on a hook system, you know? Um, so I just put the label on that poly bag that they come in from the manufacturer and put it in another polybag and then he seal the top and done. So the labels inside it can’t get knocked off in the warehouse or anything like that.
Charlene: [00:40:56] And um, lots of knitters use those manufacturers, poly bags to store their things. And so they like it nice and fresh. They don’t want it all shoot up from the Amazon warehouse. So it does make it look nicer that way too. All right, so let’s continue on the trade show. So one of the things that you, um, you talk about a lot is how to approach a trade show. I think your advice early on was sound, which is look, look for the ones that are tied to your niche because it’s not a big time waster. The other little hint and clue you dropped in there, I’m paying attention, is to the research upfront. Know who the vendors are looking at advanced at their products. What do they sell on Amazon, how deep is their catalog? Because one of the best conversations you have with the vendor is, hey, I see that you have these, you know, red and blue and yellow on Amazon, but let me tell you a black and white also sell purple and you do not.
Charlene: [00:41:49] Can I bring them for you to the Amazon marketplace? Exactly. That’s exactly right. And one, one other thing about doing that is it’s flattering to, for people to know that you have looked up their products. Oh yeah, that’s a good one. Yeah. It’s flattering that you thought enough that before you got to the booth, you did a little research on it. Now I don’t research all the shot. I’m going to next week I was like 600 booths. Um, I knock out the ones that are totally out of my niche, meaning they sell things that are either too big, too heavy, too cheap, knowing there’s not enough margin on a whatever, so you can knock off probably half of them that way and then you can go through and knock off the ones you already sells their stuff. You want to stop by and see them definitely, but you don’t need to do any research and you’ll probably have a half a dozen to a dozen left of ones that seem promising and those are the ones you research.
Charlene: [00:42:43] It’s great stuff to do on the plane, Bio Wifi pass and do it or in your hotel room in the evening and you then are in a position of with knowledge a hostess work for you being a woman in the craft world or most retailers, women or the men and then the vendors. Are they men or women? I’m mostly in my, my world in the craft niche. Women dominate both of those vendors and as retailers. Yes. Both. Yeah. I’m interested in. There are a couple of men in the niches who are very, very big names and those are usually longterm family companies that started 100 years ago and they’re the fourth generation to run it. Um, that’s where the men seem to have come in. There are far fewer men developing new products in this niche. Then there are women because more women do this stuff so they know what’s needed and smart.
Charlene: [00:43:43] They’re not as smart. It’s true. I’ll say it. It’s true if it maybe if they did more crafting, they would see what’s missing in the market was just put it down so you don’t run into hey, just these, you know, dealing with the, the, the ladies as opposed. And the men stuff, you don’t deal with that. I, you know, it doesn’t matter to me. I don’t care what, what someone is when they’re selling, you know, the difficulties sometimes we’re getting spoke to, spoken to. I’ve had it happen. I’m not so much in my major niche, but in some of my smaller ones when I’ve gone to shows, like I’ll be there waiting for someone to finish talking. And surprisingly enough, women do this more than men, which is even more annoying. So they’re talking to somebody and I’m there waiting and I’ve made eye contact because I wanted to start talking to them about their products.
Charlene: [00:44:29] And a guy will walk up, they will drop the person they’re talking to a go to that guy, right? Yeah. Yeah. And just like, that just tells me something, right. It’s not that they don’t work with. Exactly. That’s exactly right. And, and I won’t, you know, there’s, that’s, that’s really, um, poor training. Their managers have trained them wrong because they don’t know where the money is. How do you know that that guy has more to spend on product than I do. You don’t, you know, so, so unfortunately it’s sad to say that women do it more than men. Um, but it’s also women of a certain age who were in business in far more difficult times than now, you know, when there were few women sales reps and all of that. So hopefully it’ll change.
Stephen: [00:45:18] Now. Uh, do you still recommend for new people coming in? The best way to find accounts is to go to trade shows or is the best way to use a little thing called Google and look up a little, the new company, my minor company, and look up, uh, accounts that way and then reach out to them that way. What’s your name?
