How to Find Manufacturers & Suppliers in Asia (E143)

Kevin Urrutia
Founder of Voy Media


  • Worked with the TSA for approval
  • Picked from a catalog
  • Cost 150k for the molds
  • The factory recommended other suppliers
  • Founder factories via Alibaba, AliExpress
  • How to US port documents -> Panjiva
  • Looking for high barrier to entry products
  • Get reviews from bloggers and influences



Charles (00:00):

In this episode of a business. E-Commerce I talk with Kevin Urrutia about how to find suppliers in Asia. This is the Business of eCommerce episode 143.

Charles (00:17):

Welcome to the business of eCommerce the show that helps eCommerce retailers start launch and grow their eCommerce business. I’m always Charles Palleschi I’m here today with Kevin Urrutia. Kevin is the founder of Voy media. We just started several eCommerce companies, his most recent company producing luggage. We probably showed it chat about how he went through the process of finding suppliers in Asia to produce the luggage. Super interesting, just talking to Kevin about his whole background process and how we kind of thought through the process of getting this business started. It’s very addressing, I think, helpful for anyone just starting off or even someone experienced right at the very end of the show, he also dropped some really helpful, helpful nuggets on what he would do if he was just starting off today. So I think it’s well worth listening right to the end. Let’s get into the show. Hey Kevin, how you doing today?

Kevin (01:06):

Hey, I’m doing good. How are you

Charles (01:08):

Great to have you on the show. I’m super interested in we’re talking about earlier. So about finding suppliers in Asia. But I guess some of your background real quick. So we’re talking in 2020. And what do you guys do? So, so luggage currently.

Kevin (01:25):

Yeah. So for tester, we are sound luggages online when we did, so that’s a carry on probably the, one of the most proper sizes, but then we pop like maybe eight months ago we released like the other two sizes. The medium wanted to check one. But yeah, for like almost a good year and a half, we only sold the carry on because we didn’t have any cash to make the other ones.

Charles (01:44):

So you actually, so you started what? A year and a half ago? Or how long has it been around?

Kevin (01:49):

Oh, now, yeah, like actual selling, but then we were in like product development. We’re good. Like six months being up, like the products and stuff. Yeah.

Charles (02:00):

So when you say product development kind of let’s go. So what, at what part did you actually, when you say product development, what part were you developing? What part are you talking to suppliers and like, how did this whole process happened?

Kevin (02:10):

Yeah, so for the, for the chest of luggage, so this is my second e-commerce company for Chester. Everything on the luggage is actually custom made a supplier that we’ve worked with, which is great because obviously you probably know e-commerce like, you can say, Hey, like, this is one thing that I’d like to kind of funny. We’re like, Hey, we want to make a of agent. And they’re like, okay, like, can you make that look just like this corn company? And they’re like, nah, like we don’t work like that. And we’re like, no, cause like we’re so used to that. Right? Like you see that align well with them. They wanted us to pretty much pick everything like, and that was pretty exciting and also scary because we’d never done it. But like, I kinda liked that. So we were able to pick the wheels, they send us like a catalog.

Kevin (02:48):

You find out like a catalog of like wheels, shells interior, interior lining, and then colors. And then we have to just design the whole shape of it. And then they need to be like AutoCAD for that. So then my brother is actually art. We used to go to architecture school and he helped us design it and send us the drawings and measurements and everything like that. And then that took about like, I’m playing it really quick, but that took about six months because we’re trying to learn everything about a luggage handles of components, zippers. I know obviously we know things, but we didn’t know how to design everything. So then we also work with even the zippers were all custom made. So we worked with the YKK factory, which is the company that makes like pretty much every zipper you probably use on a Levi’s for example.

Kevin (03:32):

And we had like a custom C design. It protects there. And then our, we worked with the T or Fisher, like TSA, lots to make up the locks for like Chester and op. So then it’s two zippers and then it’s a cap, a seat. So then when you connect them, it looked like a full C. So all that stuff is custom. And then of course I didn’t make it like TSA approved for luggage, just like they can use their keys. And I was pretty fun working with them. And then bigger thing was like the interior lining of how we want to sort of lay things in there. And that was pretty interesting. And sort of like what into your bags? So some things just like that. So everything on that luggage was compliment. Also the shell was awesome too. We got a few patterns that they told us and then we had to pick like for like the roughness of the picture of it. So that was interesting. And then the handle, so that’s another big one. So yeah, everything on there was like, pass them in the wheels are like Japanese meals that we picked that were like three 60 squirt spinners. Pretty fun.

Charles (04:25):

How did you actually, so did the, did the manufacturer kind of have all this in the catalog and kind of just like run you through like a menu of this or was it really up to you to go and like, all right, like we’ll manufacture luggage, but you find this as a zipper. Like how did that process actually kind of go down?

