In this episode of the GFA Podcast, we interview a remarkable seller who shares their experiences in brand-building, selling, and starting over. Discover valuable lessons from the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of their journey, as well as insights into adapting to a changing business landscape. Get ready for an inspiring conversation packed with actionable insights for entrepreneurs.
Topics Covered in this Episode
Introducing our guest, Chip Ge
Introducing our special guest for today’s episode, who will be joining us at the Cross Border Summit 2023 on November 16-17, 2023.
How did you get started on e-commerce?
Take us back to the beginning of your ecommerce journey. Share the story of how you entered this industry and enlighten us about the pivotal moments that led you here. Additionally, we’d love to hear about your journey that brought you to Thailand.
What were the biggest challenges you faced as you grew the first brand?
Reflecting on your entrepreneurial path, we would like to know about the most significant challenges you encountered while building your first brand. Don’t hold back – share the good, the bad, and the ugly moments that shaped your growth and taught you valuable lessons.
Exiting your first Amazon FBA business
Selling your first brand in the Amazon FBA business must have been a pivotal moment in your journey. Could you elaborate on your experience and take us through the process of exiting your first business?
Deciding to start another brand (after exiting)
After successfully exiting your previous business, you made the decision to embark on a new brand-building journey. We would love to hear about the thought process that drove this decision. Many entrepreneurs have different ideas after selling their businesses, but you chose to start again. Can you share the thinking behind this choice and the factors that influenced your decision to pursue a new brand?
Differences starting a new Amazon ecommerce brand today from the past
The business landscape is ever-evolving, and the Amazon ecommerce ecosystem has witnessed significant changes. As you started a new brand after your previous experiences, what are some notable differences you observed?.
Answering the question: "Is Amazon too saturated"?
The topic of Amazon’s saturation has been debated for years, and we would like to hear your perspective. Having witnessed the marketplace for over a decade, how do you currently feel about the level of saturation on Amazon?
What are some things you are up to - how can listeners/viewers reach out?
We’re excited to hear about your ongoing projects and endeavors.
People / Companies / Resources Mentioned in this Episode
√ Chips’s VIP Page
√ Chip’s company – Barefoot Caribou
√ Chip’s Instagram
√ Cross Border Summit
√ Visit our GFA partner – Mercury – for US banking solutons for your ecommerce businesss
√ Visit our GFA partner – Casia Cross Better Logistics – for your logistics needs
Episode Length 49:11
Thank you Chip for being an incredible guest on our podcast. Your insights and experiences were absolutely enlightening, and we couldn’t be more thankful for the time and effort you put into sharing your knowledge.
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[00:00:00] Episode 405, 4 0 5, Global From Asia, Chip G talking his e commerce experience, and I got, I think, Water Buffalo behind me. You hear that? Alright, let’s tune into the show. Welcome to the Global From Asia podcast, where the daunting process of running an international business is broken actionable advice.
And now, your host, Michael Michelinie. I think the [00:00:30] farmer is gathering his cows. I don’t know if you can see them. This is like a five minute walk from my place in Chiang Mai. I just got back from Singapore. And it seems like he’s rounding it up. Do you hear him? But yeah, there’s like these cows. They come out every afternoon and you can hear them from my house.
So I figured I’d come down and record today’s intro. Up. There’s one right there. Wow. Good cows. They [00:01:00] listen to their, the shepherd or the farmer. Anyways, today’s show. So it’s one of my kind of favorite shows the entrepreneur stories chip G. We got to meet Pre COVID during Chang, my meetups and Amazon FBA meetups, he’s done really well and we had a great conversation about his story, how he got into e commerce, sold his brand, started a new business.
Brand, the ups and the downs, tips and [00:01:30] tricks. I really liked it. He’s also coming to our cross border summit. I think he said on the show he is moving up to Chang Mai, which is gonna be great. So he can come to our, our community events too. So today’s show, we, it’s a, it’s a treat. I, I think I learned a few things.
Always motivational for the people. Listening, maybe, that haven’t made the jump, like, like him and I, to maybe get that push to do it. So, let’s tune in, episode 405, Global From [00:02:00] Asia. Alright, we have Tommy, the sales manager at CrossBetter Logistics. How are you, Tommy? Hi, I’m fine. We just got to meet here in Shenzhen, China.
It’s great. Uh, they support the show at Global From Asia, and we also use them ourselves for many of our brands and e commerce businesses. And Tommy really cares. They always are, uh, trying to help us save money, you know, not, you have some products you keep for us in China, you have some products you keep for us in the U.
- warehouse, and uh, I really [00:02:30] appreciate it. And you’ll, you can talk to the seller, right? You can give them your advice. You work with many Chinese sellers a lot, right? And, uh, you can help, um, help the sellers understand more. Yeah, we are very professional for the shipment to USA and Canada. Also, we have warehouse in USA and Canada.
We can help our factories, suppliers, sellers for the shipment. Yeah. For the e commerce [00:03:00] business. Yep. And you even keep stuff in China too. So sometimes if you have the limitations of sending too much to Amazon, you can keep it here in China with, with a cross bedder, or you can send it of course to the US warehouse.
They have many different options and they’re always trying their best. To find, uh, find out what’s the best solution for you. So definitely talk to Tommy, talk to cross better and thank you for your support of the community. Yes, we have good pricing and better service. [00:03:30] Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you for tuning into our Global From Asia podcast.
