Season 1, Episode 144

Transforming Amazon Sellers into Brand Leaders

In the fast-paced world of ecommerce, transitioning from being an Amazon seller to establishing a strong, recognizable brand is key to long-term success. In this episode, Chris McCabe speaks with Janelle Page, a seasoned expert in brand development and marketing. They delve into the intricacies of building a successful ecommerce brand, especially in the lead-up to high-stakes events like Prime Day. Janelle shares her expertise on proactive communication strategies, effective inventory management, and the power of niche marketing.

Show Notes


[00:00:00 ] Chris: Hey everybody. Welcome back to Seller Performance Solutions. I’m Chris McCabe. I’m here with the wonderful Janelle Page, who was our wonderful MC at the Seller Velocity Conference, which by the way, feels like it was maybe two years ago, was that four weeks ago, the month of May?

[00:00:18] Janelle: Yeah, like a month ago. It’s like a time warp.

[00:00:20] Chris: It’s like a month ago. Just you’re used to action packed weeks where you go to Italy in the beginning of the week and you went to France at the end of, was that this week, last week? I don’t know. But I’m like the hamster wheel struggling to keep up with you.

[00:00:36] Chris: So, bottle that energy. That should be your next brand.

[00:00:40] Janelle: Sell a little bit of myself. I think that’s like prostitution, isn’t it?

[00:00:45] Chris: 99 bucks a bottle. Is my recommended price point for your energy bottled up. I will

[00:00:51] Chris: pay for that.

[00:00:52] Janelle: Okay. I was thinking a little more premium.

[00:00:55] Chris: Okay. 199. That works. I’ll pretty much pay any rate for your energy.

[00:01:02] Janelle: We have proof of concept.

[00:01:03] Chris: Exactly. Awesome job, emceeing the conference. You had conversations with brand owners. I had conversations with brand owners. We went through the month of May into June, which is where we now sit. I think with a good head of steam in terms of where people see the rest of this year.

[00:01:20] Chris: Going the next big thing is prime day and you have so much experience telling brand stories, connecting people with their buyers, everything like that. But even before we get into that, what is your kind of, when you get to this time of year, right around prime day, What are the top one or two tips that you give people in terms of, I mean, aside from the batting down the hatches, because you’re going to get ready for a big ride through tons of sales.

[00:01:50] Chris: Do you have any bits of advice? I’m sure people ask you all the time for advice.

[00:01:54] Janelle: I mean, it’s probably what everybody says to do is like, make sure you get your prime exclusive deals set up. I remember one year when I had an assistant and I thought I explained to her how to set up the deals. And I said, I’m going to do 20 percent off on like all the skews.

[00:02:07] Janelle: And she has set them up as coupons, not prime exclusive deals. And that shows up quite differently in search when on Prime Day, people just want to search by, you know, what’s running a PED is what, you know, the abbreviation, but, so like, yeah, don’t assume that everyone knows what you’re talking about if you’re not doing it yourself, so make sure you set up your prime exclusive deals correctly.

[00:02:28] Janelle: There’s also those MTB deals. Like if you have a SAS core rep you can get, you know, Some in on some of those, they get great placement and push on Amazon, especially pages and those we did one for mother’s day. They ran an event where they did those, they call them multi brand top deals.

[00:02:44] Janelle: And I was actually impressed with how much traffic that generated in sales. So they have those running for Prime Day. It’ll be too late this year, but like next year, make sure you’re asking and advocating for yourself, especially if you’re paying that extra money for a SAS core rep. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to get access to that if you don’t have a SAS core rep.

[00:03:02] Chris: You can fill out a form or, I mean, there’s a way to do it.

[00:03:05] Chris: Usually I think the SAS core reps are better now at kind of getting out in front of that and having these conversations with people way before prime day. But for those people listening or watching who don’t have a SAS core rep, the kinds of prep we’re telling people to do, of course, is get ready for random ASIN takedowns, get ready for competitors and do something weird, get ready for some sort of snafu where you’ve gotten appeal already waiting in the wings.

[00:03:32] Chris: But I would imagine with you, since you’re doing kind of longer tail, Brand development, brand story, work with people. You’ve had to troubleshoot things last minute yourself, right?

[00:03:44] Chris: If you didn’t have a SAS core rep, what would you, you know, I mean, it depends on what it is, of course, but—

[00:03:49] Janelle: no, I mean, SAS core rep can’t help you.

