#448 – Building A 7-Figure Amazon Brand While Having A Day Job

Video of the episode at the bottom

In episode #448 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Robert chat about how he grew his Amazon and retail brand to over $4 million in revenue while working a full-time job.
 
Robert shares his backstory and how he got into entrepreneurship at an early age. He then talks about how he transitioned into e-commerce and eventually started his Amazon brand while still working his day job as a consultant and now, senior finance manager at Microsoft.
 
Robert also shares how he got started in the coffee niche and how good supplier terms and building a good relationship with them helped his business grow. He even managed to reach $2 million in sales in his first year!
 
Despite having a full-time job, Robert managed to run his Amazon business successfully and with the help of agencies for other aspects of his business. His ultimate goal was to get his brands into retail, and he shares the process of getting into 4,000 Walmart retail stores.
 
Robert also talks about lightning deals and a new emerging marketplace called Faire that he uses to market his products and get them into mom-and-pop shops across the country. And as for his goal for 2023? You’ll have to tune in to find out!

In episode 448 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Robert discuss:

  • 02:02 – Robert’s Backstory And His Early Start In Entrepreneurship
  • 05:48 – How He Got Into E-commerce And Amazon
  • 08:32 – Working A Day Job While Starting An Amazon Brand On The Side
  • 10:22 – How Robert Got Started In The Coffee Niche
  • 12:20 – $2 Million In Sales In His First Year
  • 14:13 – How Good Supplier Terms Helped His Business Grow
  • 14:50 – Building A Good Relationship With Suppliers Help
  • 15:58 – Running His Amazon Business With A Full-Time Job
  • 18:52 – Working As A Senior Finance Manager In Microsoft
  • 20:26 – Reached $4 Million In Sales In 2022
  • 20:56 – Leveraging Agencies For Other Aspects Of His Business
  • 23:06 – The Goal Was To Get His Brands Into Retail
  • 23:45– The Process On Getting Into 4,000 Walmart Retail Stores
  • 25:10 – Lightning Deals And Other Strategies Robert Uses
  • 28:35 – Marketplace To Get Your Products Into Mom & Pop Shops
  • 30:59 – What Is Robert’s Goal This 2023?

Transcript

Bradley Sutton:

Today we’ve got a seller who’s still working his everyday full-time job, but on the side, he’s been able to grow his online brand to over $4 million of revenue. How cool is that? Pretty cool I think.

Bradley Sutton:

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Robert:

What’s going on Bradley? Thanks for having me.

Bradley Sutton:

Thanks for being here. It’s pretty cool that you’re here. We just had some technical difficulties. Made him wait for like 10 minutes as my audio was having issues, but, but he’s a trooper here, and that’s kind of like probably like part of the theme I should say, of what we were gonna be talking about today. Now I remember meeting you at the prosperous show. You know, you came by your booth and I was like, just learning a little bit about you. I’m like, hold on, say no more. Say no more. This sounds like an interesting story. I don’t wanna find out about it with the, with everybody else. So let’s start with your origin. You just told me a couple minutes ago you’re in the Georgia area right now. Is that where you were born and raised?

Robert:

No, so I was actually born and raised in Venezuela. So up to the age of 10 parents moved to the US and yeah, for the majority of, of the rest of so far we’ve been in Georgia, north of Atlanta.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay, excellent. Now, upon graduation of high school what, like how long did it take you to learn English as a 10 year old? 10 year old is early enough to pick it up pretty fast, I would imagine. Like me, I’m trying to learn languages now and it’s like impossible.

Robert:

I couldn’t imagine, I couldn’t imagine learning a language. Yeah. So at that age is still early enough that you can learn it pretty fast, ESL classes and all that. But I always say it’s still, 10 years it’s been there my first 10 years. I still remember. And I still speak Spanish obviously just as fluent as as I speak English. So it was definitely somewhat tough. As I remember at those times, but looking back at it, obviously way easier than trying to learn as an adult, that’s for sure. So yeah, did middle school and high school here in the US and then after that obviously college as well.

Bradley Sutton:

Awesome. All right. So after you graduated high school, did you, did you stay local for college or did you go to college? What did you do?

Robert:

So I was kind of one of those kids that from early on, I somehow like found a computer, found Photoshop, started doing design and like selling websites when I was in high school. And so I always thought I was gonna be an entrepreneur, but late high school, I basically thought, how,

Bradley Sutton:

How do you sell websites in high school?

