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Here is transcript- It is automated so it is not perfect but it does seem to get better over time.
Javier: [00:00] Well, no, no. Like I do actually the opposite. Like, well, when I go into something like I think you obviously, and then I take the decision and then when I realized that probably was a mistake, I tried to go back and try to figure out what was the reason, see if I could fix it. And sometimes I shouldn’t do that. If something doesn’t work, we should have stopped, for example, get rid of the machine. And then, uh, yeah, keep, keep working. What works. Works for us better. But, um, when the, I don’t know, I always like try new things and, and that’s why I usually, I’m like, I go lean and I’m like, I don’t like, like borrowing money or like, you’re like, I don’t like, for example, leasing things.
Cool voice guy: [00:41] 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: [00:55] Hey, wanted to take a second and talk about Gaye Lisby and Garry’s, Amazon seller tribe and their daily lists that are put out, um, and incredible stories that you can read if you go out and check out. Amazing freedom.com forward slash momentum hyphen arbitrage. I know that’s a lot to put in there. Amazing. freedom.com forward slash momentum dash Arbitron and you’re going to get 14 day free trial, no money risk, no, no challenges. You don’t want it when you’re done, you get out. But imagine getting list. I’m as grateful as like to call it mailbox money. I love that term. Mailbox money. It’s where you can work from your house, buy things online, have them delivered to you and then sell them on various marketplaces. But imagine you can have somebody else do that for you. So you want to buy time, you want to control, uh, what they’re buying.
Stephen: [01:51] Well, you take these lists and you can join multiple lists if you’re interested, and then you can segregate them for the merchandise you want and send them to them. They can make purchases for you on your behalf. Have it delivered to you or delivered to them for prep. Boom, sent into these marketplaces and you could sell. How about that? Wouldn’t that be awesome? I spoke at their conference and there were so many million dollar sellers just using online arbitrage, it’s still available. And again, 14 days, the only way you’re going to get 14 day free trial. So if you come through my link, I’m, it is an affiliate link. They do pay me. So I don’t want to mislead you in any way. Um, I would appreciate it, but I’d like to see you try the 14 days. I’ve had so many people that have joined, have so much success.
Stephen: [02:34] It’s very exciting to me and you know, quite humbling to me, um, that they trust me to recommend this group and I hundred percent recommend this group. I’ve seen the results. These are great people that will also teach you to fish. This isn’t just a, hey, here’s the list. You’re on your own. No, this is, hey, here’s why that wasn’t a good deal over here. Hey, there’s another opportunity and you get to join their groups. And it’s just a phenomenal group of people. Um, just great, great, uh, leaders in that group. And these lists are phenomenal. So again, it’s amazing. freedom.com. Forward slash momentum, hyphen arbitrage. Amazing. freedom.com, forward slash momentum hyphen arbitrage. Use that get two weeks free. Try it. You don’t like it, drop out, but give it a shot if you want to add that to your business. Welcome back to the e-commerce momentum podcast.
Stephen: [03:23] This is episode 399, Javier San Juan. Awesome, awesome story. A personalization. Um, let’s see. Printing laser engraving, uh, embroidery. Um, you know, putting names on pens you don’t think about that are printing custom notepads with your name on ’em or vinyl banner signs or you name it, everything that’s custom done. Somebody who does that work and Javier San Juan has figured out how to do it at scale. And again, it’s all process and software, right? Really figuring that out and it’s such a great story. I’m such a cool guy. Let’s get into the podcast. All right, welcome back to the e-commerce momentum podcast. We’re excited about today’s guest from across the pond, right way across the pond, Madrid, Spain, Javier, Cyan wan Welcome, Javier.
Javier: [04:16] Hi. How’s it going? It’s going well. It’s going well. How’s it going in your neck of the woods in no bed. Like there’s a high bit of working on the aids. It’s a bit hot. Like right now, like in summer he gets out quite hot, but today’s actually know about that bad. There is a few clouds so it’s easier to do some work. It’s, it’s funny
Stephen: [04:36] we had a conversation yesterday because we’re both in the personalization side of Amazon’s business and we were talking about, we were comparing temperatures in the warehouse. I don’t have air conditioning in our warehouse. I have it in the offices. So magically I happen to be working in the offices as much as I can this week. How about for you?
Javier: [04:54] Uh, we actually don’t have any air conditioning either in the office or like a warehouse. We use round with fans, but the, we have the warehouses like a bit under the ground and the office as well. So it keeps a bit cooler. Like half of it is like covered by dirt so it doesn’t get as hot as when he’s like four walls out of, in the, uh, in the air. So it’s a, it’s not that, that, that hot in here.
Stephen: [05:20] All right. And let’s, let’s go up front. So people understand, you sell on which platforms? Currently
Javier: [05:28] a I selling Amazon us, I mean, uh, in the, uh, in Europe, like in Amazon as well in Europe and UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy. And um, and will we sell a little bit of own Ebay and we have our own sites like for these other like, um, the like the personalization type of thing that we do, promotional items. We have our own ecommerce ecommerce site. Yeah.
Stephen: [05:55] It’s not a little site. I’ve been to it. Um, and what’s cool was I can confer, I can translate it from Spanish to uh, um, English and there it’s not a little site. You’ve got a lot of skews that you carry on that site, correct?
Javier: [06:11] Well, yeah, there is quite a few. Like not all of them who haven’t in our own warehouse. Like some of them we are, we have a supplier that is very close to us. We can get in in within a day. But yeah, it’s like over probably over like counting colors and all that. It could be like easily over 5,000 skews.
Stephen: [06:30] And do you have plans to get to 10,000 skews? Correct?
Javier: [06:34] Yeah. Yeah, probably very soon. Like we’re changing the site to be able so the customers have it much more easy to do these all the personalization and uh, when that is it’s working will be easier for us to like process the orders and probably we’ll have a few more suppliers we have not get on the site.