[00:03:51] Janelle: I mean, last Prime Day we had an ASIN go down. And anyone who has a SAS Corp rep knows you have to still make a case and you have to wait for 24 hours for them to respond before you can then escalate it. So you’re not going to get anything done to salvage that prime day, unfortunately. So, your contingency plans are basically the things that we can control.

[00:04:10] Janelle: Let’s focus on what we can control. Cause there’s so much that can go wrong on Amazon that you can’t control. So what we can control is inventory. To some extent, like make sure we get our inventory sent in, whether Amazon will receive it and get it in time, you never know, right? We’ve sent some stuff months ago. That’s still sitting as Canada’s notorious for taking forever to get things in inventory. So, you know, making sure that you’ve got the inventory locked and loaded, your PED set up. And then just, I have brands that we’re building. Amazon’s just a sales channel for us. So we have a whole strategy on prime day, you know, we’re going to be blasting our email lists and SMS messaging them because reality is, everyone who lives on this planet knows about Prime Day now, pretty much. They’re going to be going to Amazon anyways. We usually don’t like to send our email list or SMS over to Amazon. But on Prime Day we know that they’re going to be looking for those deals anyways, so we go ahead and encourage it.

[00:05:01] Janelle: So we’re going to be sending that traffic to Amazon, and we’re not going to try to match the deals on our website. It’s going to go all through Amazon. And then we’ll have those halo sales from ranking, from sending all that traffic for the next few weeks. And then we go back to promoting our primary asset, which is our website.

[00:05:17] Janelle: We still would rather have our customers shop on our own marketplace than on Amazon. And to any extent that we can encourage that. Great. And you know what, we spend a lot of off Amazon advertising dollars to generate brand awareness. And those translate directly into Halo sales on Amazon. So anytime I’m speaking to brands or e commerce, and when they call themselves Amazon sellers, I try to get anything else out of the box.

[00:05:41] Janelle: Let’s not just be Amazon sellers. That’s such a precarious position.

[00:05:43] Chris: Be a brand, be a brand owner.

[00:05:46] Janelle: Yeah. I would just say a brand. Yeah. Cause we want to go into retail. We want to have affiliates. We want to use all the spokes in the wheel for distribution. And again, Amazon’s just one of those.

[00:05:55] Janelle: So I’ll be it for many people listening to this podcast, probably their primary, but can we expand, you know, that’s how I want them to think.

[00:06:03] Chris: Yeah. You probably talk to brand owners, whether you’re a speaker at an event or brands that you’re working with directly. You probably talk to them all the time about what they’re worried about.

[00:06:12] Chris: One of the things they’re worried about is probably my God. I’m like 90 something percent Amazon. What happens if Amazon does something to me? So you’re probably teaching them how to hedge their bets without giving up Amazon and throwing it away. You’re probably hedging their bets all the time. I mean, in terms of strategies for doing more on their site and building brand awareness off Amazon, right?

[00:06:34] Janelle: Yeah. And building that email list and SMS list. I mean, that’s your true, that’s your asset, right? We all know that when we go to sell our companies, we’re going to get more. Greater multiple, we can do better when we’ve, de risked the company, when we have an owned asset, which is an email list. So, how are they building that?

[00:06:50] Janelle: And you can have strategies, while you sell on Amazon, that, you can create insert strategies that help you build your list, and funnels. I know a lot of people are like, you can’t do an insert. I’m like, absolutely you can. You just gotta know how to do it. And you guys teach that too, how to do it compliant.

[00:07:05] Janelle: So, you know, that you can and can’t do certain things is ridiculous. I’m like, I just got big brands that I buy on Amazon. I’ve got inserts in there, you know, so.

[00:07:17] Chris: Yeah, we get the ones who do it just the wrong way. You know, what bothers me the most is that they’re using really outdated marketing techniques or solicitation techniques.

[00:07:28] Chris: And I went through this, and you and I were both at the event in Hawaii last month and I met a couple of people there. Who I talked to in this month about some things that they were planning on doing. And I was like, these are like kind of older techniques. Where are you getting these?

[00:07:43] Chris: Are these just in the rumor mill? I’m wondering like, we can talk about this and speculate, but are these WhatsApp groups where people are like, did you try this? Did you try that? Cause I’m on a couple of those groups and I see some of these things, just random WhatsApp groups of sellers. And it’s just like, this is so 2019, you know,

[00:08:03] Janelle: so 2019 and the whole, I’m a small business really need your support.

