Accelerate Your Small Business Success by Selling Online: Amazon

Accelerate Your Small Business Success by Selling Online: Amazon

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Pause Hello and welcome. My name is chilling tall. I'm the president and CEO of  the national Asian Pacific.

Islander American Chamber of Commerce and  Entrepreneurship. We also call National AIDS. I would like to thank the US small business  administration for providing a space for   entrepreneurs, to celebrate their succeed and  learn new skill. As we honor small bitbucket. Since a week. I want especially like to thank administrator   Gooseman for her leadership  and hard work from SBA team.

National AIDS represents 2.2 million   Asian, American and Pacific  Islander small business owners. We also call a aapi national  Ace has been working with over   70, affiliate aapi, Chambers and partner  in supporting the SBA and is effort to help Recover by assessing PPL, do and a  restaurant, revitalization funds.

This initiatives by the SBA have  support and encourage a business   owners, especially business owners of  color. During this difficult times. Small businesses, no matter, their background  faster, job growth Drive, Innovation   and are a critical part of  the US economy. Now more Enterpreneurs near the access to digital  tools to transform and optimize their   businesses to connect to their customers  during this session, small business owners Diverse backgrounds will share  how they leverage e-commerce   to protect their Brent reach. New  customers and grow their businesses. The past, and I team, earns of  the pandemic, have a highlighted,   the importance of maintaining online presence  in a certain imperson world, according to the Small businesses who treated a digital  tools, such as the e-commerce as   essential increase their preparedness  and resilience during the course Hammock.

And the more importantly, those businesses   that survived going to turn away  from the online tools that help them. stay connected to their customers  through uncertain times. E-commerce is here to stay  and we have a lot to learn.

I'm thrilled to be a part of today's discussion   and I'm very excited to introduce you  to three talented small business owners. Who was here, their Brand Story and explain  their strategies and tips for leverage   e-commerce to accelerate their business. Let me briefly introduce. Twinkle. A wallet is the  founder and CEO of er food.

They see North Aurora, Illinois.   Alejandro. Velez is the co-founder and co-ceo  of back to the Ruth from Oakland, California. Can we call you Alex? Yeah. Thank you. And Amanda Eddie is the designer and  owner of amended ear jewelry in Austin, Texas. Thank you for joining us today. So, let's  hear about their recipe for success. Founder and CEO of your food. Your company was  her early e-commerce at the bottom, a departure.

and you'll also an advocate for  the interests of a minority women   in business and Small Business Leaders Nationwide. Can you share with us about EF  foods and how your God has started? All right. Thank you so much for the introduction.

I'm happy to be here. So very quickly. I'll tell you a little bit about your foods. I grew up in Nigeria. I moved to  the United States about 20 years ago  

and going up in Nigeria food, family,  and Entrepreneurship was a part of how   we survived, you know, being one  of five children in my household. So, moving to the United States, my  background as an immigrant American   has heavily influence, what we  do and explain what that means. Idea Foods. We sell flour baking mixes spices.

And powders as snacks that are made from  African ingredients and Super Foods. And   by that. I mean quite base. Gluten free  nutritious really delicious ingredients   that we use Innovative lie to create  everyday American foods, like pancakes Gluten free nutritious really  delicious ingredients that would use   Innovative lie to create everyday, American  foods, like pancakes and waffles. At e-commerce.  

As you mentioned earlier, has been important to  important medium, an important Channel actually. And Shadow actually in getting  access to a lot of customers. Well, thank you. Thank you. What a new immigrant story. We would love to learn more  about your brand and your   entrepreneurial journey, and we  will get back to you now Alex.

Yes. Thank you. Alex back to the rules. Has  grown tremendously for the past years.   Can you share with us the  origin story of your company   and how you incorporate e-commerce  into your original business plan? And do you have any concern when starting  to sell online and not just in stores? First off, honored to be here, and to be on with  Towing and Amanda excited to be on this panel   at the both of you a little background. Actually  started the company my senior year at UC Berkeley. Going into Investment Banking and  a friend of mine heard that you   could maybe grow mushrooms on coffee  waste, but nobody had ever done it. We thought that was a craziest but also kind  of cool thing that you could take waste,   literally something that was being  discarded and grow food on it and   gave up our investment banking offers in  New York and instead became full-time.

