March Private Label Report

When I originally wrote my PL report, (on March 30) I had so many different things to say. It’s funny how in a matter of a day or so, your takeaways can change. Your “lessons learned” can change, and your success is measured so differently. All in a matter of hours. And you ask yourself, “Well, Valerie, what changed?” I say unto you dear reader, “My mindset.” What could be considered a problem, is now welcome.

Before I jump into the numbers, here’s my top 3 lessons of March.

Order more, worry less. It’s no secret I have the worst commitment to something that is seemingly proven itself. I spent the first two weeks of March suffering for it, okay more like 10 days, where my sales suffered. The Chinese New Year threw a wrench in, and I didn’t have enough stock to hold me over. I have since learned to just order more and more. When you think you have enough..you’re wrong. To the same statement, if you orde more, your costs go down. I’ve managed to bring down my cost at least $1 since starting a couple of months ago.

Competition. Damn them. This is really all a nod to having stock issues. If I didn’t have inventory woes, I wouldn’t have lost my first page position for my category. But I did, and I have. My competitor dropped the price from $25 to $12. I suffered for all of 2 days. Then, I played ball. I updated my listings to highlight the extras I offered. I dropped my price down to $17. I gained traction, upped my PPC bids, and now am priced at $20. I’ve actually increased in sales at this new price point and while my bottom line would expectedly drop, the quantity sold has increased. Yep, thank you competitor. Happy to have met you.

 If all else fails, slow down. If you’ve kept up with me this far, you’ll know I expanded my brand quickly. I now have the original item along with 3 other items I am working on. I also have another on order that compliments all products as an additional add-on. And you’re asking, “wasn’t the bold saying to slow down?” Yes. It was. I say if all else fails, because I feel like I started hastily. I wanted to enter every space quickly, and had no time to perfect it. Had I launched properly, I wouldn’t be playing catch up. So learn from my mistakes, slow down. Launch properly, calculate sales properly, order double. Welcome the competition.

Finally I’m off my soap box and ready to talk numbers. I’ve broken down every number I anticipate being asked.

  • Total Sales for the BRAND (Giveaways not included) $9676.76
  • COGS $4.73-4.99
  • Profits $4944.23
  • Margin 51.36%
  • Total units 423
  • Average unit price $22.88

Giveaways were a total of 13 units. I’m doing a similar promotion this week for 10 units and will expand as the month goes by. I gave away a retail value of $324.87. The total cost to me with COGS and Amazon fees was $110.08. This yielded 12 reviews, which I think is a great percentage.

Pay-per-click was run for the full month both on automatic and manual targeting. I spent $136.45 on advertising and was rewarded with $1905.19 in sales attributed. That’s ACOS of .07 or 7%. It’s a bit high for my taste, but I can deal. I’ll hope to see this percentage go down in the future.

I’ve broken down the sales based on each item.

  • Original item: 264 units, $5446.35
  • Item 2: (aka addon1) 149, $4060.51
  • is it fair to say item 2 is its own item and not an add on? While they are often purchases together it’s rivaling item 1 well.
  • Item 3 (aka addon2) 9, $270.91 (took way longer to get items in stock, so these numbers are skewed.)
  • Item 4, 14 units sold, $223.86 (testing item, will likely add in April). I purchased 16 and kept 2 for photo purpose.
  •  Item 5, in the works now is a compliment to all items. It will cost me under $2 and sell for $7-10 based on demand. Once I rank it, I expect to push for $10, and have the COGS for under $1. I’ve only purchased 50 units for now.

Thats all for this month! Sales were so close to $10l this month I can taste it for April! At this rate this brand will yield at least $100k in sales this year. With that, I hope you are following along as I create another brand on Forty Hour Rebel. The product launches this week and I’m excited to see it grow!

How about you? How is your FBA business going?

February 2015 Income Report

Income reports are back. I’ve tried to maintain income reports since the beginning of Learning FBA. I took a few months off, and realized that since Income Reports still create a lot of traffic for the blog- maybe, just maybe, people still want to read them. True? The way I like to format these reports are pretty simple. Lessons learned + Numbers = Improvements. I’ll tell you all the things I learned in the month of the report, report the final numbers, and then talk to you about the takeaways and how I’ll try to improve in the following months.

