What is Private Label? (RA vs OA vs PL)

Are you ready to learn a new language?

Hey bootstrappers, my name is Megan and this is The Bootstrap Boutique where beginners build businesses.

Have you ever noticed how whenever you start a new hobby or go to work at a new company, it is literally like you have to learn a new language to understand what people are talking about?  And that has absolutely been the case for me as I’ve been going down the journey of building a private label company on Amazon.

What I have learned that I definitely never paid attention to when I was a shopper on Amazon is that there are three different ways that you can purchase products there on the website.

So the first is just buying from Amazon, which I never had paid attention to and thought that was the only way for a really long time.  So what that means is that Amazon is going out there using their purchasing power to buy products from a company, from a manufacturer, from a distributor, from a wholesaler or whomever and are selling them to you.

But have you ever bought something from Amazon and then you didn’t get the Prime shipping that you are used to, or it came in a box that didn’t say Amazon on it?  That was probably merchant fulfilled, which means that a certain company, again a wholesaler, a distributer, or a product manufacturer is just uploading their catalog of products to Amazon and selling them through to you.  However, nothing is in the Amazon warehouse, its actually still with that company and when they get the Amazon orders then they ship them out to you.  So that’s merchant fulfilled.

Finally there is Fulfillment By Amazon, or FBA you’ll see it referred to a lot in the private label community.  So Fulfillment By Amazon is where you have somebody that is purchasing a good, a product, putting a private label on it, and sending it actually to the Amazon warehouse and Amazon acts as first your storefront but also your fulfillment center.  So everything that is Fulfillment by Amazon actually sits in an Amazon warehouse.  So the benefit to that for a customer is that it is eligible for Prime shipping, so you can get it in two days or quicker now that there is that Amazon Now service.  And that’s what I’m focusing on and within that I’m focusing on Private Label.

So I’ll quickly go over the two other ways you can sell Fulfillment By Amazon and then we’ll talk about what is really the meat of this conversation, What is Private Labeling?

People can sell Fulfillment By Amazon in one of three ways.

The first being Retail Arbitrage, the second being Online Arbitrage and the third being private label.  So you’ll see those shortened or abbreviated a lot of times as RA, OA and PL.

Remember, I told you we were learning a new language?

Arbitrage sounds like a really big, fancy name, but all that means is taking advantage of price discrepancies between two different markets.  Wait, that could still be a little confusing.  So let’s say you want to buy a curling iron.  Walmart is selling a curling iron for twenty dollars and Amazon is selling a curling iron for twenty dollars.  Right, so in that case there is no discrepancy between prices.  Say Walmart buts that on sale for half off, so now you have a Walmart curling iron selling for ten dollars and the exact same thing selling on Amazon for twenty.  So someone involved in arbitrage would take advantage of that price discrepancy. They would purchase the ten dollar curling iron at Walmart and then turn around and sell it at Amazon for twenty.  That gives a profit of ten dollars.  Now you’re probably thinking, “Ok, ten dollars, that’s nice but you can’t make a living off it.”  And you’re right.  So usually people in the arbitrage space do not purchase a curling iron, they purchase all the curling irons they can get to from all the different Walmarts that they can drive to in a day.

So retail arbitrage is usually referred to that way, its purchasing something at a local brick and mortar store that you could actually go get your hands on the item and then selling them, that could be at Amazon, it could be eBay, I’m sure there’s some other online markets out there, that are similar, you know, Craigslist.  But you get the idea.

Online arbitrage is really the same thing, its just that the buy and the sell happens online.

Alright, but what is Private Labeling, or you may have heard it called white label before?

And if you never knew what that meant, its really just referring to buying some kind of generic product typically, putting a label on it, attaching it to a brand that you have, and then selling it under that brand name.  Many private label sellers, especially on Amazon, are just purchasing purely generic products, putting a label on it, and then turning around and selling it under you know whatever their label or their brand is on Amazon.

Up until recently, people have been very successful at doing that, however the market does appear to be becoming more saturated and with that it means that you’re going to have to put a little more effort into actually improving on products that’s already there.  It’s really not suggested to create something new because you actually don’t know it there’s a market for that, but you can generally take something that’s existing, give it a little tweak, a little improvement and then sell it fairly successfully on Amazon.

Ok so that’s it, I hope that explained it for you, if not, if you still have questions, leave them in the comments below I will be happy to answer anything else that you have as far as “What is a Private Label?” Or if you have questions about the arbitrage space, retail versus online and how you get started in that.  It’s not my specialty but I have researched a little bit about it so I’ll tell you what I know.

Be sure to subscribe so you never miss a video, we post new ones every Wednesday, I will talk to you next week guys, take care!


How to Focus? I Need Help With This!

You know what I’ve been really struggling with lately? ….What was it?

Hey guys my name is Megan and this is The Bootstrap Boutique, where beginners build businesses.  And I am glad you’re back.  As always.

So, lately, here’s been my problem.

I cannot focus.

A little bit of it has been that, yes, there have been some life changes.  Case in point, temporary housing, all my stuff is in storage, I don’t know where the grocery store is in this town.  Things are a struggle.