Waste collectors full-time, mushroom farmers and   over the last decade I've built now, what  is the largest organic and millennial? And brand in the entire United States and we  have we selling over fourteen thousand stores   as well as in the Amazon store and on our website  and I think you you said it beautifully chilling. It's it's not. Should we be selling on line these days? It's a requirement. So an omni-channel is very crucial to  be able to thrive the end of the day. trying to get every single kid in America to grow   food and whether they're going  to a brick and mortar store.

There are shopping on the Amazon  store on my website, back to,   We got to make sure. We're always  trying to find that consumer. Excellent, excellent.

Wow, 14 thousand stores. That is amazing. I have a follow-up question. How do you regulate the amount of  inventory you need for online sales? One of the nice things about working with  Amazon. We've been working with Amazon for   almost since we started the company and we've from  the very beginning, maybe as a millennial founder.

We always saw the importance of having products  that could ship easily anywhere in the country. So we've Incorporated in the  design process of the products,   something that was easy for product to ship  anywhere. So when we started working with Amazon, And selling on the Amazon store. The nice thing is that there's  actually tools that are in place   that help you forecast it out. So  whether you're selling on Amazon or  

really anywhere else, ultimately, you partner  with the store that you're selling with and I know Storefront in Austin, I think it's probably  similar to The Experience on your side. I think with you and maybe you're partnering with   knowing the consumers that are coming based  on seasonality of the products. You sell. Ultimately, you're trying to read   a little bit of the future and you find  Partners or tools that help you do that. Thank you. Alex will come  back to the design process.

I think that is so important. I'm sure that the many minority owned business  will be able to relate to your company   back to the roots, simple, and effective,  Mission based at Comedy Company. Amanda Amanda Eddie is the owner and designer  of Amanda. Dear. Jewelry, Austin Texas.   What a great talent, you can  design. And also you can sell Can you share the story of Amanda  dear and how you made a decision   to reach your customer both in person and online? Thank you so much for having me here today.  I started Amanda dear jewelry, 11 years ago. I was actually working in the tech industry  and I just needed to do something to step   away from my computer and just do  something organic and creative.  

And I really just fell in love with making  jewelry using my hands to create something I was like, okay, I have to figure  out how to do this like full-time. So it just became a passion of mine and you know,  friends would want pieces my family would. And   I finally like took the step, quit my  job and went full time making jewelry. We started online through the Amazon store. We have an Etsy store and then we  have a website powered by Shopify   and I hired a few friends and we  had a 200 square foot, statuspage.

Studio where we did everything  from make design ship. It was we could hardly move. It was so compact, but we had a  lot of fun as I started to grow. I knew, I needed a bigger space  and we actually found this.  

Absolutely beautiful old building in Downtown. Austin. That was going to be big  enough to be our headquarters,   are fulfillment center and have a  showroom, a retail showroom front. So I kind of had to change my business  plan and say, okay, can we make this? Work in a retail is completely different  than you know, selling online and   I'm so glad. We did we started  with pretty small goals of   okay, maybe if the retail side can pay for the  extra square footage that were getting than we've Milestone, but it's just  exceeded our expectations. Being able to have people  browse our website online   and then come into the store to try it on  and by it has just been an incredible thing.

And then also just meeting with customers and  person has just been an incredible experience. So I kind of did it backwards starting on  line and then opening the store, but it's   been an incredible experience and one that I'm  so excited to talk about and share with today. Absolutely. You know it. It's very brave. You can't just resign.

Quit your job and pursue your American dream. That is so wonderful. So wonderful. Yeah, and also you have fun way  to diversify your selling channels   through a combination of e-commerce and  Retail that that is very very smart.

Thank you. Sure. Now, let's get back to toy. Toying   how selling online has shaped your  business, strategy and operations. Sense, okay. So when I started the company,   it was initially really difficult  to get buyers to take it. Seriously. A lot of times people would describe  me as selling Nigerian food, you know,   even though I was already cracking some waffles  and Ice to be posting for me, but I understood it.

So there was a freak problem that was  a branding issue at the beginning. Royalty based Solutions because  we technology-based Solutions,   you get to try to get to see the effectiveness  of data without kind of like be the issues   you might like come across when it's more  perception problem. So we went to Amazon. Shouldn't be selling on Amazon  storms, almost as Inception. And we put our product on there and  for us it wasn't just the ability to   become a seller on Amazon. Store was  also the opportunity to see what our   competitors were doing. Alex, talked about  being able to ship in an effective way. way. So, I remember when we started  selling Amazon store, initially,  

we had different sizes for Google  products. And then when, you know,   it wasn't taking up the way we want  it. We want to look at our competitors. And say what sizes are they selling? Does that translate to cheaper and more  effective shipping costs for the customers? Who would look at comparable data will be  competitive. Use. So even in an innovation,   I would go somewhere to go and start reading  reviews where we see what customers I say.   I like this about this particular brand.