Charlene: [00:45:38] I think you need to do both. Okay. Nothing beats a trade show for seeing the products in person and talking with people in person because as you said at the beginning, this business is all about relationships. All business is all about relationship. But this one is because if, you know, somebody has to vendors to pick from to give the Amazon account too and they know one of them personally and they’ve talked to him at a trade show and they’ve had a nice conversation. And the other one is just someone who sent him an email, who are they going to pick? Right. Is that human nature? They’re going to pick the one they have the relationship with. So I think, I think you can do well when you start by finding, um, wholesalers online, um, through trade journals, through trade organizations. But I think to really grow and like make yourself known in whatever product Sourcing Union and have to do the face to face it shows we have a group member who was terrified about going to a show and she has a very locked down niche, which is easy to articulate.
Charlene: [00:46:47] And there are several trade shows a year that worked for her niche and she wouldn’t go and she wouldn’t go. And she was terrified and she says, I’ll never know what to say to the people. Well, she finally went to one of them and the day after she got there, I got a text message with her in one of the booze with this big old smile on her face looking at the products. She said she couldn’t believe that she wasted several years being afraid of going. So I’m there, I’m going to bite you it in a booth, you know, sell to you. I mean, they want to sell to you, they need you as much as you need them. So I really do think that you need to get to a show and if you live in an area, um, where you could drive to shows and if you don’t go, you are effectively killing your business and you really are.
Stephen: [00:47:37] Every major city has. Um, I mean I was just in Atlanta last week or the week before. I don’t even know. They all run together and the Atlanta marks downtown. Right. So as you mentioned, Chicago, um, with the, um, the housewares and Vegas, Vegas has 20,000 trade shows a year. 20,000.
Charlene: [00:47:54] Yup. You can find one for sure. I think so. I want to go to so many. I don’t have time. I couldn’t go to a trade show every week and find something to buy, you know. Um, the, the one thing you do have to be careful of is the little tiny shows where you may only find one thing and you have to factor in how much it costs you to get there and stay. So if you have to fly, you need to pick bigger shows. But La, I shows I’ve been to one trade show four different times at the Anaheim convention center. They have shows. They have shows everywhere. New York, Denver has shows.
Charlene: [00:48:31] Oh my God. Miami’s another one. Lando. Yeah. Orlando to the big surf show is in Orlando, you know, I mean there’s Denver stole the outdoor retailer show from Salt Lake City because we’d struggled there. That’s why it was because of Utah’s stand on public lands is why I’m meaning they didn’t want to protect them as much. But anyway, there are shows everywhere for everything. You name an itch and I can find you a show. Okay? So here’s the one thing I don’t want you guys to do. I don’t want you to Google xY, , Z wholesale. Okay. That word wholesale has been co opted by wholesale to the public. People know lumber liquidators is wholesale to the public stuff. That’s not the,
Stephen: [00:49:18] you know. So that’s just a generic term to do. So here I googled, I googled this one. Tell me if this is a good one to do. I use Google and I put in wholesale jewelry. Take a guess on how many results came back. Um, and this should be easy to get through. I could probably spend this in an afternoon ticket guests. Oh, probably 100,000. Three hundred and 7 million million. Oh my God. Three hundred and 7 million results. So I could do that this afternoon and go through all those, right?
Charlene: [00:49:46] Yeah. And you’ll be able to qualify for those. Sure. Yeah. That’s what you should do is first of all, narrowed down what kind of job you’re looking for, where a, what style you’re looking for. Do you want Boho necklaces? What does that Bohemian Boho is short for? Bohemian is kind of a hippie conscious.
Stephen: [00:50:07] I’m such a guy says, hold on, I’m going to do this, but a wholesale Boho jewelry. I don’t even know if I spelled jewelry right? I didn’t. So I guess I should put the IED, the right space. That does help. Um, and then I’m going to do that again. Wholesale Boho jewelry necklaces were down to $14 million.
Charlene: [00:50:26] Okay. Well, so there’s, there’s, you get the point, right? You have to narrow it down and you may want made in India or artists and in there, or fair trade is another one. Maybe you made your niches fair trade. So you, you know, you want to look for those, um, maybe you want African inspired, you know, so you have to narrow it down. And here’s the great thing, once you’ve narrowed it down, then you can start widening the net little by little, by little,
Stephen: [00:50:56] by doing that, just so you know, and I think this is a good example. We went from 310 million, now we’re down below 300,000, but in it, I know that’s still way too many. I mean it is obviously, but just at that example, I mean, just think about that. We took Zeros off the end of that by just getting more specific and here. Yeah,
Charlene: [00:51:14] I think adding another word. Yeah, exactly. So, so that’s a way to start. If you’re waiting for your trade show to, to start in three months or whatever, you booked your tickets, you’re ready to go. Um, there’s going to be a list on that trade show website of all the vendors who were there. Start looking at them. Now you’ve got time, but you take these certain, right?