Kevin (04:42):

Yeah. So basically, yeah. That’s a good question. So basically they said like, Hey, put the zipper. They said like, Hey, if you want to zipper, let us know what you want. And they’re like, go talk to YKK. So then we would have to call, they would tell us the context of white paper. Okay. Okay.

Charles (04:54):

Could they, could they have given you a zipper or was it literally just like, if you want, if you want to sit by, you gotta talk to us, like the zipper guy.

Kevin (05:01):

Yeah. They can give us differs, but we’re like, if we’re going to make everything cost them, we’re going to might as well make it happen because this was already, this was already going to cost us about like 150 K for the molds. And they’re like, Hey, just like, if you’re doing custom design, we want, you probably want to do custom stuff here. That’s why it took us so long to make the other sides of, because we’re just like, we just can’t afford another bowl. Cause we’re a bootstrap, but they were, they told us like, if you want this, go talk to these guys. If you want this, go talk to these bags and then we’ll contact them and say, Hey, we’re looking for a zipper for luggage. Like, okay, here are the standard ones. And then we’re saying, okay, how do we add like a C?

Kevin (05:36):

And you’re like, okay, this is how you would do it. And they’re pretty helpful to do it because the fact we were working with was legit. And they, he was great advice and to know what to do. So, and then they would just be like, we just measure things by luggages that we thought were cool. And then we would measure them. And then we say, Hey, this is kind of like, kind of a pattern we’re thinking about how do you, how do we make that done? So then they would send us fabrics here and stuff like that.

Charles (06:00):

Almost like the factory it’s like your advisor. Right? So they give you a kind of a menu of like, here are the a hundred different Wells we have. But if you want some other whales, you have the whale guy you can talk to and he can make you what? I just come up with a design and he’ll do it for you.

Kevin (06:12):

Yeah. Like the, yeah, their basic tell us like, Hey, we can add this. And they’re like, ah, based on the design, you have it. That probably wouldn’t look good with a stock one. You might want to custom one. And then they would tell us like, why? Like, because like the w the welding might get stuck with like the design. The biggest thing that we did, the design was like, kind of like the look of the look, like the look at our lungs, kind of like square or rectangular, like rounded corners. That was like the main one. And then we told them, like, they would tell us like, Hey, if you want to handle like this, you probably want like a glove, a beveled one. That way, when someone pulls it up, it doesn’t like mess up or like, sticks out. Well, they were kinda like, they obviously, they were experts. They done kind of luggages. So they knew kind of what to expect and what to think about. So they were very good at that because of course we never designed a logo before. So they were like, kind of telling us, like, I don’t think that would work well. Right. Yeah.

Charles (07:02):

And that brings me to the question too. How did you even tobacco weigh up? How did you find this factory? Right. Because it sounds like they were giving you great advice, but you were like leaning on them a lot too. So how did you actually find a factory that you were like, I trust, I trust them enough to like first go with them and spend 150 a molds, but then second, just like lean on them for that much advice.

Kevin (07:22):

Yeah. So we were so basically for us, like, I haven’t another outdoor gear company. That’s sort of like, we were able to find backwards through like, traditional Alibaba’s I’ll express that way. But what, something that we saw where there was kind of like everybody sees now is like, it’s so easy to copy and stuff. So we really wanted to do the Chester luggage. We went to look at, at who’s making the best lovers that we liked. And of course you find out Samsonite to me, right. Like great luggage companies. So then what we did is from our experience of learning from my other company, we knew that everything that was imported from China or from anything goes to the court and the court has the government documents. So then we went to the port website companies importing from, and then we looked at the legal factory names.

Kevin (08:10):

And then we went to my friend that was in China at the time saying, Hey, can you call these guys up and see if they can make us stop? And then they’re like, yes, we can. And, but they only spoke Chinese. So then we are the friend who spoke Chinese, was able to translate everything for us and speak with them. So it’s more about like, just reverse engineering where, where it is, because if you, from our previous tours, we were like, Hey, like it needs to go through the port. So you know, that everything’s documented because, and there’s websites that do this to you. I’m not sure if you know about these, like what’s the collect pen Jeeva and then it shows you, like, it also shows you stats about like one importing the most. So then you can get like a they say, Hey, it looks like the summer people are importing more clothing. So there’s probably an uptake of sales because they have more importing. They’re putting more, they probably think they’re going to sell. Right. So that’s sort of how we get it. So any company has some sort of legal name you probably know, can, like sometimes people hide it, but you need to, you need to display that to the U S government when your important stuff. So you can’t get away and then just reverse engineer, where are they coming from?

