#532 – $250K On TikTok Shop in 3 Weeks?!

Video of the episode at the bottom

Join us in this episode as we unfold the remarkable e-commerce tale of Josh and Jenna Coleman, a powerhouse couple who turned their online sales venture into a resounding success. They take us on a journey from their beginnings in marketing and finance to dominating Amazon and TikTok Shop, sharing the strategic decisions and personal pivots that propelled them into the limelight. Their story is a masterclass in leveraging life’s twists – from raising kids to career transitions – to build a thriving business that resonates with the potential of passive income.

Listen in as the conversation turns to the nitty-gritty of starting with side gigs and progressing to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). Josh and Jenna provide valuable insights into using platforms like Helium 10 for market research and how they used their design acumen to create products that captivate both digital and physical markets. Discover how they utilized KDP as a testing ground for market interest, leading to a booming workbook series that soared in popularity, thanks to smart social media strategies.

Finally, our chat takes a deeper look at the couple’s viral breakthroughs and how they utilized TikTok Shop and Shopify to amplify their business. They share the behind-the-scenes of managing a small business through the highs of viral sales spikes and the challenges of inventory and listing protection. The duo also reflects on the profound impact that Amazon and TikTok Shop have had on their lives and the lives of influencers who have joined them on this journey. Tune in for a dose of inspiration and practical advice that could set you on your own path to e-commerce success.

In episode 532 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley, Josh, and Jenna discuss:

  • 00:00 – Married Couple’s E-Commerce Success Story
  • 05:05 – Transitioning to E-Commerce 
  • 09:17 – Side Jobs to KDP and Amazon FBA
  • 08:24 – Hooking With Software and Numbers
  • 12:48 – Comparing Opportunities in FBA and KDP
  • 17:40 – Transitioning to Full-Time E-commerce
  • 20:53 – Viral Success on TikTok and Amazon
  • 27:31 – Start Small Business With TikTok
  • 31:50 – Learning in the Space
  • 34:39 – Promoting Business With TikTok and Shopify
  • 37:30 – Strategies for Promoting Products on TikTok
  • 44:21 – The Importance of Branding in Strategy
  • 45:19 – Amazon and TikTok’s Impact on Lives

Transcript

Bradley Sutton:

Today we’ve got a married couple with an incredible story. In not even their first full year on Amazon, they’ve grossed over half a million dollars. And in not even their first full month on TikTok Shop, they’ve grossed over a quarter of a million dollars. And they’re going to share how it’s possible to set up a TikTok Shop account in only 10 minutes. How cool is that? Pretty cool, I think. Are you browsing a Shopify, Walmart, Esty, Alibaba or Pinterest page and maybe you see a cool product that you want to get some more data on? Well, while you’re on those pages, you can actually use the Helium 10 Chrome extension Demand Analyzer to get instant data about what’s happening on Amazon for those keywords on these other websites. Or maybe you want to then follow up and get an actual supplier quote from a company on Alibaba.com in order to see if you can get this product produced. You can do that also with the Helium 10 Demand Analyzer. Both of these are part of the Helium 10 Chrome extension, which you can download for free at h10.me/extension.

Bradley Sutton:

Hello everybody and welcome to another episode of the Series Sellers podcast by Helium 10. I’m your host, Bradley Sutton, and this is the show. It’s a completely BS free, unscripted and unrehearsed organic conversation about serious strategies for serious sellers of any level in the e-commerce world. We’ve got a husband and wife dynamic, serious seller duo here for the first time on the show the double J crew, josh and Jenna. How’s it going, guys?

Josh:

Good.

Jenna:

Pretty well Thanks for having us.

 Bradley Sutton:

Yeah, Awesome. Now where are you guys located?

Jenna:

We are right outside Philly.

0:01:45 – Bradley Sutton:

Okay, so you’re on the East Coast, all right. So you guys were born and raised, or are you transplants from somewhere else?

Jenna:

So well, I’m a transplant. He is born and raised out here. I’m originally from the Midwest, the suburbs of Chicago.

Bradley Sutton:

In West Philadelphia born and raised. Oh sorry, probably back.

Josh:

Yes, yeah, oh she could sing it with you the whole thing.

Jenna:

Oh, yes, I could, yeah. We met in college out here and I kind of fell in love with the East Coast so we knew we wanted to raise our kids out here. So yeah, then we ended up out here.

Bradley Sutton:

You’re supposed to say you fell in love with him and then you fell in love with the East Coast.

Jenna:

Right, yes.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay, in that order there. Exactly what college did you guys meet?

Jenna:

We went to Nova Villanova.

Bradley Sutton:

Villanova Okay, yes, I knew one of my favorite Clippers was Kerry Kittles way back in the 90s.

Jenna:

Yeah, 85 here they won yeah.

