Steve Chou shares the strategies he used to create numerous online businesses that gave him and his wife the freedom they wanted. Steve is the founder of MyWifeQuitHerJob.
Transcription Episode 92: How Selling Handkerchiefs Online Has Given Him The Lifestyle He Only Dreamed Of – With Steve Chou
Today we’re going to be diving deep into setting up e-commerce shops and creating e-commerce business online. I know this is a business model a lot of my listeners ask me about, a lot of my students were asking me about, and so today we’ve got a special guest to share their vast wisdom and experience on this exact topic.
He’s the founder of bumblebeelinens.com, an e-commerce store that specializes in selling linens and handkerchiefs, as well as the founder of mywifequitherjob.com, which is a brand I absolutely love, where he shares his successful e-commerce strategies with budding digital entrepreneurs through his blogs, training and podcasts.
If that’s not enough, he’s also the founder of the Sellers Summit, which can be described as the ultimate e-commerce learning conference. Without further ado, I’d like to welcome Steven Chou to the show.
Steven, thank you so much for being here.
Then later on, when we became pregnant with our first child, she wanted to quit her job and we live in Silicon Valley which is a very expensive area. You pretty much need two incomes in order to get a house in a good school district, and so we got back in touch with that vendor, started importing these handkerchiefs and we threw up our own website.
It started going really well because we kind of already validated the idea on eBay. Within an year we had already supplanted her six-figure salary just selling handkerchiefs so my wife quit her job.
You can use that number to judge how many people are selling that item to determine how saturated that environment is, but in general, I think the most important thing is to not just sell a “me too” product online or something that everyone else is selling. Make sure you have some sort of value add and as long as you can present that value add to your market, you should do okay even if it’s a competitive environment.
Then you want to sell it on Amazon because there’s just huge built-in marketplace on there. If you can get traction on Amazon and you know that you can unload this stuff on eBay in case the stuff does not move, then that should make you feel comfortable enough to actually make a bulk order.
Just to give you an example, let’s say you have one bad batch of product that you accidentally ship to Amazon. As a result, the customers get this bad product and you get a string of negative feedback. That could lead to your listing getting suspended.
All of a sudden, you’ve got all this product inventory over at FBA and your listing is suspended, and you got to beg Amazon to un-suspend you. This could take a period of weeks or even months and meanwhile you’re just losing money, whereas if you have your own property, you can collect your own email addresses, build your own customer base.
Doing B2B stuff is a lot easier when you have your own brand as well. There’s a variety of reasons why you need to get off Amazon.
The new guys are saying, “Why do we even need websites?” You create a website. First of all, let me ask you, do you have any platform of choice? Are you a Shopify guy?
It wasn’t until I’ve racked my brain a little bit to figure out what to give to the customers, and that’s when it all started clicking and we started gathering emails. Email is actually a significant portion of our business today.
Now it’s time to take the e-commerce tips, tools, strategies that Steve shared with you here today and apply that final essential ingredient to actually making this stuff work for you. That ingredient is action, so go forth. Take action. Even just take one thing and apply it. Apply what you learned here.
Stay tuned for more info-packed episodes of the Project Ignite Podcast.
This is your host, Derek Gehl signing off.