Charles (09:09):

Okay. So to make sure, cause this is, this is good. And I think a lot of people get really hung up on this step on how to actually like find someone reputable. Right. So you basically said, let’s find someone we like out there. So Samson ice let’s back up and now find out where they’re importing into. So let’s just assume somewhere on the West coast and start basically now figure out, you can look up the government documents. And did you use a pen geo pen Java for that?

Kevin (09:34):

And Jeeva yeah, also like Peggy was paid because it’s like, they like built her, it nicely for me with like bill, but if you click the wrong, I think it’s like D H being department of Homeland security, right. The department home security has a website. I’ll be implications. And then you can just like, troll, like scroll through the documents and try to figure it out from there yourself yet.

Charles (09:56):

So then you said it, so you literally just went to the government website and you can just, yeah. And you do this and you start to provide documents. And it’s like, what is all this stuff? Like, there’s just like hundreds of these random things. But you found the important documents that shows. And it’s basically like the handoff right. Of like factory is now handing it to Samsung or wherever else in the U S and you find that kind of exchange and inside, what is that factory name? And then when, to your friend in China and said, can you go talk to the guy at that factory and get in touch with them?

Kevin (10:25):

Exactly. And then they’re like, Oh yeah, we make it. And then they’re like, they’re like, Hey, like you guys have, have you guys ever have a company report? Or like, yeah, we haven’t announced. They’re like, like, Oh, well, like we have like a huge, like minimum order quantity, but like, no, like, and then we basically these legitimate faculties that’s, what’s great about them is that like, they just wouldn’t say yes to us. So sometimes it’s like annoying, but for us it was like, Oh, wow, this is great. That means the barrier to entry is pretty high. So that means that if the barrier is high, that means it’s, there’s enough things that easily copy its course. It’s like, you can make a luggage snap. I think it’s rocket science, but there’s a little bit of steps that sometimes get caught up on it. For me. I was like, Oh great. Like, I love this right now.

Charles (11:06):

I w I like, yes, I talk a lot all the time where I think some people that’s like that, like discourages them. And it’s literally the exact opposite on like, Oh, they have rejected me. I want them more now. Like, like whoever rejects you, like the one that they were like, yes, yes. We’ll make you luggage. We’ll can send you one piece right now. And you’re like, I don’t want that guy, like, stay away, stay away from him. But as soon as I like, no, no, no, it’s huge. We can’t even talk to you. You need at least X amount of million and the like, alright, how can we, okay. How can we make this work?

Kevin (11:33):

How can we exactly. That’s like, how can we make this work? We’re like, we’re like, okay, like we have extreme race and we pull them like, Hey, they went through her like, Hey, we have experienced, we’re selling, e-commerce already look at our previous company. And they’re like, okay, that makes sense. And we’re like, can you make our stuff? Like in between runs? And they’re like, okay, we can do that. So then they would make it like at night in between stuff. And then until we told, like, we can finally start making more.

Charles (11:55):

I like that. Yes. It’s funny that, so I’ve talked about the show before I sell drugs from a company, he worked at a bunch of suppliers. And initially when I went to talk to like supplier a, they were like, absolutely not. There’s no possible way. And over time started working with some more entry level suppliers. Let’s call them. But then once I went back to supplier a inside, no, no, no. Look at my track record. We’re doing great. They’re like, Oh yeah, great. We can talk. I’m like, okay. Yeah. So having that company, and I think everyone kinda missed that if you go to them and you’re like, Oh, you know, I’m just, I’m starting off. Like, how can you help me? People like, no, no way. Like, but if you go to them and you point to like, I’ve, maybe it was starting this off today, but with this other successful business that this one’s doing fine, then all of a sudden, even though you’re just starting company B today, they’re very likely to talk to you just because you’re showing them, I know what I’m doing. I have a track record. And that’s kind of the proof that everyone wants.

Kevin (12:48):

Exactly. Yeah. It’s like, once you can show that off, it shows that like, you’re just not, you’re not going to waste their time. Cause they don’t want to waste their time. Like teaching them basics of like how to import, like they don’t like, we’re already, by that time already. You’re like a three PL we already, we already had like our, our importation documents, our licenses, like we have all that stuff. So it’s like, we’re not like we’re like asking these questions for them to like very basic, right. Like

Charles (13:08):

All through the previous company, the first company. Right. So you already, so you’re just going to store the products in the three PL next to the existing products. So when you already had importer ready to go. So like, this was just, this was just basically calling the Porter and saying, does this some extra products coming over from this other factory?

Kevin (13:26):

Exactly. Just figuring it out, just basically figuring out what the new taxes would be on vacation taxes would be right. Obviously like with the new stuff, Apple Trump, or like bok Robinson effect their stuff. And it’s just like figuring out what that is. But we already knew what that was worked for this company. So like, they could, we could show them like, look, we already have our licensing import. Like, we just need you if you’re like, okay, like you guys are serious. Right. It’s like, it’s like seriousness that they’re looking for. Right.