Bradley Sutton:

Yeah, so the reason I know him is funny. Here’s just a really crazy story. You guys may or may not know. I used to be a Zumba fitness influencer and in my channel that I created on Zumba that had 30 million views. It was called CrazySockTV and I created that. It’s kind of like a branding kind of thing. I wanted to be memorable so that people in memory is my brand, and just not to be some random person dancing Zumba, which was a million people. So what I would do is I would have a crazy like one sock on one leg and then one sock on an arm, and that was what I came up with. It was always a crazy sock, but where I originally got that idea was Kerry Kittles. He would just have one sock when he played with the Clippers, which is which is my team, and I’m like that is the most weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. I’m going to roll with that idea. And that went to tens of millions of Zumba video views and so, yeah, that’s my Villanova tie right there. Anyways, all right. So you guys, what did each of you major in there?

Jenna:

My bachelor’s was in marketing and he was finance. Math and finance yeah, I mean he took everything for fun math, he loves math. So like that, my fine classes were like astronomy and his were, I don’t know, derivatives and anything he could with math.

Bradley Sutton:

What did you guys do after graduation then? Did you, either of you, enter into that world that you guys were studying?

Jenna:

We did. We did a little bit. So I did marketing for my dad’s financial planning firm and then I decided I wanted to be a teacher. I got my master’s of education, went down that route and then we were actually living in Chicago for the beginning of our first quarters. And then we had our twins and moved back out to the East coast and I definitely took a good break there for like the better part of a decade and didn’t really jump back into anything until like until this. I mean not really fully into anything, until this.

Bradley Sutton:

And then, Josh, what were you doing all this, all this time? I’m assuming you were the income, then if she was taking a break, so what were you doing?

Josh:

Yep. All sorts of things in finance Consulting.

Jenna:

Yeah, so working too many hours a week

Josh:

Flying a hundred thousand miles a year, like domestically only, which you. You probably fly that in four trips, but around the world domestically, that’s a harder target to hit.

Bradley Sutton:

So, yeah, this doesn’t sound like an exciting job. So what? What was the thought process on, like how you guys ended up with e-commerce? Was it just like all right, I don’t want to do this always? Or were you looking for a side hustle? Or how do you go from the finance and marketing world to and the stay at home you know world, to switch to e-commerce?

Jenna:

So I mean that was definitely part of it. The time constraints and I think the idea that there could be some passive component to e-commerce was interesting. But I really was. I mean, josh knows I would. I was admiring e-commerce for like the better part of a decade. I was that person that everything I looked at I was like, oh, I could create this, I can make it better, even with educational stuff and tools and resources. I was making my own and kind of like just admiring it from afar and saying, you know, when it’s the right time, then then I’ll go into it, cause we are not like the dip your toe in type of people. We are like the 50 foot cannonball jump ball in. It’s not like we’re just going to try, you know, like a product and see how it goes. When we I knew when we were going to go in it was going to be all in. So I was waiting for life to slow down and it was really like actually the craziest, the easiest time of our life and I kind of just had this like epiphany that life doesn’t really slow down, no matter how old your kids get. So if I don’t do it now, it’s probably now or never.

Jenna:

I can remember I think it was like a month after we got out of the hospital with my son. So our oldest son has epilepsy and he had about a year of failed anti seizure meds and treatments and it was just in and out of the hospital and they eventually came up. So they have this all over the country but it’s the medical ketogenic diet for epilepsy. So they put him on that and we had to go to the hospital and we had to learn all about it and I kind of had this moment of I was like this is more intense and exhausting than twins. This has been my dream forever. I’m like if I don’t jump in now, I’m never going to do it.

Bradley Sutton:

Well, was there something that made you that’s still not a natural thing to just like jump into, like, like? Did you get hit with an ad somewhere, or where you’re searching how to make money at home? Or how did you land on Ecom?

Jenna:

So I definitely found a couple ads there, because there were. I did take a couple courses that were teaching you how you can sell on Amazon and I had already had ideas and I kind of thought selling an Amazon? I didn’t understand the process of it. So I was like, all right, so I think I can figure this out. There’s courses to do it. So I took the courses, I downloaded like a ton of podcasts and he knew I kind of like dug into this whole of like just learning and education and I didn’t want to bring it to him until I was like I can do great. Yeah, you’re like you’re doing great, you’re doing your own thing. Like I said, we’re not like a dip your toe in type of person. I didn’t want to bring it to him until I thought this is something he would like to. So I really just kind of like dug in on the courses and I already knew the things I wanted to create, but I didn’t understand like the science, the research behind it and it’s funny we were talking about this. I was like, okay, so I listened to your Serious Sellers Podcast before I could understand 10% of what you said and I remember like listening to one of your podcasts and a few others like it and I was like this is amazing, this part I don’t understand creating design innovation. I understand the numbers.

Bradley Sutton:

We’re here talking, by the way, about more or less 2019, 2020, 2021. Last year, fall of  2022.

Jenna:

Yeah, yeah. So I listened to one of your episodes and a couple others and I was like, oh, my goodness, josh would love this. There’s software, there’s research, there’s numbers that can go into this. So basically I hooked him by showing him that kind of stuff. I was like, look, if you can do the product research and you can tell me the numbers and you can do this, I will design and create their products. And look, they have software like Helium 10, he was like lit up. He’s like this is fantastic, I can play. I mean, he was playing around in it before we even had our first product like that. Yeah, like before we even really knew if we were going to do a product yet.

Josh:

And now I’m like now we’re here. What happened yeah?