I like this about this ridiculous to, we would  note that down. But we see what they don't like. like. We would not rule also,  no doubt, some kind of new. Is going to not just competitors,  but looking at just how category   what sizes to sell, what to innovate and  give customers more of what they wanted. So he comes was definitely, I want to  say a stepping stone to how we started.  

Because not only were we able to be successful  and grow their, I mean, obey and effect and   affect every aspect of our business. We're  actually also able to use that sales data to It's not only were we able to be  successful and grow their and innovate   and effect and affect every  aspect of our business. We're actually also able to use that  sales data to Pivot into stores. So now when Walmart just got  into a bunch of other stories   and what were able to do was? Take that data. For example, I'll give you a quick example.   Stop one of our baking mixes. We took the data  from Amazon and were able to go post over. 300.

You need somebody November. to selling almost. Hundred thousand units on that this year because  we would use that data to people in to store. So,   selling online has definitely been amazing  because it's open. Do is the way I like to   describe it is, when you go to a tech based  platform like Amazon, the do is kind of Kind of open, right? So you can go in there  regardless and just try to compete and try to   see how customers respond to your products. And  that's a big deal for for me as a small business   owner, particularly as minority-owned  business was definitely an important Absolutely, and how can you  keep the balance in optimizing,   your profits, while still providing  your customer a high quality product? All right, so there's a lot that goes in there.

So first of all, to get the customer, right,  you have to give the customer what they need. so we offer a plant-based  products by the same time. There were other components that you were seven. So that has been Incorporated not just  get acquiring customers for keeping the   customers because you don't want to go  out and stop. So we use the inventory   planning to. So I actually find every  day. We're looking at those tools and

Also Logistics. We were able to use NBA for those  who don't know what that means. Remember, Amazon was incredibly  important for us to the small business   because there's some customers who go online. So, I'm for Amazon store and be  able to get the product Niche today.

That's something that is impossible  for us to do. We effectively   cost-effectively as a small business. So those are the kind of things that would  be used to make profitable is, you know,   you what you want to do is you want to increase  quality, you want to give customers what they want   and you want to reduce your expenses  as quickly and as best as you can. Can so being able to sell using the  FBI planning is an inventory project.   So with inventory for me, like I said,  there's a lot that goes into that because   we know we're going to sell we can forecast.  We're going to sell doing Thanksgiving

That inventory planning. We know  what we're gonna sell. We can focus. We're going to sell doing Thanksgiving  with what we can forecast or going to sell   during the holiday. So we can negotiate ingredient  costs in the best way possible because of that. Yes, absolutely Twain, you know, I  can feel, you know, you have full   passion about your your business. It's always so  nice to promote, Nigeria culture through the food. I think that is so wonderful. Thank you.

Thank you. I'm a Thank you. Anda in addition to your  position as a business owner,   you're also serve as a charter president  of the women's jewelry Association. Thank you for doing the community work.

I'm sure you have heard from many  business owners in your industry. They're they're facing a operational  challenges during the past year. What role has e-commerce play  in supporting small business   growth. While many business  owner face closure or capacity.

Fictions. That's, you know, so important right now. Last year was a really tough year for  a lot of the members of our chapter. We have a lot of very traditional jewelry stores  that are you, you know online online their   retail only. So they're just brick and mortar.  So when they had to close their doors, you know,   everything stopped, you know, And so we really focused our resources last  year on continuing education in the form of   webinars for our members, whether it was creating  your first website to sell, you know online. Um, teaching them how to use promotional sites,   like Pinterest to promote their  jewelry, to get it to more people.

We really focused on helping  them sell online and getting up   there first websites. And in going to e-commerce. It's so important. Now, I feel like, you know, you really  have to future-proof your business   because you just never know  what's going to happen. So that's why omni-channel, you  know, selling is so important. We saw some incredible stories  of resilience and growth. Last year with our members stores that  have been around for 50, 60 years started,   their very first e-commerce website  last year to sell things online.