Charles (13:49):

Yeah. And they want to, they just want to see you kinda, like you said, I’m going to ask those basic questions and get all the products manufactured and say, all right, what do we do next? And like leaning on EV it’s one thing leaning on them for like the zipper, right? Like maybe not the, you can go to them and explain it. I don’t know, luggage that well. And like, I might need help with the zippers, but like I know importing, I know fulfillment logistics like that. At least I’ve done something before and you’re going to need help with the zipper pies and like, they’re okay with that. Okay. Got it. That is very cool. Yeah. I think so many people that little step right there that like that trips up so many people right there. And just like I talked to the factory, they said no. And you’re like, alright, cool. What did you do? Like, so what are you doing X? And they’re like, Oh, they said no. And you’re like, no, no, that’s just the first step they supposed to say. Now that’s like, that’s the right thing.

Kevin (14:36):

Yeah. It’s the right thing. Yeah. And then we’re like, okay, like no more persistent. Like even even the guy’s name that can go. We told them like go to the factory and talk to them. So really he literally went to the, and was like, all right. I think we were traveling at that time,

Charles (14:48):

Just from your other business. So you have a, the other Jeff worked with the there, and you basically said, can you just like drive down to this other city and talk to these friends?

Kevin (14:56):

I’ve known Jack for like a walk. Cause we were working on stuff like through like other projects. And then he was already there and we’re like telling him like, Hey, we need a, like, we need a partner that can help us get this going. And then we’re like, Hey, can you join us? And he’s like, all right, cool. I’m going. And then he was the guy that like, I was some people like of you get to partner up with people like it’s, it’s like, Hey, I can’t do it to myself. I’m like, Hey, this guy’s in China and he’s an expert. He can do it for me. And then he, he owns part of the company too. And now he just dealt with like the factory, getting all the fabrics, all the translation, because we still needed somebody when you were going to be a process. Right? So like, Hey look, we can’t pay you, but we’ll give you part of the company. You can help us figure out this logistic thing. And then he was doing all of that for us and translating it, any documents and going to the factory and checking things out was just what we needed.

Charles (15:42):

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Kevin (16:50):

And like, plus like he knew like we have previous track where he’s like, Oh great. Let’s try this thing. It’s it seems like a cool project with you guys. And I think it’s we’re like, yeah, that’s worth it. Like that’s what people, like, sometimes it’s worth them, someone equity, because they make some want to work harder. But at the same time, like equity is worthless. If you don’t have anything, right. You can add some people just give something, like forget to become successful. Great. Like you all made money together. Sometimes we get so caught up in life, honestly, right now, like, Oh, I don’t want you to buy anything. Like your company’s not worth anything. Like if you guys both make it something, then yeah. Why not give somebody a share? But it’s yeah. I’ve been for valleys for me. Like to experience it. It’s like I’ve done so many companies. I’ve had so many LLCs. I’m like this equity is worthless. Cause it didn’t go anywhere yet.

Charles (17:30):

I think people will think of hung up with their, as they see like how far they’ve went and they think, well, I went this far alone and like, you know, so I deserve this much more. And I think the people that first time don’t realize, no, no, no, no. Like you’re still at like, you’d have a less left base camp dash like this Everest. And it’s still like, you’re still hanging out at base camp being breakfast at this point. You know, like I came up with, I came with a name and a logo and like, you’re like, yeah, you haven’t left base camp.

Kevin (17:54):

Yeah. Name and logo. And like I tell people like, Oh my God, like what’s the logo shirt. I’m like just sneaking anything.

Charles (18:02):

Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s the first thing when you get, and that’s people over let the equity because they see the work they’ve already invested and they think, Oh, this person hasn’t been here since the beginning. But like, they just don’t realize that they’re still at the beginning at this point. And yeah, like getting the product from like, and they haven’t now you have to find the factory. You have to negotiate with the factory. You have to get the PR like there’s all these other steps. And this could take, like you said, it took you what, six months. And that’s with experience. And that’s what like the logistics side already being. So it took six months. You already had pretty much 80% of it figured out so

Kevin (18:33):

That we still need help and always still need help with, like I mentioned, it could be like someone equity partner or even like, you probably know like mentors coaching. I think, I think that’s probably one of the biggest things for, as you sort of learn more, you realize, Oh wow. I don’t know anybody. And I think it’s the biggest thing. Like when I was like 20, I was just like, I know everything. And I’m like, Oh crap. Like, I don’t know copywriting. I know all this. I don’t know. I’m like, Oh my God, these guys are so proud. I was like, Jesus Christ. How can I learn from them? Like, what’s their course, you know?

