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.
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