Robert:

Yeah. Yeah. So I so I got into one thing led to another, basically selling design, like signatures for like $5 on forums that kind of hustle being a, a 13, 14 year old. And then that led to I saw websites being sold on Flippa, which used to be called SitePoint. And so I, I think I remember one summer I made almost $30,000 selling websites, and my parents thought I was doing something illegal and everything, but yeah, I was always just kind of tinkering.

Bradley Sutton:

$30,000 in a month. You were 15 there?

Robert:

In the summer, but yeah, that felt like I was rich. I didn’t know what to do with that much money at that time.

Bradley Sutton:

No, you were rich. If you make $30,000 as a 14-15 year old, a teenager, that’s rich.

Robert:

Yeah. Yeah. I felt rich. So that’s kind of what got me started a little bit into entrepreneur and stuff, so.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. So, so then did you attend a university or, or did just go straight into like doing business basically?

Robert:

I still had good grades in high school. I never really took it too serious I played baseball. I didn’t really like school. I honestly didn’t, I didn’t get too used to school when moving to the US I kind of struggled with it, to be honest. But then towards the end of high school, I figured I shoot, I need to like apply for colleges and go to college and stuff like that. And I was never really thinking too much of it first generation also here in the US it’s not like our parents really knew the, the way to how to apply and all that. I just felt like towards the end of college, I saw more people doing it, so I had to apply to college, and so I did. And so one thing led to another and, and I’d like finance, I like business. So yeah, I went to my undergrad in, in finance, and so that led kind of a, a dual path that I’ve been following ever since of kind of having a career in a corporate route, but at the same time kind of always wanting to be an entrepreneur and trying things on the side. So that’s kind of where the split happened.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. So did the website thing like stop being so lucrative, or, hey, if, if I was making $30,000 a month or two months or something, like, I’m not gonna stop that. So like, how, how did you migrate into to kind of more e-commerce and, and selling online?

Robert:

Yeah, so that happened. And then obviously being in high school, you take your eyes off of it, you don’t know what business really means. And then obviously that dried out after a while. And so it was one thing after another kind of trying little projects with friends and stuff on the side. But it wasn’t until 2012, which was basically a couple years after graduating high school while I was in college that I got into Amazon. And yeah, so that’s a whole nother story in itself. Didn’t get into it properly, but that’s kind of where my, e-com journey began.

Bradley Sutton:

What do you mean by didn’t get into it properly?

Robert:

Well being in college kind of not, not having a fully developed brain there. I started selling there was one weekend I found, kind of went online and found this equivalent of like Alibaba back in the day where you could find goods. And I thought I saw some OtterBox cases, not sure if you know what what those are, but those were total hit in the early 2010s. And so I bought a couple, and a couple turned into they sold out and more and more. And next thing you know, a couple months later, basically I had a copy of a lawsuit in the mail from auto products. They caught one of my accounts on eBay. And I had, I was suspended from Amazon and all that, so I didn’t really at the time put two and two together, like private label like this whole thing. I was just kind of trying to make a quick buck likely. And so, yeah, it took many years after that to be able to kind of open a new account and start off fresh as an actual business with my own brand.

Bradley Sutton:

So what year were you talking about when these things were happening?

Robert:

This was 2012 early late 2012, early 2013, that I got banned and went through all this and then back and forth with the lawyers and everything and took a while. And it wasn’t until 2016 that I think I opened a another account. And so like that late 2017 was when I really launched my first brand. So it took, it was a big gap in between there. Obviously my career-wise was going really well. I got some really nice internships. Started my career in finance, did a two year program where I moved around in the US and did all these things. And so ultimately got my MBA and all that later on. But at the time I was still doing consulting. My main client was Facebook actually. So I was out in the west coast a lot and on the side trying to launch an Amazon brand.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay, interesting, interesting. Now throughout this tim, you’re still working full-time quote unquote for the man. Now what, what happened with that, that brand that you, you started on Amazon? Like, what was the peak of it? Like, like what kind of level did you get to with that notebook brand? Yeah,

Robert:

So it was kind of thrilling. You know, I had a really great job at this time, I’m late twenties already making six figures. But at the same time, there was this urge to kind of do this on the side. And, and so like, I was trying to do it. I always saw it as ultimately I want this to be a company and a business rather than like a side kind of hustle and just make a couple bucks. So from the get-go, I tried to take it a lot more serious, at least a lot more serious than the amount of cash I had to do it with. But yeah, at first I remember launching basically last days of October, it was holiday season, obviously, and I’m launching a planner, so think of a you know, a planner you write in monthly, weekly it’s undated, so you could kind of use it all year round.