Jenna:

So I hooked him with that kind of stuff. We’re very different, very different in terms of like, our interest and what we like, and I think it actually helps in this industry. So yeah, that’s it. I knew I wanted to for a long time. I don’t think he knew we wanted to until he saw that aspect of the business that I could kind of hook him in.

Bradley Sutton:

So at this time you still weren’t working yourself. Only Josh was.

Jenna:

I’ve done a lot of things on the side, like I would just say side jobs and stuff. Like you know, I’ve done network marketing and coaching and stuff like that.

Josh:

Coaching sports yes.

Jenna:

Yeah.

Bradley Sutton:

What sport did you coach?

Jenna:

I coached volleyball. I played volleyball in college, so I just here whenever. I could camps and helped at schools and stuff.

Bradley Sutton:

But you had, you had the kind of bandwidth, but. But, but, josh, you know, you know traveling everything. If it was up to him it probably might not have gotten done because he was pretty busy then. So that’s an important thing to know. Like, hey, maybe it’s the husband, maybe it’s a wife, but but you know you got to have somebody who’s able to dedicate some time to this, or else you might never get started. So then you guys, you know, started dipping yourselves into Two courses and now the very first product that you launched, uh, are you still selling that product now?

Jenna:

Yeah, but well, I mean it’s of our FBA product we have, yeah, we have. We launched our first ones for KDP books and then our first product we launched last summer.

Bradley Sutton:

Talk about that for a second. What made you go that route?

Jenna:

So KDP, I mean, well, it’s inexpensive. And I already was creating designs and things like that and I knew that was something that we could do while we’re learning, because we wanted to. When we wanted to launch products, we knew that we wanted to launch more than one at a time and we wanted to make sure we had the research into it and we knew they were going to take a while, especially, coming up to you know, the timing of the year that we were looking at sourcing products was a little tricky.

Josh:

It was January, right, yeah, it was a year ago, yeah a year ago was when we launched our first KDP book in February of last year and it was Really based on. She knew the audience that she wanted to serve, but we had to test the content and we felt like KDP was a good place to test the content of like a meal planner and fitness type Trackers and budget planner, and then on the education side, cursive workbooks and you know things of that nature. Because when you look at the you know audience that she wanted to serve, my Research coming out of it was trying to find you know products that interested or that, um, that Audience wanted at the time. And so that’s why we used KDP is we got to kind of test content and then we also got to test PPC, play with it and learn it and in a in a real experimental way, instead of With an FBA product that was going to require a you know a large Upfront investment and inventory and all that kind of stuff and we had started that process. But it takes a while.

Bradley Sutton:

So, but basically you use a lot of the similar strategies, like using Helium 10 to see demand and, and that’s how you like landed on what KDP thing you were going to uh, launch and how to optimize your listing things like that. at what point then Were you like hey, not a lot, I want to do physical products.

Jenna:

So some of our designs that went into the KDP books are actually used in our physical products. Um, we edited them, made them a little bit better. We were able to use some reviews. So, for example, we have a meal planner, fitness tracker, or I think we call that the advanced meal planner and fitness tracker in KDP, um, and then we were able to make some improvements on that to make it into one of our vegan leather planners, um, but yeah, so, like we, those designs took me A lot of time to focus on and creating those. So we just had to make some adjustments to make those doable and we were able to get samples and stuff as we put out that KDP book. We were getting samples because we knew we wanted to eventually make it in FBA. We knew that there was more money obviously in FBA than KDP.

Bradley Sutton:

Were you able to do things by going, you know, directly to somebody who actually physically produced this? That was not an option with KDP, like a certain kind of Cover or something like that that you just literally could not even do KDP Uh, what are some of those things?

Jenna:

the KDP books. You can only do paperback or hardcover. You can have limited size Um and, as you know, with FBA you can do anything you want, really. I mean, you can create any material, cover, um things in our meal planner, fitness tracker. One of the things that I wanted was that they could tear off their grocery list and take it with them. You can’t have perforated pages in a KDP book, um, and that’s also, I think, where you can get seen on KDP versus you’re. You’re shown everywhere on amazon right and isn’t KDP, I believe it’s just the books that you’re shown in yeah, you, you’re shown in.

Josh:

You’re shown in search To an extent, but it’s an ISPN Then identified a product, not an ASIN, not a traditional like ASIN Uh product. So, yeah, you’re definitely Limited as to where you show up.

0:13:50 – Bradley Sutton:

Do you use it kind of like as a like an incubator almost for some of your FBA, like if it really takes off with KDP, then that’s what you maybe double down on and make a physical uh copy.

Josh:

I will. I will say yes, and our most successful product, which we launched in December, that that most recently, um, fortunately exploded on like TikTok and such, is really a culmination of like a case study in that it’s a handwriting set of handwriting workbooks that have disappearing ink and such and Most of that content you know. She built over time and we released in A variety of different like KDP workbooks while she was. You know, we kind of in always in mind had man, it would be great to do this one thing. The keyword always looked great, there were so many things about it that we felt like we could improve and we were so excited about it. But we knew it would take a lot of time and KDP’s content kind of feeling and seeing how things worked was really a huge part of the design over like a nine month period before we released those in December.

