Episode 47 – An Entrepreneurial Couple Offers Tips on Amazon Private Label Brand-building
Is spending more time with your partner on your to-do list? One of the best ways to accomplish that is by building a private label brand together on Amazon. This episode welcomes Amber and Marx Succès Jr., an entrepreneurial couple who shares their journey to getting started on Amazon and how Instagram DM’s are fueling their “succès.
In episode 47 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley, Amber and Marx discuss:
- 01:33 – Making Sure that Beyoncé’s Jet was Fueled Up
- 04:10 – Amber Quickly Pivots to Become a Full-Time Amazon Seller
- 05:18 – Searching Pinterest for “How to Make Money as a Stay at Home Mom”
- 07:00 – Marx Wanted to See the Numbers
- 10:45 – Time to Bite the Financial Bullet and Jump into Amazon Private Label
- 12:40 – How They Kept Going After a First Failure
- 14:30 – Their Next Product – Thinking Like a Buyer
- 18:15 – One Year In with Private Label @ 40,000 Per Month and a 50% Profit Margin
- 21:12 – Running Lean with All Hands on Deck
- 22:28 – Amber Wasn’t Interested in Hiding Behind a Private Label Brand
- 23:40 – How Does Their Instagram Strategy Work?
- 26:55 – Enough Rainbows and Butterflies – Is Working Together a Good Idea?
- 29:08 – Amber Says, “Communication is Key”
- 31:00 – Why Helium 10 is “Mandatory” for both Amber and Marx
- 32:20 – An 8 Figure Exit Strategy and Other Goals for the Entrepreneurial Couple
- 34:30 – Here’s How to Reach Out to the Couple
Enjoy this episode? Be sure to check out our previous episodes for even more content to propel you to Amazon FBA Seller success! And don’t forget to “Like” our Facebook page and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you listen to our podcast.
Want to absolutely start crushing it on Amazon? Here are few carefully curated resources to get you started:
- Freedom Ticket: Taught by Amazon thought leader Kevin King, get A-Z Amazon strategies and techniques for establishing and solidifying your business.
- Ultimate Resource Guide: Discover the best tools and services to help you dominate on Amazon.
- Helium 10: 20+ software tools to boost your entire sales pipeline from product research to customer communication and Amazon refund automation. Make running a successful Amazon business easier with better data and insights. See what our customers have to say.
- Helium 10 Chrome Extension: Verify your Amazon product idea and validate how lucrative it can be with over a dozen data metrics and profitability estimation.
- SellerTradmarks.com: Trademarks are vital for protecting your Amazon brand from hijackers, and sellertrademarks.com provides a streamlined process for helping you get one.
Bradley Sutton: Today, we’ve got our first married couple joining us. Learn their story on how they went from completely different careers to selling on Amazon. After just a year of selling private label, they’re on a path to do seven figures this year using some unique strategies such as Instagram DMs. How cool is that? Pretty cool, I think.
Bradley Sutton: How’s it going, everybody? My name is Bradley Sutton, and this is the Serious Sellers Podcast. Today, we’ve got a unique episode, something I haven’t done before. We are interviewing a dynamic duo, a husband-and-wife combo. I met them out in Vegas, and I was like, “You know what, we have not had a husband-and-wife combo out here who are selling together on Amazon.” We probably have a lot of listeners who are in the same boat or they’re thinking about making it a family affair. I want to get your unique insight, Marx and Amber. How’s it going?
Amber Succès: Good.
Marx Succès: Great, great. I’m glad to be here.
Bradley Sutton: All right. Where are you guys located, actually?
Marx Succès: We are living currently in Austin, Texas.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. I think everybody’s living in Austin, Texas who is in the Amazon space. Everybody wants to move out to Austin. Are you guys originally from that area?
Marx Succès: No, no, I’m originally from Chicago.
Amber Succès: I’m originally from Indianapolis, Indiana.