Let’s get started…

Lessons Learned

One of these days someone is going to yell at me for running out of inventory. Luckily, February wasn’t too bad of a month on the inventory side of my first private label product. You can get down to the nitty gritty details inside of the Private Label Inventory report. No retail products went into the warehouse in February. I’m living off of old sourced products on that front. I’ve focused so much time on PL, I haven’t picked up a retail product to scan once. Between PL and working FT and the regular job, can you blame me for putting all of my eggs in this basket? Though, I’ll let you in on a secret- I think I might dabble in retail arbitrage just to generate more money to do private label faster. I can’t help myself, I’m addicted.

Numbers

I pull my numbers directly from Amazon’s summary report at the end of the month. I’m not doing fancy anything, so you’ll see exactly what I see and we wont get lost in all sorts of craziness.  You have access to the same reports as a pro merchant.

Total Income $9026.32

Amazon Expenses (2948.35)

Sales Tax (54.61)

COGS (1800.91)

All other expenses (76.20)

This includes subscription fees for Appeagle, TaxJar, and Inventory Lab and a few supplies.

Net Income 4146.25

Margins 46%  (Jan was 38.6)

Improvements

Guys, can you believe these numbers? I didn’t send in any retail outside of what was already there. I focused only on private label. If you read my PL report already, my PL product counted for $6100 of my sales. That’s almost $3000 of just residual retail product. That hard work all those years just keeps trickling in. And the best thing is, I’m going to probably pick up retail arbitrage just to feed my private label addiction. It’s nuts. Little to no effort, and I’m happy with my profits.

As the year goes on, I’ll be focusing hard on recycling all of my profits into my business. If you follow the podcast, Forty Hour Rebel, you know I’m trying to quit my 9 to 5 job this year and this is what is going to get me there. It’s end of March and I’m excited to share what has happened in March in less than a week.

My biggest takeaway has been this:  if you fail, at least you tried. No one ever remembers the failures.

February PL Report

Well, here we are everyone, doesn’t time fly by when you are having fun? Really. It’s this awesome feeling when you know where you’re headed, and happy with the path you’ve already taken thus far. If you’re new to the blog, you can catch up by reading the first post where I announced I would be changing my FBA strategy. I have since completed many orders, testing product, having it customized with logos, and you can read up on that here. Now that I’ve completed my second month of selling I am so stoked to share this adventure.

Before  I jump to the numbers, my lessons I have learned thus far are still plentiful.

Keeping Stock

After all this time, I still haven’t figured out stock levels. I sold out again. What is wrong with me? And what was even better? The factories and their closing times for the new year! I got in luckily with enough time to squeeze in an order from a supplier to hold me over. Barely. Close call!

The factories have reopened as I write this post, and I’ve already ordered my full stock that I sold in February. In another week, I’ll be  ordering another order. I’m not losing this momentum. I refuse.

Packaging

I haven’t made much growth on the packaging end. I’m trying to find a China factory to create the boxes for me. I really hate the options I have and feel I need to stand apart from the crowd. In a couple of weeks its going to be pointless to assemble boxes myself, I’m still in search of a solution to complete this whole thing for me.

Rebranding Already

After seeing the awesome take off of the product this month, releasing more add on products, I decided I need to put more into the branding of it all. The initial logo I made myself was flat, and didn’t convey the message I wanted to the audience. I paid a designer to create a logo for me and while it was a $300 investment- to me it was worth it.

What is Focus?

If you are a member of the Facebook group, you may know that my branching to private label is causing other interests. This month I started a podcast called Forty Hour Rebel, and while its not making much traction, its actually keeping me quite accountable. I’ve decided to actually branch off and make another blog where it follows my foot steps in making a brand new private label brand. The focus here is repeating the process and proving my own theory. Cracking the code, if you will. With that, if you click the link for Forty Hour Rebel you’ll be able to follow along as I outline my every move week by week.

The Numbers

Now that you’ve made it all the way here, let’s talk numbers! Even though I had a couple of days out of stock,  here’s my total sales & units.

Gross Sales: $6033.60

Units Sold: 240

Avg Sale: 25.60

At this point, I have maintained a price from $23.99-$27.99. $23 on my rare slow days, and $27 when I need to slow down my numbers but not lose too much momentum.

Add-On Items

The add on items are not included in the total above. 