Robert:

But I was launching in the holidays, and I remember the November, December, I think I sold maybe $20,000 my first month in like 20,000-30,000, like in December. So it was like, wow like right away you’re seeing like, that feels like a a ton. And so like, okay, launch more variations and everything at start of, as to start the year in 2018. And so what happened with that first batch is you, a lot of lessons learned there. You know, there was some manufacturing defects, so kind of ruined the reviews right away and had to relaunch to begin 2018. And so basically that whole year was kind of like at the, at that same kind of level, right? So I, I scaled it to 20, 30,000 a month in sales. It was good margins and all back then, obviously no ads <laugh> or anything like that. So it was great, great times, but I really always kind of saw it as like, oh, I need to maybe like branch out into a brand in the home and kitchen space or something that was more like high volume like I saw this as office products may be declining long term. And so like overall I just wanted to, to have a brand I could get behind and, and be in, in a more competitive category.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. All right. So then what was your next step?

Robert:

Yeah, so at this time, mid 2018, I’m still with this first brand. I’m thinking getting to another brand. I just started my MBA, so it was like, as part of my MBA in 2019, early 2019, we were going to China anyways, right? So it was like, okay, I was looking into another brand at the same time, looking for suppliers. So like what I could start and I see like kind of coffee products that’s kind of cool. It’s something I understand. I saw a couple other kind of niches, but like I was kind of set with this one supplier that I had met, and they had this product that they were developing. It was a coffee grinder. At the time I didn’t like their current model it was already being sold and everything, but they had this new model that I really liked.

Robert:

I told them like, no, thank you, but like maybe down the line once that model is finished. So it turns out like it was good timing as well. I was going to China and kind of trying to launch this cafe brand in mid 2019. That’s when I ultimately launched it. So I was in China in March for about a month. So I went two weeks with my, as part of my mba, and then stayed an extra couple weeks at the Canton Fair, met the supplier, and so ultimately decided to, to place a PO to launch this one SKU. You know, it was a coffee grinder, launched it mid 2019 and kind of just took it very serious by that point. I was determined to make it work. I saw it was a very competitive category, obviously. There were already big sellers, not just big sellers, but brands sold by Amazon one piece. And, and I just we took it very serious on the launch and just the branding and everything and, and everything was with the mission, kind of like to get it into retail one day or just kind of look bigger than it was and come out with a roadmap of coffee products. But yeah, that was mid 2019.

Bradley Sutton:

Mid 2019. So 2020 was your first full year with this new coffee brand, and what did you generate in revenue for that, for that year?

Robert:

Yeah, so 2020 obviously a crazy year cuz of Covid. But that year was able to do just about $2 million in despite being out of stock for long periods of time. You know, we were doing $600,000 in a couple weeks and then outta stock for a whole lot of weeks, right. And then on and off again. So it was a roller coaster of a year and definitely a lot of lessons learned there, growing pains, all those kind of words. But really like my second b a I call it was basically covid times and supply chain kind of crisis that were going on. So yeah, that was 2 million, you know yeah, at, at the time. It took a lot to be able to get there because if you think the year before we were doing just barely in, into the six figures, right?

Robert:

I think in 2019 when I had kind of both brands, but the the second one was new. I did maybe half a million dollars or so right to scale from there to 2 million. It kind of sounds easy, but a lot of things have to happen. And one of those things that had to happen was kind of the capital just the supplier terms, for example, right? So like before Covid I kind of had the standard supplier terms where you pay a deposit, which is normally like 30% or so, and then you pay the remaining 70% before the goods even leave China Sure. Before they get to the US right? And so given those terms, I would not have been able to scale at all because I just didn’t have the capital for it. Right. And being a consumer goods product business, you need more inventory, the better your product does, right? And so being bootstrapped that was just not an option. And so I had to negotiate really tough terms with the supplier that really allowed the risk to be kind of transferred to them and quite frankly for us to place bigger POs and be able to scale the products and and so on. So that was kind of 2020. Now,

Bradley Sutton:

Now this supplier was somebody you had met in person though, right? And like had a personal relationship with cuz you had visited them. So like you think that helped with this negotiation?