Stephen: [06:53] When, when, um, do you also supply um, retailers or local in Madrid Co uh, companies, uh, customers who are asking for stuff to not,
Javier: [07:06] yeah, some, some, yeah. Sometimes like a small shops like for example, like a gift shops that they, um, they have, I don’t know, like items with the name of the town or the name of the, an area that people goes and visits and does, do tourism and all that. We, we actually supply can some of those. And because we do a lot of weddings, staff, a lot of like wedding planners that they are actually businesses they will, they will purchase stories. Like most of the stuff that we do is like, not like it’s different the Amazon side than the personalization side because the, that’s more like kind of like either like a B2B or, or a bulk, like a wholesale order. Like we wouldn’t sell like one item, it will be more like a hundred or like 50. So usually most of it will be a stores or small companies that need stuff for dinner events and things like that.
Stephen: [07:55] Now we only do a laser engraving and we have sublimation printers. You can you walk through some of the equipment that you have and the type of personalization that you do?
Javier: [08:05] Well, we do a video of everything. We do a screen printing, we do pad printing, we do, um, I don’t know how it’s called in English, but like thermal printing, we do, uh, like a normal like vinyls and all that in. Some are like, uh, uh, garments. We do. What else we do, we have a laser, we have two lasers. One of them is, it’s, um, is for metal and things like that. And the other one for like, um, like wooden or other materials or else we do, we have, we do, we have like a, like a sticker printing machine, uh, like, like vinyls and all that. And then we do, um, we do have a machine coming in that is like a UV printing for like printing, like multicolor on almost any flat surface. And I know if I forgot anything,
Stephen: [08:56] no. And I think everybody’s gonna be like, wait, what? And then you also outsource, um, your, uh, so you’ll do, um, oh Geez. We were just talking about it before the call. You, you’ll actually do embroidery, but you outsource that.
Javier: [09:10] Yes, we do. We actually personalize almost in any like, okay, we have a client, we have a corporate client that calls us and says like, oh, we need a, like this, this, and this for an event. And we need some, like, I don’t know, like Polos with, uh, with the logo embroidered and we don’t have it. We, um, we, we would like outsource that. Or for example, if we get like this lambing, like we’re only three people do, we know these. Sometimes we get like it comes like the BBC period and we will be very busy. So sometimes we need to outsource some of some of the big orders that we don’t want to do. So like isn’t it like we don’t want to do but it will like get us slowed down in a few areas. But um, but yeah, like things like embroidering that takes too long and um, and we don’t have like the machine because uh, we don’t think he’s is worth it for us. So we will outsource it to somewhere else. But many other types of printing, sometimes we have outsource as well. For example, we don’t like print on paper and we will go to like a local printer to get stuff known for that. Like, like tags, name tags and things like that. For the grind yards that we do for a lot of events, we will outsource like the name tags and all of those things.
Stephen: [10:21] Well, and I think it’s critical as people heard that all those different machines now they do outsource with three people. Okay. So that, that’s mind blowing because the volume you guys are doing and you’re doing huge volumes and here’s the key software. Correct. I mean process and software. If you didn’t have process and software figured out, could you handle half the volume you have now?
Javier: [10:45] Yeah. No, no, no, not possible. No. It’s very important. Yeah. Impossible. It will be a, it will be hard. That’s one of the key things. Like I really like, I’m a geeky person, I like doing many things and that’s why ended up having a lot of machines because like to do the things myself and see how things work and ended up doing that. But this like the same with software. Like I’m uh, I’m geeking there. I’m a developer and sometimes like these little like, um, programs that will just help you to have, will actually help the customer for example, to make sure that they do the whole order or the whole, like when they do the design of the product, what you will get at the end is something that you don’t need to contact them and ask them twice about what it is. Is like that a change, the amount of work that you can do because obviously you waste less, less time like talking with them and emails back and forth or that usually it’s a bit messy.
Stephen: [11:43] So there, there’s the, there’s the end of the conversation right there. And so I want to now go back into it and start developing how you came to this. Um, because I funny we had this conversation about embroidery. For example, we’ve got to ask for a client, a potential client who wants to come into our warehouse and asked if we would take on the embroidery thing. It’s an enormous, it turns out to be an enormous amount of work plus a quarter of a million dollar investment for me. And it’s just too much for us. We just don’t want, it scares us. That business, you have the same fear just because there’s, it’s, it’s finicky so, so you have worked on processes, you evaluate machines, you evaluate time and equipment and then decide whether you want to go in that business or you can go in that business, just not be the one doing every step of it. I think that is the reason that you’ve been so successful.
Javier: [12:34] Well, yeah, that’s a, like sometimes you didn’t work out like there were some, yeah. Sometimes at the beginning you are like, oh, I think this is going to be a great thing to do. And you think twice and then you do it. Then you’re like, well, I wasted a lot of time, but we learned something on the way. So sometimes I always look back and I’m like, okay, what’s the best investment or what’s in the best thing to do but will, I know I’m not getting close to that. Like later on or later I will take other decisions because I learned, I learned from those mistakes. But, um, yeah, like I don’t know how long can you give a mistake? How, how long
Stephen: [13:09] is that process? Because I agree with you, I think, I think you still learn something, right? That was tuition, right? And if you didn’t, it’s like a next machine I buy rather than buying the next one, I’m probably going to lease it and I don’t borrow money. So I’m going to be really careful on my lease terms to make sure that at the end, you know, so I know how much my outlay is because I’m afraid, you know, to drop another 30 grand for another machine and then to sit back and not utilize the capacity of it. Whereas I can take on a payment a month for 18 months or 24 months depending on what the term is. And then my, if I take it on for 18 months at 600 bucks, you know, it’s $10,000 investment as opposed to a $33,000 investment. When are you making those same type of decisions now as opposed to in the beginning or were you that wild card that just says I’m all in and I’m going to do it?
Javier: [14:00] I’m actually a person that I usually go all lean all the time and um, I don’t know. I don’t know why. Like I sometimes I, as I said, I shouldn’t, I should not, but um, but um, yeah, I, I usually actually when something goes wrong I might take too long to, um, to, um, to cut back on it. But because I always feel like, oh, like if I thought at some point it will be a, it will be a good idea. What’s going on? What’s, what are my mistakes on the way? But um, oh wait, so you think it through, so you’re like, okay,
Stephen: [14:28] okay, I want to do this idea. And then you look along and you anticipate the mistakes. Is that what you’re, you’re like the pinch points, is that what you’re saying?