Stephen: [00:51:38] Get rid of the first ones that you’re already buying from, boom, or you don’t want to buy from that you already knew that you didn’t like before, whatever, boom, they’re gone. And then you’re going to narrow it down by your specific niche. You’re going to see if they sell on Amazon, you’re going to see if they sell their whole catalog. You’re going to have all that information. So when you go up there, you’re going to be letting me fail. Let’s face it, you’re going to be the most informed person that they’re going to talk to that day, more than likely.
Charlene: [00:52:02] And who do they want to talk to? This person knows their business, right? Exactly. Who understands the product? Because me selling toys would be stupid because I wouldn’t even know how to target a particular toy to someone. But I can tell you who’s going to buy that crap thing, you know? Um, so this business is all about educating yourself probably at a far faster pace than it’s ever been because I, you are old enough to remember the days of Thomas Registers at the library where you go and look up stuff. Sure. You know, she, we don’t have to do that anymore. We don’t have to go sit for six hours at the public library with that book looking for sources because that’s what I did for my brick and mortar or 50 pound books. I mean these aren’t little bit. Yes. Yeah. Huge.
Stephen: [00:52:47] You went to things that I hear from people that I think we ought to get to is um, my friend invented this thing and she wants me to sell it on Amazon. That’s number one. And number two is. But isn’t all this stuff already out there already existing on Amazon? There’s no opportunity for it. There’s a, there’s so many people selling a Boho jewelry necklaces that are fair trade made in India already. There’s nothing left for me. So those are two different examples. Let’s talk about you
Charlene: [00:53:16] both of them. Okay. I’ve learned the hard way. Don’t do business with friends. Yeah. So the inventor is that the inventors outright there, I might pass them on to someone in our group who sells in that niche. Um, but I’ve learned. I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna risk a friendship over business deal if they’re an important friend. I’m not, you know, and I’ve had lots of people asked me, you know, kind of that same question, you know, can you help me market this or whatever. It’s like, no, sorry, I like you too much to do it. But susie Smith here, I can recommend she does a really good job on Amazon and she sells in this niche. So that’s the first one. Other people may have a different story, but if you kind of look at the history of business, you know, all this stuff we can read about partnerships don’t last. They don’t really work. Somebody’s feelings are hurt. Somebody sues somebody else, you know, I mean job’s and Wazniak weren’t speaking at the end, you know, all of that kind of stuff. So, um, so that’s just my personal. Take
Speaker 5: [00:54:16] the inventors out, you’ll steer them with some guidance with some with some educated guy. I mean, we shouldn’t downplay this. This is an educated, hey, I’m letting you possibly into my network where I filtered out crazy. I filtered out somebody, I hear somebody I trust, boom. That’s a big help. That might be as much help as you can give them. And I think your advice is that where you’re staying in an arms length transaction,
Charlene: [00:54:40] right? And then it becomes between them and another business person, not, not them in their friend. All right. There’s advice there. Yeah. Yeah. That’s the second thing about everything’s on Amazon. Everything. Oh hell now, sorry. But no it’s not. I mean there is a lot on Amazon, but every day I see stuff that’s not. I, I think a great way to research products is um, and this is what I recommend people, my group do and I give them homework, is you have to subscribe to email newsletters from brick and mortar stores in your niche. Okay? So back to the Boho jewelry one, find a brick and mortar store who sells that kind of Jordan? It doesn’t have to be near you, it can be across the country, but one who sells the stuff you like selling, find a couple of those, subscribed to the email newsletters.
