In this Prime Talk Podcast Sponsored by GETIDA – Michael Lebhar of Sellcord talks about the Amazon Seller that Unlocked the Walmart Potential, also more information about his life’s journey. #michaellebhar #sellcord
About Michael Lebhar of Sellcord –
Sellcord’s team consists of industry professionals covering all aspects of e-commerce. The company leadership has an extensive background in selling and marketing products on Walmart along with other major online retailers and marketplaces. Scale Your Brand and Maximize Sales on Walmart. Whether you are launching a product line or trying to improve conversion rates, our team will help you take all of the right steps.
Find the Full Episode Below
Yoni Mazor 0:06
Everybody, welcome to another episode of Fun talk today I have a really special guest today I’m having Michael Lebar. Michael is the co-founder and CEO of Delcourt. Belcourt is a full-service Walmart Management Agency. We’re going to talk about that more in the episode. But in the meantime, Michael, welcome to the show.
Michael Lebhar 0:24
Hey, thanks for having me.
Yoni Mazor 0:26
My pleasure. So today’s episode is going to be the story of you the story of Michael Lobo, you’re going to share with us everything about why you were reborn? Where did you grow up? You know, how did you begin your professional career, station to station until you reach where you are today, especially in the world of E-commerce. So without further ado, let’s jump right into it.
Michael Lebhar 0:45
Awesome. So let’s get started. So I grew up most of my life in Los Angeles. I was born in Israel. I lived in Los Angeles for most of my like, elementary school life. And then I moved to Canada for a few years. And when I was, I think I was around like 15 years old, I moved back to Los Angeles. And actually, let’s
Yoni Mazor 1:06
Use it if possible. So you were born on what year did you move to the US? Roughly, it doesn’t have to be
Michael Lebhar 1:14
In the penny. Probably like 2005 2005 that’s what it was. So
Yoni Mazor 1:18
How old are you? 2005? Seven. Right? So do you seven or like the first second grade you move? Just because I wanted to have the impact and economics of your business life. So you and you knew English back then or not? No, I
Michael Lebhar 1:28
Think of a word of English when I’m
Yoni Mazor 1:31
Then I realized that. I mean, today’s perfect. I didn’t realize that. Okay, good. So you’re seven years old? No, nothing English. You moved to the United States and you live the Los Angeles. Yeah, exactly. And then you moved to Canada? What age?
Michael Lebhar 1:43
I moved to Canada in 1313. So
Yoni Mazor 1:46
You were six years about in LA, right? Is this already with 2013? Yep, move to Canada, right. So 2007, year nine, la then to deserting to Canada. For many years,
Michael Lebhar 1:56
I think it was 2012. But something like that. And then we moved back. I moved back five years later to back to LA. So okay,
Yoni Mazor 2:04
So now, it begs the question why all these moves? What what’s going on?
Michael Lebhar 2:08
So it’s just my family. So like, my dad’s like, physician, he moved to LA and then he wanted, he wanted to try something out, but then he decided to come back to the same place. So
Yoni Mazor 2:19
What did your father do? What kind of industry is involved?
Michael Lebhar 2:22
My father is a rabbi. So when he moved to LA, he had his organization there. And then we were in like, in like a pretty like far out like, like, part of La it’s called westward on by Holmby Hills. There wasn’t like a, like a lot going on. So like younger families there. So we decided to move to Toronto. And then the organization that my father was part of that we started ended up moving to a more, you know, central area. So we came back.
Yoni Mazor 2:54
So let me go straight to your father’s rabbi in Israel. He’s Where did he start this organization in Israel or LA? So I was able to live from Israel, let’s listen to my glasses differently. What was the trigger for you guys to move from Israel to Los Angeles? For the job? Yeah.
Michael Lebhar 3:09
He was just studying when he was in Israel. So he wanted to like, you know, move to LA and do more outreach. And, you know,
Yoni Mazor 3:16
lead be a leader community, a Jewish community, and then, you know, la presented an opportunity, but you think was Westwood more on the periphery of the city. It did a few years, but he was involved in the business organization, which he was still I guess involved with, but he did Canada for a few years. And then the organization relocated to a more central area in LA. So they call them back in
Michael Lebhar 3:37
Exactly there you go. Got it. So yeah, actually, it was interesting because you know, a lot of my siblings didn’t like moving
Yoni Mazor 3:45
From schools, because aggressive Yeah, it’s a lot of Yeah, it’s
Michael Lebhar 3:48
A lot of it’s a lot to go to new schools. I always liked it because it was like a new challenge. I always say like, I think I got a lot of like interpersonal skills and relationship skills just from having to move so many schools you know, I think I went to seven different schools or eight different school
Yoni Mazor 4:04
Languages at least from Asia to the US Canada you in the French area I tried to know so that’s I think the Sherry Right so that was
Michael Lebhar 4:11
my father’s main language is spoken in his mother tongue is French but I never really spy I was new a little bit but then grew up speaking French, but it is a little bit culturally different time but than LA. And yeah, so it was, it was interesting. I moved in high school back to LA and right when I moved in, in high school, it was like in the middle of high school, so 11th grade.