So it was just incredible to see the  resilience of the members and how quickly   you know, it is to put a website up now as  opposed to years ago. So it was it was great. I I look forward to lots more training  and webinars and really pushing   e-commerce with our members. Yes. Talking about website for  the startup entrepreneur. What's the quickest way to put together  an e-commerce site or web site if you   don't have a technical experience or  the budget to a higher web designer,   I really like Shopify, which  is a site that you can use Own website, they have built-in and themes. That make it super easy and simple   to like, get something started. If  you're a product-based business.

it's just easy and you can create a really  beautiful looking website in a matter of minutes. Also, you know, we rely very heavily on  the Amazon store to sell our products. That's also, you know, very easy to get up  and running. You go through the onboarding   process and really you just need your  photos, your copy and you're ready to To go. So don't discount all of these really great  places that you can sell online that have these   built in marketplaces that help you reach  people that you might not have gotten   on your own through your own website. Thank you so much.

And the Alex. I know very much like Amanda and  toy giving back is a big part of your brand. Please tell us about your mission  and how your encourage your customer   and your community online by connecting with them. Sheer set of a values. Yeah, so the Gardening is one of those things. If  you've never done it is it's hard to   fully relate to a gardener until until you've  actually gotten your hands dirty and done it. You get into it the effects on your well-being,  your health and your mental well-being is   our massive and it's a really exciting  time in the category and the industry On the category, Captain  has been Scott's Miracle-Gro   and great company been around for a while.

But in so many ways, there are still a  chemical fertilizer company and I think   as you look at the millennial consumer, they're  looking for so much more. They're looking for   a connection there looking for ingredients. They can understand and stuff  that they want to, you know,   be able to put in their home and when  they're have house plants inside.

So ultimately for us is about how do we  get kids to Garden? How do we get that? The Next Generation to be able to do this as a  community. And one of the things we started which   I think reference from the very beginning back  when we're doing farmers markets, when we were   22 year olds. It was every time we had a family If you, you know, after they purchased it, if you  send us a picture by text message that the time   will donate one to a school of your choice, you  know, fast forward eight, nine years, and we've   now put that in every single,  one of our products that we  It's a longest and standing marketing campaign  we've had but it's very much inspired by Blake's   Macau skis. Tom's one-for-one model and  we just want to take to the next level. And it's incredible. We said. Hey, we want our community to actually  be able to do the donating themselves.

themselves. So, on our side, we tell consumers  every time now, it's not a text message to me   personally, but you can go on any of our social  channels. You can email to email us and if You take a picture, share it with your kids,   will donate, one to a school. And what  beautiful thing about this is the community.

We've built. If you actually go to our Instagram or   our Facebook, and you just see our tag pictures,  it's pictures of their kids with our products. I mean, how many parents are? I mean, that's the most  intimate, you know, picture.

You can have one of your kids. So often parents never share  pictures on social yet. If you look at our Instagram, its  all full of our community sharing   this, the fun, and the joy  of growing. So it's just

You know, I've heard in the past if  you know, the more you give the more   you get and I feel like that is what  back to the roots is all about. And   yeah, it started when we were doing farmers  markets. I feel like families. Were the ones   that kept us busy. And if anybody's, if  y'all have done farmers markets before Of you're just staying there.

Nobody talks to you. So for us, we were like, man, somebody said 30  minutes and talk to us and about mushrooms and   growing so we gotta donate something. So it started spontaneous and now it's become   the longest land. Blasting most  important part of our community. That is absolutely amazing. Thank you for your service.

And previously, you talk about design process.   So, you know, you have a developed  a very good at social media. And all the tools and also you will be able  to connect to the community, how to you,   put two together what to have been most  effective to help you to make those connections. Got it. So you mean connections between our social  and our online customer your community? You know, I think and I think toy Instead  This beautifully to start me at the end of   the day. We have to have a product that people  want, and I think our job as brand builders.

He's once we've got products that  are consumer wants at the time. We've got to find a way to get  the get it to them. Whether it's   in our side is, whether it's in  store, whether it's online on   Amazon store on our website, or whether  it's on social. So, I think for us is, We've got to have a product  that solves somebody's need,   and then we got to put it on in front of people. over the experience our brand, whether  it's when they interact with our product,   when they're at a Home Depot or at a Target store   or they just happen to be on Instagram  and they get one of our ads at the end,   the day that all should be the same cohesive  message and that's the way to get them So I think it's a the overall  approach to it is hey,   we're we want to make products that  people hopefully want to buy a need   and we just got to get it out to them. And  I feel like everything else is just ways to   get it out to them whether it's online, whether  it's in store, whether whether it's on social, It's in store, whether whether it's on social,  ultimately, that's what our job is brand.