Marx Succès: Yeah. So, we met in college, and we moved to several, several different places, and we found ourselves in Austin most currently.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Like I said, everybody’s moving to Austin. There are a lot of transplants there. Where did your Amazon journey begin? First of all, you said you met in college. What were your college majors?
Amber Succès: I graduated with a major in aviation management.
Marx Succès: Yeah. And I did electrical engineering.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. So, did you guys start working in those kinds of fields after college or what was your career like the following college?
Amber Succès: Okay. It’s kind of weird—actually, not really—because when you’re in college, a lot of times, you ended up switching majors. I actually started off in the professional flight program because I wanted to be a professional pilot. I wanted to fly for Delta Airlines or one of the other major legacy carriers. But once I got to, I’d say, my sophomore year, I found out that I really wasn’t passionate about it. Then I switched to the business and management side. So, I ended up graduating in aviation management, and then from there, I got a job in the private aviation sector. The sector that I’m in is the FBO industry, which stands for a fixed base operator. Essentially, it’s where all of the affluent people fly into; let’s say, Beyoncé and people like that. They don’t go to normal terminal buildings like Concourse C. They actually go through their own private terminals. That was a lot of fun doing that career—helping celebrities. My job was the FBO manager, so I looked after all of the customer services, all of the fueling for the private jets. Even though it was exciting, and every day was different, I still felt like there was more to be had. That was my three-year career.
Bradley Sutton: That’s pretty interesting. What about you, Marx? What did you do after college?
Marx Succès: After college, I got a job in my hometown of Chicago. From there, I ended up taking a position within the same company in San Diego—and spent about three and a half years out there. I married Amber after I moved out there. Then, most recently, about a year and a half ago, I came out here to Austin. So, my career path, as far as what I was doing, was still in electrical engineering, but more on the sales side within my company. And those are the different territories that I ended up being responsible for after college.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Now Marx, are still currently doing that right now?
Marx Succès: Absolutely.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. But you, I believe, Amber is the one to first start dabbling with Amazon. So, what year did you first see that as an opportunity or what piqued your interest? What were you doing and when and where and all that stuff?
Amber Succès: Right. Yeah, so like I said earlier, I actually only worked in the workforce for about three years, maybe almost going on four. My career was exciting, but I always felt like something was missing. I got pregnant with my first child, 10 months actually after we got married, so we really wasted no time, I guess. But once I did have my first son, immediately I just knew that I didn’t want to go to work anymore. I really wanted to raise him full time. And I guess the years, right—so sorry, mommy brain. The year that I actually got into selling on Amazon was 2017. I quit my job right around the same time. I think it was February 2017 but having my first child was the push to get me out of corporate America and just do something that gave me more flexibility.
Bradley Sutton: How did you land upon Amazon as THAT thing that would give you flexibility?
Amber Succès: It sounds crazy, but I just went to Pinterest, and I typed in “how to make money from home as a stay at home mom”. Different options came up like do surveys or clip coupons and do all this weird stuff. And I was like, “Ah, this isn’t going to bring enough income into the house for me to be able to work from home.” I came across—I can’t remember the person’s name—but she had this course on online retail arbitrage. I thought it was really interesting because I already purchase from Amazon and was like, “This isn’t an MLM or anything else that just seems a little bit kind of questionable.” I went through her course and her program. And I did make money doing online retail arbitrage for a couple of months.
Bradley Sutton: Well, real quick, we talked about this in other episodes before, but can you explain to the listeners what online retail arbitrage means?
Amber Succès: Oh yeah, for sure. Basically, it’s where you take advantage of, I guess, the differential in pricing. I would go on BedBathandBeyond.com and other online retailers. For example, we made thousands of dollars from finding a cutting board that was going out of stock. They were going to discontinue it, but on Amazon, it was still selling very high and had a great low BSR. We literally bought 300 cutting boards and flipped them online. It’s just flipping products on the Amazon marketplace.
Bradley Sutton: All right. Now, Marx, when she first came to you with this idea, “Hey, I saw this idea on Pinterest about selling stuff on Amazon.” Well, what was your honest reaction? Were you onboard from day one?