Charles (19:00):

Well, that’s one of the first times you hire a copywriter as a good example. Cause you’re like not a writer I learned writing in, you know, fourth grade I can do this. And then you hire a professional copywriter and you’re like, wow, you’re a lot better than anything. Like I’ve seen before. It’s like, you know what I could produce in three days they can produce in three hours. So it’s just, I could produce a bad version of days. They can produce a really refined version in a matter of like an hour. It’s like, Oh, that’s a difference. You’re a professional. I get guess.

Kevin (19:27):

Yeah. Yeah. I think sometimes we’ve got to get caught up with that, but yeah, like I think it’s always great having partners or just like mentors that you can lean on, even with experience, because then you can just get there quicker sort of, as you sort of get older or just like want to do things, you don’t want to figure them out. Like, it’s fine. But like, you’re like, how do I get quicker now? Like

Charles (19:47):

Once she’s got the factory Jeff Wright was his name. He said, this really Jeff’s the guy. Was he? So now was he negotiating for you with the factory? Like when does that actually great. Cause this is the beginning where you’re trying to, like, you’re trying to court them. Right. And then now they’ve kind of accepted you, but then now you’re trying to negotiate with them after this like courting process. What was that? How did that go?

Kevin (20:09):

Yeah. So for that, we, we basically were talking to Jeff and asking him like, Hey, like what do they need for us to make the luggages know what are the minimum order quantities? When you produce how fast we’re looking at reviews. But the biggest thing for this was they, this was like a, this was like a tricky sort of, kind of a place because they, they couldn’t, they weren’t, they didn’t know if they can make it for us because we also didn’t have the full, like really AutoCAD drawing ready for them. And then they were sort of, they were staying saying like, Hey, look, we can’t really quote you or know everything in this because they don’t really know what you want, but if you guys are serious, we’ll help you get that drawing done. And that’s really where they saw that we were actively working on this sort of 3d thing for like two months. Is that okay? These guys are still like serious, you know, like anything, like you get excited for a month and then like the next month you’d be like, ah, I’m not really gonna work. And then you have like, at least for me, you have like a hundred domain names in there that you’re like, Oh, that was a good idea.

Kevin (21:11):

But like that sort of like persistence, I tell people like, it’s just basically months of like them seeing, okay, these guys are still like trying to get this thing done. Right. So, and then they saw that and then we just basically negotiated how many units we wanted and the price. And then we tell them like, Hey, like of course we can’t make too many at once because we just like, don’t have that much cash. And also we didn’t have a place to store them because that’s the luggage of a pretty big item. So that’s something that we didn’t realize two months, like we knew it was big and we’re just like realized how big it was until I be like, Oh wow. We can’t really sweat that much. It’s like, damn, we’ve got to like, again, be doing two crazy things here. So yeah.

Charles (21:48):

Did you, yeah. When you couldn’t store it and you have three people, I know some people I’ve heard this before they leave it right in the port or like they don’t even like, but they ship it over and just leave it sitting in. I forget the term, but basically you like just leave everything at the park and then you don’t, you can’t ship anything from an app, but you can only ship it through to your warehouse or you have to rebel. Right. Is that what you guys did? Okay.

Kevin (22:10):

Yeah. That’s what we did. And then we look at there and it’s, so basically we use two companies, another group based in Boston. And then we also just sometimes send direct cause we are, we’re an Amazon too. Sometimes we just send directly to Amazon. So then we will just tell the court to just like drive it to Amazon or the company where you can pick it up and drive it down to the warehouse. But that’s, that’s how we did it in the beginning. We were storing it locally in Brooklyn at another kind of like right where I remember at the moment. But we didn’t like how they were doing it. So then kind of switched to a different one because they’re not kinda messing up orders.

Charles (22:43):

Okay. So they were using them as your three pillars. So you’re moving it from West coast all the way to Brooklyn and then using that as if repeal.

Kevin (22:50):

So we were doing two for we’re throwing, we’re sending it some to West coast and some to I think it’s like a new garden.

Charles (22:57):

Okay. So you had split away. Okay. So you supposed to post?

Kevin (23:01):

Yeah. Yeah, because traditionally we see that West coast has some sales and then if in case we need some fails in like East coast, we don’t want that delay shipping. So that’s all like today on our website. So we just wanted to make sure that we get that done.

Charles (23:17):

How, so this makes you think too, when you start talking about, you were looking at competition, how do you even decide to get into this space? Right. Because you didn’t look and you’re like luggage, like no one’s making luggage. You looked at and said the exact year, like there’s other companies making great luggage. We should go make some money. Like why did you do that?