[00:08:08] Janelle: I’m like, nobody gives a crap about that. And like, it’s so, it feels like you’re begging, you know, it’s like, don’t do that and don’t ever ask for reviews. I’m never at, you know, I have all the, Gosh, I know at all my presentations where I’m speaking a lot. I try not to give the same presentation ever, you know, but I like to do new stuff and what I’m doing in my businesses and my companies to grow my brands.

[00:08:31] Janelle: But one of the things I just recently did was the insert strategies. I went through like, gosh, last year I launched 10 new brands and showed the actual inserts and that presentation. I mean, I won like best speaker at the event that I gave that at. Yeah. And so I turned it into, they had recorded it. So I just turned it into a mini masterclass that people can go and buy.

[00:08:51] Janelle: So I’m like, if any of your listeners are like, I don’t know how to do inserts, just tell them to go. I think it’s on my website. It’s super cheap. It’s like way cheaper than a consult with me, you know? And I have that for, I think all my presentations, I started just turning into little masterclasses because even when I’m doing consultations with clients, I felt like I was repeating myself over and over and over again.

[00:09:10] Janelle: And I was like, This isn’t the best use of our time together on the phone, go watch this training and then you and I can talk and apply it to your brand.

[00:09:19] Chris: Instead of just the same old, we’re a small business, help us out like the requesting. Like they’re doing you a favor basically.

[00:09:27] Janelle: I don’t know. That’s such a turnoff to me. I’m like, I don’t care if you’re a small local business, I just had a consult today and these guys were selling their t shirts. They wanted, how can we sell more merch? And all they had on their t shirts is their logo.

[00:09:40] Janelle: And, their pickleball brand. I’m like, your logo is not even that cool. Like make something for the customer. Like, I don’t want to be a walking billboard for you unless you’re maybe Nike or Puma or something cool right now that like, It gives me a sense of status, but like, to wear a t-shirt that has your logo on it when you’re no one, like, and that’s what most of these inserts are, you’re basically asking the customer to do you a favor.

[00:10:02] Janelle: That’s not how we add value to someone’s life. So, an example, like from the motorcycle brand that I gave in the class I taught, like, Yeah, we did a detailer. It’s a spray.

[00:10:12] Chris: Gloves, right? The gloves?

[00:10:14] Janelle: Gloves too. And I was going to talk about one of the inserts to get their information is I literally with the detailer kit came a microfiber cloth.

[00:10:23] Janelle: And if they wanted a free microfiber cloth, the offer was just in there to, Come visit, scan the QR code and get an extra microfiber cloth. It’s a premium microfiber cloth. Like we grew our list hundreds of thousands and that cloth costs me like less than a dollar to ship it another dollar.

[00:10:38] Janelle: So for 2, I’m getting everyone’s email and their shipping address. Like. That’s not breaking any rules. That’s not asking for a review. That’s just, that’s a brilliant strategy for growing a list. Like you can do the warranty thing on certain things, but that didn’t make sense for a 14 bottle of detailer, like warranty that like, so I see people using the dumbest tactics because they were in a WhatsApp group where it says use a warranty.

[00:11:01] Janelle: I’m like, nobody’s going to warranty warranty this tape measure.

[00:11:07] Chris: There’s a cycle of regurgitated ideas that are, that just make the rounds and then they go away and then they cycle back in. And a couple of people have said like, why do these ideas keep rotating around?

[00:11:20] Chris: Like some sort of orbit around a planet every three years or two years. And you know what? It’s just a sign that people, it’s a lack of creativity and people are out of ideas. Some of the lack of creativity is that Amazon restricts some of the creative ideas you can come up with. And I totally get that.

[00:11:34] Chris: They don’t want undue influence. On their buyers because it’s their buyer, not your buyer, but just like think think about off amazon for a minute like Think about why would you want to join somebody’s email list? Well, it’s not just for free stuff. It’s because you might be interested in accessories for the stuff you already got, right?

[00:11:53] Chris: That’s a legitimate reason for me to buy something and then want to be on their email list. And if I know I’m gonna get some news from them, some special offers perhaps, but that’s like, I can just delete that email if I don’t want it, right? I’m not gonna like hate them and unsubscribe the email list the day they send me the first email, unless their content is just drivel and stupid and boring. You know what I mean? And no one really wants to say that, I guess maybe that’s the issue.