Robert:

I would say it didn’t hurt, that’s for sure. So I always tell people that are kind of trying to get in the space, you can always go to Alibaba, meet suppliers there and really kind of start fostering the relationship start messaging. But it’s not quite the same as I went to their factory, took a bullet train in the middle of nowhere. You know, he had me out to eat snake I ate snake that to them it’s like something you sit down and share like a delicacy I ate the gallbladder of the snake like that kind of relationship you can’t really do through. Yeah, it was terrible.

Bradley Sutton:

That’s some fear factor level stuff. Fear factor. Exactly. Exactly. I’ll be like, no.

Robert:

Everyone around the lazy susan, wow. Like, here you go the guest gets the gallbladder. So that was something, but that definitely helped. And you know, it’s a smaller factory, right? So it’s the owner, right? So I’m communicating directly with the owner. And so he saw us from the beginning, right? This was our first product. He saw it come from nothing to then, Hey, you’re getting POs and you’re getting all this traction, so we’ll grow our coffee selection through you as well. Right? So that was kind of like key and definitely a huge risk that I’ve seen huge sellers I know personally friends that are huge sellers and they can’t necessarily get those terms with their suppliers. You know, some suppliers are a lot bigger. They just simply don’t take those with their sellers.

Bradley Sutton:

Yeah. I don’t take the risk of eating snake gallbladder in myself .Hey to the victor of the spoils now, now 2 million, that, that’s still a significant amount regardless, but you are working full-time. So at this point, were you still doing everything by yourself or did you hire a staff, did you have virtual assistants or what was going on here?

Robert:

Yeah, so at that point I had a couple of maybe virtual assistants that I tried here and there, and it was always kind of like, ah, didn’t quite work out cuz maybe they were part-time or this and that, but I was essentially doing everything by myself. Yes. it was basically a one-man show. I had a couple people to help slightly, mainly on like the design part or things that I could do from back in the day, but like, I was just simply not gonna do. But certainly it was a one-man show on anything from sourcing all the way to,

Bradley Sutton:

So like managing your own PPC.

Robert:

Transfers to Amazon, setting up like channels outside of Amazon, setting up the infrastructure for that, setting up. Absolutely everything you could imagine I was the expert at, within the business. And that kind of, yeah, it took a toll on me. Okay. Thankfully COVID meant lockdown. So before Covid I was working for for a, a finance software company doing consulting. So I was traveling kind of a good bit. Like I said, Facebook was one of my main clients, so I was back and forth from the west coast, but Covid kind of shut everything down. And so that allowed me to really I was kind of cruise controlling on the corporate side for a little while at least. And so like this was right when everything was picking up with the Amazon stuff. So it was really a lot of long days and there was not much else to do cuz of Covid.

Bradley Sutton:

So 2020 2 million of sales, beginning of 2021 aggregator’s interest in your brand. What but fell through. What did you end of approximately 2021 in sales? Did you already increase on that 2 million?

Robert:

Yeah, so 2021 was probably toughest year on the supply chain side. You know, still managed with the same selection not really launching any new products cuz it was just so hectic hard to launch products during that time. We did almost 2.6 or so, so yeah, still increased it. The sales opened up channels outside of Amazon. I think that that year did you know, well into six figures, more than half a million or so in sales outside of Amazon, which was great great margins and all. And yeah, overall just got through it.

Bradley Sutton:

What were some of the main the main marketplaces that made up though, those six figures of, of sales? Yeah, so

Robert:

We were on all the dot coms. It took a while to open up like vendor rela, little vendor relationships like target.com macy’s dot com, home depot.com, qvc.com you know, walmart.com, it’s marketplace. But yeah, all the .coms they, they make a pretty even amount of the sales. And we have some like, pretty niche kind of channels like gift gifting kind of channels that are whoa and we just sell a whole lot through. And that’s, that’s great. But yeah, it was always a thought to kind of diversify from just Amazon to kind of an approach to being a company.

Bradley Sutton:

All right. Now was it in 2021, 2022 when you got this other job that kind of piqued my interest is what you told me at Prosper? Where you’re currently working now?