Javier: [14:37] Well, no, no, like I do actually the opposite. Like, well, when I go into something like I think you obviously, and then I take the decision and then when, uh, I realized that probably was a mistake, I tried to go back and try to figure out what was the, the reason,
Javier: [14:52] see if I could fix it. And sometimes I shouldn’t do that and if something doesn’t work, we should have stopped. And, uh, for example, getting rid of, of the machine and then, uh, yeah, keep, keep working in what works, works for us better. But, um, when the, I don’t know, I always like try new things and, and that’s why I usually am like, I go in and I’m like, you, I don’t like, like borrowing money or like, you’re like, I don’t like for example, leasing things and, um, because I feel like, I don’t know, like I, I will need to have to, like, I have, um, liability with me. Like I need to pay something to someone for a while and I feel like that scares me. So it’s an expensive mistake. Yeah, definitely. And I will go onto a like a mistake and we’ll, we’ll be like, okay, well wasn’t a mistake. I’m gladly like some things work and some, some others don’t. But yeah, I don’t mind like doing things and making mistakes. Probably like should should think more through certain things, but oh well that’s how it goes.
Stephen: [15:57] You know, here, here’s a couple of lessons that I’ve learned. So like we buy shelving from stores that retail stores that are closing, right? So if you think about naming a store that’s closed, I don’t care who it is, let’s go back to toys r us in their background. They have great either pallet racking but they also have store shelving, really good quality store shelving that they paid a fortune for that you can buy pennies on the dollar. That stuff will outlive all of us. I mean that stuff will last forever. So I probably, I think we have about 15 or 20 stores worth that we bought from all these different stores that have closed. That’s a good buy where I’ve made mistakes and it’s an, I’m still dumb about it. It’s like buying used pallet jacks and things like that. Those things take a beating and when they’re beat, they’re beat. They’re not that expensive. You know, it’s like $400 for a new pallet Jack. And yet I’m using one that I paid $75 and I was proud that I paid 75 bucks, but the thing was worth 75 bucks because it’s beat to crap. And so I’ve learned my lesson over time that there’s certain things that you should buy new. There’s certain things you can buy use. Now when you’re looking at your machinery, do you have a distinction between, I mean, like are, did you buy all your machines brand new?
Javier: [17:06] No, we actually were, for example, this a machine that we bought for printing vinyl and do stickers and things like that. We bought it like second hand and um, that was for example, one of these bad decisions because, uh, like what you said, like sometimes you feel like you’re getting a great deal and we bought the machine and holy crap, the, the printing heads were like, I’m all like a staffed as in like they, uh, they wouldn’t let all the in class through. And we felt like, man, we thought we got a great deal. And just when we bought that machine, we didn’t know that there was a new machine coming out of the same brand and they dropped the price on the same one that we bought. And we pretty much like this money, like maybe 60% of the new price. And I was thinking like, man, I should worry, like, like definitely a shoe bought knew because he was like much better decision. Would you need to change the print heads and all that. But um, yeah there’s other machines we bought like second hand and uh, we, uh, we didn’t have a problem.
Stephen: [18:04] You don’t have a problem. So like we’d been talking about laser engravers cause we have a laser engraver too. And we’ve been talking about soft software and you know, I’m looking, I’m at, I’m going to a trade show, um, next week as a matter of fact looking at new machines. And your advice to me is like Steve mastered the one that you have as opposed to looking at the new one because the software really hasn’t improved that much. I think your term was archaic is the way you described it. Right. So it’s not, it’s not necessarily giant improvements on that end, which is what you would expect, but they’re not. And so it’s really a, I mean this machine will last, like you say, forever. I mean these things last forever. Um, and so I’m glad I bought ours used especially to learn on, um, how about, is there, is there stuff, uh, do you look at it? Is it more mechanical that you, it’s safer to buy used than it is more digital? Because I’m like printers for example, printers, the technology’s changing so quickly. You want to stay up on the current because like you said, you’ve got to change the head, you’ve got to change that. Whatever the main components are, they die after so many images. Right. Um, do you have a distinction there that you use?
Javier: [19:13] Well, when, when like the, um, when the machine that we buy, it’s like something industrial. Like the first thing that I look, even if we bought by it second hand, I look to find out if there is like, um, I would uh, like uh, I don’t know how it’s calling. It’s like a mechanic for the machine. Like, like a technician, a technician. That’s it. If there is a technician and if there is a technician like available, I usually would ask them what’s the yearly maintenance they do kind of like before prior, like mining the machine and find out if the main components that will like break or will deteriorate. They can be changed. For example in the laser, I think we talked yesterday about the laser tube like that you can, if that becomes like old and then you have less power you could, you could get a new one.
Javier: [20:00] So I before getting the machine for example, I will find out, okay is it possible to find this laser tube because why this person is getting rid of the machine? Because there is like very like I’m a people that comes up with when you ask them like why they are selling it, they’re very like creative. Some people, yeah I’m busy now. I want to travel the world. I’m busy but this is the greatest thing that you could do. Just buy it and start printing things with this and you’ll be like, it is a great thing where he’s selling it. So kind of like I tried to find out a little bit and if a the main pieces can be changed and makes it like it will be worth it to change it, then I will be like, okay, I will get it. Because as I told you yesterday, like I prefer, okay if I buy a new one and doesn’t work out like it would be like or I will learn how it works and all that.
Javier: [20:50] It will be like a really bad like investment. So usually actually some of the machines that we got, we got first and second to handling and then or like a a cheap version of the same type of machine and once we kind of like see how it works in and get the hang of it, we we buy a new one like a decent like like a better one. But there is things like the, the laser or that they like like if either works doesn’t really matter like, like I wouldn’t change it. I would be only changing like the um, the mirrors and on the lens if it gets a scratching or like the cube like that will be pretty much it.