[00:12:20] Janelle: Yeah. No, brands we don’t even do anything that creative. We just know that like our customers would love to join our list to receive free samples of the new product launches.

[00:12:30] Janelle: Like we have a feedback group when we’re getting ready to launch a new product. We like to send out, the beta basically and have people use it and get feedback. And for our users, like our demographic, this is a female brand. They get like so pumped. That’s the offer we have to offer. That’s it. And we get like 30 percent opt in rate for just, Hey, yeah, I want to try your next new thing and give you feedback.

[00:12:51] Chris: Yeah. One of the things I love that you talk about and you talked about it in New York at our conference, but you talk about it a lot elsewhere is get to know the person behind the brand. The person is the brand, get to know more about them. And so then once they get to know the person and the brand, then there’s some curiosity built around what’s this person going to do next.

[00:13:12] Chris: And I know you work with some celebrities where they’re already known, maybe even before you work with them on some brands. And that’s the case some of the time, but if you build that curiosity around what else is this person into, what else do they care about, what other products might they be involved in.

[00:13:29] Chris: Then there’s enough curiosity for them to follow that person, not just on social media, but to follow their brands too. I mean, \ is that a safe and friendly description of what you spend a lot of time doing in the brand development process?

[00:13:40] Janelle: Yeah. Launching the brand with an influence or celebrity.

[00:13:42] Janelle: It’s like they already have the audience. The audience already knows, likes, and trusts them. And so like, it’s like a slam dunk. We create a product that’s a perfect fit for their audience. And that hero product usually, you know, So for instance, let’s talk not in theoretical, sometimes it helps to give examples, but right now, you know, and now everyone else, I’m working on launching a supplement brand with Derek and Julianne Hough.

[00:14:03] Janelle: They’re like the foremost dancers on the planet. And so we’re making the brand for dancers. Like when they first came to me, they’re like, we want to make it for like artistic athletes. So that’d be like ice skaters, gymnasts, dancers, martial artists. And I was like, whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold the phone. Like you guys are dancers. So this supplement line is going to be for dancers. Made by dancers for dancers. And like later, after we’ve owned the dance market, which Between you and I and everyone on the listening to this is plenty big. We don’t need to own anything else.

[00:14:31] Chris: But you might attract other interested parties.

[00:14:36] Janelle: So down the road, Derek, Julianne, yes, we’ll go for all your performers, but let’s start with dance.

[00:14:41] Janelle: That’s a hundred million dollar industry company. Easy for us. And then we can laser beam focus and we can talk specifically to dancers about that because the dancer has a very different Problem in regimen and train schedule then a gymnast and even an ice skater. And so I’ll let an ice skater come out and launch a brand to ice skaters.

[00:14:58] Janelle: Like that, that’s what we would right now get smeared. If we tried to market Effectively to all those segments, even though they’re artistic athletes, which I love and we trademark that name, they are not dancers. And so we’re going to own the dance market. And so I encourage brands. I encourage anyone I work with to go narrow, as narrow as you can, because then you can get laser beam focused marketing that really resonates and connects and converts the customer.

[00:15:23] Chris: Right. And then you can go wider later. Right. Or no?

[00:15:26] Janelle: Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. But what you’ll find is that most people, they don’t ever have to, because when you go so deep and niche with your audience, that’s where brand development really occurs because you start building a raving band of loyal fans and when dancers, so we can now start breaking off and try to get an ice skater, or how about I’ll launch a hair, nails and joint supplement for dancers, you know, I’ll just go deeper with the dancers, with other products, instead of trying to go to an adjacent market.

[00:15:56] Janelle: Where my marketing messages aren’t going to resonate without me shifting tonality, right? So I would first exhaust the entire product line for dancers that you want to do before then you start, you know, going wide, I’ve never had to start going more wide. You just, you can get, I mean, I guess I haven’t ever been so niche niche because I was explaining, I was just at an event in Austria, so a bunch of European sellers, and I was trying to help them understand this concept that when you really focus how powerful it is. And so I gave him the example of when we launched the supplement company and we were doing a post workout recovery and we were at the Arnold marketing at one weekend to bodybuilders and the next weekend we’d be at like, you know, some rowing competition for Olympic rowers, trying to get them to use the post workout recovery.