Michael Lebhar 4:35
You know, it was interesting because it worked out well because in Toronto like people are worse around we’re in an E-commerce or anything like that. I’ve always been so I’ve always been interested in just doing things I’ve always liked being busy. You know, I was pretty focused on school, but like I was always doing other things. So like in high school when I was in Toronto, I was you know, I ran like a car washing business. On the side, I ran a bookbinding business on the side, which did very well. But it was always just an odd thing what was
Yoni Mazor 5:07
driving you the job was just to keep yourself busy and would do things and create things or it was more like, you know, be able to get some money and buy things that you like, or save the money and what was driving,
Michael Lebhar 5:16
It was, like being busy and as the filming of doing stuff like really well, as well. So it’s like, running the business and doing well like I was, you know when I was in bookbinding. Like, I like to think I was like the best one at it, you know? And then a lot of that, yeah, so it was always it kept me, you know, going and busy. And it’s like I would you know, I went to school that ended late. So like we would only be at school like 9 pm. But I would then come home, you know, start the bookbinding for a few hours. And then like bring all
Yoni Mazor 5:43
That’s all at 9 pm. And then would you start what 9 am at am? Yeah, that’s super aggressive. I think AK also known as a Shiva, you went to Shiva. Yep. That’s pretty. So GG, Shiva for the ones who are not aware or familiar. So she was the Jewish institution where they heavily focused on Jewish religious studies. And they get aggressive about it from 7:30 am and 9 pm. You know, there are pairs involved in Jewish Studies in old texts, the Talmud, the Torah, the Bible, a commentary on everything. And so after 9 pm, you go back home and you hustle.
Michael Lebhar 6:19
Exactly, yeah. And it was, it was interesting, because it’s like, you know, I would get to sleep so late, but I was always also pretty invested in like, my study. So like, my English studies as well. So you know, it wasn’t balanced, but I always like, it kept me going to just be busy like that. And I think it built like some good work ethic foundations. So yeah, and then when I moved to Los Angeles, though, you know, I kept doing those things. But I was surrounded right away from right when I moved to Los Angeles by a lot of people doing e-commerce.
Michael Lebhar 6:49
So it was just I was around it, I didn’t know what it was, oh, at that point, I just wanted to, you know, do something, you know, and I had, this is right, when I moved, you know, we just started school. And, you know, I was doing bookbinding I did, I started another call Washington la again. And then I was around like, you know, just my community. And there were like, people in my community that were like, the pretty, like a young group of brothers that were just like, I didn’t know what they were doing. I knew they were selling stuff online, and just making a lot of money. So I’m like, I don’t know what this is,
Yoni Mazor 7:25
Like a shark, you smell blood? Where’s this all going? Yeah,
Michael Lebhar 7:30
I just need to do it. So like, you know, I kind of just started looking into it. And just like asking anybody, I knew anything. And then every time I would just come back from school, Shiva would just like, I would just start, like, looking into like, oh, how do I sell products? Like, you know, you know, what is this? Like, what products can I sell? And I remember asking people who make like, just like millions of dollars a month, like, it’s really stupid questions like, how do I buy a shipping label? And like, oh, how do you know? Like, could I sell this? Or can I sell this? And I started, just, every time I came home, just looking into it, and I and my brother were doing a lot of it together. And we were just trying to figure stuff out.
Michael Lebhar 8:08
And the approach we took early on was just like, whatever we like, we could get our hands on to try to figure out how to sell it. We’re going to do it. And I think what was interesting it kind of did lead you eCommerce is trip big world to kind of like traps you in. And, you know, we thought we were just trying to sell some stuff to make some money. And then like, you know, because we spoke to the right people, and we just started selling things very early on, even like a few months after we just started selling random products, we found by random products. I mean, we found different ways to get products, like discounted and resell them and things of that nature. Very, very early on, we decided to source our product. And this was like a few months into when we even found out about
Yoni Mazor 8:50
It. Talk to me about the baby steps into E-commerce. If you can share, you know what kind of products you’re selling the way you mentioned, you’re reselling and sourcing, you can touch on those categories. But what were the platforms? How did you what was your baby steps into the game?