Marx Succès: I was like, “Whoa, I need to see the numbers.” As I mentioned, I’m in sales already. I’ve been doing entrepreneurial endeavors my whole life through college, and even after college, I was involved with things on the side at all times, you know? When she came to me with that idea, I was like, “Wow, is this real?” And so, she sat down, and we sort of talked it over. She showed me the numbers, and said, “Yeah, we could just get a couple.” I said, ‘Well, why not? Why don’t we just grab a hundred?” And then that sort of spiraled into more, but I was always down and very ready to do something different. I was excited that she had actually chosen to pursue something after she had left corporate America.
Bradley Sutton: All right. Lesson one of the day: Happy household means supportive husbands. See? We’re learning stuff right away. Now, in 2017, like you said, that cutting board was getting you tons of money. What kind of numbers were you doing on retail online arbitrage once you really had a good flow?
Marx Succès: I would say the cutting board was getting good money for the time back then. We quickly found out that it wasn’t for us. I think the story is that Amber really found that e-commerce could be a viable option for us. The first thing we did probably was retail arbitrage, and we quickly fell out of love with the whole pricing wars and stocking wars that we got kind of funneled into. Do you know what I mean by that?
Bradley Sutton: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I think a lot of people might be similar. I’m assuming you then started thinking about the private label at that point or what was the next step?
Marx Succès: Not quite actually. We were serious about e-commerce. We actually sold on eBay for a while.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. What kinds of things on eBay? Was that also arbitrage?
Marx Succès: That was a more wholesale model. We started with a wholesale deal with a clothing vendor, and the clothes were really, really nice. These were used items that didn’t sell in stores, and we pretty much relisted them on eBay for a profit.
Bradley Sutton: So, this is 2018 or still in 2017 or when?
Marx Succès: This is still 2017.
Bradley Sutton: Still 2017. Okay. What were some of the monthly numbers between arbitrage, Amazon, and eBay? What kind of money were you guys making every month?
Amber Succès: Because a lot of his stuff was not one and off, it was all running simultaneously. So, I would say we would, on average, do about $3000.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. And how much of that was profit? Or that’s all the profit?
Marx Succès: Probably sitting around like 35%.
Amber Succès: Yeah.
Marx Succès: Margin.
Amber Succès: Yeah, because also at this time I had the baby at home. It was hard. A lot of people who are in eBay, unlike Amazon, you literally have to take a picture for every single listing and then put it up, and as soon as it sells, take it down. So, for me, I know I probably could have done a lot better, but it was just too much with doing all of that plus having an infant. So, when we say that we went on this journey of trying different e-commerce models, Bradley, we’re talking maybe about four months, five months stint.
Bradley Sutton: But still, through $3,000, you’re making maybe $750, $1000 bucks, or something a month. How much time though are you actually putting into that monthly?
Marx Succès: Way too much. That’s why number wise, we came out. But time-wise and efficiency-wise, I’d say we barely broke even with that.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Yeah. So, you’re looking at it, and you’re like, “Man, I’m spending all this time, and this is fun, flipping stuff. I’m selling stuff on eBay, but is this a real good use of my time?” So, how did you improve on that? How did you change from just barely breaking even or maybe not even making as much money as you should have for your time value part of it? But what was the next step for you guys so that you would get out of that little rut?
Marx Succès: Okay. At this point, we realized two things with the two business models. One, we had no interest in playing the pricing wars, and two, we didn’t have time to continuously make listings and flip one-off products. We were aware of the private label method. But I think we came to the conclusion at that point that we were just avoiding some of the upfront costs that it would take to really start our own brand and be in control of our own destiny with the product. And so, at that point, we just decided to really do our research and find a product that we could afford to produce and put it out there. And that happened, I would say, around the middle of Q3 of 2017, or mid-2017, we made a decision that we want to do private label, and we actually got online in November.