Robert:

Yeah, so what had happened was I had quit my consulting job probably I think it was late 2020 or something, right? Cuz I was like, okay, I, this thing is going either well or I’m gonna sell or whatever it is. Anyways I, I didn’t see long term in the corporate world, I’m gonna just quit and focus on this. And I did, I was that way kind of, it was almost nine months the deal didn’t go through. And so you know, recruiters are kind of always reaching out. You know, I had finished my MBA at the end of 20, 20 19 as well, so that was also happening. And mid 2021 I got a couple of recruiters reaching out. One was from LinkedIn and the other one actually was from Microsoft. So interesting enough, Microsoft owns LinkedIn, but I had two job offers for both companies separately. And yeah, ultimately it was a really good offer for Microsoft, fully remote. The team is in Seattle, but I’m here east coast and you know, as a senior finance manager. And so I took that and I’ve been there almost two years now that, that I’m coming around to finally leaving the position. Okay.

Bradley Sutton:

Now, now 2022. Now you’re working full-time Microsoft, and I’m assuming you’re scaling your business, so like what, what last year? No, that’s not last. Wait, it is last year. What year are we here? I worked in 2022. I don’t even know what year. Like yeah, time is flying by so fast. It’s already like middle of Q2 and 2023. I don’t even know what or when we are anyway, so then what last year did you end your, your sales with? Yeah,

Robert:

Last year was pretty good increase. We did almost 4 million. So that was good to be able to increase that while not necessarily increasing the, the employees or anything. You know, I’ve been essentially a one-man show. I do have, you know about 10 employees now, but really no one handling like the general managing of, of absolutely every aspect. Still I’m that involved.

Bradley Sutton:

So what are your 10 employees doing? So are they full-time or are they like part-time doing little different things here and there?

Robert:

Six or seven are full-time. Yeah, so think of one for fulfillment orders outside of Amazon, right? So we have a warehouse there’s one person that goes every day just to fulfill those orders cuz you know we have vendor relationships, so they pay for shipping, right? So we have to ship some of those products. We have customer service that is handled. We have one for logistics now we have one for obviously design which is very important. And then I think there’s a couple others. But the key thing is I try to leverage a lot our partners like agencies and stuff. So like and I can go further into all that with a new kind of announcement of how, how we’re going into retail and stuff. But yeah, we leverage agencies for supply chain production management, PR, influencers, affiliate management, all these kind of things that if you use ’em correctly, they lead to better than employees, right? Because they’re only in, they’re incentivized to kind of like do well kind of take care of their, their customers.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Interesting. So when you say 4 million, is that on Amazon or that’s across that all platform?

Robert:

That’s across all platforms. But outside of Amazon, it was still, it was pretty stagnant from the year before, maybe upwards of, of 600 or so thousand. So it was mainly Amazon over 3 million on Amazon. And then the rest there key thing is like we’re–

Bradley Sutton:

Only Amazon USA or other Amazon?

Robert:

Amazon USA. Okay. essentially with a small amount of SKUs you’re talking about basically 90 plus percent of those sales came from less than 10 SKUs so it’s, it’s a pretty good distribution there. And yeah, I think we’re trending a lot better so in December alone we did a million dollars and so that was great. You know, kind of like iconic moment that you think well, you would’ve never thought, like when starting a business right? Online, you’re, you’re thinking way too small back then. But yeah, that was, that was good. And we’re training a lot better and yeah, a lot of momentum outside of Amazon as well

Bradley Sutton:

So then you also said you got into retail. Talk a little bit about how that happened and then, and then what that process was like. Yeah,

Robert:

So like I said when launching cafe, the second brand I launched the goal was always to try to get into retail, right? So everything from, from the get-go, right? Way before we were even on Amazon, as I’m just thinking of the products, the packaging we were gonna use UPCB everything as small details as using UPC barcodes instead of the Amazon barcodes, right? From way back then, just because if you go into retail, you use the same barcodes, right? Just little things like that working on the packaging so that it’s kind of retail ready, somewhat, right? And, and just like getting certifications for it and just like reaching out to buyers with it. And so it’s been a lot of work. You know, we’ve gotten into a lot of the dot coms as vendors, which is still hard, but it’s not the physical retail.

Robert:

And so like thankfully last year after a lot of work visiting, you know Walmart headquarters a couple times, so we, we went to a line review with Walmart, and so we have a couple of our products now going into 4,000 Walmart locations. So essentially every Walmart in the US. And so that’s obviously a huge deal. It’s been in the works for a lot of months. But we’re finally delivering the products here in this next month, in in May. So that’s kind of an iconic moment for us. It’s awesome. It’s huge. A lot of work.

