Private Label Introduction : Where I’m at Today

It’s no secret that the newest “trend” will likely be for entrepreneurs to enter the private label space to become successful. Gone are the days of needing to be a real “make it from scratch” type, now you can find a product and release it to the masses all while at your computer. Not to say that PL isn’t a tough business, doesn’t require market research, cost analysis and team of designers, etc – but PL has never been easier.

This post will go over where I’m starting at, my background and knowledge. If you’ve been a fan of the blog already, you may know I’m planning on implementing big change in 2015 going to private label as my main focus. Retail arbitrage has been a great gateway into this sector and I’m ready to take a stab at it.

My Background: 

I work full time in a completely unrelated field, working my busy season the first half of the year. The second half of the year, I focus mostly on Amazon, and my other venture (Etsy). I was an art major for all of two seconds in college, but have a passion for graphic design. I do not have any other experience, outside of this. My BS degree is in Psychology (just graduated in December) so I’d like to think for the most part this is a level playing field.

Up till now: 

Right now, if you are on the Facebook group, you may know I’m dabbling in private label. I decided to jump right in, without reading any courses, without any knowledge of ..anything.

Product 1 which will also be referenced as Product T (T for toy) was first tested on the market the last week of November. I sent in 10 of this product, 3 color variations. The product sold-out within 2 days. Uh oh. This went a lot faster than I expected. To go into further detail, the product came with branded extras and was poorly packaged in a polybag.

There have been no returns thus far, and I do not anticipate any. My first run was purchased at $6 landed, $6.80 after the extras and sold for $24. As soon as the first sale happened, mind you, it was pretty instant – I ordered 30 more. Big mistake. First of all, the supplier had a big hiccup with their freight company.

It did not arrive into my hands until December 12. I paid for expedited shipping mind you, so it should have been in my hand by Dec 5 if I’m not mistaken. Needless to say, the product reached the warehouse on December 16 and is still being checked in today at other warehouses. The product that has hit the shelf has sold out. Realizing I should have gone deeper…

I have since ordered new packaging, two new colors, and focused more on package design to make it a better customer experience. I bought the domain name of my product, and have a contact page up for now.

If you want more details on anything, let me know in the comments. I’m being pretty broad up for now. I can teach you anything form setting up a domain name to getting a logo made.

Back to the post…

I only bought 100 of the product on this next run because I don’t know anything more about this market. I found this market because of my nephews, and felt there was great potential. I kept the product run low again because I’m quite the chicken. $400 is a lot for me to sink into something I’m still unfamiliar with.

Which also is good news, I got the price dropped from $6/landed to $4/landed. This was due to the mistake with the freight on the 30 order. I will not get this price again if I stay with small runs. With the new packaging, I’ll be adding a 60 cents more until I decide to go all in.

I’m telling you these numbers to show you the real potential here. I’m a small fry in this big world. I don’t want to sink thousands of dollars into this yet. I know there is potential, but I have to know where my next paycheck is coming from (so to speak).

Product 2

I’m really starting to feel that this is the right avenue for me. I have decided to go into the pet niche for my second test. I’m going to keep it pretty vague other than that. The product I have ordered for my test run is 10 of 2 colors.

So 20 total. They are $6 for each because its a sample only. Update: (I just finalized the 20 order and they dropped it down to $4/pc, totaling $81.)When I order again, I will be ordering 100 of each and have the price down to $2.70.

I will be adding my logo which will be an additional cost, along with packaging. I have not decided on packaging. I could go a simple route of no-nonsense cardboard, or make it a true customer experience (think box, inlays, etc). Again, undecided. For now I’m looking at quality of the product, testing it to ensure I like it – and then I’ll make that bigger order.

I have already purchased the domain name of a broad brand name. I plan on using this domain for all pet related products I launch. It will be sort of a “petsmart” website housing all of my pet products. I have not named the product yet that I plan on selling.

It is something I needed personally and noticed the market was pretty non-existent. The 4 products I found all are in the $20-30 range which shows the great potential. It allows leeway for me to offer add-on products, different colors, different uses, and really market the brand.

I plan on having the Bark Box approach with this website and do something similar where they have the Bark Cam, Bark Post, Bark this…and Bark that. My name is nothing as clever so far but you get the idea that I will want them all to be cohesive so that customers know my product is related to the big umbrella.

The Plans

Product 1

I have some of my packaging arriving for product 1 this weekend. I will not be shipping it out until after the holidays as my schedule is pretty packed. I will be reaching out to consumers via Instagram to start doing a few giveaways to get more brand recognition. I do not have a timeline yet for this but will be writing that up. So here’s the focus:

  • Package product
  • Ship product
  • Create VA list of tasks (website clean up, research contests for similar products, blogs etc)
  • Write timeline for more consumer interaction (VA will handle this, with my supervision)

Product 2

I anticipate arrival of the product after the holidays. This leaves me to focus on a different strategy. Here’s the list:

  • Logo creation
  • Website needs landing page to collect emails
  • VA will develop blog posts on similar topics
  • VA will set up Twitter, Instagram and Facebook
  • VA will find 5-10 blogs I can market to (whether I choose advertising, giveaways etc)
  • Determine 3 ways I will market ( Amazon ads, Facebook ads, PPC, Instagram, Pinterest)
  • Determine how to build feedback for product quickly
  • Packaging research, narrow down how I want to package.
  • Product arrives
  • Packaging tests with physical product
  • Product pictures
  • List product

Now you’re probably saying, “Valerie, you’re going about this backwards. You are supposed to do this before you order.” And I say to you… “I expect my sample will take two to three weeks to arrive. I have purchased my competitor’s product for now to see what I like and dislike and to use for quality comparison. It will arrive on Monday.

I am taking a new approach with this product as I want to make sure I try very hard to build a brand with this product long term. I am going to use my VA more for this one as there are a lot of tasks he can do for me. I still want a hands on approach with the development, so I will stay on top of this part.”

Wrap Up

I am literally hoping to have my product in Amazon’s warehouse by end of January. If not, it will be in stock by mid-February. I literally just wrote up my game plan as I wrote this post as I didn’t have one set in stone until now. I’m happy to talk to anyone willing to listen about their PL ventures, or if they want to take the ride along with me!

Just getting started? Tell me all about your PL adventures. Don’t know where to start? Let’s talk. Have a great idea but want someone to help with certain steps? I’m here!

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