Stephen: [21:26] Right. And in tubes a less than a thousand bucks. The mirrors, there were not much, what I like about it is such a simple machine. There’s really not a lot of components to it. So they are pretty easy. And for, as we were talking about yesterday, for us, when we get our second machine, this one becomes then a production machine designed for your number one product. You leave it set up all the time, right. And then you can, you can you get to cheat that way, right. Is that fair? Yeah. That’s great. You know, um, I think, I think it’s time we go back and talk about how you got, how you found this, because there’s a whole bunch of people are going to be listening like, wow, this is the best thing in the world. Let me just tell you. Production work is not easy. Um, it is not easy. It takes a special, special kind of employee. It takes a special kind of mind to be able to think through these processes because when a customer needs it or when you get an order, you have to turn it around and you’ve gotta be really cautious on it. So where does that come from? Well, what did you study in school that got you thinking that, hey, I’d like to head this way and be this technical,
Javier: [22:28] that’s a, that’s a hard thing to explain. Okay. I mentioned that, I guess I said before a Geek person and I was going to study something related with computers but ended up studying like a hospitality management. I went five years though Australia to study this because I actually like doing things for people and making people happy. So I felt like that’s going to be my thing. So after that I finished studying there, surely know that I came back to Spain and um, I actually like we pretty much anything. So my mom got fired from her job and she decided she wanted to do something. So I’d say like, okay, like what are you thinking of? I just, you know, because I already have a few clients I I’m thinking to sell them like promotional items to see you started doing this with no, nothing like, like everything was like social contract with
Stephen: [23:16] without, she would go on and become a distributor for somebody else making pens and she would sell it. She had the gift of Gab for sales. I mean is that her thing?
Javier: [23:25] Yes, he was a sales [inaudible] sales person. So she used to work for a sales company, renting cars. And because you already had the connections with many companies, she, she thought it would be a good idea to sell something else. And uh, we’ll see you started that. And when I got back from Australia, it was the, uh, not the best time here in Spain. There were like, uh, and people was getting fired. There was like the crises going on anyway. I felt like, oh, I will help my mum. Right. And I’m like, I actually went to pick up, um, an order to like a, I think it was a plat printer or something like that. And I saw the machine and I’m like, oh, this is cool. Because I like machines, I like, like technical things and I’m like, oh, this is cool. And then when I got back, I started looking into it and say like, Hey, I think we’re doing it all wrong.
Javier: [24:08] Like I re like I started looking at the numbers and I saw how much the printers were making and how much the plans were. And then I don’t know, I started helping in there, got a website done because as I said, like I was like a computer guy. So I got into all the IP of the company and after that I thought one day I’m like, okay, we’re going to start like bringing in some of the products ourselves instead of like getting it from other people, the ones that they were selling, well get them directly from China. So I just pick up like I started looking on the Internet pickup a flight way there, start buying like a different products. I think the first thing we bought the were like full container of it was monk splints on notepads. And um, and then when I was in China I started seeing all these like bad printing machines that as you said before, something in here.
Javier: [24:56] Like, well actually it will be different like in Europe than in the u s but a bad printer could cause like easily, like 10 15 grand. And I felt like, well, I need to make many prints to make up that money, but when I was in China, it could be like 1500 so like intense and I’m like, I don’t know if he works or not. Like I’m just giving it and I will find out how these works. So let’s stop there a second because that’s important, right? You recognized, I mean, so the, the barrier to entry was when, like I was saying, new engraver machine, the fiber wants 30 grand plus plus plus, right there million add ons. So that’s the barrier to entry. You then you go with that mindset thinking, okay, there’s no way we can do this. You go to China and find out that it’s in that same example, three grand and you’re like, yeah, that’s it.
Javier: [25:42] Whoa, whoa. Is that when you decided that rather than just being a salesman that you could be the manufacturer? I mean, is that what went through your mind? Yeah, that’s correct. Because I felt like, okay, I will, I will do something. Because things were not going very well in Spanish. I said like, okay, we’ll do something so we can create like a few, a few extra jobs and make more because we’re not going to be subcontracting all these like fricking work. And um, and then they started with uh, getting a few million, got a few machines from China and for example, at the beginning that was not the greatest decision because the training, right? Yeah, that’s great. You see, you see a person, like when, when I saw these guy printing the pence, actually I think they will print them prints and, and the guy was bringing them pens on the machine and I feel like how he sees these, he just putting the prints in there and every time that fan goes down he’s making like 25 cents.
Javier: [26:38] And I feel like I’m not passing this stuff. This is the greatest idea on, it’s easy, right? It’s simple. He makes it, he makes it look so simple. That’s it. Super easy. So we got the machine that the machine, they ship here after like a month and a beat comes in the boat and all that with all the old things that we bought. And they got the machine from me from the box. I remember I hooked up everything, the compressor and all that. We turn it on and this bloody thing with what the machine had like a display on Chinese telling us something. It was a mirror. I was like, oh no, this is not, this is not as as it looks. And then we started like, we got some news as well and we didn’t know lots about it. But because this is more like a, it’s kind of like a trade, like people that does this, um, when, uh, when you call them and tell them like, well, for example, a supplier or bank, you tell them how much ink.
Javier: [27:24] And uh, and, and um, unlike like the other component, I don’t know how it’s called in English, but these are two components in how much you put a beats or how much solvent you put, how, how runny you on the in candor, like, or you will fill it. And he’s like, well, you will feel it and you’ve been doing this for like 10 years. But like, I don’t feel it. Like it’s my first time, I’m mixing these things. So it was like a lot of trial and error when you said before, when you get an order you need to get it like out of the door as quick as possible so the customer is happy and I don’t know what it was the first like it was, we had a client who was a big client and we decided that was the first started we we’re doing.