Actually, Chip, we met so many years ago, I think in Chiang Mai FBA meetups in like 20. 18 or so maybe, and it’s been great to see you and, and Christina with your partner working and succeeding and growing of all some of your, you know, your updates on Facebook and, and your journey. So for those that don’t know you chip, but you’re from originally, I think actually, I know you [00:04:00] live in the U S but I think maybe a little bit about yourself and, and, uh, you know, your, your, your, how you got started into e commerce.
Thanks for coming on. Sounds good. Thank you. Very nice to see you, Mike. Again. It’s awesome. Yeah. For everyone. My name is Chip G. I was born in Romania and I moved to the US when I was about 23. So quite after I finished school and I am an entrepreneur. We used to live in Miami, but since 2019 we moved to Thailand.[00:04:30]
And then we met up with some of the, you know, the community things here in Chiang Mai, but now you’re down in Phuket. I’ve a little bit jealous, you know, the beach, you got the beach life and you got great things going on there. And so today I, you know, I think a little bit of your, your story also thinks, you know, you’re coming to cross border summit up here in November.
It’ll be a great one for those listening to haven’t decided yet. Be great to meet chip and other awesome people. So you’re in my, did you start? In [00:05:00] Miami then or when you’re probably in Romania, when did you get started with e commerce or Amazon? I, I started when I was in the U. S. So when I came to America, you know, I had a series of regular jobs.
Eventually land. Being one of my dream jobs at one of the biggest IT companies that we have in the U S and I actually loved it. You know, it was an implementation job, so it was a lot of development on the front end. And then I would develop like a [00:05:30] database and a program for the customer. And then I would travel to their site and you would just implement the program.
And then you would train their people, you would show them how to use it and then go live. So. It was really, for me, it was really a dream job because I could travel, I would get airline points, you know, you had the DM, so they would pay for your food, for everything. And the salary was, was okay in the beginning.
I thought, you know, I can do much better. But after kind of going through these series [00:06:00] and this landing my dream job in, the biggest companies, IT companies in the U S. I was quite surprised with how much they were paying. And actually, I think it was my five year anniversary at the company. And I kind of had a chat with my boss and I said, you know, where’s the big money at?
And. You know, he’s a really, really cool guy. So I could be very direct with him, you know, shout out to him, one of the best managers I ever had. And he was like, listen, man, I don’t know what to tell you. My salary is not much bigger than yours, [00:06:30] which kind of scared me a little bit. Cause I always hear of, you know, people working for major it companies and making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
And I was making nowhere near that. And that was kind of what clicked for me. And I said, whatever, whatever I go and whatever I do. There’s not going to be a company that will actually pay me a lot of money or any company really that wants to do something for you, you know, they just want the best for themselves.
And it is, you know, some people end up making good money [00:07:00] for these companies, but nobody will be truly rich and feel 100% accomplished. In my opinion, that was just my experience. You know, I was in the U. S. which I think for financial opportunities is one of the best countries in the world. If you want to make money, you know, I was in one of the biggest it companies in the world.
I was there for a good couple of years. I had a lot of experience, you know. I had everything. So really, there was no reason why I wouldn’t make really good money. But that’s when [00:07:30] for me clicked. I’m like, listen, I got to do this stuff on my own. And I started with a couple of other things. I tried to do some affiliate marketing.
I tried to do some, you know, some other e commerce stuff. So I tried some eBay. I even tried some Etsy and really none of them worked out very, very well. I think when I found Amazon FBA, I felt like this is a real business. I can build my own brand. I can own this brand. I can control it. I can create my pricing.
And then eventually you can create a really good [00:08:00] asset. That you can eventually sell, you know, foreshadowing for the future. No, I agree. It’s, it’s true. I mean, we all have our gripes with Amazon that sellers, at least I, I didn’t do it in many others, but, but it’s true. Like they basically help us build our brand.
Right. And you know, it’s our, it’s our, it’s our, it’s our IP and everything. So that’s a good point. Actually, your story seems very similar, somewhat similar to mine. I worked on wall street. Almost five years at the five beer point too, but I was [00:08:30] making pretty good money in my opinion. I remember telling my parents I was quitting around christmas one year and they were just They were shocked, you know, especially my mom, you know, they’re like It’s like the dream you’re like in your yeah, I guess low mid 20s low low 20s But yeah, I mean It seems to work out.
So you, so you were, you didn’t do that while you were in your corporate world. A lot of times, even me, I was selling eBay while I was working. [00:09:00] Were you, were you doing Amazon? What are these hustle side hustles? Or did you just go all in you, you quit and went all in from zero. Or usually a lot of times people do it, you know, side hustle.
Definitely started as a side hustle. So I remember now I actually had a. Project in New York. I was working with a company in New York and I was doing with my first project. I was like approving these discounts, you know, the tactics that we used to have in the past where you could offer products at a very steep [00:09:30] discount, you would give them like a discount code and such.
So I definitely recommend anybody considering leaving their current job and going into a side hustle in any commerce venture that they like, I would definitely try it out. There are some people that have quite, you know, large amounts of savings that which can afford to say, you know, screw it. And then I’m going to go full out.
I’m going to quit my job and immediately start. But the reality for most of us, and for me as well, sounds like it for you as well, is we started [00:10:00] as a side hustle. So, yeah, I was actually. Going to work and I was doing some school stuff as well and trying to run an Amazon business, which is not the easiest thing to do.