Builders is all about. Well, thank you for sharing Towing, you know, like  a national AIDS. My organizations member recognize   that the minority owned, businesses have been  historically disadvantaged in the large Market Each market as a men or two women owned business. What are you seeing from your partners in Industry   that are helping to address that Gap  in excess resources and opportunity. And that is such a true point.

I think because I grew up in a jail. I moved here at the age of 26. didn't I didn't appreciate just how  serious a big this problem was. So   when I started my business I started to  really come across a lot of the issues.

You have as minority being a woman and on top  of that being a black black women. So the first   thing I start to do as a small business was  jogging to the ecosystem within my industry. So for example the food ecosystem and  then take advantage of every resource. I  

could so good example, and I mentioned  earlier that was going to talk about   Amazon quite a bit because that's what we  do. Most of our e-commerce sales is that   Amazon blood business accelerator, which we  were apart of from the beginning even before The pilot that I've been a part of that. She's  November one that has done for us to keep up,   giving us a better understanding of how to  dissect the data. And data is really important  

because as a small business, a lot of times you  don't have the time when I started my business. I was the one who cleaned the bathrooms. I was the one who made you product.

I was going to be marketing, you do everything. you don't really have the time at the beginning  to diving today data. So having access to data   understanding, how to use the data having  access to and Hachi b c's which enhanced by Tent. And that's usually what you use your   pictures videos and use really good content to  Market what you're selling to your customers.

So we plug into that new PowerPoint. And of course, it's been a big big impact  for us in how we go to our business. For example, earlier this year. We were four hundred percent in terms of  the number of things were selling in the   number of the revenue would get it for  my Amazon store compared to last year.

year. That's what we've done grown your own year,  just on our e-commerce, El platform and also on His own store, so that's one. I mentioned earlier Prague Native Food ecosystems.

So you want to plug into. And  the reason why I say plugging   to ecosystems and resources when your woman  in America, you're gonna get less funding. That's just a fact. Well, your boyfriend's today.  You're gonna get a nice pointy.  

That's just a fact. You're going  to get less access to resources. So what you want to do is you  want to be really intentional   and you want to be really want to be a hustler. In terms of the number of things we're selling   in the number of the revenue would get it  from Amazon stock, compared to last year. That's what we've done. Groan yelling year just on our e-commerce  of platform and also on Amazon store. So that's one I mentioned earlier  plug-in into food ecosystems.  

So you want to plug into and the reason why  I say plugging to ecosystems and resources   when you are woman in America,  you're going to get less funding. That's just a fact. Well, your WordPress today. You're gonna  get a nice pointy. That's just a fact.

You're going to get less access to resources. So what you want to do is you  want to be really intentional   and you want to be really want to be a hustler. is the one. I'm is what I'm looking for, in  to just looking for any resources out there.  

So even though we're going to medicine as a  business, as a small business owner. I apply for   every glance I come across regardless  of how small it is because he adds up. For any resources out there. So even  though we're going to medicine as a   business as a small Business, Without I  applied for every glass, I come across   regardless of how small it is because he adds up. Also, I protect my mental health mental,  health is something I talk about a lot as   an interpreter because regardless  of who you are, whether you're my,   no, you're not. I don't think people talk  enough about the mental health of entrepreneurs,   how you bet it all on one thing and you  don't know how it's going to turn out.

do spend a lot of time,  making sure that I protect my Mental health, this is a nice  plug for back to the boutique. nicely. We gotta get you gardening. A place both for online seller  and between online stores. Can you talk about how you actually use digital   tools to protect your brand and  intellectual property Online? Yesö ways to protect our brand online. I mean, I think the   we take in a an approach of and I think maybe  it's the similar mindset that Tony has of the end of the day, the the  markets going to copy of you put in   one of our top sellers, a mushroom kit. If you put in mushroom kit, there's like ten  copycats already that look exactly like ours.

There's over 40 around the world that I mean, it's  copy paste. So what we do in different languages,   we have you put an aquaponics fish tank. World do and selling on Amazon Amazon store.