Javier: [27:59] And it was a very bad decision because something that should take us like three hours. It didn’t work. And we tried again, it didn’t work. And I was very stubborn saying like, we’re getting this to work like this. This is not something that is not going to work. And he actually didn’t end up very perfect and um, on the client wasn’t happy on willows, that client. And after that I said like, okay, I need to make like what I told you before, like something went wrong. I need to find out how to fix all this. So, well, it’s not all myself because actually is myself and, and my girlfriend Maria, that she sees helping me all the time to do everything. And we work together in there for a week till we got the machine to work. And um, and we started like getting all these NGS and all that and that was kind of like the start of it and we started like new machines and getting more machines in. So, so that’s how we can pretend that
Stephen: [28:46] process because I think that’s really important. So the persistence, the ability to push past it, cause a lot of people would have given up on that hobby or they would’ve sat back and say, you know what, this business is hard. And, and it is correct. I mean those challenges every single person runs into, but most people don’t push past it. You did. Can you walk us through the approach you would take to solve that problem? I mean, how do you, you know, you got a new machine in, it’s written in Chinese, so it’s not like it’s easy or my experience, and this isn’t meant to denigrate anybody, but my experience is when there are instructions, they’re just not very clear. That didn’t translate well to my language, which is uh, uh, English. Um, maybe, I dunno if they translate better to Spanish, but um, can you walk us through how you would approach that?
Javier: [29:31] Well, these days like I think it’s easy because you go to Google and then you start looking for videos of people doing the same thing and until you start, like actually when we started this, there were not many of like part printers or like a screen printers online, but you will start looking into it or like, like how we got these two to fix is like, we thought, okay, is the ink is this Chinese ink that is not working? And we sound like we’re buying locally ink. So at least we had someone to ask like, Hey, we got the ink, we have the machine, how we can get this to work. And I’m like, it took a long time. It’s like when you say like persistency, we could be like, they’re like up to the middle of the night or even sometimes more mixed and Maureen can try and again to print and that didn’t work, but he’s all about like, I don’t know, because you want it, you want it to work and it’s just like a challenge. So you’re like, okay, if someone is doing it, why cannot do it and just keep going until it works.
Stephen: [30:24] So break down the process. Right. Just keep breaking it down, keep breaking it down. Um, and in reaching out, I like what you said about getting someone local where you can get one of those technicians in to help figure that out. I think that’s really powerful. Um, how’s it working with your daughter? Um, I mean it’s father, daughter, I mean, so, um, I’m sure you, oh, your girlfriend. Okay. Oh, that makes it even more challenging. We’re not married, but he’s like, we’re married. Okay. Okay. That makes it even more challenging. That means you’re taking the business home with you.
Javier: [30:57] Oh yes. Like when I told you before, we’re on the ground. Okay. My house has two levels and on the bottom we have like a bigger ash that we use. Part of that for warehouse, we have a new office on one side and we have another workshop on the other side. So kind of like it’s all in here. And before that we used to use my parents’ house, like pretty much the whole house was, every room was like a warehouse. And then we’ll actually, they still have some things in there. They’re like, okay, when you were taking all these things out, he’s like, well don’t worry. Like we’re like slowly we were taking no or all out from there. But yeah, we, we, we take it home and we work like, you know, we get things to work. We could like the state feel like long hours in the day, but we’ll gladly, these days we get all, all is working. We don’t need to fix many issues.
Stephen: [31:47] So, so that’s, that’s a positive and a negative. Right. I’m sure there’s a negative sometimes that you can’t get away from it. Um, but the positive is you don’t have a long commute, right. You can, you know, can get the job done. Now as you’re looking forward, um, because you’re talking about going, you know, 10 times your [inaudible] your business and skews, right. And, and adding a whole bunch more. Now I’m with you. That printing is printing, right. Uh, in embroider machine as opposed to a laser machine as opposed to a vinyl cutter as opposed to a whatever other kinds of printer, a sublimation printer or whatever. They’re basically the same concept, right? I mean it’s, you know, create a file output to the next thing. Right. And there’s some nuances there. When, when you’re looking at scaling up in volume though, how do you approach that? Because I think for me in our business, that’s probably the place I get intimidated most. Like, like that embroidery, it was a great opportunity. The guy’s a great guy and I love him. However, it scares me to death to have that obligation because once you, once you commit, you’re committed. Right. How do you approach that?
Javier: [32:52] I think, um, yeah. Sometimes like before I wasn’t scared to like the scaling Info for example like you the same, the amount of excuse in the amount of different things that we do but as long as the processes there are simple enough for someone else to do it like then I’m not worried because we can always get someone to come in and I’m like oh we can have an extra employee to do it because like I think most of these, as I said before, most of these things are like a trade, like mixing the INC and making sure the consistency is fine and things like that. That gets hard. But these days because everything is digital, like at work most of the things could be digital. Like we are getting these new machines for printing. Like in anything digital, we’re taking like getting away from, for example, plot by printing and once he’s digital, like all you need is a person that knows this is a pain or needs to go into these hole and these like Trey must go into the machine in this spot and the whistle that is configured is only a matter of someone like moving it from one site to another, you know, from a box put into a machine click play because everything is ready for him.
Javier: [34:02] And that’s pretty much it.
Stephen: [34:03] Okay. So you’re going to let technology solve those problems so before you move forward?
Javier: [34:09] Yes. Well like now like these, we get these new machines in a month, um, that will be, um, like, uh, that will be to take out, for example, like the blood print and because if not, it’s hard to get, like that’s at least in my area will be hard to get someone that knows how that works. So we will need to be there mixing the ink or getting the machine ready for them, but we need some other things. There is a, for example with laser we can, we can do it because there’s just like a click play thing or a type of machine but um, but anything that has ink related needs to be the harder because uh, they, they need to handle that and actually they could be like a messy person. I don’t know. Like it’s, it’s hard to find someone that knows how to do that. But uh, we said digital machines not and that will be a way that I wouldn’t mind getting more excusing because it’s going to be all the, the ones we do at once ourselves. I know the person can replicate it many times
Stephen: [35:04] and, and, and that machine sits empty. It’s not making you money. It’s funny, I’m going to see a printer next week, which I uh, where they literally print on fabric, not like sublimation where we print and then we transfer all that kind of jazz. It literally prints on fabric. I’m like, how is that possible today? But they literally put the shirt in the machine prints and it comes out done. And I’m like, this is crazy that this stuff exists.