Yeah, just getting out of your day to day grind, it is kind of a distraction, and has really made it difficult to focus on building a business.  But also, there’s this, I am trying to start an Amazon business, I am trying to grow The Bootstrap Boutique, for some reason the other day, I decided I needed to do an email course.  I do not need to do an email course.

Somebody in the online world that I really admire is Steve Chou, from My Wife Quit Her Job.  I really hope I’m saying his name right.

So I’ve talked a little bit about his story before, but basically, a few years back, I don’t know how many, a number, he and his wife decided to start an online ecommerce store, because she did not want to go back to her day job after maternity leave.  So she started the store, it was successful, they ran it for a few years.  Once it looks like he kinda hand that under his belt, as best as I can tell from hearing him tell his story back, he decided to start mywifequitherjob.com where he talked about running the online store.  So he did that for a few years, got that up and running and became comfortable with the business of running that blog.  Then he started, its an online course, I don’t know exactly what its called, but its about how to run a profitable ecommerce store basically.

Do you see a pattern here?  He’s taught that for a while, started a podcast, grew the podcast, started a commerce, ecommerce, sellers summit, conference, thank you, thats the word I was looking for.  Started a conference.

So Steve and his family have all these things going on, store, blog, class, podcast, conference.

That’s a lot.

But he did not, on day one, say hey, I’m going to do these five things.

He started with the first thing, got it going, started the second thing, got that going, started the third thing, got that going, and he built from there.

Now I’m already in, I am committed to The Bootstrap Boutique, to the Amazon business.  Honestly, if I had to pick one right now, I think I’ve probably been working more on The Bootstrap Boutique, because I gave myself accountability by telling you every week, Hey, I post a new video every Wednesday, so guess what I do?  I post a new video every Wednesday.

However, I can’t stop working on the Amazon stuff, because then you’re going to be like, what? you don’t even, you’re not even trying to start a business, you’re just starting about how you should start a business, and all these ideas you have in your head, except you’re not actually doing any of them.

Which I think a lot of people in the online world, I think they do that.

But I don’t want to do that, I actually want to start this Amazon business.  But this other stuff is pulling my focus in a really big way.

Like, why on earth did I get the idea three nights ago, “Oh you know what I should do? I should start this email marketing course about this other thing that I did in my life that’s totally unrelated to anything that we’re trying to do here.”

So why did I spend like three hours on Pinterest reading about how to do an email course, ridiculous.  That time is gone, and it was not time well spent.  Because that’s not something that I am going to be able to get to, not this month, not even this year, maybe not next year. I mean, yeah, one day, it would be really cool to do that, I think it could be really helpful for people, but today is not that day.

So why did I even let myself do that? I’m so frustrated.

So I guess it was just my week to vent and to get that off my chest.  You know what we all have these things that we want to accomplish but you’ve got to do the first step first.  You’ve got to walk before you can run.

Cliche, cliche, cliche, but it’s true.

Here’s what I want to know this week, in the comments or on Twitter, How do you focus? What do you do?

I actually do have some really good time management technique that I want to share as it relates to how I bust through so much work at my day job but I have not been successful in transitioning that over to working on the side business.  So I guess maybe I should work on that first instead of telling you how great that is.  Even though it is great, as far as the day job goes, see I’m doing it again, my mind is in a million places.  We got to narrow in, Megan, narrow in.

Hey guys thanks so much for joining me again this week.  Don’t forget that you can always find me on twitter at @megloftin or you can shoot me an email at thebootstrapboutique@gmail.com.  I don’t care how you do it, just get in touch with me I love to talk to you guys.  Take care!




Amazon FBA: Where I am Right Now

New plan guys, we’ve got a new plan.

Hey everybody, my name is Megan and this is The Bootstrap Boutique where beginners build businesses.  As always, glad you’re here.

We have recently completed a move, or actually I should say we’ve half completed a move and we are in temporary housing for the next few weeks, so that’s really fun.  But we will get through it.  Yes I am sitting on the floor, yes my dogs are here and here and will probably make noise at some point during this video.

Here at the Bootstrap Boutique we talk about how beginners can start and build businesses.  Mostly right now I’m talking about myself but I do hope that’s going to change soon.

So what I’m doing is working on starting a private label company fulfilling and selling through Amazon FBA or Fulfillment by Amazon.  There are lots of different people out there talking about Fulfillment By Amazon.

One of those guys is Scott Voelker, he runs a very popular podcast called The Amazing Seller.  And he talks about when you are looking for products to source, that you should follow what he calls the ten by ten by one rule.  Meaning that you can sell ten products a day, profit of about ten dollars each, and thats on one product.  And then obviously you can build from there.

There’s some other guidelines too that people generally try to follow like your product should be small enough to fit in a shoebox, and that’s because of the shipping fees and storage fees that Amazon charges, and also when you are importing products into this country the smaller and lighter weight, obviously the better.