Kevin (23:33):

Yeah. So I did luggage because I was like looking at them. I was like, Oh, how come? Like there’s like no direct consumer luggage on things that I think we’re competing with, like Santa Ana to me. And that’s where that came from. I was like, Oh, like, I can, like, I was in the aggregate company. I was like, Oh, I can do this. And then that was like my mentality, like, Oh, I could do this. I was like, I don’t think I’d use that spectrum. I was like, let me look up. Like, obviously it’s not hard, but it’s like the same time I was thinking like, Hey, it’s not that special product. I’m like, why is it cost like 1000 or 2000 for a good luggage. And then when we went to like our faculty, like, Oh, these guys are making a ton of money.

Kevin (24:08):

Oh, wow. Like, based on these cogs, like this is Christ. Like I don’t think people are realizing, but basically we just saw, we were really being on Amazon without other outdoor gear company. And we just saw like the outdoor spaces get dominated Amazon. Well, for some reason, like when we’re looking for a new business, like, Oh, like we just see like trends, like, Hey, like algorithms that are super expensive. I was like, let me think about luggage. And then I was looking at, through like the, at that time, Amazon was still very like these companies, like these big luxury brands, they didn’t go to Amazon because they’re like, Oh look, we’re gonna love your brand. We’re not going to be an Amazon and front, like a cheaper thing. Right. But obviously as Amazon has grown up, like Amazon is completely, like just said, like, I don’t really care what you think.

Kevin (24:47):

Like you’re going to buy herself on Amazon because they just like dominate like in commerce market. And then we saw that luggage pumpings weren’t on Amazon. They were some, but not like good-looking so, Oh, great. Like that’s enter this market because now this really big item, which is great. Because most, most FDA people, they didn’t want to spend the money on like March. It costs money to make a luggage. So like, we have like a big like investment, like PK that we, we did ourselves, all bootstrap. And then we used something like this, I think time. And then that, and then we just saw like the marketing thing, we just saw like, Hey, this is a great opportunity for us because it is not like other markets on Amazon for some reason, like people just don’t enter luggage. And now when I’m, when I’ve done, it makes more sense. It’s like just a crazy Arconic to me. Not hard, but like this time. Right. It’s just like, yeah,

Charles (25:39):

Yeah. That’s a difficulty, right. When you’re first in it, you looking at like, that’s easy. I could do that. Why isn’t everyone? And then you do it. And you’re like, Oh, that’s why everyone I’ve it. But if you just keep pushing, then your eyes are well, I’m halfway there. Like I already did most stuff that most people would have kind of tripped over at. So let’s just keep going now. Like, cause then you realize not many people can follow us either because this just isn’t easy.

Kevin (25:58):

He’s a, yeah. Yeah. So like, even for like our outbreak, but it’s like a very small item and like, it’s kind of what you said before. Like starter Ali, Alibaba was like, Hey, he made, there’s like, okay, great. How many do you want? It was like, it’s so simple to enter. Right. It’s like, okay, great. Anybody can mention it. So then you see like it’s a pricing war of like, okay. Your pricing that people have to pay my way 48. Okay. Let me wait for this to seven. It’s like, all right, where are the margins here? Right. Amazon is the one that making money,

Charles (26:21):

Which it sounds like that’s also fun. You did that. And you started there, right? So that wasn’t, maybe that’s not the, and now you’re competing on price, a product that is very intangible the price, right? Like luggage, you look at it, something like a mattress. Like you go to the store and you’re like, why is that one, 400? That one’s 4,000. Now they both square queen mattress. Like they both kind of the same, but like luggage is one of those things where one is just intent. Yeah. It’s very, it’s very hard to, it’s one of those few products. There’s a few products out there that are just extremely mattresses. My class example. But luggage is one of them too that like, you’re like, it’s still the same suitcase. It does give and put the same amount of stuff in it. But like, yeah, like you said, Samsung, it just costs a lot more than that random one. Yeah. On Amazon that probably came from Alibaba that like the zipper falls off. Right? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So when you found that space, I was just saying like, let’s just sell a premium on, on Amazon. No one else is doing it right now.

Kevin (27:15):

Exactly. Yeah. That’s really where I came from with like, Hey, like let’s, let’s try this. Because based on our previous experience, we saw so much traffic and I was like, there’s definitely people looking for logins online, at least for like all the ones I was like. And then even for us, like when we started selling on Amazon, we’re just like, Whoa, like, it’s crazy. Like how many people are actually buy, which is hotline. Cause there’s just like, I mean, like it’s like anything it’s like, like I’m like an avid traveler. I’m just like, I travel. But like not like, Oh, I’m going to have like travel blog. I’m just like, Whoa, this is crazy. That the man, I was like, that’s wild.