Bradley Sutton: Are you still selling that product today? That same exact first product?
Amber & Marx: No.
Bradley Sutton: Alright. So, can you tell us what that was?
Marx Succès: Yeah, go ahead.
Amber Succès: Oh, it was a reusable grocery bag. It was a very oversaturated market. And also, at this time, we did not buy into any courses. We were just going off of free YouTube videos and blog articles. There is some value that comes out of that, but if you’re not really investing in yourself, your education, we all know there’s still a little bit missing. So, we did a lot of things wrong and so the product just ended up failing. It just didn’t work out for us.
Bradley Sutton: Did you lose money on that then or were you able to break even?
Amber Succès: Yeah, we lost money.
Marx Succès: We lost money. We were not able to break even.
Bradley Sutton: All right, but you guys didn’t get discouraged. You didn’t give up at that point. I think a lot of people might have. So that’s very commendable. So how did you decide to keep going? What was the bedroom commentary? Before you go to sleep at night, “All right, honey, what are we going to do next?” What did you guys talk about?
Amber Succès: I don’t want to say this, but I actually gave up in my head. I was like, “You know what, maybe this entrepreneurship thing isn’t for us. Maybe I can find a way to pick up some part-time work.” I was over it. I was like, “You know, we had already invested so much time and energy,” and I was like, “Maybe this isn’t going to work out for us.” And so, that’s when Marx came in. Oh, and by the way, I got pregnant for the second time. It’s like “Man, I’m just dealing with two children.” I didn’t even have the energy to think about researching all over again or I even have the heart for it.
Bradley Sutton: So then, Marx, it was you who said, “You know what, let’s give it another try.”
Marx Succès: Yeah, well for me, I smelled blood in the water. The first product didn’t quite work out, but it wasn’t because we weren’t able to sell it; it just ended up being other technicalities and IP and things like that. But it wasn’t because we weren’t able to sell the product. I felt like what we did work, we just needed to tweak our approach just a little bit, and we could do it. The challenge was what do we come up with next? We wanted to do something that wasn’t oversize like the first one. I think the biggest problem with our first product was that it was oversized and that put us into a whole other world of hurt in terms of just the cost of doing business. Like I said, I’ve been doing different entrepreneurial endeavors for a while. Once I saw that it was working just a little bit, I wasn’t willing to really let go.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Then what did you guys do? Do you just hit the research a little bit harder or how did you pick your next product?
Amber Succès: Yes. So, after just being encouraged to just go back into this thing, I just started to get right back on the Amazon. Surprisingly, I didn’t actually use any tools at all. I just literally just started searching around as if I was a buyer and just looking at different types of niches and end up going down these rabbit holes, and I came across the party supply niche and noticed that in certain areas, there was just laziness for lack of a better term. When we talk about that laziness, it’s like they have two or three pictures. There’s no description; no one’s trademarked. There’s no enhanced brand content; there are no videos. I said, “Wow, baby, there’s this whole entire area where obviously there are different pockets where it is oversaturated. But another pocket, ‘Wow, we may be able to the make to make something for ourselves here.’” And so that’s where we found our next opportunity.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. This is now while you’re pregnant with your second child, right? Yes. 2018 yet.
Amber Succès: Yes. That was 2018.
Bradley Sutton: All right. So then, your second product, you had a little bit more success, I’m assuming, or did the second product not do so well either?
Marx Succès: This is about where we finally hit our stride.
Bradley Sutton: Nice.
Marx Succès: The second product we put up—first of all, we learned that we needed to baby step things a little bit. We tested the market with our idea. Instead of pursuing mass manufacturing right away, we collected all the raw materials and we manufactured this ourselves at the house for about six months until I was able to find a supplier that I felt could build our product confidently.
Bradley Sutton: Nice. You were the supply chain?
Marx Succès: Absolutely. We rolled up our sleeves, and we put everything together. We bought all the production materials and packaging equipment, all that, and just assembled every single day for about six months.
Amber Succès: It was very painful.