Charlene: [00:55:29] Also subscribe to email newsletters from online merchants, have those same products because I have found several really, really good salaries for me and kind of evergreen products because they’re, they’re useful enough over 10 or 20 years that they’re not, they’re not hot, but they aren’t, you know, a dad either. But what you’re getting this new sellers, what do you see some of those products from these newsletters where they’re saying, hey, we have this new product in our stores. Exactly. And one of them is a woman in Israel who invented a product. I’m in the craft field, great product. I mean I’ve found it through an online merchant newsletter and I saw it in. The first thing I did was type in the name of Amazon. It’s like, it’s not there, it’s brilliant. So she was very to find online and I contacted her and boom, I’ve been selling that product for probably five years on Amazon and it’s another small light, expensive. So I can get, you know, a box of them shipped from Israel. I’m fedex. It’s $85 and the profit on that box is about $900 after the shipping. So yeah,
Stephen: [00:56:44] this conversation goes differently. Now you’re dealing right with that individual. She’s flattered because you’re going to bring her to the world’s largest marketplace. Right? And if you do it right, do you ask right up front, hey, I want to bring your product, but you’re going to get bombarded when they see how great your product is. I really would appreciate you staying exclusive with me. Do you have that
Charlene: [00:57:04] conversation right up front and have this conversation with her and it. In this case it was over the phone. Oh, even better. And she understood it. I said, I don’t need a formal written agreement or anything. I trust your word that that’s it. And she says, well, we have one other person who is on Amazon once in a while, you know, she didn’t buy him the numbers I bought and I said, I totally understand because that makes me feel even better that you respect her because she was there first, right? That’s trying to thing for the future past. She sold this product, comes in four sizes and this other woman had one size. Okay. Um, so that’s fine. The other woman has fallen off the face of the earth and I’ve been on the for listings by myself for probably four years now. And she’s, so that handshake over the phone was fine.
Charlene: [00:57:52] Um, I find, you know, that that kind of a approach is far less scary for a manufacturer, especially if they’re new. Then this big old written document, you know, that I want 20 pages of stuff signed and I had an, an attorney draft one of those, but I’ve never used it. Nobody wants to. So it’s, it’s, it’s off putting. And if you’re a one person shop manufacturing this product and you invented it can be scary, you know, you think what’s in that 20 pages that I’m missing that they’re going to try to pull something over on. Its my obligation. Right. Well that’s a, that’s a good spot. So I, I liked the asking for exclusives, but you really have to tread lightly and it wouldn’t be the very first thing I brought up [inaudible] I’ve heard of some people say at, at trade shows, and this is an asd, especially that peep. They’ve seen people go into a booth and say, just sell on Amazon. No. Can you give me an exclusive? No. And then they leave. Who wants to deal with that kind of stuff? Not even introducing yourself and talking, you know, that’s the kind of like being a data scraper now kind of thing. Oh there’s a market,
Stephen: [00:59:07] hey there, you know, data scrapers. I mean there is a business model for that and I think that that takes a special kind of business mind to do that. And it’s all in the numbers period. It’s not loving your product. You’re not building a longterm business on one product, you’re building a, I don’t know, a widget business. I don’t, I don’t know what to call it. You’re building a software business model, works retail business, but that model works and, and you know, I always say to people, hey, if that’s what you’re into and you’re good at it,
Charlene: [00:59:37] more power to you if you love doing that. Yeah, it, yeah, because you would have to love it, you know, doing it gets old. Oh my God, could you imagine, you know, that would be odd to me. Horrible. But that’s fine. I’m not, I’m not even in logged with Xcel, you know. So though I love numbers, I love the numbers part of the business, but doing it all day like that without having a relationship to the products is to me not, not satisfying to my soul, you know, that then it’s all about numbers and I don’t want to make two percent, um, you know, at the end of the day, you know, I’m happy with my 30, at the end of everything, you know. Um, and I’m kind of just dispels another myth, but that the margins are really small and wholesale. They can be, definitely have to be.
Stephen: [01:00:29] You’re going to sell erasers are pencils that you can buy at the dollar store. There’s a reason that you can buy them at the dollar store, right? That means they’re paying less than 33 sensors, whatever the number is, right? That means anybody could sell them for that. And so yes. Uh, that’s not a real profitable. What are you gonna make on it? You know, twenty cents, right? That’s not even margin wise. It doesn’t matter. Um, but Nanette Israel examples, a perfect example, right? A thin market, but one seller. So you’re serving the whole market. That’s a big deal.