[00:16:41] Janelle: And then we’d be at a CrossFit event and CrossFit was this new sport. And then it was like, we just had this aha moment where we were like, why don’t we just focus and go all in on CrossFit? Because then like we know which athletes to go after. We know which magazines to advertise on. We know like the language that we need to use, we talk about doing your WOD, not your workout. Cause CrossFitters don’t do workouts. They do WODs, workout of the day. They don’t go to gyms, they go to boxes, you know, they do Fran and Murph. And so there’s this whole language that then we could connect with our audience. And then we had apparel for CrossFitters.

[00:17:15] Janelle: We knew that we’d become the official supplement sponsor of the CrossFit games. We threw CrossFit events. There was so much that we could do that we didn’t even do in that CrossFit market. There was no need to then say, Hey, let’s try to go after rock climbers or spear fishers, even though we got those markets, because guess what?

[00:17:33] Janelle: Our surfers and our spear fisher divers, whatever they were doing CrossFit. As a primary training. And so we were picking up those secondary markets by virtue of the fact that, Hey, surfers were using CrossFit. And so then we had the surf community that evolved, but that evolved.

[00:17:49] Chris: you picked up that secondary market without expending the resources or without even trying to target it. It was word of mouth.

[00:17:57] Janelle: Yeah. And it was all in on CrossFit, which, they’ll have that overlap. So like pickleball, I’m going to go all in on, I’m watching a supplement. I just was prior to this call. Sorry, I was late as I was wrapping up with one of the athletes in pickleball. We’re watching a supplement line for pickleball.

[00:18:11] Janelle: And that’s how I work. I’m not trying to go after racket sports. I’m all in on just pickleball and it’s going to be a pickleball supplement. And when you and I talk like this and people listening, it sounds so no duh. But yeah, every day I’m doing consults with brands. They’re like, I’m launching a supplement and I’ll be like, awesome.

[00:18:29] Janelle: And they’ll be like, it’s a all in one vitamin drink for weight loss. I’ll be like, cool. Who’s it for? They’re like, for everyone. We will sell no one then because something made for everyone connects with no one, so we spent the whole hour and a half identifying where we could go in and identify a market that we could connect with and own.

[00:18:48] Janelle: And it was brilliant at the end. They were like, Oh, awesome. Now they know exactly what to target on Instagram and Facebook with their marketing, what kind of ads to make, where we need to be in Reddit or on Facebook. You know, we know where we’re going to get our traffic, who we’re going to hit. It just changes the game and we can actually own a market.

[00:19:04] Chris: I guess that’s it. People don’t understand that their target audience can be divided in as many slices. In different interested parties without having to go, well, we already know we’re going for these people, but we want to add all these people on the fringe and hope they’re going to buy too.

[00:19:21] Chris: So we’re going to divide our messaging into 17 different pieces. Because it’ll be too jack of all trades, master of none, right? It’ll be that approach and they’ll miss the mark on connecting with these people.

[00:19:33] Janelle: And you can do that when you’re like, you know, everyone will be like, they would tell me, well, we want to be like AG1

[00:19:38] Janelle: and I’m like, okay, well first AG1 is like 10 years now in business, they’re not overnight success. And that guy floundered for so many years. And he landed, was it Joe Rogan or Tim Ferriss that blew him up. Right. And that’s when it finally takes off. And so now if you’re going to go take on AG1, like, that’s what they would tell me on the phone.

[00:19:56] Janelle: Like, we’re going to be, we’re AG1, but better. I was like, I don’t care if you’re better. Do you have private equity money? Like how deep are your pockets? Because AG1 right now has Tim Ferriss, Chris Williamson, Joe Rogan, Andrew Huberman, all of these guys pumping them and they have so much money now in marketing, but they didn’t start that way, you know, they had to earn that, so unless you have money that we can go out there with a bigger megaphone and, you know, throw cash at it.

[00:20:22] Janelle: You’re going to have to go niche and you’re going to have to like gain each foothold in that niche, which you can do. That’s the best way to gain traction is to go narrow and then just build that loyal raving fan base and then you’ll, you’ll grow out of that naturally.

[00:20:35] Chris: So is this the number one, I mean, you and I go to different events and we see each other.

[00:20:40] Chris: When people approach you, not in a consult, but they like hear you talk and then they come hang out with you afterwards, ask you questions. Is this the number one thing? That they want to talk about, like, how can we get more Amazon’s so competitive, our competitors are doing some things right and we’re not doing it right enough.