This brand clearly has a mind of its own and I am branching out quicker than what a normally sane person would do.

Add on 1 that I mentioned last month sold 9 more test units before selling out on 2/8. I kept the price at $31.99 and that will stay the bottom price going forward. I reordered a couple of weeks ago for 16 units because that’s all the factory had. The product will be in stock hopefully in a week. I have another 50 units coming in which will be here around March 10, and I’ll order another 50 likely in a week or two just to keep up the pace.

Add on 2 is something I hadn’t mentioned that arrived in the warehouse on 2/21. I have since sold 32 units at $24.99 for a total of $814.68. I have reordered this product at only 200 units but will be reordering again in another 10 days or so. I think this one has the same potential considering that I hit a good stride almost immediately.

In the works, Add on 3, is something I having a hard time finding a manufacturer on. I have to buy 500 units at once from one company, and was in mid-conversation when the factory closed for the holiday. I’m hoping to get a jump on this in the next week.

Take Aways

I couldn’t be a bigger fan of private label at this point in time. My biggest goal is to continue to replicate the concept to prove the theory. That’s my big take away- go slow, prove the concept and then  you can hit the ground running. This brand alone will show a great return as soon as everything is in motion. I’m excited to flip these profits into more inventory, and also use it to branch out into new PL experiments.

I leave you with this: You have to try. If you fail, no one will care. No one ever remembers the failures. 

January 2015 Income Report

Income reports are back. I’ve tried to maintain income reports since the beginning of Learning FBA. I took a few months off, and realized that since Income Reports still create a lot of traffic for the blog- maybe, just maybe, people still want to read them. True?

The way I like to format these reports are pretty simple. Lessons learned + Numbers  = Improvements. I’ll tell you all the things I learned in the month of the report, report the final numbers, and then talk to you about the takeaways and how I’ll try to improve in the following months.

Let’s get started…

Lessons Learned

Inventory of PL 1

Lessons in January were a carryover of my idea to change my FBA strategy in 2015. You can read all about that on this blog post from December. With product 1 doing well, I’ve been trying really hard to just maintain inventory. This is probably the best worst problem to have. With this being a full fledged month of having inventory for at least 90% of the month, the numbers are awesome (don’t worry, you’ll read them soon).

Retail

I sent in one shipment of retail product in January. I’m going to be focusing most of my spare time on private label products and I expect to send in one shipment a month of retail product as we go through 2015- until Q4 where I will likely go back to retail because, let’s face it- Q4 is just crazy. My main focus with retail is to sell through some old inventory, and move on. I’ve toyed with the idea of training someone to shop part-time for me, but honestly, we’ll see how I feel about that as the year continues. I may just abandon all things retail.

Books

The books still are not getting easier so I jumped back on with Inventory Lab. Have I opened it since? Nope. I’m just being honest. I’m a terrible bookkeeper and this may be the year I talk about getting an accountant. Know your weaknesses.

Numbers

I pull all of my numbers straight from Amazon Seller Central, and the transaction reports. You have access to the same reports as a pro merchant.

Total Income $6,388.13

Amazon Expenses (2,226.59)

COGS (1,613.66)

All other expenses (84.95)

This includes subscription fees for Appeagle, TaxJar, and Inventory Lab and a few supplies.

Net Income 2467.93

Margins  38.6%

Improvements

Guys, can you believe these numbers. I sent in one shipment in January outside of my PL product. If you recall my PL product report for January, sales for my PL product were $2,840.22. That means that 44% of my sales in January was one item. That’s just nuts. My margins for product 1 are also awesome at 53% which means that most of January I spent breaking even or making tiny returns for my retail product. I know this to be true because I was aggressively pricing Q4 product to move it out. I want to free up cash to invest more in my private label ventures. Where the returns are dismal, I’m pulling the product out and going where I can see better investments.

Writing this already half-way through February I know that I’ll still be struggling with inventory for my PL product. I know this is going to be an awesome opportunity in March. I’m going to run out in February with the Chinese New Year and I couldn’t be happier! I will be repricing product to make sure I don’t lose too much momentum but I’ll tell you this – when you think you should buy X quantity… double it.