Marx Succès: I mean 2018 would definitely go down as one of the more interesting years of our lives, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It really put us in a much better position.
Bradley Sutton: Too bad, your kids weren’t older. You could’ve put them to work too. I think I did the same. I was running a business where I would help people do fulfill by a merchant. Out of my warehouse at my house. My kids at the time were 11 years old and 14 years old, but I had them putting FBA stickers on; easy labor. I hope no child-labor people are listening right now, but, hey, make it a full family business.
Marx Succès: You know, we can collaborate afterward about how we can put this whole thing together.
Bradley Sutton: There we go. Yeah. Your kids are still too young, but we can get them started in a couple of years. Say, “Hey son, you want to play with some stickers? Here we go, let’s go.” All right, so you’re doing a lot better at 2018. I would assume that you leveraged your second product success and then started up with third and fourth. And let’s just fast forward all the way. We talked about how at the peak of your eBay and online arbitrage sales, you were doing about $3,000 a month with maybe 20% profit or so. But nowhere, in 2019, what kind of numbers are you guys pulling a month approximately?
Amber Succès: Just to make sure we have the timeline right, we didn’t start selling this new product until, I’d say, spring, right? 2018. April of last year.
Bradley Sutton: It’s been about a year now that you’ve been in private labels. So after only one year, what kind of numbers are you guys looking at?
Marx Succès: Right. So right now, we’re approaching about $40,000 a month.
Bradley Sutton: Wow. Similar profit or a little bit more, a little bit less?
Marx Succès: A little bit more. We’re probably assuming just underneath a 50% margin.
Bradley Sutton: Wow. So that’s just amazing to hear. Congratulations to you guys.
Marx Succès: Thank you. I can’t say enough about the private label model. I’ve had a lot of conversations with e-commerce sellers, and some people really disagree with the private label model, and they think there are easier ways to do it. But from my experience and from what you just heard, obviously, that’s definitely the way to go.
Bradley Sutton: So that $40,000 approximately, how many products is that or how many SKUs are you guys doing now?
Marx Succès: Right now, we have about four SKUs.
Bradley Sutton: Wow. The average is about 10—of course, some are more or less, but each SKU is doing about 10 grand a month.
Marx Succès: Yeah, you can say that. Obviously, we have one that really carries the load and our star player, if you will. But we’re actually consolidating SKUs. We are going to get rid of them. We have some pretty strict standards as we optimize and really start to gain even more understanding of what we’re doing.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. And now, unless I’m mistaken, Marx actually, you still have your day job, you’re still working full time. Right?
Marx Succès: Yup.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Now, is it your goal – “Hey, I would love by the end of 2019” or “Hey, I would love by 2020 to be making this much and go full time on Amazon.” Is that even a goal or do you love your job? Do you just want to stay there? What are some of your goals as far as income goes?
Marx Succès: Well, right now I know that I happen to be very good at what it is that I am doing professionally. At this point, there’s really no conflict or reason to really hang it up at this point in time. But then, I can’t speak to the future. You never know what the future holds. If one day, we reach a point in business where that actually hinders the growth of this, and it would be better for my family if I were to choose this route, then I would, but for the time being, I’m good at what I do, and I’m actually enjoying it.
Amber Succès: And you get the benefits
Marx Succès: Right, and I get good benefits.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. Jeff Bezos does not give full medical to their sellers. Now, Marx, how much time, if any, are you actually putting into the Amazon side of the business since you’re working full time? I assume you don’t have too much time on your hands, but do you have a hand on that side?
Marx Succès: I like to consider Amazon as almost my second job, right? Weekends, and as soon as I’m able to get home and get off the standard working hour emails and things of that nature and meetings, I immediately switch gears and go into Amazon mode. Right? We really collaborate that way, and we have our responsibilities a little divvied up. And we take care of business that way.
Bradley Sutton: How about you, Amber? How much time are you putting in on a daily basis would you say?