[00:20:59] Chris: How can we attract more people? How can we sell more? I mean, is it this conversation. I see your slides. I’m sure you get interesting questions about the different facets of your talks, but is this kind of the number one thing where people are kind of unsure how to build their brand the right way before they think of expanding it?

[00:21:16] Janelle: Honestly, when it’s an Amazon seller approaching me, it’s usually like, ah, man, I heard you speak. And I agree with everything you said. How do I change from just being an Amazon seller? Cause a lot of times it’s an Amazon event. These people got into the Amazon business cause they bought like ASM or some guru that taught them how to find products on Amazon launch money.

[00:21:36] Janelle: We all know that margins are getting slam on Amazon. it’s a flea market. It’s a price driven platform. So good luck. Mr. American or European who’s sourcing in China, beating the Chinese who are selling exactly what you’re selling because the Chinese have gotten good at branding, frankly, they call me, I help them.

[00:21:52] Janelle: You know what I mean? I had a whole agency that was just helping the Chinese, India, all these manufacturers, Brand and market the products because that’s what they sucked at. They’re great at creating the products but their marketing was bad. So now that they’ve got that figured out, you have a really hard time beating them because they can beat you on price and Amazon’s a price driven platform.

[00:22:10] Janelle: So we have to be better at building a brand, creating a product that is unique enough and positioning it. So I do a lot of work on positioning and depositioning the competition, because when you can position a product. Then price is no longer relevant because we’re establishing value and nobody fights on price if they feel the value is there.

[00:22:28] Janelle: And so learning how to position the product so that they will purchase it based on the brand, the story and the U S and they also want to not be so dependent on Amazon. They want to build a brand. Amazon is just a sales channel, like I talked about. And so we want to be channel agnostic.

[00:22:46] Janelle: Like when I build a brand, I don’t care where you buy it. Because as long as you buy it, I’m going to have Amazon rocking and rolling. I’m going to have walmart. com walking and rolling. I’m going to have my own website rocking and rolling. I’m going to have retail. And so it’s kind of just, they come to me and say, help. I started out as an Amazon brand. I have no like real congruent, cohesive story. I don’t know how to drive my own traffic. I don’t know how to do this whole branding, but I hear you and I know what you’re saying is true and it resonated with me, what’s my next step. And that’s kind of where we go from there.

[00:23:17] Janelle: Let’s build you a brand for reals this time.

[00:23:20] Chris: I hope they’re listening with wide open ears and absorbing all your knowledge because the better they compete in some of these other areas, they less, the less they have to sweat the fees on Amazon. For example, I know fees suck and I know fees going up, but I mean, we can see Amazon’s attitude, which is, Oh, well maybe you should be more established as a brand before you start complaining about things we do, because honestly we can raise your fees and you’re just going to have to put up with it. You’re not going to leave. You’re not going to go anywhere else. Maybe they can, maybe they can’t, maybe they can sell more on their site. Maybe they won’t. But the bottom line is if they’re cornering the market on post recovery workout supplements, for example, or on artistic athlete designated products, then they don’t have to worry about some of the like, what’s Amazon doing right now is Amazon sneaking up on me and they’re going to surprise me with something they don’t have to worry about that stuff as much because they’re killing it within the market they’re in.

[00:24:17] Janelle: Yeah. And I think, I mean, I don’t know if this is true, but my feelings on Amazon is that they want brands on the platform. They don’t really care about the little guy. The little guy causes problems. The little guy’s not got a corporate law team that’s got product liability insurance. Thats vetted. And so by virtue of Amazon with all these new fees and policies, I really do believe they’re trying to squeeze out the little guy because the little guy causes it’s like the 80 20.

[00:24:43] Janelle: If you’ve got Nike on your platform and you’ve got like Pumas and you’ve got, you know, Maybelline and you’ve got these real brands. A lot of your headache goes away because these real brands, you know, I work for them. We consult with them. It’s like they have complex legal teams. They’ve got HR. They’re doing things by the book because they have to, and that’s the law of Amazon’s play as well.

[00:25:02] Janelle: So they want, they want real brands on the platform. We are a risk when we are these little noncompliant just thrown up stuff on Amazon and they don’t need more stuff. How many garlic presses do you need?

[00:25:12] Chris: Everyone always uses the garlic press example.

[00:25:15] Janelle: It’s just like, I feel so sorry for these people that are buying these courses to learn how to make side hustle money, selling products on Amazon.