You know, you have so many things going on, but for me, what really helped was focusing on my business first, you know, going through all of those years and realizing that. These companies are not interested in, you know, making you rich or wealthy or even happy, to be honest. I just worked in the morning. So I would [00:10:30] wake up early when my brain was clear.
And, you know, I like to work in the morning. I know some people prefer afternoons and evenings. So just prioritize myself first. I would put in an hour or two of work, you know, watching some videos, doing product research, you know, talking to suppliers, things like that, you know, especially if you’re in the West, your suppliers answer overnight.
So when you wake up in the morning, your inbox is full of answers. You know, you’re asking for samples, you’re asking for pricing, you’re asking for shipping [00:11:00] quotes, things like that. So prioritize yourself in your business first. And then after that, you know, nine o’clock, eight o’clock, whatever. Your start time is then, you know, work or your regular job.
And then when your business start making some money, it’s easy to transition to full time e commerce. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Like, of course I have similar experiences too, but it’s definitely less pressure to kind of see, I like have your day job and then you’re getting. That base [00:11:30] in or, you know, money in, and it’s a bit of a difference for me.
You know, one thing different because I had part, a couple of partners and good friends, but they didn’t want to go full time. And they, you know, it was very, it’s a long story, but of course, if you have business partners and others, they, you have to actually check what their goals are too. Is basically my quick story because they kind of want to just keep the side hustle.
They’re like, oh, this is just. A side hustle, but I wanted to do it like all in. So that was 1 clarification, at least on my side is know what [00:12:00] you’re because I want to always do. I want to build it full time. Like, that was my goal, but I think I didn’t ask them and their goal was have a cash flow. And it was like a side income.
So, yeah, that’s another. I’d add. So what year was, was this like, so we know where, what in the, especially in the Amazon business lifestyle cycle, what, what year, this was, uh, I think this was around 2015, late 2015. [00:12:30] And that’s when I kind of started researching and back then you had. Some resources, nothing compared to what we have today.
There were a few summits and conferences and things like that, but, you know, when you’re working full time, those are not really things that you can attend. And, you know, if you start with a very limited budget, you can really go to these big events and stuff. They just take time and money and whatnot. So I was just kind of starting with.
Watching YouTube videos of, you know, [00:13:00] some people talking about Amazon and things like that. So yeah, that was late 2015 and I started the business officially in 2016. That’s when we had the business inception and I started it myself. So Christina was not involved in the business in the beginning. She was also working for time and her job was super demanding.
She was working so much and I kind of ran it myself for a little while there. And then eventually I said, you know, I think this is really going to work out. And [00:13:30] I think you’re really going to like this. So I didn’t want to pressure her in the beginning. I think, as you mentioned with your business partners, it’s really good to have business partners, but it’s.
amazing to have business partners that align with you and they want to do what you want to do. So, well, in the beginning, she was not a hundred percent in on this. She said, okay, you try it. I’ll support you. She was very supportive. She was very nice, but she said, I just don’t have the time and mental bandwidth for it.
You know, [00:14:00] she would come home super late and then she would just be very tired. She, Just didn’t want to do product research at 9 p. m. You know, she just wanted to go to sleep. So a few years later, she kind of warmed up to the idea. And now she’s like 100% in. So if somebody does start with a business partner and you’re, maybe they, you don’t align 100% from the very beginning.
I think little by little you can work easier way into it and say, Hey, listen, you don’t need just to keep it as [00:14:30] a side hustle. This can make a lot of money. Like, trust me, I’ve seen Amazon businesses and you’ve seen them too, like hundreds of millions of dollar Amazon businesses. A lot of people think like, oh, you cannot, you just make a little bit of money here and there.
Like some of them are enormous. I agree. I mean, I’ll be honest. I, I kind of haven’t been to the U S and so long. And I did start when I was in New York, like I mentioned, but in, especially in China where I spent a lot of my time, but even here in Thailand, there’s full beep. Basically everybody takes it [00:15:00] as a business.
And I’ve, I’ve talked to Chinese sellers specifically, and they say all these Western sellers think of it as like a side hustle as like passive income, you know, blah, blah, blah, but they don’t take it serious like a business. And so I think I just want to highlight what you just said. Like if somebody here is listening right now and they’re, they’re still doing this, like, you know, of course it could be a side hustle, like my friends, like I told you, my business partners in my first e commerce business, they, they just wanted that like side hustle, pocket money, cashflow, [00:15:30] and, uh, that’s fine, I guess, but like you said, maybe at least be clear upfront.
That’s what with business partners was the end goal of this, this business venture. And we’ll, you know, you also did have an exit and we’ll talk about that. And, and, you know, you’re still doing it again, which is awesome, but maybe, I don’t know what you think I should go first challenges about growing a brand or coming into Thailand, or were you already, I guess when you, you were doing it full time while in Miami, or were you doing, or is it something like.
A lot of times people come to Asia to kind of cut the costs and [00:16:00] focus on it full time. Or were you supporting yourself or the business in, in, in the U S or, you know, what, maybe it’s kind of like, what are some of the challenges and, uh, opportunities you’ve gone through with that first brand and then come into Thailand?
I’m not sure what the order is. So maybe you can choose. Yeah, for sure. So back in the U S. When we left mid to late 2019, we were full time, but not for very long. So we were full [00:16:30] time, maybe for four to five months only. So we decided to leave to Thailand only after that. So the whole thing with Thailand started when I started just researching stuff on, on YouTube.
