Category Archives: Seller Stories

Shipping Private Label Products from China: My Nightmare Story

Man facing tsunami

This post is by Danny McMillan, a private label seller and international speaker on selling through the Amazon marketplace. Danny is a music industry survivor and serial start-up entrepreneur, focusing on Amazon FBA for the last two years. As a public speaker, he has appeared at events including the Smart China Sourcing Summit, Private Label World Summit and the European Private Label Summit. He can be found at DannyMcMillan.com.

I’ve been private labeling for a couple of years now: sourcing products from China, creating a brand and selling them through Amazon FBA. I haven’t nailed it by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve been through the sea-shipping process six times, gained some amazing experiences and learned a lot of lessons along the way.

Back in May I wrote about my first visit to China and the Canton Fair. Trade shows are a fantastic way to scout for new products and meet suppliers face-to-face. Not long after, I decided to embark on a new product launch with my supplier. I worked through product selection, branding and manufacturing without too much trouble. One task remained: shipping the finished products over from China in time for Christmas. It’s just moving something from A to B. Should be simple, right?

Wrong. It turned out to be the most difficult and unpredictable experience of my private labeling career so far. Murphy’s law tells us that everything that can go wrong will go wrong. And it did. I was asked for paperwork that I hadn’t needed before. As soon as I had jumped through that hoop, I was asked for more documents. That happened again and again. Then the payment to my supplier went through early, before the products had even been inspected. After that, we had hazardous material issues with the shipment. Then the boxes were damaged on the way to the port in China. Any one of those problems would be enough to lose sleep over.

But Murphy’s law was wrong. Not only did everything that could go wrong go wrong, things that can’t go wrong went wrong too. My shipment ended up slap-bang in the middle of the biggest economic disaster to hit the freight industry in the last 100 years: the bankruptcy of the world’s seventh-largest shipping company. It was completely unprecedented, and nobody had a clue what was going on. Would my products ever see the light of day?

So here it is: my nightmare story of getting one shipment over from China. I’ll be candid about what happened, and tell you everything I learned. I hope it helps you avoid the same problems.

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The Lazy Seller: 15 Minutes a Day to Run an Amazon Business

Adam Hudson

Think of an entrepreneur, and it’s likely your image will be of someone who is extremely busy: taking calls, responding to emails, and dealing with dozens of problems that come up every day. It’s a manic life, or so we’re led to believe.

One entrepreneur who takes a more relaxed approach, but still manages to be extremely successful, is private label Amazon seller Adam Hudson.

In this interview, Adam talks about how he built a business with annual sales of one million dollars and a really high profit margin. He puts about 15 minutes a day into the business. This is how private labeling is supposed to work, but very rarely does.

Adam also bucks the private label trend for low cost, low quality products. He doesn’t try to screw his Chinese suppliers on price either. In fact, when he receives a quote, he asks them to charge him 20% more. Why would anyone do that? Read on to find out.

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From eBay Seller to Racing Car Sponsor: Selby Acoustics’ Story

Selby Warehouse with Racing Car

Few eBay sellers do so well with their business that they go on to open a bricks and mortar store. But Shaun O’Brien of Selby Acoustics, based in Melbourne, Australia, has opened two.

Few eBay sellers advertise anywhere outside their eBay listings, but Shaun does. He has sponsored racing cars – both real and virtual.

And few eBay sellers start their own private brand. But yes, you’ve guessed it, Shaun has two. And one goes by the unappealing name of Ugly Cable.

I caught up with Shaun to find out how he grew such a successful online business, ask why he started his bricks and mortar stores, and learn more about his branding strategy.

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Selling Internationally? Look Beyond Amazon and eBay

Selling Internationally? Look Beyond Amazon and eBay

This article is by Trevor Ginn. Trevor runs UK-based business Hello Baby, selling baby, toddler and nursery products worldwide through several online marketplaces and his own store.

At Hello Baby we’ve been selling online since 2007. We started on eBay, then Amazon soon afterwards, so multi-channel selling has been important for us since the start.

We started selling internationally in our first year, taking advantage of eBay’s international availability option. That’s the easiest way to get started with cross-border trade. Since then, we’ve grown our international sales steadily.

Today, we regularly sell to 34 countries around the world including the United States, Australia, France and Japan. Wherever the buyers are, if they want to buy from us then I am happy to sell to them.

But I’m always on the lookout for new channels – countries and marketplaces that can help us increase our order volume further.

In this post I’ll explain why I’m such a strong believer in selling internationally, and how I go about deciding where to sell next. I’ll talk about the challenges we’ve faced selling internationally – both in general, and for specific marketplaces in New Zealand, France and the Netherlands. And I’ll tell you how we dealt with those problems.

If you have any questions just pop them in the comments box at the end.

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New Dog, New Tricks: How Pawstruck Markets Across Multiple Channels

Pawstruck Interview

Many of the multi-channel sellers I talk to are focused on the operations of their business.

They spend most of their time working on the processes that enable their business to run effectively: managing inventory, shipping orders, and handling customer service.

But when I spoke to Kyle Goguen, the founder of natural dog treats company Pawstruck, a different theme kept repeating itself. Kyle understands the importance of efficiency, but his enthusiasm really shines through when the conversation moves to another topic: marketing. I believe it’s Kyle’s enthusiasm for marketing that explains how this young business – less than two years old – has become successful so quickly.

Whether the topic is branding, email marketing, product reviews, social media or even packaging, Kyle has something to say. We also talk about Amazon Lightning Deals: Kyle reveals how his deals performed over Thanksgiving, and gives advice for other sellers on making the most of Lightning Deals.

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