Category Archives: Amazon seller

I am giving up!

I’m out, chaps. It is over…

For now, anyway.

Foxy Loves, my e-commerce pet product store, has nothing left to sell and is about to officially close.

I have had a ball. My first venture into e-commerce and I’ve worked with some wonderful people – suppliers, designers and customers. I’ve stayed up all night dealing with delays to an order and I’ve sucked my breath in hard as a spate of refund requests all arrived together.

Even more so, I’ve held my breath as Amazon has switched and increased its fees, its algorhythm and its rules.

When I launched my small pet product business, importing from China and selling through Amazon.com across the US, it was pretty easy.

You offered products for free or huge discount in return for reviews and as the reviews came in your sales grew with them.

Then, Amazon banned all discount reviews and the goalposts changed. As always happens in business and indeed in life, nothing stays the same and people must adapt to deal with those changes.

The challenges grew, I grew with them and had the most amazing Q4 – the in-trade name for the final three months of the year. Seriously, as Christmas came closer, the sales were breathtaking. I would pick up my phone every morning to see the sales (it isn’t midnight on the US west coast until 8am in the UK, so plenty of time to check in).

I was also able to divert 50 dog beds out of a delivery of 500 to donate them to a Chinese charity that rescues dogs from the slaughterhouses there. THAT felt good, let me tell you!

In short, it was a rollercoaster.

Foxy doing some late night research into finding products to sell
My sketch which formed the basis of Foxy Loves logo
But I always knew I needed more money to give me really good purchasing power to buy stock at the best price.

And as I’ve grown busier here, I started to struggle to fit everything in.

The final straw came with the latest round of long term storage fees issued by Amazon. My last shipment was delayed, leaving me with more stock than I had planned.

With hundreds of items sitting in Amazon’s American warehouses, I was stuck. I couldn’t get them out of Amazon – I literally had nowhere to send them. For the first time I started to feel very vulnerable.

It was time to get out.

I held a huge sale and cleared the last of my stock this week. I’m just waiting for the inevitable refund or two (even at sale price!) and I’ll be closing my account. I have lost money, but not quite as much as I would have done – and now I can concentrate on other things.

I feel slightly relieved but mostly quite sad because it has been an amazing experience. I had no knowledge of retail before, now my eyes have been opened. Retail is gambling, basically – researched and educated, but every product is a gamble by the retailer.

I WILL be back.

But, when I’m back I’ll sell in the UK – so much more manageable – and I won’t be sourcing from China. Maybe I got lucky but I’ve had nothing but good experiences dealing with the Chinese.

But I just can’t justify sourcing pet products from a country with no animal welfare laws and that encourages animal torture, and I have told my suppliers that.

So it’s the end of an era but hopefully the right decision to allow me to concentrate on the businesses that I have here, right now.

 

 

 

 

 

How many of us are Self Sabotaging our own lives?

I think – I KNOW – that I have self-sabotaged. Because sometimes failure is the easier option.

Success sounds great on paper but it brings with it responsibility, a move out of the comfort zone, the loss of old habits…

So even though we WANT success, our fears and weaknesses could be holding us back, causing our subconscious to sabotage our own journey.

I have sabotaged my own diet many, many times. If I am honest, I have probably also sabotaged my own success.

Take five minutes to listen to this by the fantastic Tony Robbins.

Unfortunately Tony does describe an experiment which involved giving rhesus monkeys electric shocks – which frankly is just disgusting and anyone who even thinks doing that to animals has no place on Earth in the 21st Century.

But, he does

 

 

Setting goals and hitting milestones

Successful people set goals.

We hear that all the time.

For some reason, I have a problem with setting goals.

Maybe it’s because I don’t feel like I’m far enough along my own journey to even have goals in sight.

Which is silly, and actually it is probably more a case of me not taking the time to sit down and set some goals.

Oh, so, I’m just being lazy! Unlike this lady, who has clearly goalled herself into total world domination:

beyonce

Ok, so, I just blog-shamed myself into action.

I WILL set myself some goals. In fact, my goal is to set myself some goals before the end of this week.

Up until now, I have preferred not to set myself goals, but I have definitely recognised and celebrated when I have hit milestones.