Charlene: [01:01:02] Yeah, and the beautiful thing is she is now a trademark or brand name and we’ve worked through brand registry for her, you know, and it was easy for me to help her by pointing or to legal zoom for the trademark and all that kind of stuff. So that’s value
Stephen: [01:01:17] you that you offer. We had somebody, we have a client in our warehouse and we were taking pictures for them the other day. Nobody does that stuff. We were doing some lifestyle pictures for them and that when you do those extra things, that’s where your relationships get deeper and we have no expectation. We don’t want anything. It’s just, hey, we want to help you sell more. That’s right. When it’s, that’s when it’s. When, when I mean to me that vendor is thinking, oh my God, you just save my butt. You just helped me in ways. I don’t know. Um, and it’s very cool. Can I ask you that good feeling too. They’ll leave there feeling really good about you. You know, I want to make sure I get to this because this is important. Um, the last time I had you on, I talked about being in business with a spouse but yet similar businesses. Now you guys have complimentary businesses and he helps you and you help him. That’s still working. It is all right. It is. I just know somebody would ask me. He’s like, hey, how’s that going? Because what I love about is that you’re independent. You get to do your thing. He does his thing and yet there is some crossover, right? There’s some common things.
Charlene: [01:02:27] Sure. Like if a big shipment comes in, I’ll help him process, you know, it’s a harmful thing. He wants some advice on a product, you know, I’ll give, I’ll give the advice, but for us it means that I don’t have to answer to him as to what I do in my business and he doesn’t have to answer to me. And especially on the weekends, he works a nine to five job. I don’t have to feel bad or angry if he wants to go out and do something on the weekend instead of working on the business. Right. Because it’s his business. Right. Good. You know, and if, if he wants to spend his time not working right, that’s totally his choice. I know myself well enough that I would be sitting there fuming while he’s out, you know, I’m hiking in the tetons instead of working on Sunday when their stuff he could be doing it would make me angry and I don’t want to be that way.
Stephen: [01:03:17] Very healthy. I think that’s very healthy for a relationship and I think it’s a great. That was episode one, 97 we got into that and I think there’s some couples out there that might not be getting along in their combined business that maybe separating and kind of, you know, pursuing on your own together could also take away some of that pressure or maybe just doing lines or whatever. However it works out. I think there’s.
Charlene: [01:03:41] And we have totally separate everything, separate Amazon accounts that were approved by Amazon. Everything is totally separate. We’re both llcs. Have our own, we also have trademark names and all that and it works fine, you know, he couldn’t put as much time into as he wants and I don’t have to feel angry that he’s not putting in as much as I think he should, you know.
Stephen: [01:04:02] Nice. So in your group, um, wholesale sourcing experts, and again, I’m going to have links for all of that. One of the things charlene does is, takes really this approach as you can here of helping people kind of navigate, um, smartly. And I think that’s really important to hear this. There’s a smarter approach is a real smart way to do this. And there’s a, there’s a shotgun approach and you really preach because I watched you in that group. You really preach about, you know, narrowing your focus, narrowing your niche or as I for me for two years, that theme. Well No, I think niche is the right word. I just, I don’t, it’s such a broad word for me because again, like I probably like every guy goes right to the Amazon category and it, like you said, and that’s the problem. So I do like the word theme and now.
Stephen: [01:04:47] So what is your brick and mortar store? What would it look like? Yeah. Yeah. And it’s funny, in the podcast world, they call it an Avatar. Who is your Avatar? Steve, who you talking to? Talk to that one person. Don’t worry about anybody else. And so this is really similar. So you’re going to sell that theme that our beach theme and then Charlene helps you really stay focused and really helps. I’ve even seen you pull out, like you said, a couple of trade shows, like, hey, here’s the, here’s the trade show related to it. Take away your excuses, get going and go do the work. Yeah. It’s just, I think it’s a very kick in the rear. Yeah. Yeah. There’s no, you’re not sugarcoating it, but it’s a very polite way and I think that, you know, I tell people all the time, they’re always like, hey, what’s the group?
Stephen: [01:05:26] Steve? Tell me the one that one group, and I’m like, no, you who’s right for you? To me that’s the most important thing. You who do you connect with? Who Resonates with you? And so if you resonate with Charlene, Steve doesn’t benefit in any way then join her group. It’s a paid group. It’s not a lot of money, but it’s, it’s, you know, she wants to get paid for the value that you bring. So I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I think it’s very fair. And so I’ll have links to that and then I’ll have links for charlene’s contact for all that. You know, the one thing about your group that I like is how small it is. Very small. So it’s like easy to get an answer. I’m not fighting my way through. Um, it’s definitely some of the feedback I’ve seen. How about you?