So, my big belief is, you  just got to get out there. You got to hustle. You got to put your product.

You got to get your name out there. You got to get people to know who you  are, and you got to as much as possible. I have a product that can just wow,  that person that's looking to buy   it to solve something. And then  ideally, they come back and either   buy it again by something else from you. So that  is by far the way, I see protecting yourself. He's by obsessing over.  

If you just get complacent. Somebody  else is going to go create a product. that's slightly better and we'll  end up putting you out of business. Like, think that's the reality of   maybe the mental health aspect of being  entrepreneurs is that it's a 24/7 job. Thank, Mark. Cuban is said that.

This is this is hard work and that's  said I think there's fundamentals you   got to do I think on the Amazon store. There's  something really great, which is called brand. Which I highly recommend anybody starting   on Amazon to do and that's  that's a way to protect it. I think Amazon has to do a lot more  for small businesses to protect us   and give us more leeway before three months. later. There's copycats. Just, I mean, toy mentioned.

This is clearly an if you go to  twins Amazon store. It's beautiful. Its I literally sent you,  I sent this to my own team. I was like,   hers is perfect across the board. I think it's  so clear what you're doing is clearly working. But so many people get on  Amazon, the Amazon store to   to copy and to there's so much transparency,  which ultimately I'm a big believer in it.  

But reviews, tell you what are the features  that they like that? They don't like There's a lot of data on the back and that you  can get and I think ultimately it's a free market. That's the point. I think there's some great tools that  Amazon is starting to release brand.   Registry is a really important one. I think  there needs to be more from not just Amazon,   every retailer to be able to protect small  businesses and ones that bring Innovation,   first to be able to get a slight heads up Entirely a free market in the world. There's different parts and  different industries that have,   you know, their subsidies in different  countries or something including the   United States in the food industry  that are make it where it's not.

I'm all for free country, all for free market, but  when you start, adding subsidies into the equation   around the world, or different practices, towards  how the employees and the teams are treated, then   it doesn't become Apples to Apples. So ultimately,  it's a really hard and challenging issue, too. Solve, I think, Amazon's trying to solve it and  other retailers are trying to do it as well. But I don't know how I got to this long of an  answer, but it's a really a question. But yeah,   great. Well, let's see the next question. Give me a short answer for a lot of  customer. Service is easy to handle   in store. But how to you make sure customer  service meet your Brand's bar when sell it?

You still online vendors? It's easy to have customer service when you're in   store. You're saying how do  you do that online, correct? I mean, we sell through vendor Central,   so we don't have the direct  communication with the consumer. Amazon has the real relationship on our website.

Obsessing over your consumer, making sure that  if somebody has a complaint of, if somebody   reaches out to you the customer service issue,  not just solved their issue, solve their problem,   go above and beyond, and then see if it's  a systematic issue with your products. So you can learn that and make sure  you don't do it with other products. Are you fix it going forward? Okay. Thank you so much. Alex. Now Amanda,   we would like to just follow up or question  to our lexer. How do you get a traffic to your Your site.

And how do you manage in fulfillment of  those older coming in from multiple sources,   so we do a lot of advertising on  different social media platforms. We also work with influencers  and have affiliate programs to   get people to wear jewelry and then talk about it. So there's a lot that happens behind the scenes to   get our brand out there and  it's, you know, it's been a A long time, you know, 11 years of  working really hard to build a brand and   really create a beautiful aesthetic, not only  on our website, but where their packaging,   like, when you get your product,  it's got to look beautiful. When you come to the store. It  has like beautiful, you know,   everything from the tone of our customer  service emails to the tone of the copy,   and our website is very thoughtfully done, so  that you just have this really great experience. Organic means they have a really great experience   whenever they interact with our brand,  no matter what change point that is.

So that's that. What was the second part of the  question that you asked? Yes. The second question is, how do you  manage in fulfillment of those? Odors coming in from multiple resource sources? So whether Amazon store even in Amazon,  handmade which is what we're part of   you can do Amazon FBA, which  is really great. You make it it and ship it and you don't  have to think about it anymore. It's amazing when orders come in  through our other sites Shopify or Etsy.