Jenna:

And we’re still using our KDP designs into new things. We have our newest product coming out, the bible verse mapping that. We’re working on getting those out by spring and they were in KDP and now we’re able to get those and a linen cover. A different thing for spring, for FBA products.

Bradley Sutton:

What’s your, what’s your average Retail price on the KDP side? And then, of those, how much do you take home?

Josh:

well, our average, every one of our products on KDP is 999, except for the homeschool planner, which is 1499, and on the, the Products that are nine, that call it ten dollars. On the products that are ten dollars, we take home about $2 and 60 cents A sale, and then on the homeschool planner, we take home about $3 and 80 cents, 90 cents give or take.

Bradley Sutton:

And then are you doing PBC for this at all, or it’s just all organic?

Josh:

Yeah, we do. I think our total PBC spend on KDP is about $15 a day maybe. So it’s small. Obviously it’s all relative, but um, but that 1500 a month is net of you know PBC charges specifically. So it’s a pretty low a cost Process. As long as you don’t get sucked into chasing physical products, you stay in your lane, recognize that you’re a KDP product and not try to go after FBA products not that I ever tried that then you can. You can do fine.

Bradley Sutton:

It’s separate log on for KDP and you’re a seller central, because that that’s kind of like a different. It’s not seller central, I know, but how different is the interface for advertising? I know Shavali you know probably knows this but I’ve never done Advertising for KDP Is it very similar, like you know, you can do, you know, phrase match and Sponsored and campaigns.

Josh:

Almost an hour,

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Okay, cool. Were you selling the entirety of 2023, or did you start later, not January?

Josh:

KDP. Our first one was February, and then our second one was like April, and then our first FBA product was July 1.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay, so not a full year of KDP, not a full year, obviously, of FBA. What would you say if you were to combine the gross sales of both on Amazon, only For your planners and things? What? What would you say? It was total at the end of the end of the year in the past year, Since well we haven’t been out of here, but yeah okay, yeah, so total 2023?

Josh:

About 400,000.

Bradley Sutton:

Are you still doing your day job or did you at some point last year that go all in on the Ecom?

Josh:

It took about like eight days to realize that there’s no chance I was gonna not be able to To like go all in into this.

Jenna:

it was too much fun. Yeah, you and, and the hours you worked, and the time you worked, I mean, I mean not to say that you don’t right now, where it has, we’re starting everything up, but uh, yeah, I mean we’re trying to launch a good amount of stuff.

Josh:

It’s a lot different being on a plane a hundred thousand Miles a year than it is being, you know, up late at night talking with manufacturers or something, but still in your own house. It’s a little different.

Bradley Sutton:

Was this your first year? In a few years that you’re, you didn’t make your high status on your travel?

Josh:

I absolutely it was a second year, but it was the first year I haven’t been on an airplane in like my entire life.

Jenna:

Really amazing yeah, when was.  I mean I guess, so yeah, no, we’ve really.

Josh:

Because after COVID we actually started driving Everyone like if we went somewhere, love it to the kids, like it and and frankly it’s fun for the two of us.

Jenna:

And the things we like to do. I mean we love to go to the mountains and snowboard. They’re all close enough here the ocean, the beach, all that stuff is driving distance from here, which, growing up in the Midwest, that’s not possible. So I love that we can just get to anything within a couple hours by the way, it was great, great story.

Josh:

We’re in the Midwest and after school and she’s like, oh, we, you can snowboard here. And I was like, awesome, where? And we she’s like I’ll take you this place. And we’re driving and the nav you know those old Tom Tom. Things right is like this is when we live in Chicago over after we got married two miles you’re at your destination and I’m like Jen, I can see about 15 miles in any direction right now there is nowhere to. Actually I don’t believe. I like kind of I want to believe you. Yeah, I was like this is like a sled.

Jenna:

We found a hill somewhere that we turn into is yeah, so yeah, we like the mountains out here.

Bradley Sutton:

Yeah, well, don’t got much of that here exactly in my town when I live, few miles from the beach here in California. But all right now, at what point did you guys discover TikTok shop?

Josh:

one of your serious seller podcasts in the. In the fall you had on a create some, a creator who did a video, a viral video that went viral for, I think, one of Lizzie’s products, but I forget exactly which one it was might have been the body suit One of them, but you had someone on that was explaining, kind of somehow some of the worked and it was super intriguing. And then we went to the meeting in New York where Lizzie spoke and Jenna drove home and you set it up in New York City and I set up the. I set up our TikTok shop in the car on the hot spot.

Bradley Sutton:

Well, what they’re talking about, guys, by the way, is we have their helium-10 elite members and we have a quarterly in-person workshop for Helium 10 members and we did one in New York and we brought somebody Elizabeth, who’s been on the podcast before talking about TikTok shop, and she kind of broke down exactly what she did, and I remember you guys at that it was like light bulbs were going off in your head as you guys were watching. We’re like wait, wait a minute, we’ve got a perfect Kind of product that would do well on TikTok shop. So then you got home or he said on the way home, not even you weren’t even home yet, you’re already setting it up on the way home in the car, yeah, I feel like in the car, because the kids are with my great, with their, my parents.