And honestly, my whole making money. Adventure started with Google going to YouTube and typing in how to make money online, you know, and then of course, you run into a whole bunch of stuff that is not great, but yeah, some of it was really good. Yeah. You do run into some of those as [00:17:00] well, but I mean, it did started an interesting journey for me and, and for Christina as well.
So we, she, she’s the one that quit her job first. And then she started doing Amazon full time. I was still working and I worked up to the beginning of 2019 and then I quit. And then we did it both full time that year and then we moved to Thailand. So whilst researching different, you know, I was following and subscribing to YouTube channels that we’re talking [00:17:30] about.
You know, Amazon, there were not so many back in 2016, 17, but I’ve seen a couple of them actually two people that actually left one person was from the U. S. And one person was from the U. K. And both of them left. And they said, I’m going to go live in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Chiang Mai specifically. And that’s how.
We got the idea of Thailand and then they just outlined the cost of living is cheaper. The weather is nice. The people are extraordinary. There’s [00:18:00] no issues with safety. You know, the food is amazing and you’re on the same time zone and you’re as your suppliers, which are mostly in China. So you can talk to your suppliers during the day.
Which is great. So there were many good reasons to come to Thailand. So we just kind of said, okay, let’s try it and we came and we loved it. We stayed. The plan was to visit a lot more, you know, coming to Asia since we’re here in Thailand, kind of use it as a hub to [00:18:30] visit all the countries around us. But, you know, with the whole situation that followed, travel was not really an great opportunity.
You know, this was a great place to stay, you know, to be during those times, you know, it was pretty quiet, but got a lot of food options. You could travel internally. The prices were even cheaper, like unheard of cheaper. We stayed in hotels for 15 a night. Wow, breakfast included in villas on the beach in Koh [00:19:00] Samui for, I think one was like 19 for two people with breakfast included and it was a villa on the beach.
Incredible stuff during that time. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I’m kind of sick of talking about that time, to be honest. I’ve been skipping that chunk, uh, in a lot of later interviews. We were talking about that a lot, but, but yeah, I think, yeah, COVID, if you were able to stay here, I think also. Also, some people had trouble staying, you know, in their countries they were in during COVID [00:19:30] times for various reasons, but, but yeah, I mean, but back to the, back to the business side.
Any, what was some of the harder parts starting up or, you know, growing scaling on your, you know, was there any hurdles or it was all smooth sailing? Absolutely not. I don’t think any business is sailing. I don’t, I don’t think anybody can open up. business of any sort. So for me, back in the day, the issue was [00:20:00] just kind of finding good advice.
Like I said, at the time, a lot of my advice came from YouTube and things like that. There were a few good courses out there, but they were not in my price range. And it was a lot of learning. So I made a lot of mistakes with shipping. You know, when I found finding the products, launching it. You know, shipping it.
I think there were a lot of challenges with each. You know, with each portion of it, even, even [00:20:30] shipping. I remember I, I sent the products to Miami and I got a call from a warehouse in New York and they said, Hey, this boat landed and we’re unloading your cargo from China and you need to pay us this money.
And it was quite a lot of money. And I was under the impression that. The supplier paid for shipping, but they paid for the freight only, but not the port fees and everything else. So they’re like, Oh, pay us the fees. So I paid them the fees and then they send it to a warehouse in Miami, which is a [00:21:00] bonded warehouse, basically where they keep your cargo until you pay the import fees.
And I’m like, what the hell are import fees? You know, things like that, where you don’t understand how the process works. So I think for me, if I would have had a solution, like a course or something that I could be like beginning to end that can tell you exactly step by step, because you can definitely find the information online, but a lot of it is fragmented.
You know, you, you get little. Pieces and they say, okay, if you’re shipping, then, [00:21:30] you know, ship by air or ship by sea or do this or have your supplier help you don’t have your supplier help you with shipping, by the way, I don’t recommend that, you know, I think that, you know, you should definitely use a good freight forwarder to do your shipping for you and importing and everything.
But launching was another thing learned so many things to learn product photography. I tried to do it myself. Also, that was a bad idea because I took the pictures in my backyard and they looked absolutely terrible. [00:22:00] And pictures are one of the most important things in your Amazon listing. That was a big challenge as well.
So just bite the bullet and get a good professional photographer. Don’t bother taking the pictures yourself. And learn about PPC. PPC is very important to pay per click advertising on Amazon. You know, that’s quite a lot to learn. It’s similar. If anybody’s used to like Google ads and Facebook ads, it’s somewhat similar.
It’s just different how you define audiences for [00:22:30] each type of advertising platform. And also something that I didn’t really realize is one of my products, which was. The one of the best sellers was borderline close to being considered oversized. So anybody that doesn’t know how the Amazon system works, they, they have the product kind of split into standard size and oversized.
So once you go over a certain measurement or weight, then it becomes oversized [00:23:00] and there’s different rules that apply when it comes to shipping. But because my product was shipped in a shrink wrap bag, we just put it in a bag and kind of. Tie that up at the top. What Amazon does is they take that bag.
They just hold it like that. And they put it on a platform that uses some lasers to measure it in way, but they don’t care that there’s like a piece of plastic kind of hanging out. They’re like, Oh, that’s part of the product. So the product was always like one time it was standard side. [00:23:30] One time it was oversized.