Amber Succès: It really depends, but I would say, on average, probably six hours a day. Kids get sick, you know, and then you can’t really do anything with the business. But that’s why I love this business because some days, I can be all in and then other days, I can just play with the kids, go to the park. So, yeah, I would say maybe six hours on average.
Marx Succès: I would say when we were manufacturing ourselves, it was more like a 10-hour day. We’ve optimized since then for sure.
Bradley Sutton: Do you have any employees either in person or virtual that you guys utilize?
Amber Succès: No, we do everything ourselves. Even when it comes to our enhanced brand content, our copywriting, I’ve just studied up and I do all our copywriting. I go into a program called PicMonkey, and I make all of our graphics for social media, enhanced brand content, and it works. For our best-selling product, we have a 30% session percentage rate. So yeah, I think what I’m doing is working, and eventually, I will have to get a team and get people to do this for me, but for the time being, we’re really trying to just run lean.
Bradley Sutton: That’s excellent. So you talked about social media, so by that, I take it that you guys are not just trying to sell random products, but you’re actually trying to build a brand and get some brand awareness and get more people to know who you guys are, what you do. Is that an accurate statement?
Amber Succès: Yeah, absolutely. I know that a lot of people try to hide behind their private label brands, but I decided not to. People know me. If you go to our business page on Instagram, you would see my face on there. I’m actually on the IGTV showing how our product works and talking to customers and DMing customers. We’ve been able to create a lot of cool strategies using Instagram because they’re willing to just really engage and be social, you know?
Bradley Sutton: So how does sliding into the DMs of your customers help?
Bradley Sutton: I said it in a funny way, but seriously, I think this is something that maybe, regardless if we’re talking about married couple entrepreneurs or solopreneurs or whatever, a lot of people are not utilizing enough social media. I’m very curious on how messaging customers work and what kind of benefit you guys get from that?
Amber Succès: There is one launch strategy that we’ve created on our own using sliding into people’s DMs. Let’s say, for example, you’re selling a dog collar or something. What you would do is you would find interest pages, fan pages of people who like dogs or people who like pets. What we do is we contact the person who’s running that page, and we do a standard giveaway. Nothing special there, right? People comment on the giveaway; you like the post; you tag a friend, and then you follow our account, and then obviously you have to follow that fan page account. After a couple of days, we let the fan page choose the winner. This is where our secret sauce comes in. I actually manually go in, and I DM every single person that tagged someone on the comment, and I just tell them, “Hey, thank you so much for—and this is a voicemail message by the way; this isn’t typed up. I’m saying their names. Let’s say it’s Brittany. “Hi Brittany. Thank you so much for entering our giveaway. I’m so sorry that you weren’t able to win. However, I don’t want to leave you empty-handed, so I’ve created a 100% rebate offer for you. If you just click this link below, you’ll be able to take full advantage.” By someone getting that, we’ve gotten so many people that are just like, “Oh my gosh, a company CEO reached me, and they said this….” It gets so much praise that one of the customers actually video-called me on Instagram to say, “Yo! Is this real?” It was so crazy. She video chatted me and I didn’t even know you could do that in Instagram, but she video chatted me, and she had her toddler jumping on her bed behind her, and she had a messy bun. It was so adorable, and she said, “Hi.” I want to respect the customer’s name, but I’ll just say, “Hi, my name is Brittany and thank you so much. I’m so excited to use your product. I actually have something coming up which is good for this. Man, this is so awesome. I’m so going to support your small family business”. What’s really great about this strategy is you really get to talk to the customers and then it also helps you on the back end because now you have a direct link to every customer because you know their name.
Amber Succès: Most people with personal profiles, they put their name in there. So then when I go on our sales, and I can see who actually bought it and whatnot, I can then go back to the DMs and say, “Hi Brittany, just catching up with you. Do you like the dog collar?” “Oh my gosh, girl. It was amazing. I loved it so much. It glowed in the dark, blah blah.” “Oh, that’s so good to hear. I’m so happy you liked it. You have no idea how much that means to me.” And I’ll say, “By the way, do you mind just kind of sharing your experience on Amazon,” and a hundred percent of the time. They’re like, “Absolutely, yeah! I’ll do anything to help it,” especially since they know I’m a mom. They’d be like, “Oh my gosh, yes, yes, I’ll totally help.” So that’s another way we’ve been able to get reviews.