Charles (27:47):

Yeah. I think once you get to any consumer product, you realize how big the market, even I’ve sold some pretty like odd products before and you get into it and you realize like, wow, still have people that are into this real weird thing right now. And just like, even something you think is kind of niche like this. A lot of people in this niche,

Kevin (28:03):

There’s so many. Yeah. I think there’s so much money in beaches. And even for us, and we saw like our Amazon stuff, we’re just like, well like damn Sanson and Sanford and all these lovely company are making millions of dollars. Like I don’t even realize how much money they’re making. And then that gets you excited. I’m just like, Whoa, like that, like excitement, like was like, Oh man, this is a good idea then. Yeah. It’s like, Oh, we did a good thing. Yeah.

Charles (28:23):

You realize you’re a small fish, but it’s okay to be a small fish in a really large pond. And you’re like, this is going to be, this could be big. Right.

Kevin (28:30):

Okay. So we were so excited because like, wait luggage, we have good, we’re going to get reviews. We’re doing like everything, you know, pretty commerce where we were reaching out to YouTube, which not the influencer. So we just learn all this stuff from my previous company. And we’re just like, we got to start off like this. And then we’re doing a lot of organic SEO and we’re getting about like 50,000 organic visitors a month now. So all the stuff that we can learn from previous companies that we built, we just like started instilling great. Like we look up, like I tell people like something like a luggage or anything, that’s kind of like expensive, maybe a hundred dollars. Plus I was telling people the first thing we’re going to look up are going to be like product name reviews. Yeah. So what I do is reach out to every influencer, a blogger that you know, early on and give them a piece of your luggage. Or like when I say a product, not like your company, but even a piece of your luggage to try and test and what’s going to happen is if they love it, they’re gonna write about it. But if they don’t love it, they’re going to tell you, Hey Kevin, I didn’t like your product. Sorry. I’m not going to write about it. It’s much better than when they buy the product. And they don’t like it because then I’m gonna write a really heated review about why they don’t like it. That’s a good one.

Kevin (29:34):

Yeah. It’s worth it. Because then like that’s like, and then I tell people, like, I like my strategies, like I’m really big into SEO. I’m like, get those top 10 search terms to beat stuff that, you know, you contacted the bloggers because then you have great relationship with them and they say, Hey, look, I see that, like your article is going down. Let’s add a little bit more content. You want another luggage, Ray? To have these relationships with people, these bloggers, they want product. I’m like, Hey look like, I’ll give you another big one. If you’re another article, like yeah, let me log in first time. Great. Send me another one. Like, all right, great. What color do you want?

Charles (30:06):

So it sounds like too, you use, so you started with Amazon was like your first channel, you know, let’s just get this flywheel kind of spinning. But as soon as you do that, now it’s like, all right, now let’s kind of run the, our SEO playbook. We already know let’s run our influencer plate. Like we’ve already done these playbooks with the other company and you just going to, so you got your Amazon marketing channel going and now it’s just like, let’s get the next channel going the next year. And like SEO influences kept going down.

Kevin (30:30):

It’s a review. It’s like, it’s like, I mean, you probably know it’s like building a company. Isn’t just like one channel. It’s like, alright, you gotta like do everything. And it’s like, okay, we know how to contact people. We’ve done it before. Let’s get our Colby mall to out. Let’s get the subject line that works and let’s start doing it. It’s going to playbooks. Ready.

Charles (30:47):

Yeah. And the playbook is really, I’ve got that term from a few folks and it feels like the most applicable. Right. Where once you kind of learn that playbook, like you have your blogger outreach, SEO playbook. And it sounds like he executed it before it worked. And you just run on this company and sometimes you run on the second company like, Oh, it doesn’t work. And this one, like, okay, scrap that next one.

Kevin (31:07):

Yeah, exactly. Even for like the influencer marketing for works so much better than when it did for outdoor gear company and the reason why we were thinking about it. And I think it makes, I think founders as a person, just need to think why didn’t it work this time? And for us, we’re like, Oh, travel is like something that people like showing off. So the over Instagrammers, they love showing off your love traveling. Cause everybody has like this great life on Instagram. So if they’re traveling, they can easily show off the luggage. So it worked a lot better for chapter because they loved the product. They would then read, host it again on all the trips. Whereas the outdoor, it was like, Hey, I’m going hiking once. And they’re just like, well, I don’t really hike me again. And then we would only get like basically one photo for Chester.

Kevin (31:47):

You’re posting it every single time. Like, Oh, this is great. Very cool. Yeah. So it’s like, get to think like it could work, but it’s protested just work better. And we just got lot more content. Like, and now for us, we’re just like, well, it makes sense. Because like, especially like our, our female influencers, the pink one, that’s like, they post it every time. Cause they, where they can match their nailed everything. And it’s so great. So yeah, it’s like coming said, like sometimes it looks better or something. Okay. So let’s try it sometimes. It’s like, Hey, let’s try it. And you never know what could happen. And we’re just like, Whoa, this is crazy. Yeah.