[00:25:25] Janelle: I’m like, you’re not going to make a lot of money or even make it worth your time anymore doing that. No thanks, There’s easier ways to make money. Go start washing windows for the neighbors.

[00:25:36] Chris: Well, the days of easy margins, I don’t know if we’re defining that as 2016, 2017, 2018. It’s several years ago at this point.

[00:25:45] Chris: And the competition has gotten to the point between the competition within each category. And going up against competitors who have a bigger ad spend, who have a bigger marketing budget, who are tighter with successful influencers, whatever it is, plus the fees. You’re not going to just jump into that and start clearing all those hurdles and making a bundle.

[00:26:05] Chris: I mean, that’s not going to happen. You have to create that foundation and then build on it, but organically, not like shortcuts, right?

[00:26:15] Janelle: I have an Amazon only brand, only one. I started it in 2014. And just for an example in 2014, and it’s just a tiny little paper company and it did like 120, 000, you know, take home and it’s very little work, you know what I mean?

[00:26:31] Janelle: My kid, it’s my kid’s brand. So by my kids, like almost 10 years ago, actually 10 years ago, they would do the inventory. We’d ship it from our home. If we made any FBM sales, everything else goes to FBA. But now that all my kids are grown, I’m the one managing this brand. And just over the years, my margins have gone to what the take home last year, remember 120, 000 in 2014, same amount of work to last year, just finished my taxes, my take home on that was 10, 000 kept dollars, same amount of work, same, same sales velocity. That’s how much my margins shrunk from my PPC costs going up to the new inventory fees. Just everything like my cost of goods because I have raised prices a little bit But with how much inflation and my product shot up like I couldn’t really charge, you know, 40 bucks for these products It wasn’t feasible, but I needed to everything my costs doubled But I couldn’t double my sales price.

[00:27:30] Janelle: So it’s just, that’s kind of for an Amazon seller, that’s what they’ve been feeling the last few years. It’s gotten really bad the last three years. I’d say the squeeze on those margins. So if you’re just an Amazon brand, I don’t know how you’re doing it.

[00:27:45] Chris: Well, I’m glad you went back to 2014 because that’s when I started all this ecommerceChris stuff.

[00:27:50] Chris: So I’m approaching my 10th anniversary. Hard to believe, but everything has changed, everything. There’s like almost nothing except for Amazon’s lukewarm messaging around suspensions and listing takedowns. Some of that’s kind of the same. But almost everything has changed in that time. And it’s like, if you don’t move with it and if you don’t stay aggressive and competitive across all of these facets of selling, then you’re just guaranteeing that you fall behind.

[00:28:17] Chris: So in order to keep up on things, if they want to keep up with you, what’s the best way to do that and how do they reach you?

[00:28:23] Janelle: Yeah, my website’s So that’s, you have my spelling, so, and, and I’m on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn. So yeah, just, shoot me a message and I’d say follow me.

[00:28:35] Janelle: But it’s funny, people will go follow me on Instagram. They’re like, it’s just you doing handstands. I’m like, yeah. Like my business is, like my, my Instagram is my scrapbook. I’m a mom of four kids and I, I, you know, do fun stuff. I ski.

[00:28:50] Chris: You’re in front of a lot of waterfalls. Yes.

[00:28:52] Janelle: So if you want to see what it’s like to live an entrepreneurial life, and I guess my Instagram does display me working all over the world and I think try to live my best life.

[00:29:05] Chris: And under the water you were, I saw some, I saw some diving photos there. So yeah, I can attest to that. Those were not fake.

[00:29:13] Janelle: We do it together. That was so fun.

[00:29:17] Chris: That was great.

[00:29:19] Janelle: This is why we wanted to have our own businesses so that we could have freedom and time flexibility.

[00:29:25] Janelle: And so I guess if you want to see that it actually can happen, then that’s what my Instagram is good for, but I’m not dishing out sales advice on my Instagram. You’d be sorely disappointed, but you could go to LinkedIn for that or my website.

[00:29:39] Chris: LinkedIn, or, I mean, if you don’t happen to see Janelle hosting our Seller Velocity Conference, she speaks at many other places because of her wisdom and knowledge in her years of voluminous success as an entrepreneur.

[00:29:52] Chris: So thanks for sharing your pearls of wisdom once again, always great talking to you. And scuba diving with you occasionally and, hope to see you again soon.

[00:30:02] Janelle: Awesome. Take care.

Hosts & Guests

Janelle Page

Chris McCabe


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