Charlene: [01:06:05] Um, yeah, it’s intentionally small under 200 members. Um, that’s the Max and a lot of our members are husband and wife teams. Um, so there’s actually far fewer businesses involved in it. Um, and the other thing that we are, we are like drama free. You’re a member, you know, drama free, you know, it’s, it’s, um, it’s um, politics free, drama free, and it is a very exceptional group of people who are willing to go out of their way to help other members. They kind of see it as a helping a, a big team instead of competition, which is really, really nice.
Stephen: [01:06:42] It’s a safe place to ask a question and one of the things that I see that’s very cool is you see, as you said, other people answer some of the questions too. Like, Hey, I’ve also had that experience, here’s how I handled it and it’s not necessarily coming from you. And that’s got to be very rewarding for you because it’s almost like seeing the students become the teachers in some way. That’s kind of cool.
Charlene: [01:07:04] It isn’t. A lot of our group members have been members since the group started, which will be four years this fall. Oh my God. We’re getting numbers all along. Yeah. I mean, but here’s the thing. Even though they’ve now become very experienced Amazon sellers, I’m really, really proud that they still find value in the group. You know that it is still worth it. It’s a safe place to ask anything. We don’t publish numbers, so it’s not a pissing contest about who made the most sales or anything. We talked percentages and we talk all of that, but we, you, you won’t see any of those posts about liquid I sold yesterday. You know, I did it $100,000 yesterday kind of stuff because those are immaterial because you could have sold $100,000 in lost money. So it’s, it’s a pointless post and we just don’t do that. You know, I’m, I’m very lucky in that it’s a group without rules that hasn’t needed them. Well, yeah, they’re afraid of me. Yeah. Know they kind of, they kind of understand why certain things are from you.
Stephen: [01:07:59] No, I get it and I, I just, it makes it easy. I mean when the boundaries are clear, it just makes it easier to operate. And again, you know, you go in, you need an answer, boom, you get an answer, you need advice on photography, boom. Somebody gives you an answer, you need a base. Hey, I’m going to this show. What else should I have thought of that’s powerful, especially for newer sellers, and that’s, I love the fact that you’re helping newer sellers a lot because it just, it’s like, you know, you want to wrap your arm around, I feel so bad sometimes and I get a lot of questions and I’m like, I can help you this much, but I’ve got, you know, 15 million other things going on. So I’m sorry, I can’t give you the time. So I think it’s very, very cool. All right, let’s close with this. But I’d like you to do is to help that person who wants to get specifically into wholesale. They’re selling Ra away now. There’s 21 new brands that are ungated, I guess
Charlene: [01:08:45] today, right? But what’s going to happen to them
Stephen: [01:08:48] morrow or they’re going to lose an account. Um, I think there’s some powerful information in this in this episode because you’re talking about brands for the long term. You’re not going into it with a scarcity mentality. You’re not going into a losing that brand. You’re going in developing the relationship, making it stronger, adding value, all the common sense things. So let’s take and give some advice to that new person who wants to come in and join,
Charlene: [01:09:13] um, if they want to do wholesale, they have to be a real business and I say that meaning you have to register with your state for your sales tax license or if you’re in a state with no sales tax, resellers license, you have to have a business bank account, you know, you have to have business cards, you have to do those things that legally make you the basics that every Amazon seller should be doing. But many Ra and always sellers don’t. So you cannot, you cannot funk shit in the wholesale space without those things because many of the wholesalers were asked for that resale number so they can pass it onto their state so they know that they don’t have to pay sales tax on those, those particular sale. So set yourself up as a real business. It’s not hard. It’s not expensive. I’m really lucky to live in a state like Wyoming where setting up an LLC is like so easy and so cheap and we are such a pro business state that it is really easy, but even if it’s hard, you have to do it. It was my state. It’s a thousand bucks. Wow. Is 100 here?
Stephen: [01:10:15] Yeah. No, but that’s all the legal side. I mean it’s everything in there is, there is a little bit more to it and unless you willing to do it on your own and, and, and it’s not that way here but, but the rest of it is pennies. I mean business cards or 30 bucks, you know, the, the tax licenses free. I mean those things are all free.