Charles (32:22):

And that’s a good lesson right there. You just try it. Cause you know, you might know the playbook, you know, the execution steps, but you don’t know how they’re going to pan out. And people like, yeah, I tried like social media or paid ads or whatever. They tried something and it didn’t work. And you’re like, great. Just try the next, like whatever the next playbook is, just XQ that it might be fantastic. It might be a flop. And it’s almost, I think as an entrepreneur, you learn, I have no idea. Like I literally like sure. Maybe it works. Maybe I don’t, but like it’s faster to try a very small reach out to a few influencers and just try it and see if it works. And then if it works great double down, but it doesn’t work then either you have to go back and ask yourself, did I like, did I screw this up somehow? Or maybe it just doesn’t worth it as company and just move on. And that’s, and it’s just rinse and repeat

Kevin (33:07):

Exactly. Even for like in the great thing about protester too, was that we were selling online of course, like any product ever returns and you’d be like, Oh, I just didn’t like the sides and the color. I got a great return it back to us. And then we would get those returned back to my mom’s house out here in long Island. And then when we reach out to influencers, we do be like, Hey, look, you want like a slightly used mortgage. Instead of us sending a new one, my mom would just like clean it up a little bit and then she would send it out to them. Right. So then you got to like, instead of us bringing out storage, we were using it and I’m like, Hey, this is a cheaper way to give a product. And I was like, you gotta be like, we’re bootstrap. We’re gonna save money somehow. I’m like, well, I’m just like wipe it down because most people were like, you know, people would just buy things. They’re like, I don’t really like it. And it’s almost new.

Charles (33:47):

That, that is the trick of most people. They think they have to do it. This really big thing I used to at one point I’ve returned. So it was in another office I had and the whole wall was just like, it was just a wall. And like, it got to a point you had to kind of walk sideways and a layer. It’s going a little stupid, but fine. And like, you know, one of the other guys offices, like, you can’t do this anymore. It’s getting ridiculous. Like, like, no, no, no. We’ll just put them on the wall. Don’t worry about it. And like, that’s just what you do. And it’s okay.

Kevin (34:11):

Yeah. Even, even for our office in the city, we had like, we had like boxes of returns and like people would come in, like you guys want to luggage. Like I was like, we don’t need them anymore. Yeah.

Charles (34:23):

That’s awesome. All right. Before I let you go, this was super helpful. If someone is sitting home and they they’re hearing all this, but no, like I don’t have another business yet. I want to start like, you know, they’re that person that kinda, they haven’t got that first foothold yet. What would you kind of, what would you say to them right now recommend they do is like step one in this entire process.

Kevin (34:44):

I think we’re step one is it’s tricky. Yeah. I’d say like, just think of something that you want to do. And I was talking to, like, I think like we talked about before is like to think of like a stairstep approach. Like the first thing you gonna do, it’s not gonna, maybe you’re not passionate about it. Maybe you don’t love it, but you’re going to learn something from it. And once you learn from it, go to your next business. Like my first company was a meat company. Was I passionate about cleaning? Maybe not. I was passionate about making a learning how to have sale learning, SEO, learning, marketing. I just learned business in general. And I, and the reason why I did make companies, because I knew there was the man as having seen anything I built, I want to know if you’re a good man, because if there’s a man that means I can enter the market and sort of learn marketing or business in general. So I would say like, just pick something that, you know, kind of, maybe you’re interested in and then build it and make companies still running. We’re like even a hundred females now that work for that company there. So

Charles (35:35):

Cool. Yeah. I like that. And I’ve quoted, I think I don’t have, you’ve also got that Rob walling quoted him on those steps of approach on this podcast before. And that’s kind of, I looked at that somewhere in the show notes and same concept. You just start with, you start with something and it doesn’t, you don’t have to start with like, I’m gonna become this huge luggage company you start with. I’m like, I’m gonna do something. That’s just reselling something or just, just something. And you start learning pieces of business. Right. And fine. I learned marketing and maybe I didn’t learn logistics and warehousing and inventory management, all that, but I learned marketing and now you have that like one skill under your belt and now you can apply that to business too. And I love that. Yeah. I love that advice. Awesome. If people want to kind of find, you learn more about you follow you work, what can they do that? A or just Kevin Amway media. But I’m also like big on Twitter. When I say big. I’m just like, I’m like an average Twitter user. So you can find me on Twitter. It’s like

Charles (36:37):

Awesome. I will into the show notes. Wow. Maybe that’s my followers. I’ll follow, you know? So they go. Cool. All right. Well thank you very much. It’s super helpful. And yeah, the only time I show notes. Thank you. Thank you.

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