Bradley Sutton:

So have you seen the PO already?

Robert:

Yeah. It’s huge.

Bradley Sutton:

Is that like a seven, six figure PO? Seven figure PO?

Robert:

Six figures, but it’s only supposed to be enough for one po a couple weeks, so it should be a good time. Wow.

Bradley Sutton:

Mid six figures for a couple weeks of sales. That’s, yeah, that’s why I tell everybody, like once you get into 4,000 Walmart stores, that’s like, you know that that’s bigger than Amazon pretty much. Now I’m looking at your listing right now. So like, like right now it looks like you’re in the midst of a lightning deal looks like.

Robert:

Yeah, perhaps. Yeah. Yeah. Just a lightning deal one day or a couple.

Bradley Sutton:

See, I love it. You don’t even know what’s going on. You got a team who’s managing this stuff now. So is Lightning Deals something that you guys or deals of the day and things like that? Is that something that you guys do a lot or leverage.

Robert:

We do lightning deals, yes. They, they do help a lot. And we ran in trouble with those back in the day because those are guided by your last retail price or your, like your moving average price of what you retail at. So we used to run just like cut our price and try to run a lower price and then that would affect our Lightning deals and our seven day deals, and then we would have to run those deals at almost unprofitable at times back, back then. Right. So it took a while to be able to kind of gain some knowledge there and, and keep our retails kind of mapped out so that we’re able to run the deals at prices that still make sense for us.

Bradley Sutton:

Cool. Cool. Now what are some other strategies? You know, so we talked about lightning deals. I mean, obviously you have a well optimized listing these are just the basics things, but you know, frequent Lightning deals might not be something, something that’s a common strategy. So what are some other like maybe unique strategies you think that has really helped you get to this level where you’re at that, that maybe you can share with everybody?

Robert:

Yeah, certainly. I mean, we talked Lightning deals in seven day deals. I think if your product starts to perform well enough, you offer those seven day deals and that’s very important. You gain a lot of traction that week that you run those and obviously helps your organic ranking. We’ve kind of tried it all where we’ve tried everything from editorial recommendations. We try affiliate marketing, right? I think just today we were featured on the Kelly Clarkson show, so like you know, their Instagram has 1.5 million followers and they just kind of gain affiliate dollars from that, so when, once your listing starts to become more popular as well, more reviews, it’s more likely to kind of get picked up in different things, like people running videos, like UGCs and stuff, cuz they also kind of get affiliate dollars from it. Well,

Bradley Sutton:

How did you get on that show though? Like, like did you, was that something you did or they just like reached out to you? So

Robert:

That one was, they didn’t even reach out and yeah, we, we just found out by, I found out through a friend, they were scrolling their feet and saw it and sent it to us. So I, we literally had no clue on that one. Wow. But yeah now as of the past couple months, one of the things that we’re doing more of like I said with agencies is we have a PR agency and so they seek pr specifically like around our brand and, and our story and all that. And we also have an agency that handles influencers and, and affiliates. So they look specifically for like big media publications that are wanting to kind of feature our products and gain some affiliate dollars from it. So it’s kind of one of those streams where it, it can’t hurt but it’s about flowing sales from every direction Google ads, we’ve tried obviously, and, and all these kind of things to create the flywheel.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Now you, you’re on a lot of different websites you said and .com and things like that. So I think you would agree with the statement that, hey, start on amazon.com maybe number two Walmart and or your own website to start building your brand. And then obviously with a long-term goal of getting into Walmart stores. But if we’re just talking about online marketplaces, other than what what I almost call the big three is amazon, walmart.com, your own website, what would you say is the next couple of ones that you think give the most bang for the buck? Like are we like talking like Target or something or, or what website you think people might be sleeping on?

Robert:

I’ll give you the obvious ones. Obviously if you can get into Target, if you can get into Macy’s, all those are worth it just for the name alone, even if you’re not selling much, right? You associate your brand with being in those retailers, which not everybody can do. But I’ll give you a true sleeper and I’ll give you the quick story of how I found it. So I don’t know if you’ve heard of fair.com, have you ever heard of Fair? It’s essentially fair.com is a marketplace, it’s a like a unicorn startup. So it’s like huge I think value at like 10 billion or so. So it’s a big marketplace, but for like, think of like for mom and pop shops, right? So if you, if you own like a boutique or you own like a little coffee shop, you need to source goods for your store, right?