We use a product called shipstation that kind  of like brings everything together and it's   just one really easy way to have a snapshot of  what needs to go out, what needs to be made. You know, we're still making hand  making a majority of our pieces. So we do have like a lot of time that goes into   fulfilling and processing  orders. So have an incredible. Studio manager who is really organized   and is really good at Inventory management and  getting all of that out the door every day. So we have a lot that we do  but we've got tools like that   that help us along the way and help us get  things out quickly because I think that,   you know, today's customer wants things yesterday. We actually offer free shipping across   all of our stores that we sell on and I think  that's really important nowadays and you   really is a business owner, have to take that  cost into consideration and kind of build On Prime is great.

Product price or you're just going  to lose lose on them the other side? Yeah. Thank you Amanda. Thank you so much for, you know,  all the great, great, great answers. We have a few additional question here submitted   by small business owners that I  will address to the whole panel. Please just jump in if you would like to  ensure and share your advice and experience,   and the very first question for  small business owners, many small.

Business cannot make it. They cannot survive and have to close their shop. And you have proven that you can  do it through this difficult time. Can you share with us? How you make it? What keep you going Amanda?  Maybe you can start it.

Oh, I think if anything last year showed us  that you have to be prepared for, I mean,   anything can happen and you know, we really  sat down as a team and took a look at like, You know, if cells just not  like what are we going to do? You know? And I feel like we've got a really  strong business plan and a really great   dedicated team and we were able to kind  of like weather the storm, which is still,   really Rocky, you know, it's still, you  know, if you're selling online last year Right for e-commerce, but for Brick  and Mortar stores, it was really tough. So just understanding that and  having a plan is key. But for sure   like have a plan have I like to have like  a nice little cushion sitting in the bank Happens. I know that, not everybody can do that. But you know 90 days is three months, is a long  time to figure out a pivot or something to do. So that's kind of like where   where we always like try to run and you know,  not having any funding and being bootstrapped.

That's really important to do. Thank you for sharing. Alex? I'll say one thing and I would say, anybody's  looking to start a business right now   lean on your partners and I would Define  that as do everything you possibly can   to get an unfair share of  attention from your partners. Three of us here on the panel. We're getting an unfair share of  attention from SBA from Amazon.

Like that is we should be super humbled,  super appreciative and always look for   that. At the end of the day. That's  how you've got a, you're competing   against really big Brands. You both have  weighed competitors of yours are massive. So get an unfair share of  attention for your partners,   and I think a lot of that will come  from the mission behind what you do,   the passion that they both have. And I  obviously have for my business as well. Thank you, towing. I think the first thing  I like to say is just be kind to yourself   first because if food is my fourth  business, the first one failed   spectacularly within six months. And  I remember how difficult that was. I will add my first child.

child, I was pregnant with  my second and so I always advisor will be kind to yourself. Sometimes it was what you  think of doesn't work out. Sometimes you have to start a new business. Sometimes you have to Pivot, which Amanda her  talked about, give up within the business right.  

Now. Even in here Foods, were going  to Brandon We Fresh daily November,   so why even have to pay but within the successful  business, so first of all, be kind to yourself But because that's very  important. And number three is   something that I've learned along the line,  is know who your true stakeholders are. That's something I had to take very  seriously as a founder of the business.   And I had to Define Berry very  clearly who are true. Stakeholders are  

once you define that you start to ask  the right questions and then you start   to have the right answers and then  you see a part of your business, not The part of your business began to take off which  is why pivoting is such an important part of,   you know, succeeded as a business,  you know, quick examples example   of that and I'll stop the first thing. We  started selling at EF who's was actually sauces. Two products for sauces, we discontinued  those sources to and happiest in and that's   very difficult to do as an entrepreneur,  but we have to Pivot to dry food   because was incredibly difficult to to  compete in the in the wet food category. So, those are the three things I  would point out, be kind to yourself.

No, one, two, pivot identify  your true stakeholders. and the rest is the fall into place. Yeah. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

I think your testimonies and your experience  really inspire all the small business owner. Ours, I haven't seen the brittleness, you know,  through this panel and the one your new immigrant   and we have Amanda resigned  her job to pursue her dream. And then we have Alex tardy from college. You're doing that from his kitchen. It just amazing story. If you can make it. it. I'm sure other small business  owner, will be able to make it.  