So I would be like profitable, then not profitable, profitable, then non profitable because oversized items have very. You know, varying profit margins because of the shipping and things. So that was another challenge. You know, be careful with your packaging. Don’t have like loose stuff like handles or like extra material hanging to the left or to the right.
So many challenges to overcome. And I think what would be very useful is anybody that’s thinking about [00:24:00] just starting now. Start with either a community or some kind of course or something that will help you out. You know, there’s… Good courses out there. Not, not the ones that sell you the Lambo idea. Stay away from those, but there’s a lot of good courses.
They will tell you step by step what to do just so you keep yourself out of trouble because you will do what I did show up with my small Mazda sedan to the warehouse and the guy was like, are you here to pick up your cargo? And I said, yes. So I [00:24:30] see a forklift pulling up seven pallets to a loading gate and I’m in my Mazda and I’m like, what am I supposed to, what, what, what the heck I couldn’t even reach.
The lift gate at the top and there were 7 pallets and he’s, he was looking around, he’s like, where’s your truck? I’m like, I bought the car. He’s like, are you crazy? Get out of here. You know, yeah, you just unloaded a lot. That was a lot to unpack, but I think what I usually tell people and, you know, in the industry, we say e commerce is [00:25:00] a merger of traditional logistics.
And in like marketing or online business, right? And usually to be good on both is very hard. Usually a lot of us are like better at the online and the marketing, but this logistics, man, we’ve all had a horrible night. I’m, I’m even dealing with some right now, like two, two nightmares. I mean, I, yeah, logistics is really a nightmare [00:25:30] and yeah, but I don’t know.
I mean, I, I don’t know if the course is. Even go through that because there’s a lot of different ways of doing it, but yeah, there’s, that’s why sometimes I tell people to start small at least, you know, cause if you start big and you don’t know what you’re doing, that’s when you can really lose huge money.
And if you start a little bit like one, one product or, you know, one ace, you know, one ace and a little bit less damages that can happen. But when you’re setting like you got to build up, but yeah. [00:26:00] Logistics for sure is a challenge and there’s just fees all over. And like you said, they just, they don’t care.
They just say, pay me. They just. Yeah, absolutely. You just say, pay me. They don’t care. They really don’t care. And maybe a couple of ’em have a little bit of a heart, but most of ’em really don’t, don’t care. . So they know they have your product and you gotta pay them, or you’re not gonna get your product usually, you know?
Mm-hmm. . So yeah. It’s, uh, it’s a reality we all deal with. That’s funny about the Mazda and the . [00:26:30] I’ve actually never really done, I, I did a little bit way, way back and with, I moved stuff through a three pl. We had a U-Haul truck. It was a fun weekend when I was still working in New York. We, you know, did, it maybe took a day off.
It was like a three day weekend to drive it up to a 3 PL and upstate. But yeah, I never went to a port. I actually, I’m kind of curious to go to the ports, you know, but I’ve even not done it yet. Okay. Let’s go to the story. So, [00:27:00] so yeah, I mean, the school, it sounds like you did a little bit of school of hard knocks, uh, some of it, which I don’t know.
I mean, of course you can take a course and I also agree with you. You should, should do that, but I think you just got to also have some kind of a buffer because quality control is really tricky. You know, we’re dealing with the launch right now, just even right now, like we’re experienced, have a team and it’s a headband for women and we’ve tested it.
We did. Okay. But they’re saying the, the cut, the vine, we did vine and we’re getting, we’re getting rained on [00:27:30] with negative reviews on vine saying this doesn’t fit their head. It’s too tight. It’s like elastic band and they’re just killing us with negative. Reviews right now, and we’re talking about internally and we’re like, man, how did we not catch this?
But we had Western people wearing it, you know, like, I don’t want to offend people, but we think, I mean, but even if you’re really fat, does your head get like bigger if you’re, if you’re heavier? Like, I don’t know, like, but they’re just saying it’s tight on their head [00:28:00] and I don’t know, maybe it’s the hair or something they have, like, if they have like a ponytail or something, and does it go over it?
Yeah. Yeah, something and then he could, I mean, literally this is two or three hours ago in our Slack internal Slack discussing it. I’m looking at some ugly reviews. It just launched like last week, but yeah, I mean, so it, you know, that luckily we started small. We kept some in Thailand. We sent, this is a Thailand made product.
So we air shipped it, you know, vine only, but yeah, we’re going to [00:28:30] have to probably kill a listing, start over a new listing, fix, use Maybe make it bigger or something, I don’t know. But anyway, you know, I think we’re always learning, you know? I can’t believe that one that feels like kind of, we’re kind of still discussing that’s happened, but, but so you, yeah.
School hard knocks, but of course, take course, go through the programs. Those are a lot of, a lot of, a lot of learnings from you, but mm-hmm. . But, so I think if you can, if you can find. If you can find a place where you can have the [00:29:00] information in an orderly fashion versus small crumbs that you can find, cause you can find videos on YouTube on everything, right?
But it’s, it’s small pieces. If you can find something that’s like in order, I even, I don’t remember the website. There was a website that would selling kind of a course for a dollar. It was not really a video course, like a traditional video course, but you could read through their material for like very little.
Any anything like that, I think it would be like, ideally, you would find a community to help you [00:29:30] out. To be honest, I think the community idea is the best. And I later found out that Miami has a great Amazon seller community, but I’ve never knew about it. Yeah, I found out too late. You know, I even went to 1.