Jenna:

They’re great kids for a couple days, but you draw like literally on the drive. I mean, what is it? That’s less than three hours from New York, oh yeah it’s a couple hours. He was done by the time we got back. He’s like we’re set up, let’s go. I was like are you kidding me?

Bradley Sutton:

Now, at what point there were you like oh man, we’re on to something like what was your first kind of like viral day, or?

Josh:

Frankly, Christmas was our first viral day. On Christmas Day, you know, I had Alerts on, like sale alerts on TikTok, because we didn’t get too many before that. So we had sales, but not compared to Amazon. And so our phone. I’m like it’s Christmas, leave me alone, who is bothering me? And I was like not that many family and friends are trying to say Merry Christmas. And so it was sales. And we had no idea what was going on. And it was a you know video that was about 10 seconds long, that someone had posted, that had picked up and had, you know, half a million views that day and a million by the next, and the following day, sold us out of our meal planners. I was about 500 on TikTok and about 800 on Amazon so at that point.

Bradley Sutton:

Sold out in like two days.

Josh:

Yeah, it generated more Amazon Sales than TikTok shop, even though it was from TikTok shop for that first product.

Bradley Sutton:

Yeah, as well as our website, so you didn’t have like a link. It was just like it got sold out and then people were just trying to search for it on Amazon, you know, to try and get it, and they found your product through there.

Josh:

Yep and our website, yeah, and we found where they found it was be banner ads, like sponsored display ads, because they recognized the Products or if they would search for something meal planner or fitness or whatever. Our banner ads had like a you know 6% a cost. I remember we’re looking at them and I was like, oh, that’s what. Like they didn’t necessarily know what to search because I didn’t really think about it at the time. We just had the title as Grace will buy design meal planner or fitness tracker or something, whereas all the conversions, PPC were happening from there. And that’s when we kind of realized you know, there’s something to this, to your point about your question about when did we realize like this was a thing, when we realized how well these markets could play off each other and help each other. That was when that day, Christmas in the day after, is when I was like oh yeah, oh wow, like this is, this is a thing.

Jenna:

I think you were pretty excited about it pretty early though, yeah.

Josh:

I was excited.

Jenna:

I’m the pessimist, I was the one that was like I don’t know. I mean, we’re still. We just had our second product go viral, even more so, and I’m still like I don’t know if we should we get the inventory. Is it gonna repeat?

Josh:

Yeah, it probably won’t work. Yeah.

Bradley Sutton:

So now the planners on Amazon. This is not, this wasn’t your KDP, this is a physical one. So what’s the retail price on these? On Amazon?

Josh:

$19.99

Bradley Sutton:

$It was 19.99, and then so what? What kind of profit margin on Amazon?

Josh:

Actually before PPC about 50%. So they’re 240 landed plus small stand. We we made sure that packaged their point seven, four inches thick so that we can fit in Small standard. So basically about a 50% or shade above 50% margin and then with PPC, with. PPC, like if you take launch and everything in the consideration. The first, you know Three, four months which was the end of last year, where you know we 20% net margins on, including launch.

Bradley Sutton:

So about 20%, probably more. You know if we’re not considering launch in there now. I yeah. Now if, what kind of retail price did you have it on TikTok shop? Did you still keep it at 1999 or did you take advantage of how you can just add shipping and TikTok pays for it? Or at least they were before?

Josh:

So we did not do that where we lower the price, because so TikTok shop for Sellers who use seller shipping which is what we were doing, because we are fulfilling some of it from our Amazon inventory, for example, all of it from our Amazon inventory that if you spent $20 as a customer, they would pay for shipping, TikTok shop meaning so the the customer would get it for free for shipping and then TikTok shop would reimburse us and Basically, the $7.99 it’s like for one item Quantity of one is what they would do. So we would make the product $20 and shipping $7.99 and as long as we do that, the customer doesn’t pay shipping and we get the $20 and reimbursed for shipping at $7.99. So 27.

Bradley Sutton:

So on Amazon, let’s say that you were taking home, you know, after PPC and stuff you know like, let’s say, six bucks or something like that. You know maybe five, six dollars or so, which is which is pretty decent on Amazon. Not many people can say that. But then, for that same order, on TikTok shop, how much money were you taking due to TikTok, like subsidizing your, your fees and all this other stuff?

 Josh:

Yep. So basically, to break it down, so we would get the $20 Minus the 20% commission that went to that creator, right, so we would get $16 for the product Plus the $7.99 for the shipping reimbursement, so $23.99 that we would receive, and TikTok pays the influencer directly. We don’t have to do all that accounting, thank goodness. So 2399 that we would receive, it’s 240 landed and our MCF fee to like ship and deliver an item to a customer is $8 and change but eight, call it $8. So $23.99 in and Around $11 and 50 cents out, so double plus.

Bradley Sutton:

Yeah, double or more the profit margin for the exact same product on TikTok shop. Now what’s this, Jenna? Are you doing some kind of Like? Are you the influencer for your own product to like? Are you doing like lives or videos or some? Or am I getting you guys Confused with somebody?