Javier: [35:29] It is like we actually don’t have one of those because we don’t do like we do shirts, but because usually they are the same logos and all that. We uh, it takes shorter to do either like a screen printing or like, um, scream like a transfer printing. We do sometimes because it’s more like, um, knitted like the print. But um, but the uh, yeah, these older machines are great for like doing, uh, we talked yesterday about having like many skews just with a few items in your warehouse. You could multiply your catalog by like whatever, like unlimited.
Stephen: [36:03] Yeah. Let’s talk about that. Cause I think this is another place that you really set yourself apart is you have figured out, you know, your advice to me, which you know, you were helping me was basically like, look, Steve, you’ve got, I forget how many skews we figured out with that particular line of products. Um, and I have so many in stock and I can get them within a day. And so therefore I can keep expanding as long as I can keep stuff coming in within a day. Because as long as it comes in that next day I can process it that same day or the day after and I stay within terms for seller fulfilled prime or off your own website or whatever it is. You have really worked hard to develop that. So when you’re looking at a product line, I mean is that when you’re talking to companies, is that the, the approach you take?
Javier: [36:50] Well like in that case like we are lucky because here in his pain getting like a 24 hour, like shipping is super easy because a sprain is kind of like the size, probably smaller than Texas so, so it’s, it’s easy even if you’re like suppliers like the other side of the country, like it will get within a day to you with a very fair price. So, but yeah, like sometimes like one of the things that I will ask is like that they have a warehouse in Spain and as long as they kind of warehouse close to me, their products, if they’re good for printing with the machines that I have, yeah, they will be good for it. I’m waiting, like I don’t do cell phone food prime yet because I’m waiting for it to be available in Spain as soon as he’s available. That’s one of the things that we want to do know instead of more like the book, like corporate gifts and I know all like um, for we’re a small shops and all that that they buy bulk items who want to go into the single items for like, like uh, like doing the sell fulfilled prime program but he’s not yet available in Spain.
Javier: [37:52] I think he’s in UK and probably in the spring will be very soon.
Stephen: [37:56] Yeah, I don’t think people understand that. So let’s talk about that because as you say, the corporate gifts, that’s B2B, right? That’s where people were ordering. You know, your bank is ordering a hundred pounds, 200 pounds, 300 pens and they, there’s a company that’s just putting their name on the bank, on the pen and then sending it to them. What you’re looking for is the one where somebody can go on Amazon in order one pen and that one pen gets printed with that name on it and sent to them. And most people are going to sit back and say, well that’s not profitable. Um, can you walk us through the logistics of that, uh, to, to determine profitability?
Javier: [38:30] Well, like the, the way that I, uh,
Stephen: [38:33] and this is the worst example of Penn is the worst example. So I think it’s a good one to use because it’s like the lowest possible selling price of anything.
Javier: [38:42] Yeah. So, so, so Penn for example, like my course, like a very decent pen because there expands from like 10 cents, right? But like let’s say you train the cost like a dollar 50 or something like that. Someone that is not buying in wholesale probably could pay on a store like about four bucks. But on Amazon they will buy it for like about six or seven. And, and if it’s personalized with a simple thing, like a lame or like a, I don’t know what, whatever the person wants and it’s possible to do because of the size of it. It’s quite a small, but um, but it will be, probably will sell for like $10. And um, and you can have that prime like you will like itselves quite well in, he’s not crime already. So you have a crime probably will sell even better. So the way that this would happen is if you have your machine and your warehouse, you don’t need to have like a stock per row, like a long period because your supplier will ship you 24 hours, your warehouse.
Javier: [39:38] But you have, I don’t know, like a week worth of like a stock that is not much. And um, and the uh, well the main thing here, okay. It will not be profitable. It is not out to make it. So if someone goes into Amazon and orders a thing and it’s to send you a message saying, Hey, I want you to print in John in the pen and then you need to write back saying, okay, you want John, what’s the, uh, let the ledger type that you want. And the guy said something. Then you send it back and you’re like, okay, you will look like this and the person will be like, it’s okay. Well you already lost a lot of money there because you’ve been like writing back and forth a long time. But as long as everything is like automated, so when you get the order, you know that person was John Retaining whatever type of letter and the guy sees what he looks like once, um, they are paying for it, they know what they’re going to get and then you know what you need to do. Like there is no questions asked. So you only need to pick up more of those friends you have in the warehouse and it with laser. That might take like, okay, the laser will take 10 seconds while the by the defend that you go to the warehouse, putting the machine on a unprinted might be like a minute or two
Stephen: [40:49] and that includes setup. That includes setup because what you’re talking automation, this was what blew my mind yesterday. When you’re talking automation, you’re talking full automation, not some designers sitting there and saying, okay, I got this thing from Javier. I got to make this j look incredible. No, you’re talking that it goes right from Amazon, right to a print file in essence, correct?
Javier: [41:09] That’s correct, yes.
Stephen: [41:11] That’s, there’s the art right there, so there’s nobody in between.
Javier: [41:14] Hmm. That’s it.
Stephen: [41:16] How do you, how did you figure that out? I mean that, I mean, it sounds so simple when you say, it’d be like, Oh yeah, of course, Duh, but that’s not easy. Right? That’s a barrier for most people in most companies because most things, if you order personalized there is you’ve got to say, hey, order this and then send a note with what you want on it. Usually the way it works, like I’ve ordered some gifts for people and then you have to send that message. That means that somebody receiving the message, somebody reading the message, somebody then inputting it into something else. There’s the loss right there, right? That’s where the money’s, how did you figure out how to get rid of those steps?
Javier: [41:49] Well, they, this was like a lesson learned from like the website that we do all these corporate items. Like we didn’t have it very much ultimate eyes and we thought like, well, that’s where we’re wasting most of our time. So that’s what we need to improve on. And then this was like a mix of things because I, um, when we started selling an Amazon, I never knew about this FBA thing. So we, we tried it and I felt like, holy crap, this works well. And, uh, and it was kind of like a mix of ideas between what we do and this FBA thing on the new website that we created that gets all these files, like ready to print. And then I thought like, well, if we get all these together, this is going to be a great idea. That’s, that’s why I kind of wait for this [inaudible] Brian to be in Spain because I hope that that will work well.