Bradley Sutton: Yes. Yes. That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Now, up until this point, we’ve been talking a lot of rainbows and butterflies here, but what are some things, hopefully, you guys will be open and honest here. Please, no slapping each other or telling some secrets you’re not supposed to, but what are some of the obstacles, the downsides of maybe going in as a married couple. Whenever there are business partners, regardless of the relationship, there are going to be issued, but some might feel, “Man, isn’t it going to be even more magnified when it’s a married couple? Sometimes with your business partner, you might hold back, but a married couple, you’re just going to say whatever. Has there been anything that’s come up that kind of strained the relationship, either the business side of it or the personal side of it because of this arrangement you guys have?
Marx Succès: Man, that’s a great question. I think one of the biggest obstacles we had is when, as we mentioned, our first product didn’t go as planned. Right? And we were into that product for a very hefty amount of money, and there was definitely a moment in time where it becomes so easy to point fingers as far as where the ball was dropped and what details were overlooked and things of that nature. But we both got into this for the exact same reasons, and it was one of those moments where it was better that we kept going than to quit and blame. Right. That’s really what helped us in my regard is ownership over the responsibilities that we have to the business, and when you have ownership and people are willing to take responsibility—people as in us, obviously—when we’re willing to take responsibility for that which we said we were going to do for the business and in the business, then it just becomes a lot easier as it becomes like, “Hey, you know, I’m going to do this” and just collaborating and goal setting together, all that stuff has made it easier to move on. When things do go awry, not finger-pointing helped us.
Bradley Sutton: Hmm. How about you, Amber? What kind of advice would you give to couples who are already doing something similar, and they’re just starting out or maybe they’re thinking about it? What would you tell them?
Amber Succès: I would just say communication, just really talk to each other. Like Marx said, one thing that we just incorporated, because we just returned from SellerCon in Las Vegas, was having a decision log. A lot of times, we’re married, so we’re talking about business as we’re putting the kids to bed or in the car. Sometimes you may end up agreeing on something, but then you’ll forget later, then all of a sudden you’re like, “Wait a minute, you said we’re not doing that, why did you raise the price?” – and you end up arguing. One thing that helped us was when we make decisions, let’s write it down, and as formal as it may sound, sometimes we even email each other, “Hey, by the way, can you do this?” Even though we just talked about it.
Amber Succès: I would encourage any couples going into this, just make sure you guys have your defined roles. So, for example, Marx is responsible for all of our sourcing, talking with the suppliers, product development, and then I’m in charge of customer service, product research. And I’m not saying that I can’t do anything related to sourcing and he can’t do anything related to social media, but it’s just great to know that one person is the main point of context. If Marx does have ideas about social media, I’m not going to be a jerk and completely block him from that. But I’ll say, “Hey, yeah, what are your ideas?” So then, I have the choice to choose how I want to go about it. Well, that’s what I would tell any couples that are interested in getting into this together.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. And like with some of those social media experiences that you were saying you had, it just wouldn’t it seem right for Marx to say, so “Hey girl, how’s it going?” Not exactly a great response rate.
Marx Succès: I told her the other day that I’m willing to roll up my sleeves and do what I have to do.
Bradley Sutton: All right. You guys use Helium 10 now? I know in the beginning you said you didn’t even use tools for your product research and maintenance. What about now? Do you guys use Helium 10?