Robert:

And so you go to fair.com and, and that’s where you kind of buy them. But I came across because my my wife and I were on a road trip in Cali down the US one, and we stopped at this coffee shop and the coffee shop had like amazing items like all different brands, but they were like really nice. And I was like, wow, there’s no way that the coffee shop owner here is sourcing all these, or private labeling all these just no way, right? And so I, I, I asked the lady that was in the corner, I kind of do an inventory on a pad, like where do you you know, like, where do you source all these? And she said, oh, fair. And I was like, okay, note it. So I just kind of tapped it, went along with my road trip, got home, looked at fair, onboarded in there and essentially you’re selling to like physical locations so that’s the great thing. It’s like we’ve now sold over a hundred thousand dollars worth of products through fair after just kind of finding out randomly. And I get like pictures and stuff from friends from time to time like, Hey, I’m in this random coffee shop in North Carolina and I see your products here. Like how’d it get here? Or like, Hey, what is your product doing in the middle? You know? And so that’s amazing. And, and so like we have over a thousand customers.

Bradley Sutton:

So I mean, not only are getting sales from there, but you know, like customers who are just going to coffee shops and they’re like, man, this tastes good. Or they’re looking there and then they might be going home or just right there going on their Amazon app and looking up your brand. And so who knows what kind of residual benefit it is. I like it. Yeah.

Robert:

And sales are easy to fulfill their, their repeat purchase because you know, they’re buying for their coffee shop or their little store. And so like once they sell it, they’ll buy again. And so yeah, it’s one of those things where it’s it’s a little unlock and it’s, it’s worth a lot more than just the money it brings in, but rather your product having distribution and being out there spreading out your brand. And so that, that’s means a lot.

Bradley Sutton:

Cool. So it sounds like throughout this time you’ve been working full-time, you’ve hired staff though to, to help you, but is is 2023 the, the year that you’re gonna, you’re gonna retire from working for the man and now go all into your business and like, what’s your goals for your brand?

Robert:

Yeah, so it’s, it’s really good timing cuz I’m actually in the process of that, of, of quitting my job. It’s just coincidence that, that I’m on the pod and we’re talking about it. So, yeah being on Amazon, being on Amazon seller a lot of times and most Amazon sellers, like you said, we’re behind the curtain and we don’t care to be behind the curtain. We kind of hide behind our brands historically because who cares to know the, the founder, right? Like but with the whole Walmart thing where we’re now starting to be reached out for press or like interviews and, and just like overall you’re on the shelf. So like the brands kind of need a customer facing sort of name. And so like, it’s kind of the time to, to do it just because it, it’s kind of grown to the point where it also doesn’t make sense to stay.

Robert:

I almost wish my job wasn’t as good and didn’t pay as well or didn’t offer as much. Cuz then it would’ve made it a lot easier to, to quit a long time ago. But it’s allowed me to kind of really scale the team and just kind of go as long as I could before making that leap. So it’s not the first time I make the leap I did quit like I told you back in in the 2020. But this time hopefully it’s for good. And just to be able to fully take care of and run the company.

Bradley Sutton:

Cool, cool. Well definitely want to reach out to you maybe in a year or so and see how retired life is suiting you probably you’ll find that you’re actually probably working more than.

Robert:

Yeah. I wouldn’t say retired life

Bradley Sutton:

When you’re working full-time,

Robert:

Retired life. Yeah, you can word that differently. I would say committed to the game life.

Bradley Sutton:

There you go. There you go. Love it. Alright, well thank you so much for joining us and, and telling us about your journeys. Very inspiring and there’s people out there who, who might be in the similar shoes as you a few years ago. They’re still working full-time and they might have thought, man, I, the only way to scale my business is by quitting my job and just giving it full-time, right from the get go. But I think you’ve proven that, hey, no, there’s, there’s, there’s different ways to do it. You could still scale a business as long as you have good help while you’re, while you’re still in you know a great job that, that you might have, that you might like and find success. So it’s really great to, to see what you’ve accomplished and I look forward to seeing what you accomplished in the next couple of years.

Robert:

Appreciate that, Bradley. I hope I’m able to be back and tell really good stories by then.


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