In other news, I’ve launched a new blog called Forty Hour Rebel that is going to document my entire journey with building a new brand from scratch. The podcast went live on Friday the 13th via SoundCloud while I wait for iTunes to give me the green light. This experiment is going to go through every step as I do research to find the new product I’ll invest in. I decided to start from scratch so I could be on even playing ground with others who also want to start Private Label. If you are tempted to start Private Label in 2015, or just looking for a new podcast please join me on the new site.

Alright guys, that wraps up the first month in 2015. How did you do in January? Share your experience, I’d love to hear from you. I thrive on feedback and write these reports just for you!

July Income Report

Well LF readers, July was a doozy of a month for the home office of Learning FBA. Keeping with last month’s concept, I’m keeping a close eye on the time tab in our bookkeeping system to ensure time is tracked accurately. The good news is, we’re generating a part-time income on way lighter than part-time hours.

The good news, as I continue to say, the proof is in the pudding. If you produce the work, you’ll get the sales. And, in the same spirit, if you don’t put the work – your sales plummet. Go July! July was our lowest month in a long time. Sales dropped, and when shipments go in- the sales definitely influx. I continued with Appeagle for a second “trial” run signing up for another month; but that’s another day, another post.

Let’s talk the numbers:

Description
Amount
Notes
Gross Sales 4032.57 4754 June
Total Fees/Expenses (1707.46) 1500 June
Cost of Goods (1556.00) 1480 June OUCH
Supplies (172.63) Tax Jar, Arizona sourcing, labels, more misc supplies. Should be minimal in August
Net Profit 596.48 $1047 June
Hours Worked 11.50 $51.86 // $47.63 Per Hour JUNE

Looking at the bigger picture, eh, I’m not worried. With the fact the work totaled to less than 12 hours – I could have worked one full day and called it a month. Can you earn a part-time income with FBA? Definitely. Is August going to be better? I’ll tell you that we should easily beat July that’s for sure. On the clock, I’m already at 8 hours, and I have a shipment worth of product waiting to go out right now.

How did your July go? Are you sending in Q4 product?

June Income Report

This month, I decided to do something a bit different and keep track of the hours I work. Because my gross income has been drastically fluctuating, I’ve decided to watch the time I put in to ensure I’m getting a decent return on my (time) investment.

Finally all settled in, the chaos from moving is over. The “shop” is getting set up, and aside from a bit of chaos of random stranded inventory under tables – things are starting to get organized.

In May I grossed nearly $7000, and to see June’s numbers I’m a big shocked to see them. I’m not sure any real explanation is available. During the month of June I did use a free trial on a repriced. I decided to aggressively sell some OLD product and that way I can use that money to get fresh better product. Other than that, I don’t have much explanation.

Two grocery bundles were sent in during the month of June and I’m sad to say they haven’t moved at all. The rank was 50k, and 150k respectively and there is only one other FBA seller on the item. So, we’ll keep an eye on that. The good news is that I sent in one of the products included in the bundle and that item is moving faster than I can keep up with. I’ve got about 30 on the way to me and I’ll probably triple that purchase if it sells as quickly as I expect it to. As it stands, the item has no other FBA seller so I’m stoked. The tricky thing now is staying under the Amazon radar to make sure I don’t lose out on this regional grocery item.

In other news, an order my VA placed went to my OLD house, so that locked up about $300 in purchase money (at least $1000 in retail value). The box went back to the company and they are refunding me. This was truly my fault as I do the finalizing of the order. But, thinking on the bright side – my VA is cutting out my time, if only I could get my address straight when I go to enter my credit card info.

I’ll let you see the numbers below and then we’ll talk about hours.

Description
Amount
Notes
Gross Sales 4754.93 $6946.62 May
Total Fees/Expenses (2157.04) 2555.56 May
Cost of Goods (1480.34) $2000 May
Supplies (69.73) Business renewal, tax jar and misc supplies
Net Profit 1047.82 $2119.09 31%
Hours Worked 22 $47.63 Per Hour

So, in the last row you’ll see I clocked a whopping 22 hours in the month of June. I can’t help but be excited by the amount of time that went in. Think of it as a positive spin to the money that was made. Yes, I only grossed about $4700. Yes, I only netted about $1000. BUT, that $1000 only took 22 hours of my entire month. If I could focus more time on this, even doing 20 hours a week, this could easily become a full time income. For now, I’ll keep logging hours and see how this goes for July.