I didn’t know where to look. You know, I didn’t know where to find them. I didn’t know where to reach out to them. I didn’t know where, you know, what to do. But yeah, if you have a community somewhere and you can say, Hey, I’m in this trouble with this. And somebody can point you and say, Oh yeah, don’t use this.[00:30:00]
Use the other thing, you know, that can mean so, you know, so much save you so much headache. But yeah, the launch, like you mentioned with the vine. So we used to be able to do. You know, reviews, request reviews by offering products at a discounted rate. And then that used to be a thing, but now we have to do Vine for our launches.
We also did Vine. Yeah, but the Vine reviewers are brutal, man. They’re very, very brutal. I [00:30:30] feel like they have to give a certain amount of negative because they can’t give everybody five star. Right. I think they would maybe even get in trouble by Amazon if they gave everybody fives or something. I think, I don’t know for sure.
Wow. I think that’s why. That I mean, I don’t know. I, I, even me as a buyer, I don’t, I don’t review my own products, but I reviewed other products, but I would always, I was, I didn’t have the heart to do. I was trying to do a four once in a while, but I was just too [00:31:00] right. Yeah. I did a lot of books and I feel like they turned off my, I can’t leave reviews.
I have to check it, but I can’t give a review anymore. I think maybe some active buyer I have to keep a certain amount of buying within six months, but you know, I think I do think Amazon may be punished. I don’t want to say punishes, but I think they can’t just let fine reviewers give everybody five, give all their products five star.
I don’t know. I think it’s my gut. Some products you get, you get a four star review. You’ll get the, you know, random three star [00:31:30] from time to time. But if you get a lot of one star, two stars, like I’ve seen people give us a two star review for like random things. They’re like, Oh, I didn’t pay attention to the size and it doesn’t fit my thing.
And, um, Giving it a two star review. I’m like, how is that the products? Oh, I really hate those. Yeah, those people. I don’t know if they know how hard, how much they hurt us. It’s like, so I don’t know. They, they, I wish they knew, you know, we’ve talked about this making like a, maybe [00:32:00] making like a directory of evil buyers, you know, you know, maybe just for, or something to cry about, but just take screenshots of bad reviews and like, but yeah, they’re, they’re, they have.
You know, too much power. Cause we, you know, eBay days, you can hit them back, you know, you know, with the buyer can get a rewrite. And, you know, I think that also was a little bit too strong of a seller because the buyer would be scared to give a negative because they were probably going to get a negative.
[00:32:30] So, you know, I, I don’t know what’s the best way, but they feel like they have too much power now, but let’s talk about the exit. You know what I would think would work a little, you know, when you get, you can get feedback, you can get seller feedback as well, and you have the opportunity to respond to it. I think if they would implement that for reviews as well, so you have the opportunity to respond to the review.
You can just type something underneath. I thought, well, you have it for seller feedback, so as a buyer, [00:33:00] can the buyer comment on another review? They used to have, I used to have a, well, I used to comment on reviews as a buyer. I don’t even know they keep messing with the system so much. I haven’t even kept up, but I feel like there used to be comments on reviews, not maybe from the seller, but you would make like a buyer account.
That would be this represented by seller and like reply to the comments. I think, yeah, I haven’t, I haven’t seen that. [00:33:30] I think they took that away. You can definitely get the opportunity to fix it if it’s a seller feedback. So if they say, Oh, my product didn’t arrive on time, or they say something like that regarding, you know, you, you as a seller, your, your brand as a seller, and you have the opportunity to reply to it, you have the opportunity to issue, you know, you can tell them, Hey.
Sorry by that. Can we issue a refund, you know, or something, but not with the reviews with the reviews. It is what it is. You can report [00:34:00] it if it’s the wrong review. If somebody says, Oh, I bought this water bottle and they’re talking about a mouse, then, you know, obviously you can say, Hey, this is not for the correct product.
But other than that, Amazon never removes reviews. They don’t care. I know. I know. I know. Oh, painful. It’s part of our life, let’s talk about the exit, you know, so when, when, you know, you’re, you’re actually yours and then when you actually do another brand now, so I hope we have enough [00:34:30] time to get into this a bit, but, you know, when, when did that come up?
Was that part of the plan with you and Christina at the beginning? Or did that come up later? Because. Maybe thought about the process of moving to thinking about an exit and doing it. Yeah, so definitely when we were, we took this a lot more serious when Christina came on board, she was watching and, you know, talking to some people and everything and something kind of stuck up.
Stop with us [00:35:00] regarding building a real brand. So they said build a real brand in build a cohesive brand and make sure that your brand products are related to each other, or at least somewhat related to each other. You know, if you have like a mega brand that sells hundreds of products, obviously that’s not possible, but if you’re just starting out, try like your first products to be somewhat related to each other, because that will build a good asset that can be possibly sold.
So we knew about this kind of in the back of our [00:35:30] minds, but we always thought that we can grow this to a certain amount and grow it to make this much money per month. And that will help us, you know, maintain our income. So we don’t have to work anymore. We would work on the brand and then we would keep it.
But. After, uh, you know, mid 2020, there were a lot of buyers and a lot of interest in buying Amazon businesses, right? So there were a lot of people talking about it. It was kind of the year of the aggregator for people that, you [00:36:00] know, don’t know. These aggregators are major companies that get a lot of money.