Jenna:

I mean I do it, I do it, um, it’s you know, I really More so. I mean they had different promotions that they were running that you could get ad credits for doing lives. That’s why I don’t think I get a lot of traffic and that’s really not, in my opinion, where we get a large amount of sales, the sales I mean especially with our group books. That’s well, that was all because of videos and influencers. So it gave us ad credits, which was great, um, but personally I’m not. I do it for the business, but I’m not a fan of being in front of the camera any more than I need to. But I was all for, you know, starting up a small business. When they were like I think it was like $1500 in ad credits, I was like I’ll do it, let’s do it, you know that’s what it was.

Josh:

No, you’re right. During December, if you went live, you know a certain amount of time and Spent 1500, they would give you 1500 an ad credit. And so we basically did that, and the day the promotion ended, they deposited 15 like they were exactly as they Said it would be, and she was tortured every minute that she was live.

Jenna:

So I would never classify myself as an influencer. I that’s what I love about take talk shop that you can use the professionals that that do that as your influencers.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. So now you guys I mean technically, if you know Christmas was, was around. You know was around where you really started taking off. You know, by the time that we’re recording this podcast, you know, maybe you, like you, can talk about your first full month of TikTok shop. What were the gross sales on that platform?

Josh:

Since, if you include Christmas in that time, there 250,000 dollars.

Bradley Sutton:

In one week in one, in one month, in one month in one month in one thirty 70-72 hour period.

Josh:

They were 180,000 dollars.

Jenna:

That was that group books viral video, which was crazy yeah and it’s amazing to me still, because we had a few large influencers that were, like you know, half a million followers. That I’m like I was the optimist for those. I’m like this is gonna be the one, and they did great videos and the video that took off. That’s what I like 9 million views, knowing I don’t know, I mean she had, I think, just under 40,000 and which is still big, but it’s not like the half million or, you know, near a million followers, that we had other people. So you just don’t know and I mean the video was good.

Bradley Sutton:

So the fact that you guys did a 250 or quarter of a million, does that mean that your influencers took home like 50 grand themselves for doing videos, so that that influencers specifically.

Josh:

Generated, yeah, single mom she’s like the nicest person and we were so happy because she sent a message. You know that the commission was like life-changing, she was ready to get to be done with this and it was 30,000 and change in commission income that she generated based on her post and that, just like that’s again when further, it has furthered this point of like you don’t have to be the influencer because you know Jenna can be Jenna and Talk to the influencers, which again we try to do like on it, like we write Cards to them when they make content, like all of those types of things, and then it’s so much more natural and the creators love doing posts on Jenna’s products because she can relate to them and she cares, like she genuinely cares, and it was so cool to see that from a couple of the moms that I’ve had really successful posts on our products, that you just sit there and you’re like this is a great, great business model, that even though they’re increasing TikTok shop, increasing their referral fees, no problem, worth every penny.

Bradley Sutton:

You know you guys have some hijackers on some. You must have be out of stock or something. You guys know about that. I’m just looking at your day, your story now.

Josh:

Yep all right, you guys need to take care of that.

Bradley Sutton:

do some tests we already those guys offers that, do you mind if I show people your product page here.?

Josh:

Yeah, all right, let me um they’re the worst because the shipping is like weeks and weeks and weeks that we ordered it right. Yeah, it’s killing.

Bradley Sutton:

I mean the fact you know that that’s when you that, by the way, that that’s when it’s like you know, until you get it fixed, you know where you might want to like suppress your listing, where you take out the images and then nobody can sell on it. You know, so that you know your Every day that somebody has it active. You’re like losing your, your keyword ranking, your conversion rate and stuff like that. So if you don’t think you’re gonna fix that right away, you know, try and get your listing suppressed somehow, you know taking out the image is doing something.

Josh:

I said that this is where you’re always learning in this space because, yeah, these are problems that you didn’t know would be problems. Inventory management didn’t know that was a problem till all of a sudden it was a Problem. So it’s been great to have resources and help from people like you know, Helium 10 folks and other folks in the space, which is Such a help because you’re going through for the first time.

Bradley Sutton:

So then, going back to your main product, which is in stock here, this is the main one that you sell on TikTok as well, right, and the ones that that went viral before.

Josh:

It was the first one that went viral. It’s not the largest selling of our products anymore, but it’s the second, and it was the one that was here first. This product released in August yeah, august.

Bradley Sutton:

Did this originally start as KDP or this was a from scratch?

Josh:

Oh yeah, you may yep, no, we did a version of this via KDP, which, if yeah, Jenna’s author page is like amazon.com/author/jennacoleman, and that’s where KDP stuff is and there’s a there’s a 11. It’s called like the advanced meal, the advanced weekly meal planner Yep, but yeah, we reached a PSR of like two and then it all went out of stock.

Bradley Sutton:

All right. So then this you know, and then this is, this is what you also have on your TikTok page, and so doing some cool numbers, all right. So so you, you showed me the other day like there is a for anybody who has a, an Amazon account and a Shopify account. They can literally start TikTok shop. I Within like what? 20 minutes, would you say, or less, or?