Now Scott talks about that process because it works.  So what do I do? Go and try to find something else, a different way to do things.  Not that that’s bad, I think that the ten by ten by one area is getting a little saturated especially on the smaller products that you would buy online from Amazon, but it does work for a reason and it is mentioned for a reason.

So I had a product I was really excited about, the problem is it was big, or it still is big I guess, that part of it hasn’t changed.  Just for me to have my minimum order quantity or MOQ sent over from China, it was going to be almost a fourteen foot shipping container full of just my product.

Now I was going to take that risk when I was going to work with a third party fulfiller.  Because I was going to have them receive it, repackage it as it needs to be packaged and sent on to Amazon.  However this company has not really shown a lot of interest in this product or my business to be frank.  I got a pricing sheet, I asked some questions, I got the pricing sheet sent back to me.  Now that wasn’t what my question was and so I just got a little frustrated with that process.

Also, the suppliers in China, they don’t play around they are emailing me like every day going, “Hey we need an answer, hey we need an answer.”  And I’ll tell you the truth, I feel awful but I just haven’t responded because in my heart I don’t want to acknowledge that this is not going to be my product but my head knows that this is not going to be the product that I launch with on Amazon.

So what does that mean for me? Well, it means I’m back to square one, back to Jungle Scout, back to looking for new products.

So I really like the niche that I’m working in right now, that I’m looking in because most of the products are disposable, which means that you would reorder them after you have used up what you have which means that hopefully over time if you’re doing it right, your cost of customer acquisition is going to go down, you are going to get reorders on that same product.

So I want to stay in that area, plus I’ve already got my email address set up and all of that, and that would just be one more thing to change, so let’s not do that right? Let’s try to make this a little bit easier.  This is an area where people will buy, I don’t doubt that at all, actually I know its true because I’ve seen the numbers on Jungle Scout and its kind of stuff that I’ve bought for myself anyway, so I already know there’s a market there, I’m not worried about that.  I’ve just got to find something that’s going to be a little easier to get to me.

Also I’m interested in looking at manufacturers here in the United States or maybe Canada or Mexico.  You know, everybody talks about how you gotta go to China because its so much cheaper, so maybe that’s my solution, is finding these other products just here in the United States.  I’m sure that they’re made here its a little harder to find it because you don’t have the clearing house that is Alibaba for US manufactured products, but if I could find that, even if its a little more expensive, the shipping on this other product was going to be so big, because the product is so big and it took up a lot of space.  And you know, I can probably between the balance of the two make something work there.  So that is something that I also want to explore.

Ok thanks guys thanks again for watching this week, I appreciate you just letting me talk it out and get to where I knew I needed to go but I think that we are there now, I think we’ve got a decision so the good news is I can move forward.  Please subscribe to this channel so you never miss a video, I post new ones every Wednesday.

Oh, and you can tweet me, I am @megloftin on Twitter.  That is something that I am trying to be better about, it is not a strong suit of mine but I am working on it and trying to be more active there and trying to connect with like minded business people so definitely find me there if you already know about me here.

Alright guys, have a great week, take care!





#DOSummer2016 Challenge Wrap Up

Well this is embarrassing.

Hey bootstrappers, my name is Megan and this is The Bootstrap Boutique where beginners build businesses.

And I am so glad that you are here this week because we’re going to talk about failure!

Remember this?

Remember a few weeks ago when I was so excited to show you all these little colored in blocks at the end of the summer? And I didn’t even make it to two rows.

So if you don’t remember, that printout comes from Jon Acuff’s Do Summer 2016 Challenge, where you were only supposed to spend fifteen minutes a day working on some task or skill that you want to improve on over the course of the summer.So what I choose to do was learn programming, a little HTML a little CSS through Khan Academy and it just didn’t happen.

So here’s all my excuses.

The last week of June I had a week of travel for work, first week of July, family vacation. So two weeks out of the office, coming back and trying to get everything caught up it was a lot of work and I pretty much worked day and night just trying to get caught up there.  Then the next week I had my son sick so he was home two and a half days and that was a disaster.

So I just never recovered from those challenges and let me tell you the feeling of regret that you will experience when every morning at nine o’clock your phone buzzes about ten times reminding you to do that thing, that you are no longer doing uh, it sucks.

It just turns out to be something I didn’t prioritize.

It is something that I really want to learn to do, to learn how to code, at a very basic level don’t get me wrong.But, turns out it wasn’t a priority. And so I need to take a better look at what I do prioritize because I have busy days, like I know you do.

You can only get so much done.

But you do the things that you prioritize and so I feel so bad that I didn’t finish this challenge, that I have to sit here in front of the twelve of you that watch these videos, (you guys are so sweet), and say, hey I failed.

But I did, I failed.

So if you signed up for the challenge, I hope that you have a paper full of colored in blocks.I hope that you learned something new, that you improved a skill set that you wanted to improve on, but I did not.

Maybe next year.

Hey guys thanks so much for coming back and watching again this week, don’t forget to email me your questions at thebootstrapboutique@gmail.com. Don’t forget also to subscribe to this channel so you never miss a video, we post new ones every Wednesday.  Thanks guys, take care!