Sometimes dozens, sometimes hundreds of millions of dollars. And what they do is they buy up a whole bunch of Amazon businesses and they just run them together under the sink, you know, under one roof, basically. So we, we had actually people reach out to us. We had a company from Germany that was an aggregator.
I wouldn’t say small, I would say medium sized aggregator. And they’re like, Hey, my name is, and I’m the, you know, representative of [00:36:30] this company. We would love to talk to you about selling your business. And we said, okay, let’s try to talk to them. So I just kind of entertained, you know, a couple of days of communication with them, but their offer was very low from what I eventually saw in the market.
And also they were not very professional. So like. They would, I would just email on them and they wouldn’t respond for like two, three days or something. And I said, if now during the period, you’re trying to convince me you’re not responding, like later, it’s going to be a pain to talk to you guys. [00:37:00] So what we did is we went to a marketplace.
We use the marketplace to list our business. So we just kind of started a conversation with them. And we said, Hey, you know, we’re actually kind of thinking about selling this business. Can you guys take a look at it? Kind of evaluate it? Let us know what it’s worth. And can, if we get the money that we want for it, you know, it’s.
You know, we might considering selling it and they took a look at it. You know, they kind of also gave us some pointers and some tips and they said, Hey, your business is really strong in this aspect. [00:37:30] You know, the products that we’d had were innovative. They were, that brand was in the gardening niche. So we were selling these.
planter pots that had kind of a self, I don’t want to say self irrigation, but they did have kind of a tier system where if you had too much water, it would go through the ground and kind of go on a bottom tray. So the roots don’t rot. So we kind of had a soil separator at the bottom to keep a pocket of water there, which actually helped out a lot for people that are, you know, [00:38:00] gardeners, but they don’t have that much time.
To spend and water their plants daily and, you know, maybe they don’t know how much to water their plants. Some plants require a lot. Some, you know, like people like us that are busy and they have a little bit of space and they’re like. Let me plant some basil in my garden, you know, my kitchen here. So the one thing that our business was not doing very, very well from their perspective was we were kind of running our inventory and stuff off of Excel sheets, and we didn’t [00:38:30] have a professional inventory management.
Program just to kind of know how much inventory we have, where it is, and, you know, creating work orders and creating purchase orders and things like that, just to keep everything track. We kept track of it. It was just not in a nice system. So that’s something that we did to improve it. And that was a recommendation from them and we followed it.
And also they said, you know, cut up some costs. So then your profit margins look better. And then they gave us a few months to finish that. And then we listed it. [00:39:00] And the multipliers back then or in the high forties area, I think we listed out a 47 multiplier. So if anybody is wondering how much their business is worth, you can take the average of the last 12 months, average 12 months profit, and whatever your profit is, depending on how your business, how well your business is ran, it would be something between 35 X and maybe 50 X.
That profit and that’s [00:39:30] how much they would buy an Amazon business for. And the sale process was very quick. There were a lot of aggregators interested in it. We didn’t have any private buyers. They were all companies at the time, just because it was a buying frenzy. And we actually sold over asking, which was very interesting.
We had two companies. Thank you. Yeah. We did have two companies that were very interested in it. One was from Europe and one was from the U S and they kind of bid [00:40:00] against each other and we end up selling quite a bit over asking and we were very happy with it. Great. That’s awesome. So this is probably like 2021.
If my gut tells me that was the hottest. Yes. Yeah, I think it was September, 2021. Yeah. I remember I was stuck in China. I think you knew. And yeah, there was aggregators everywhere. It was really, really crazy. Well, that’s, that’s, and then I think just to be [00:40:30] clear, you’re doing a new brand, but of course you couldn’t do it.
Normally, I think they don’t let you sell the same category, right? So you’ve done, you’re doing a new brand now. So you just immediately just jump right into a new one. You just take our little holiday or, or what? So yes, uh, depending on how you do. So the contract kind of that you signed with the aggregator is called an APA asset purchase agreement.
And then they’re going to put some stuff in it there that you don’t compete with them directly. So some will say you’re not allowed to sell this [00:41:00] particular product. Some will say you cannot be in this category at all for an X amount of time. They initially told us we cannot be in the category for five years.
We negotiated it down to three. So you can just kind of talk to them. We didn’t intend to go in that Niche anyway. So yeah, basically after we sold, we definitely want to build another business because we said, you know, initially with everybody, kind of all of us like our businesses and are happy with them, but you still have that feeling like.[00:41:30]
Is this actually a good business or am I crazy? You know, so when you actually sell it and people say, yeah, we want it and they pay top dollar for it, then you kind of get that confirmation that you say, yeah, we, we built a great business. We can build another one, you know, so we did take some time off, but in the time off, you know, we took about six months off and we visited our family in Europe.
We visited the U S visited a bunch of places, you know, kind of to celebrate the sale. And what we did in the meantime is kind of started the small [00:42:00] stuff. So choose a company website, you know, start the business, you know, the L, create your LLC, get your bank account going, you know, start the trademark process and all of these things that, you know, take a lot of time and you don’t need to do anything, you know, just contact the trademark agency and you say, Hey, I want to trademark this name, you know, and that takes a long time in the U S and whilst you’re on vacation celebrating, you know, the process keeps on going.
So [00:42:30] yeah, now we have a travel brand. So this new brand is in travel accessories and what we wanted were smaller products. So what’s really nice about bigger products is that the competition, I think it’s a little lower, you know, people try to stay away from bigger products just because it can be more expensive to ship and to store and to everything.