Marx Succès: We definitely use Helium 10. We’ve always used a tool of some sort. We just never got into the courses and whatnot. Helium 10 is mandatory as far as I’m concerned. What Amber talked about earlier, about sliding into the DMs. We’re actually are very strategic with that. We do our keyword research through Helium 10. I’m a huge fan of the keyword research tools and Keyword Tracker. I’m pretty much logging on those every day—morning routine type of thing, you know. We basically find our target keywords during a launch, the ones that we strategically want to go after. And as we’ve reached out to people who have entered into any given contest we may have had, we go ahead and parse it out, so we know how many with the CPR number; we know how many we need to give away or sell in a given amount of time. And so, we reach out to people and give them the customized links part of the keywords that we need over a set amount of days. And that’s the kind of methodology behind it. It’s very calculated, and it’s really only possible with Helium 10.
Bradley Sutton: Excellent. Excellent. Good to hear. What are your goals for the rest of this year going in the future? Are you expanding this brand? Do you want to start a new brand? Do you want to expand to other marketplaces like in Europe? What does the future hold for this dynamic duo here?
Marx Succès: Well, we definitely want to expand the brand. I’m really curious to see how far this can go. We’ve got a pretty extensive product roadmap that we’re executing on now, and due to the number of mistakes we’ve made, I’m so confident about our ability to launch and the things we have in store for our brands. We’re really looking forward to that.
Amber Succès: We’d like to reach seven figures by the end of this year.
Marx Succès: Absolutely, we want to hit seven figures by the end of the year, and we also want to get into retail with our products as well. I think those would be the summary of our goals. Definitely hitting seven figures and then getting into retail.
Amber Succès: Ultimately, our goal in the next two to three years is to really build out a strong brand for ourselves, especially through Instagram, because there’s just so much free organic traffic that can be had. We really want to have an eight-figure exit. We think that’d be really nice for our family.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah, I think that would be nice for anybody. Right. But yeah, eight fingers. You guys are already making 40 grand a month, and that’s still not enough for Marx to quit his job. We got to work on that. Anyways, all right, well guys, thank you so much. I hope that you’re going to be an inspiration to many because you guys didn’t even take a course. Amber was a pilot to Beyoncé— I’m just exaggerating everybody, but somebody who comes from that background—and Marx is an electrical engineer. It’s like when I give my history; I work here at Helium 10, and I used to be a sumo wrestler and a Zumba instructor. Really? It doesn’t matter. It’s not like there’s BA degree in Amazon selling that people need to take or that unless you had a certain kind of training in a school that you’re not going to be successful on Amazon. You can take people from any walk of life and any educational background and have success on Amazon. I think we’ve got a couple here, Marx and Amber, who have shown that. Feel free to say no, but if there’s another couple out there, do either of you guys open to giving your email or Facebook or something that people can email you and maybe ask them questions?
Amber Succès: Yeah. I’m most active on Instagram. If you look under Amber Succès, you can find me.
Marx Succès: Yeah, I’m on Instagram as well. I can be found on the mind of Succès on Instagram.
Bradley Sutton: Oh, hold on, hold on. Is your actual last name Succès?
Amber & Marx: Yes. Definitely.
Bradley Sutton: Oh, my goodness gracious. We should have led with that. I saw your LinkedIn, and I was like, “Wait, this can’t be right. How full of themselves are these people that they’re saying, ‘oh yeah, my name is Marx Succès.’” Okay, no wonder why you guys are so succès-FULL. It’s even in your name. Oh, my goodness. That’s classic.
Marx Succès: A lot of pressure comes with that though.
Bradley Sutton: You guys were destined for succès. How cool is that guys? All right, that’s cool. All right, so Mr. and Mrs. Succès—I can’t even say that with a straight face—this has been a great episode, so make sure, if you guys have any questions, to hit them up there on Instagram or email. I would definitely love to follow up with you guys in a few months, maybe next year to see if you’re able to reach that seven-figure goal and some of the other things. And if you have child number three and it’s a boy, don’t forget that Bradley is a very great name too to have as well. I want there to be a Bradley Succès in the world.
Marx Succès: Let’s see what we can do.
Bradley Sutton: All right guys, thanks a lot. And we’ll talk to you later.
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