Josh:

Yeah, I mean we’ve had some people that have taken Time to like if they have a sole prop, like where they don’t have a business in some ways, like where they don’t have an EIN or some things. There’s been some people. That has taken some time. But TikTok’s due diligence on you as a company, the Shopify system, seems to Serve as enough validation for TikTok shop that they’re good to go and you get set up pretty quick with a shop and Then an ad account on the business side. Then it pulls from their Amazon inventory.

Bradley Sutton:

Then it pulls from their Amazon inventory. So I, you know, I, you guys, don’t have a way to share your screen, but maybe you can just verbally Walk through those steps. So somebody has their Amazon account and then do they need to have the Shopify account already tied to their Amazon through, like by with Prime?

Josh:

Yeah, so okay. So good question, but not by with Prime. For fulfilling on TikTok shop by with Prime can be used on your actual Shopify website, like if you have your website on Shopify but you don’t actually need a website to do the TikTok Shopify Amazon integration as long as you have the program Shopify. There’s two sides to it. There’s the TikTok side and there is a native app. In other words, TikTok shop has built an app that sits on Shopify’s Interface so you can download on Shopify the TikTok app that allows you to create your shop and Create your business center and ads manager. Right. So all from Shopify to TikTok shop so it can push To TikTok and then, if you have like a personal TikTok account, it Can link that to your store and convert it to a business account basically.

Bradley Sutton:

In Shopify. What? Where do they go and Shopify if they have their Shopify account? They got their Amazon account. What’s the? If they’re not tied together, how do you do? They need to get it from the Amazon app store, the Shopify app from the Amazon app store, to tie it to the Shopify account?

Josh:

In the Shopify app store, there is a TikTok app and an Amazon MCF app. They need both.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay, so you do it through Shopify instead of Amazon. We do it in the middle.

Josh:

Yeah, and then the Amazon MCF app is what pulls from Amazon and all they do really there is they have to sync up to skew right to make sure that the skew and Shopify matches the one in Amazon, which the app will say you’re good, and then that your shipping map. So if you say standard shipping defaults to MCF standard, if you’ve ever done an MCF, the person has done an MCF order. Then it will say okay, when an order comes in and you fulfill it, it’s gonna fulfill via Whichever MCF option, standard option. So that way TikTok shop syncs immediately to Shopify. Shopify pulls the inventory and ships it and then Shopify gives the tracking number back to TikTok shop

Bradley Sutton:

And then when you, when you, you know, set up your TikTok shop From your Shopify and if your Shopify is already pulling in your Amazon, you know Images and things like that, the Shopify Site, it publishes all your images and description and stuff to TikTok shop, right?

Josh:

Yep.

Bradley Sutton:

Wow. So, guys, this is not rocket science where you have to know coding and a bunch of crazy things in order to get up and running, but, at the same time, it’s not something that, hey, you just turn it on and you make a quarter of a million dollars, you know, in a month. It requires you know it’s heavily on influencers. So what’s your guys’ best suggestions of somebody’s just setting up? They do everything you just said until now. They’ve got their Amazon store. Now they’ve got their Shopify set up. Now they set up their TikTok shop. It’s pulling. It’s all tied to Shopify and tied to Amazon. How do I get eyeballs in front of my product?

Josh:

The two biggest recommendations we would say is that. So I’ll let her say on our account what we should have, because there are some things that you should have on your account when an influencer looks you up, it’s kind of like having a website if they go to your shop and you don’t have any posts or anything. So I’ll let her cover that. But on the flip side, on the affiliate side, you know, you can go into the affiliate dashboard right inside TikTok shop and you have immediate, direct access to creators and that is really where you can do 50 at a time where you can reach out to. You can create a message, select a product that you want to offer them a commission to promote, and they’ll receive your DM right in their affiliate dashboard that invites them to promote that product. And so being able to get in there and send 50 of those a day to reach out to folks that are relevant to at least your audience and be careful not just going after huge creators. You’re able to see how each creator does. You’re able to see their sales, their engagement, all that kind of stuff, and you can go and directly reach out and just use the hard work method instead of the blast or spend money just throwing money to be there, money to build your awareness. You can do manual reach outs, but then on our page.

Jenna:

So I would say I think in the beginning, no matter what, it’s hard to get influencers to talk to you because you haven’t had any product sales right. They can see how much they can see, so I think it’s really important to focus on connecting with them and I think a lot of influencers, when they’re sharing a product, they don’t just want to know what it is and how much it is, they want to know the story behind it. So a lot of the ones that we connected with especially some of the bigger influencers where they have plenty of options of what to share they kind of want to know the story behind your product and a lot of people love to know when there is a small business owner behind it. Why did you create it? Who are you? What went into this? And that helps in connecting in the story. So a lot of them use that I’ve connected with the fact that I’m a homeschool parent and a lot of them are homeschool parents in terms of some of the educational stuff or other ones I’ve connected with. I’m a former public school teacher too and they connected the fact that we you know that we were both educators. Some of it is mom life and connecting with you know busy meal planning and just connecting in different ways. So if you’re just honest about your story, sometimes it’s the things that surprised me that we had connections on that. They were like, wow, that’s really cool, I also have a kid, you know one with allergies on a specific diet that you know. I saw you, you know you created a meal planner or something and so different ways to connect the making of your products and sharing in those Like.