Charlene: [01:10:32] Exactly. So you have to have those to get started. Otherwise wholesalers won’t look at you even small wholesalers long. So get those things in place first while you’re getting all that paperwork done, get your theme, get your niche, narrow things down. So you went from 300 million searches to 100,000 searches, but you’re gonna have to narrow it down so you know where to start. And you will probably find dead ends where this sounds great and you love it, but the money isn’t there for you. My husband is a professional photographer and he traveled around the world on a cruise ship doing photography. And that was his first to sell on Amazon was photographic stuff. No, the money isn’t there. You cannot compete with the pricing from Nikon, the Amazon gets and all of that. And the return rate is high and all that. So for a micro business like his, it wasn’t a niche that would really work. So he went sideways and found something else that you liked and that did have the profit in it. So don’t get discouraged to some of these themes are niches don’t work. Um, because when you hit on one that does, it’s like, oh, thank God I never have to go into another walmart again. And scan products. You know, I never have to stand in line at target and argue with them over whether they’re for resale.
Stephen: [01:11:50] Yeah. The other powerful thing is when that niche isn’t a good niche, you know, it, that really saves you have out of money before you go in and just assume it’s steep and stuff like that. So I think there’s power. I always say when you learn what not to buy, there’s a lot of value in that. Sometimes that’s the answer.
Charlene: [01:12:04] Boy, isn’t that the truth? And you’ll make mistakes. I’ve made mistakes. You made mistakes. I’m sure you know, they end up at the warehouse full of mistakes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, um, my kind of thing is if Walmart and target and all those didn’t make mistakes, there wouldn’t be clearance right now. So you can’t beat yourself up about them.
Stephen: [01:12:24] So the future of wholesale was good
Charlene: [01:12:26] as you sit here and look at it. Yeah, I think it’s the only way to move forward with an Amazon business. And remember you can extrapolate those sources and use them on Ebay in some cases on etsy if they fit at cs requirements on your own website. So just because you have that wholesale source for Amazon doesn’t mean you can’t use it on, on Ebay. And on your own website so you can triple, triple dip it.
Stephen: [01:12:49] So these are the things that are spoken in the wholesale sourcing experts. Um, if it’s a, again, I don’t benefit in any other way other than getting to hang out with you. So if you’re interested in it, again, I’ll have a link for you, Charlene. I really appreciate it. Um, I’m interested to hear next year. I guess this is going to be just our annual thing. I’m just going to say it now. We might as well just do it annually because I think. Sounds good. What’s cool for me is to watch you. We, even bob yet stayed the same. I mean, you’re adjusting because you’re going through the same junk. Everybody else’s things are gated. Ungated changes is, it’s now needs this. You get, I’m sure you get some brands that you sell that you get restricted on and you’re like, wait, here’s my letter. Blah blah, blah. All that same stuff happens to you, however you plod along and you have a business and growing your business.
Charlene: [01:13:33] The other right. Well, my sales not to brag or anything. I looked this morning because I thought you might ask. My sales are up 34 percent over last year to date. So. And yet, how long have you been doing this? I’ve been in retail since 1981, but on Amazon since 2001 back when you could only sell books of 17 years and you’re still growing. Love it. Yep. I learn every day.
Stephen: [01:13:56] Thank you so much. I wish you nothing but success.
Charlene: [01:13:59] Take care. Thanks Stephen. I love talking with you. Bye. Bye. Bye.
Stephen: [01:14:03] Great interview. She’s sharp, man. I’m telling you. She is sharp. It’s a great group. Were in there, my wife and I. So if you joined by be great again, I don’t benefit other than maybe spending some more time with you. I’m wholesales our model too and I think there’s so many things in there that you can, um, you can ask. And again, a lot of good trade show information, a lot of things. So if you’re thinking about this, it’s not that expensive and it’s, she’s just a great lady and there’s a lot of great people in there and that’s what you want. You want to find the people that you connect with, and again, if you connect with you heard Charlene, if you feel like that’s somebody connect with, go for it. If it’s someone else, just get with other people, like minded people that are gonna. Help support and build a network. Build out your network. That’s where the money is. Your network is your net worth. I love that phrase, ecommerce momentum.com, ecommerce momentum.com. Take care.
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