Looking Ahead

I’m focusing hard on getting school supplies into Amazon, dorm room supplies, and Christmas supplies. I’ll keep at the grocery bundles and see where this all takes me!

Also, look forward to a repricer review later this month as I’m testing another one before I decide who to stick with.

May Income Report

Happy June everyone! Before we get to the numbers, we’ll talk about May’s events.

Moving is Chaos

During the month of May, I moved (just a few miles down the road) and it really threw a wrench in my plans. My last inbound shipping charge was May 13. I did not make any more shipments during the weekend of my big move (though we just turned the keys in on our townhouse Saturday). I had a few online shipments come in to the new house during the last two weeks. Nothing left the house, and as we speak I have a lot of inventory sitting in the  “FBA office”. I spent 1 hour of physical sourcing, today, and have spent a total of no more than 3 hours sourcing online. My online sourcing now consists of my VA doing research, my reviewing the results and purchasing. I’ve had him place the orders a few times (I come in and enter my CC info).

Setting Up Shop

I bought some Uline supplies like polytubing dispensers, and a new sealer this month. I decided to upgrade to a 16″ sealer when I broke the handle on the 12″ one. I bought some folding tables which will be come packing stations in the future.  All that is left to do is spend a day (yes, a full day) packing up everything.

Good news, there was an uptick in business in May. I’ll let you read about that below.

Description
Amount
Notes
Gross Sales 6946.62 $3133 April
Total Fees/Expenses (2555.56) Almost double from April, which makes sense. $1328 April
Cost of Goods (2011.00) $902 April
Supplies (260.97) Big unusual jump – I had to buy a new Dymo printer, supplies for new set up/office, TaxJar, etc. $11 April
Net Profit 2119.09 31%

$891/28% April

So, as you can see May was my best month this year. $7000 (rather $6946). The only thing that changed at all was the product that was sent in during the beginning of the month. And believe this, my sales tapered off the last week of May.

Finding Balance

My goal in June is to really find some balance with things. $7000 gross a month is nice. I profit about $2000, and that’s a happy number considering the amount of work I put into it.  I have a lot of product in the house right now. I have 3 more shipments coming in this week. I’m hoping to empty this office later this week, next Monday at the latest. Trying to find consistency in sending in product, sourcing, and keeping up the energy is really key here.

Testing Grocery Bundles

If you haven’t heard the news about Amazon, they launched a new service called PrimePantry. In a nutshell, you can now buy dry goods, paper items and fill one of their “pantry” boxes for $5.99 delivery charge. The prices are competitive with grocery stores.

With this service coming along, I’m trying to test regional products Amazon is likely to not carry. I’ll be testing two bundles and 5 more items this month to see how it goes.

Virtual Assistant Doing Great

My VA, Norris, has been doing a great job of finding new products. I’ll be honest, it is just like sourcing yourself, in that for ever 20 items scanned you may only find 1 good item. Or you could come onto a great category and find 20 good ones. Its a lot like that. We’ve set up our sourcing rules, and learning about bundles now. I’m excited to say we are finding a lot more product than I can keep up with! A good problem to have.

How did your May go? Comment below about your month of May and goals for June.

April Income Report

I like to tell myself that I always learn from my mistakes. That I will give 200% on a business that has treated me kindly, and give to others when I have something to contribute. Learning FBA (It’s community, and the site itself) has been an awesome part of my everyday life. I’ll be honest that ending this month with this month’s numbers – I was disappointed. Disappointed in myself, and felt like I was letting the readers down. After my pity party, I put on my big kid shoes- did some online sourcing, and resolved to just source more.

I know this isn’t my usual intro the monthly numbers, so don’t let my own upset feelings bother you. I just want to be transparent, that we all have discouraging moments. The FBA game can be hard. When you are shopping, and looking for product and can’t seem to find any needle in any hay stack. The good news is we all have those days, and yes, there is light at the end of this tunnel. Without further ado, let’s talk money!

Description
Amount
Notes
Gross Sales 3133.40 $5004 March.
Total Fees/Expenses (1328.02) $1794 March.
Cost of Goods (902.64) $1301 March.
Supplies (10.95) $23 March.
Net Profit 891.74 28% TOUGH MONTH $1884.86/37.7% in March.