So we wanted to try smaller products and I think the product research phase. is [00:43:00] one of the most important phases nowadays, finding a good product and not selling what everybody’s selling. So we did find an innovative product, which ended up working great. And um, we didn’t invent anything from the ground up, but if you can find the product and Maybe include a special feature or maybe combine it with something else, or maybe add a feature or a part that, you know, will make it be [00:43:30] better or include something like that.
So definitely try to change it and get a, you know, like a new product and kind of innovative in the niche. So. That worked out really well for our launch. We did, we have now eight products and we have two more launching now. And yeah, they launched really, really well. It’s doing really good. And this brand is less than six months old, you know, it’s going great.
Congrats, man, [00:44:00] for anybody thinking, Hey, maybe it’s too saturated, you know, my last kind of is Amazon too saturated. We cannot do this anymore. There’s definitely a lot of products on Amazon and certain niches are saturated. And I want to recommend people going into it, especially starting out. So don’t sell a yoga mat or, you know, like kitchen spatula and those kinds of things that we used to sell way back in the day.
Yeah. And those are definitely saturated, but there’s so many other. You know, areas, so many other niches, [00:44:30] so many other things opening up now. And yeah, we were actually one of the first people to bring one of these products to Amazon and we killed it. Great. Congrats. I know some people don’t like to, but I think you’re willing to share your link or we’ll put on a show notices as well.
Is that, I think you’re okay with that, right? Or we can, okay, I’ll put it in the show notes then. And then the last one is, yeah, like how can people reach out to you? Connect? I know I can’t, you know, [00:45:00] we’ll also have, yeah, at the cross border summit, which is really cool. Thanks for, thanks for supporting there.
You know, I think you also share knowledge and connect with people, right? Do you want to share any ways people connect with you? Sure. Yeah, absolutely. So we’re super excited for the cross border summit. So I. I’m, I’m excited to come. I haven’t been to an actual Amazon event in quite a while because just COVID kind of stopped all of them.
So we, we are going to be moving back up north to Chiang Mai. So that’s going to be exciting. Anybody that comes to Chiang [00:45:30] Mai, hope to see you at one of the meetups. Mike organizes amazing seller meetups. Yeah, we’re doing, and I’m excited to restart those as well. But I mean, if anybody needs, wants to find me, my Instagram is just ship g chip.
- And we do have a platform where, you know, we had a couple of friends that were keep telling us like, Hey, how. You know, how to sell on Amazon, teach me how to do this. And, you know, we did that with a couple of people, kind of teach them directly and say, Hey, do this and do that. [00:46:00] But we did build a platform it’s called eSelling Academy.
So if anybody wants to check it out, it’s esellingacademy. com. If you want to see and kind of learn. I’ll do Amazon. Nice. I’m taking some notes. Awesome. Chip was perfect. We’ve, we covered a lot and, and right on time. So I actually, I just learned coming up back up here. That’s really, that’s really cool. Yeah.
We’re, we’re doing, uh, we’re starting to do it where we do masterminds too, uh, which are more private to also just kind of set. I don’t want to say separate, but, you know, have for the more [00:46:30] experienced people rather than always the new questions we welcome. Of course, newbies, but we have, uh, like the kind of open ones and we have some more closed ones.
We’re kind of developing. I’m going to be going to 1 in a couple of hours here. So, so, um, look forward to seeing you up here. And, uh, of course, the cross border summit and, and, uh, thanks for all, you know, I’m really. Happy to be reconnected. Like you said, COVID just kind of messed everything. I think it’s finally getting back to normal after it took years.
It took years, but we’re all kind of coming back together and I’ve [00:47:00] seen Zach around and things like that. So thanks. Yeah, thanks for having me, Mike. It’s been super awesome. Thank you. And thank you to our sponsor our returning sponsor mercury. com online bank. Well, it’s a real bank But you can totally online for us Our blimp program participants are going through this as well.
Thank you mercury. Travis is great there It’s been on our show. It’s been in our events We’re gonna have another event where we will have them attending as well And if you want to get a little bonus for you and us [00:47:30] if you sign up and do some special Circumstances, you can go to globalformation. com slash mercury I also have a video tutorial that we use even for the blimp people The same exact video to learn how to use it.
I hope you can check it out totally free. Why not see you there? All right. So the farmers have gotten his cows. I think it’s only like, you know, 45 minutes or so. And yeah, 8 and the afternoon sun’s coming down. But yeah, thank you Chip for sharing. Thanks for also coming to support [00:48:00] at the Crossborder Summit, November 16th and 17th.
I was just talking to another amazing person coming. Some new people, some regulars, some experts, some fun announcements. So I hope you can make it as well for those listening or watching. Chiang Mai, Thailand, November 16th and 17th, where we will be sharing lots of stories and hearing great things. And I hope you enjoy these little entrepreneur stories.
I really liked it and I can’t wait to meet up [00:48:30] with Chip as well at the cross border summit and in Chiang Mai and sharing war stories and the ups and the downs. Thanks everybody for watching. Global Promotion. episode 405 with the journey. I think we’ll say starting, selling, starting. How about that? Take care of everybody.
Have a great day. Bye, bye. To get more info about running an international business, please visit our website at [00:49:00] www. globalformasia. com That’s www. globalformasia. com Also be sure to subscribe to our iTunes feed Thanks for tuning in.