Stephen: [42:41] Your person could be working on a hundred different jobs a day, every single one of them different. But for them, as you say, it’s basically put this pen in this slot, insert this into the machine, wait till it’s done, pull it out, put it in a box, put this label on it and it’s gone. That’s their role. Right. That’s great. Amazing. Okay. And I think people get that when you hear that, but that’s not easy. That’s why Javier San Juan is ready to scale 10 x two the 10,000 skew plus. That’s fascinating. Okay, so because you’re a nerd, you also somehow got hooked up with Alex Moss. How did you get involved with tactical arbitrage?
Javier: [43:23] Well, I like one of the things like I do, I love doing the sober Nova when I was doing this thing in Spain of all these hair printing. Then I started looking into doing some arbitrage and I ended up finding a tactical arbitrage. And I, uh, like I ended up talking with Alex while I was, uh, using it. I, uh, I saw that I was, um, needing to get these, uh, these other tools and all that. And, um, and anyway, I started talking with Alan. Oh, I remember how it was the beginning, the, I think that ta was closed for new members and because Alex is in Australia, I lived in Australia. I pulled the card of like, I’m going to message this person. That seems like a cool person. I’m going to tell him I lived in there with him for awhile. And then, um, even that he was close, he actually let me use a ta. And uh, I don’t know that, that’s actually how I got into Amazon FBA and, and yes, since then, everything changed.
Stephen: [44:22] You? Uh, we met a couple of years ago and you were already doing this. I mean, so this isn’t new for you. You’ve really, uh, you’ve really, you built a company called tactical bucket and people are going to be like, wait, what’s tactical bucket? So tactical bucket is a company, uh, some software that rides along with your tactical arbitrage. So if you use tactical arbitrage, um, uh, from Alex Moss is his group, um, it allows you to scrape sites and all these different things, all these established sites. But one of the things that’s cool about it is if you’re pretty tech savvy, you can do a thing called the next path, right? Where you can create something that will take and go to somebody else’s website and scrape it. However it gets technical and complicated, right? And there are people that can do it, but there are most people like Steve can’t do it, right?
Stephen: [45:07] That’s where there’s a limit. And so you, you created some software, um, which allows somebody like me to within a couple of clicks, add a whole company. And again, it’s my exclusive company, right? So if I find a company and it’s called a Oh, the Xyz envelope company that I want to go and look at to see what’s profitable, using tactical arbitrage, it doesn’t exist. So I using tactical bucket can create that through tactical bucket, create my own x path for lack of a better term, and then bring that in and only I can see that data. Correct?
Javier: [45:47] Yeah, that’s correct. So, so we’ll do a stand whenever like Xyz envelope company sells and, and cvs profitable in Amazon.
Stephen: [45:56] So, because one of the biggest complaints that you hear about like detective arbitrager, one of those is, hey, everybody is scanning a home depot or Walmart or whatever. Everybody is well yet, because they offer those companies. So when you can find your own company that you can exclusively do, that’s the art, right? That’s when it becomes super, super valuable because you’re the only one scraping it. You’re the one that’s developing this and then boom, you can, you can develop it in. And so tactical bucket allows that, um, and it’s, it’s pretty cool. Um, we do have a special at the end. We’ll talk about it. When, when, when you were using this, when you started using this, what did it do for you? I mean, did you find a site that nobody else was touching and boom, it was like magic?
Javier: [46:34] Well, I was, when I started like using ta, the learning curve is big, but, uh, being like tech savvy, like I started doing things and I felt like, oh, I should do this and I needed some more data or the data in another way. So I started like creating my own, like a little tools. And um, and the, the, the main thing that I used it for it was like, because I ended up learning like a lot of things about Amazon and different sites. And then, because I’m more like, as I said, I’ve been doing this a promotional company, like a products per for awhile, when I started in Amazon and I started doing away, it was a very different than many people was very successful. And I felt like, oh, buy in from the stores selling on Amazon. Oh, that’s, um, that’s, that’s a different thing. But when I started doing that, it becomes like a very time consuming because you need it to be buying inventory all the time. And I felt like then I started hearing these people talking these wholesale
Javier: [47:30] thing and we’re like, what is these wholesale demons on these? They’re like, okay, buy it from our company and saying, selling on Amazon. And they’re like, well, that’s what I do with this pain. Okay. I personalize it. But like for me, I felt, I thought it was a very, um, like a co and like a common sense thing to do. So I felt like, oh, can I do these with ta and actually ta allows you to upload the CSVs. So when I started the pointing in new, uh, suppliers in the u s um, I found that some sites wouldn’t allow me to, um, like they wouldn’t give me a CSV or they like, they will say, well, we have an online shop that you can get in with these, like with your username or with this password or whatever. And then in there you can see the products and they said like, well, I need to create something so I can actually scan the site and do what I actually do in Spain and get some replenishes bowls. And um, because if you buy it from like a wholesaler, you know he’s going to be there all the time and if the price is profitable, well you can always buy it again. And A, I don’t know, I started making all these little tools. That’s how I ended up like using it. I don’t know, creating it as soon as I need something, I needed something for. Um, for, for myself, I created another tactical bucket and that’s how I ended up being like a cool suite of legal tools.
Stephen: [48:44] You, you solved your problem, right? You, you ran into a problem because it’s not like you could re, you know, take a chance. You’re not having this stuff shipped to Spain for you to process for FBA. You’re sending it to a prep center and then it, so there’s another cost, everything about this as a cost and there’s a learning curve, right?
Javier: [49:01] Yeah. Actually for tactical. Yeah. Before tactical buck any was, I created these tools, I had them all together, like not very like it’s smoothly looking. And I met these, um, this person at still probably, you know, oh smart, super smart. And he stole it and he’s like, so are you selling this and this? They’re like, no. And he was like, man, you should start like, you should package all this and sell it. And I’m like, well, I don’t know if people would like, they’re kind of like my little tools that I don’t know if they are like too small. And he said like, well this is a great package of things that you do in here. And that’s how like I started like tactical bucket. I said like, okay, I will, I will get in and all that. And uh, Yay. Thanks.