(I can see clearly how short-sighted this is. Milestones are great, but you have to set yourself goals to work towards them. AND set a time deadline to achieve them. Ok, I have SERIOUSLY talked myself into setting goals!)

Anyway, back to Milestones. Because, last week, I hit three:

MILESTONE ONE

Last week I was finally able to make our first donation from Foxy Loves Pet Store to the ASPCA.

The reasons I started out in business and began this journey was to improve my own life. Coming a close second was my desire to improve the lives of others.

On the Foxy Loves Amazon page, we share some love by donating to the ASPCA every time a customer leaves a review on our Amazon product pages, such as our denim dog harnesses.

Last week we made our first donation of $100! I hope it’s the first of many, and I hope the amounts will increase as Foxy Loves grows. And I guess, although I never wrote it into a list, making the decision to donate was a goal.

It sure feels good to have achieved it!

MILESTONE TWO

Our SECOND product finally reached our Amazon store!!

I can’t tell you how excited I am! Honestly, it has been so hard to move forward, I have felt like I’ve been stuck for months. But we’ve finally got there.

The cute, paw-print fleece pet blanket is just perfect for winter. We have loved the samples we’ve been testing. They have so many uses and are a really useful addition to any pet lover’s wardrobe, so hopefully we will sell a few as gifts also.

Our next product is also on its way from China, these are truly exciting times!

MILESTONE THREE … EEEEEEeeeeekkkk!!!

I have started vlogging! Like, proper vlogging! Like, making a commitment to a vlog!

Project Life Success now has a YouTube channel. And the plan is that this blog and my YouTube vlog will go alongside each other.

Going public has been really scary and it was a big decision but at the same time something just feels right about it. If I am to share my journey in making a success of my life, changing my career and becoming my own boss, then I might as well do it properly.

So, I’m out there. Albeit in a very small way. Which is fine, because I have to say I’m not very good – yet!

But hopefully things will get better, and I might even get some YouTube followers.

I suppose I should set goals for that, too. But right now I just feel like I’m hurtling forwards on this great unknown train and literally anything could happen – and it’s hard to set goals when you’re clinging on for dear life!

ps – if you like it, please hit Subscribe and the thumbs up button!

 

When pups revolt!

It’s the start of a new week – and probably the most exciting week yet since I began selling on Amazon almost a year ago.

I’m sorry I haven’t blogged much recently. Through all the excitement it has been a challenging time, and I’ll blog about that soon.

Hopefully, though, things are on the up – the first deliveries of our second and third products are literally on their way to Amazon in the US as I type – yes folks, I have finally got off the first rung of the ladder and am able to add to my inventory!

Moving on from that first product is something that the people who teach how to sell on Amazon don’t often talk about, but I’m not the only person I know who got stuck – not making any or enough money with product one, and struggling to source new products at good enough quality to sell.

Topped off with totally running out of the last of my savings just at the crucial time when I needed to pay for everything, and it has been pretty stressful.

But, things are finally moving forward, so, to accompany the products, a photo shoot was needed. I’ve already taken numerous photos of course, using the samples, and our wonderful designer Ryan has worked his magic. But I still needed more to show how the two products – beautiful warm fleece blankets and a super-cosy pad that reflects heat back at the sleeping pet – can be used, so both Foxy and Frankie were loaded in the car and I took some shots.

You can see from the video what happened when we got home …

(Obviously such behaviour is not tolerated.. but thankfully both girls have me well trained. When they both did eventually emerge, they allowed me to take them on a long walk! Such forgiving souls!)

Life with three dogs, including two young, big dogs, is really busy and can be challenging at times.

Possibly owning a large number of dogs and starting three businesses at the same time might not have been the best idea. But hey, it’s happened and nothing beats walking them on a crisp morning like today, kicking our way through the leaves and squinting in the low sunlight, and of course, they make all the long hours, late nights and early mornings worthwhile.

I can’t help but feel very lucky to be in the position I’m in, finally getting to do what I’ve always wanted to do, to run my own business and be my own boss. In a beautiful place. And no matter how tough it gets, I have so much to be glad for.