Jenna:

I try to do reels a little bit on that and sometimes that will help because I think when they’re considering they go through and see some of your reels that you’ve created not just your products they don’t just go to your storefront. I will notice they’ll sometimes like my reels and my reels don’t have many views. A lot of them have, like you know, like a hundred, a couple hundred, but the influencers were go and check to see, you know like, and sometimes I’ll talk about why I made the product the way I did or the features of it. So I really tried to push on that in the beginning because I think that helped connect with influencers. But then once you do have a product that goes viral and they see that you, you know you have a business that could help them as well then they come to you but it doesn’t start that way, then they come to you, right. So now it’s different, which is nice, but I would say in the beginning, the pessimist in me, I was like, oh my goodness, how are we ever going to like get them to come to us? Or like we’re a small business that haven’t proven that we can, but it really does, yeah. It does change.

Bradley Sutton:

When you go into that portal you know there’s probably a hundred thousand influencers, a million influencers, whatever, in there. How are you picking and choosing those 50 that you want to reach out to first?

Jenna:

Really the same way that I think they’re choosing us Like. I try to find people that connect with our brand. So when they’re talking about educational stuff or their kids or I see that they have an interest in in recipes and cooking and things like that we try to find ways that are natural connections. So that’s part of it.

Josh:

Because you can search by interest. Yes, so in the affiliate dashboard you can search by interest.

Jenna:

Right and then and then you know that’s the really cool part about it To have that background view into people that that are going to be sharing your products. You can like go see what they’re all about on their page. So it doesn’t take long. But you know we usually spend time checking out their page before we even message someone.

Bradley Sutton:

All right Now, before we get into you know some, some just quick hitting strategies from you guys. If people want to reach out to you, I mean, they can obviously see your, your brand, and I just showed it. You know, graceful by design. But if people want to reach out to you guys for more questions or help with either TikTok or KDP or any of your specialties, how can they find you guys on the interwebs out there?

Josh:

The interwebs. I would say the best place is, you know, jenna. jenna@gracefulbydesigncom.

Jenna:

I do check on graceful by design for TikTok or Instagram. It’s at graceful by design LLC, but either one of those. I do check the messaging in there, but yeah, it is.

Bradley Sutton:

Let’s go ahead and get into your,  SST 60 second tip or 60 second strategy. You know, maybe, maybe one each gives us any strategy that you think will be beneficial to our listeners.

0:42:51 – Josh:

I’m going to do a quick strategy on folks who are newer or who are getting into, maybe wanting to get into the space, in case someone like that is watching. Um, cause, this has been, you know, a real thing for us over the past year from, you know, building this together, and I would say that the biggest thing in the e-com is that you have to remember is that cash flow timing and the business right, the real business aspects of any business, hold true in the Ecom right. So, cash flow timing, when you’re thinking about getting into a business and you see, you know again some of the courses out there that just say you know, things are easy and things are this and you can make money quickly, and all those types of things, I just would say that, uh, from a cautionary perspective, that you know, remember, this is a business that costs money and when you sell more on something like Amazon or TikTok shop, you need more reserves that they hold and you have to spend more on inventory and so and so those. That’s just like a fundamental business practice. That I wanted to make sure you know we said is that it’s not a, you know, fairytale industry. It’s a hard work. You know business, real business, and I feel like that gets blushed over a little bit with a lot of the things that are out there. So that that’s just in general, a principle and uh, and then my less way, less than 60 second tip is that you know your. Your biggest strength still is your brand, and to build a strategy today without a brand, I think is just challenging, because then you can just be you. So when you’re reaching out to influencers or you’re designing product, you can really actually relate to it, in addition to it being good research and all that kind of stuff, because people know whether you care about what it is that you’re selling or making.

Bradley Sutton:

Well, it’s been really great to see your journey, you know, from just learning about TikTok shop at that conference. And then you know selling out and then, and then guys, they can hire me just out there. So I don’t have any website or anything, but they’re now my customers for my family running 3PLs Cause I have a warehouse here and I found out that they were, they were struggling with shipping. So I’m like, hey, let me take your planners here and let me have my family help you guys ship. So they’re shipping. You know 20-30 of these planners all the time. So, like it’s really cool to first hand see, see your growth and uh, and now you know you’re putting a food on the table of that one influencer. Well, not, not now you’re. You’re employing my family as well. So, but yeah, you’re changing lives here left and right. I’m sure you’re changing lives with people who have listened to this episode learning about the potential uh on KDP um with uh TikTok shop as well. So we’ll definitely want to, you know, reach back out to you guys next, uh, next year, and see how. You know, we just got with you on your first full month of TikTok shop. Let let’s see what happens after a full year of Amazon and TikTok shop. You guys will be probably have some cool stories to share. So thank you so much for joining us.


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Director of Training & Chief Evangelist

Bradley is the Director of Training and Chief Evangelist for Helium 10 as well as the host of the most listened to podcast in the world for Amazon sellers, the Serious Sellers Podcast. He has been involved in e-commerce for over 20 years, and before joining Helium 10, launched over 400 products as a consultant for Amazon Sellers.

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