Stephen: [49:45] Because I hope you pay Bob a little bit of money. He deserves it. Cause he’s such a good guy. One of the smartest guys he really is. He was a purchaser and he’s an old dude like me. Um, I might be a little bit older than him, but here’s the key is he took what he knew all those skills and he applied it to the Amazon business and there’s a reason he’s crushing it and I have to have him back on because he is just crushing it. Such a wonderful guy too. All right, so tactical bucket, if you’re interested in, again, you must have tactical arbitrage, okay. And so tactical bucket, if you go to tactical bucket.com and if you use the code momentum, you’re going to save a little bit of money, but you’re more importantly, you’re going to get a wholesale x path.
Stephen: [50:24] And so you’re going to sit there and say, what is that? And that x path is the term that they use. But the whole express is going to allow you to add on one of those wholesale accounts because you, you have to pay for each one of those days. You have to create them, but he’s going to give you the ability to get, uh, get your own. So again, tactical bucket.com use the code momentum to figure that out. Um, when, when you’re looking forward now, so as you go forward from here, right, you’ve, you know, to me the pattern is the process. You have figured out a way to fix processes and then you, um, or to break down processes and then you find a way to automate that and then you apply it to your business. And in this case you were able to apply it and sell it to other people, but, but in your own business, what’s next? I mean, do you see a limit to the capacity for what you have?
Javier: [51:14] Well, it’s hard to say. Like I’m, I usually like to do with [inaudible]. I’m being bold on it and that’s probably one of the things that makes me like, it’s hard for me like to grow bigger, but probably as soon as I get more people, like one is this a new seller fulfilled prime thing comes in Spain, I hope. Well first I hope to move many of these staff out of a like far away. We’re not far away close from my house with fire away from my like far enough. So he’s not like that close. And I could get like many more employees in and hopefully it’s something that is a scalable like asking me like get more people into praying more. What happened? We get more orders than we can cope with it. Well all we need probably is another machine and another person in like another operator putting the products in. So hopefully that, that would be like an extra step, like down the track. Not, not very close now, but hopefully not very far in either.
Stephen: [52:12] Wait, do you give a fear of others getting into this business and and taking, you know, like, Hey, you know, you’re giving away all your secrets on VR. You’re given all the trade secrets away or do you have that fear?
Speaker 5: [52:24] Okay,
Javier: [52:25] well, because I’m doing it here in Spain and I think people in here is not very like, uh, they don’t have the central preneurial spirit. They, most of the people just lays back and we’ll be like, I don’t have a job or I don’t get a better job. So I don’t care. Actually explaining to people because at the end of the day, you need to work like you need to work hard to, to, to get somewhere. So if someone else is going to work hard and they do the same, well I guess there is, there is place for everybody, but most of the people wouldn’t, wouldn’t work. Like through the things, through the things. That’s it right there.
Stephen: [52:58] They’re not going to push through them because the wall’s going to come up. The barrier’s going to be there and then all of a sudden you have to push through and they’re gonna be like, wait, this is too hard. Cause it is hard. Right? It’s not easy. Not Easy. Hm. Love it. All right, so if somebody has a followup question for you, what’s the best way to get you,
Javier: [53:16] uh, probably with the, like through email, like in, uh, these, uh, email@example.com and I will be able to answer anything. He, so they’re not all like
Javier: [53:26] Facebook. They can message me. I’m happy to answer.
Stephen: [53:28] Okay, so I’ll put both there. You’re a Facebook contact too. Um, but hello, ed. Tactical bucket.com, and that’s the email. Um, and I’ll put both links in there and uh, you know, I would, I would encourage you to follow up with where if you want to talk personalization, we have the same abilities now, not at the capacity that Javier does. He has way bigger, uh, way bigger capacity than Steve has. Um, and that’s not a problem. All right, so the goal of the podcast, um, is to help people who get stuck and you’ve been stuck a whole bunch of times and every time you get a machine you describe getting stuck, right? Every time you try to look at, you know, I’m sure like technical arbitrage as you said, getting, you know, it’s a little hard to learn. It’s a learning curve. You get stuck. Why don’t you one more time, walk us through how you would approach that for others. What’s your advice for others so they can get past that point of stuck?
Javier: [54:19] Well, when I, when I get a stack I think first thing is like done. Like don’t give up and keep trying. And the way I think it is like, well if someone else can do it a why cannot and just like keep following up too. I like get through it like okay sometimes are like sometimes like getting stuck is not fun. But uh, at the end of the day is a step you need to take to make sure that your business works and if other people is doing it well, once you go through that step, probably you won’t get stuck again, hopefully in that same step. And you will be like, don’t invest it, then move to the next things. I Dunno, I just like keep pushing and thinking that it’s, it’s possible.
Stephen: [55:04] Well, like you said, if somebody else is doing it 100%, it’s possible that’s a given, right? That’s a given. And so break it down into small pieces. Oh, I love it dude. Great Story. I love what you’re doing. I can’t wait to hear when you hit 100,000 skews. I can’t wait to see it. Thank you so much. I wish you nothing but success.
Javier: [55:22] Thank you Stephen. It was great talking with you.
Stephen: [55:26] Great Guy, great inspiration. Great help for me. I’m again, because we’re in this same business, um, we do more custom work now, um, plus wholesale. Um, so our private label has ended up becoming that and it’s worked really well for it. So pretty interesting. I’m listening to him though, try to automate it and boy, we could use that. So trust me after the call, we spend some more time talking about it because he’s just a wealth of knowledge. Great Guy. Reach out to him if you can help and again, check out that tactical bucket, use that Kobo momentum and get your wholesale x path for free. Um, awesome, awesome. Uh, thing to do, right? Because if you’re doing that and you find your own website, you know that nobody else is checking, you could really end up doing some great work with itself. Uh, reach out to me if I can give you any help, any advice. Episode four hundreds coming. You know who that’ll be.
Cool voice guy: [56:17] Thanks for listening to the ECOMMERCE momentum podcast. All the links mentioned today can be found at [inaudible] in commerce, momentum.com under this episode number, please remember to subscribe and like us on [inaudible].
Stephen: [56:29] Okay.