As you can see, the numbers reflect only 28% profit. Classes finished up in April, and I was bogged down with a terrible sickness immediately after finals. Good news is I am up and running again. I’ve shipped out once in May, and shipping again this week. I’ll be going to school part-time in Summer, but don’t expect it to hold me down like Spring semester.

Meanwhile, putting on my other Learning FBA hat, during the month of April, my VA has really grasped sourcing well. I’m finding new products and have orders coming in for testing.

I’m encouraged by letting  a VA take care of this aspect of my business, to free up my time. Its taken dedication to train, of course, but the hours now will pay off ten-fold. Materials are being written to teach others how to train their VA how to do the same- and its getting pretty exciting! Letting go of tedious tasks will certainly lighten the load.

In related news, the Learn to Source site is up and running and there is a newsletter sign-up for those interested in being notified when we go live. Click here to learn more.

May’s Goals

May has one goal and that’s to continue sourcing. I will be moving in less than two weeks to a new house, with more space, so I’m done sourcing for the next 10 days. Once we put the boxes in the new house, its time to fill it up!

Now that we have a garage we can purchase by the pallet! (I’m not sure what pallet will be purchased but I can’t wait!) There will also be a dedicated office with workspace for FBA! No more living room clutter! I can even focus on hiring help! Oh, the excitement!

How did your month of April go? What goals do you have for May?

March Income Report

I’m so excited to say March is over. For those who’ve listened to my continuous “busy busy busy” excuses- school for Spring will be over in three weeks! That means I’ll be able to give more to sourcing, and that means the numbers should show the progress.

To tell you where my time was spent, I took one sourcing trip in the month of March. I did have a shipment land in the warehouses early March, and that was all. The sourcing trip I took in March that was discussed on Facebook is still in my living room. Its almost done, just needed warning labels that arrived yesterday. So, you can tell how things are going to go- I took one sourcing trip all month, and it will not be live in inventory until another week or two.

Another focus was hiring a virtual assistant. I’ve been sifting through applications for two weeks now. I have few criteria that I need met, and reading past testimonials is important to my hiring. I’ve hired a VA in the past, and spent more time teaching than relinquishing duties. So this time around, I’m very focused on hiring quality right out of the gate. I’ll be documenting that trial as it progresses, for now, I will continue to sift through it all.

The numbers you will find are awesome considering the lack of work. If you are looking for a part-time job, with part-time income – well this is your answer. It does take work, and perseverance when you can’t find anything to source. Remember, you must keep moving forward.

Description
Amount
Notes
Gross Sales 5004.89 3800 in Feb
Total Fees/Expenses (1794.50) 1239 in Feb
Cost of Goods (1301.58) 969 Feb
Supplies (23.95) Labels and taxjar subscription. I’ll be having high expenses in march for supplies and another sealer.

Feb was $66

Net Profit 1884.86 37.7% in March. $1584/40% in Feb.

If you’ve been keeping up, I’ve taken a major blow to my sales – and am picking my brain to come up with something new to sell that will be proprietary to me. Starting in April, I’ve decided to start setting goals to see how we do. The goals this month is going to be a simple one. $5,000 sales to remain consistent. (considering the replenishable issue) Source at least three times in April.

That’s all for now! Don’t forget, you can keep the conversation rolling all month long by joining other Learning FBA members on Facebook.

What are your goals in April? Share your goals below for April and let’s do this!

February Income Report

Its already going to be the end of the first quarter, and I have so many thoughts running through my head! I’m going to make this report short and sweet and make a separate post on those thoughts I’ve been thinking as of late. Last month’s income report was short and to the point, I’m going to continue with that, but I’m happy to put in any details that are requested.

 

Description
Amount
Notes
Gross Sales 3822.72 3099 in Jan
Total Fees/Expenses (1239.58) 1230 in Jan. Only a $9 increase? Okay with me!
This includes all of the expenses listed on the monthly summary report.
Cost of Goods (969) 918 January
Supplies (66.23) $40 on a relative helping with packing products, 26 on UPS pickups. January was 200+.
Net Profit 1548.14 40% this month, 23% January.

166 items were checked in during the month of February, which equaled one shipment. I’ve got another shipment headed out today of 197 items. I will actually be on vacation next week to my favorite destination (Japan) and will hopefully be rejuvenated and ready for some serious retail arbitrage when I get back!

Sayonara!