We have a other questions. If a  brand is just getting started. With their business of plan. What questions should they be asking  themselves to formulate their online sales   strategy who like to start? Oh happen. Really, you know, through your  Amazon store, and through FBA,   you can offer free shipping. But if you want  to do that somewhere else on your own site,   you really need to think about that  cost because it's not really free In for it, so factor that into the price of  your product and just really think about all   of the things that you have to pay for   as a business owner. And put that all on  your plan, you know, before I quit my job. I sat down and wrote this massive spreadsheet of  like all of the things that I needed, you know,   and it's a lot and just make sure  you're prepared and you think about   kind of everything and then  I just wanted to touch on You know, when you're starting out, it can be  kind of hard when you're working by yourself.

You know, I was at a, in a spare  bedroom in my house for a year. just doing this by myself, and don't be afraid  to reach out to other people in your industry. shoot them an email or if their local ask them  to go get a cup of coffee and ask their advice. You'd be surprised how many people are so  quick to respond and they're going to get   so much out of it. Just like you are. Thank you. And the next question is about  the international markets.

How having eCommerce sites, help you reach new,  international markets, what tools are available   to help you get started. Selling International  Lee, any one of you can answer this questions. That's actually something  we're working on right now   specifically for Mexico, specific for one or  two of us kills, were looking at Canada as well. And I would say in terms of e-commerce,  what that enables us to especially   Amazon stories because they  have always ready, ready,   formats, ready platforms, where you can  Port your your skills or a savings into Country. So that has been useful to us in  terms of explaining, it sounds of exploring it. That's also one of the benefits of the black  business accelerator that I mentioned earlier,   because we're able to talk to their Camp  manager from that is entitled by Amazon to say.

Hey, we want to sell it in Mexico.  What do we need to be thinking about   in terms of packaging? Because for  a lot of these countries, sometimes   you have to have, you know, different  languages for Canada, sometimes on packaging. That's French for Mexico. to have Spanish obviously. So those are  things that we'll be working on as well. But so far, it's been a pretty smooth  process walking through the Amazon store   platform as opposed to doing it on our own.

Thank you. Well, we still have a couple  question. We wish we can answer or   business owner for those questions, but  we have very limited time right now. The following question is a mega  and lack a brick-and-mortar retail   where you can estimate, how much your  food traffic, you might have come through. - cells can vary widely day  to day or month to month. month. How have you managing to  scale your business and remember,  

flexible to demand Alex? Can  you help to answer this one? How have we managed to Scale  based on the seasonality? Correct? It's seasonal because of the sun and the weather. So, you know, I think I spoke to this  a little bit earlier and there are   so many more tools and I would  strongly argue anybody who's launching To start with Amazon, whether you can apply  to be a vendor or doing it via as a 3pl,   the Amazon store. I mean they've got there's thousands of small  businesses like you that have done it. And   through that.

they've got a lot of trial and error  on tools that help you forecast. So,   don't do this alone, find Partners from  the beginning, sell the product don't   spend a year thinking about what product to  sell, put it out there. Talk to Consumers. Hers and leverage stores like Amazon,  like, Etsy like Thrive market. Like,   I mean, there's a ton out there that will help you   get your product to your consumer, but  go out there and sell, don't overthink it Excellent, or last question.

How do you use online advertising  to reach more customers? And what's your strategy can each one of you? Just give me one sentence? Amanda. Okay. Really quick, you know, I talked  about this before, but we use a lot of   Facebook advertising and look-alike audience  has to be able to reach our customer. And  

it's been a really effective way to There's DSP and search on Amazon,   specifically, that should absolutely be used.  Start with a small budget and trial and error. Brand, thank you, Alex. Thank you, toy. So we do a lot of our e-commerce advertising  on Amazon as well, and we're very targeted. We target specific Brands.

We target specific. Customers were pretty intense and how we Target  and that has been very successful for us. Thank you. Well, this conversation  has been set for inspiring. inspiring. I want to thank Amanda Alex  and towing three driven entrepreneurs  

for sharing their story and experience  selling online with us today. And I want to wish you all of you succeed,  as you'll learn to grow your business online. I learned about plan Partners product  how to solve people's needs and how to   find a product that the people  needs. And thank you so much. And for more information  about how to get a started   selling on Amazon or other online. Retailers. Be sure to check out their virtual boost  for resources and training materials. We will share or entrepreneurs   web page and contact information.  After conclusion of this session.

Also share my organization's  website National Ace dot-org. If you are interested in learning  more about the or resources. Take care, and thank you  very very much for your time.

Thank you. Amanda. Alex and towing. Thank you. Thank you.

2021-09-19 14:55

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