Michael Lebhar 9:02
Yeah, so we started with eBay. So what we did is we basically, we used to find like a lot of wholesale, like different deals, on phone cases, chargers, things of that nature, like very basic stuff. We would order as much as we can on them. You know, there were a lot of times like deals on different deal sites and things like that we would order a lot. And then we would just list them on eBay.
Yoni Mazor 9:22
The way it was that they usually started on eBay.
Michael Lebhar 9:25
So when I was in 11th grade, 2014 or 15 2015 I think
Yoni Mazor 9:36
so that was 15 You’re on eBay, that’s the first platform you’re reselling all from all these lots, maybe some of them are brand names, but also you had your you know, you paid the check to source on your own.
Michael Lebhar 9:47
Yeah, so why are we different sourcing on our own was different than most people like we knew we wanted to sell on Amazon and we started you know, hearing more about it. Um, but what we did is we started looking into product research and you know, I was very independent at the time. On our brother’s variants of fitness. So, you know, we sourced these workout gloves that were a little bit unique at the time.
Michael Lebhar 10:06
They were like, open hand, they had, like, you know, a cool, like, you know, risk support system. And I’m like, these are unique, these are cool. We just ordered like, 100 of them, I remember, we listed them on eBay and went to school. And then like, I think within like, three to four days, they sold out. And I was like, I remember, it’s like, the craziest thing, like, you know, going, like, just like, we weren’t able to have our phones during class and stuff. So I remember going to the bathroom, just like checking my emails and getting all those things. And I’m like, this is great. So
Yoni Mazor 10:35
Like, this is the moment I think that’s the main one the E-commerce comes knocking on the door, you open it, and it just chops you in the glass-like, this is real. It’s when you’re when an optimist, I’m here and I’m in business, and that says no way back. There’s no
Michael Lebhar 10:48
Way back. Yeah, and this that, like excitement and all that. And I think it was it, it was a very good moment, and I got on, you know, you can say Its fate that it just works out that it really worked out that we started with a product that, you know, we a category that we were interested in, and that really like was a little bit unique. Because Vic from the very, very early phases, I took a strong branding approach. And I like to think more of like a creative and a marketer, but more like a creative marketer than like a performance marketer. And, right away from the early phases, we you know, right away branded our product, you know, started developing our brand. And at that point on Amazon, there weren’t a lot of people, especially in this category, really doing anything with that. So, you know, this is,
Yoni Mazor 11:33
This is when you’re crafting your way, and you’re creating your brand on Amazon. So what were you were out of this also 2015 2015 we pretty quickly start from eBay? And pretty quickly, already. For Amazon got
Michael Lebhar 11:46
It? Yeah. So, you know, we started developing the brand once was first on a unit sold, we started developing the brand. I remember I think we ordered, like, you know, 1000 units or something like that, you know, under this new brand we’ve developed, we very quickly launched it on Amazon. But you know, we worked a lot on this brand, like, from the very early phases, even in 2015, I had our I made our photo shoot, like with, you know, in a gym with models, and like, you know, legitimate, you know, photography, videography lifestyle. Yeah,
Yoni Mazor 12:15
Real lifestyle and not just generic, and in white background is like you give it the branding of
Michael Lebhar 12:22
Touch a woman Yeah, and it was great, because it really, it helped elevate the brand, where once those workout goals took off on Amazon, we were able to just add on other products onto our line, and everything just made much more sense. Like, you know, I know a lot of sellers go through a lot of, you know, product research phases, and that stuff is great. Um, but I think what turned out nice for us is that we didn’t like it was straightforward which products we had to go into next, like customers, you know, were a workout guy out guy, we had a certain type of direction with it, like we just, you know, had developed the next kind of product that was being asked for and that our customers were
Yoni Mazor 12:58
More organic for you guys weeds, because you are passionate about you know, fitness, and then you wrote something out. And then you were able to build an interactive engagement with the end-user with the consumer with your customer, which pulled the thread on you to understand what is the next thing that they would like to appreciate and grow from that point, as opposed to other sellers who maybe they go out to discount the markets is something okay, I’ll get into that. Because the numbers show you can make money. They don’t necessarily know anything about that category. They’re not even passionate, but it’s more like a thesis of a business model. For you guys, your passion became a thesis in the business model.
Michael Lebhar 13:30
Exactly, that’s the best way to say it. And we became it because we started something that was a little more niche, it was like a more like a bodybuilding balance of bodybuilding and Cross-Fit products. You know, especially at that point, Amazon wasn’t that competitive, we were able to really kind of stand out. And I think when you have a foundation like that, it’s what leads to so many other things, which, you know, came with the evolution of the brand, which was, that was easier to get them on, you know, other opportunities, but also like, even in regards to our marketing, like,
Michael Lebhar 13:59
It was the foundation of everything, like, we had a couple of large deals with large influencers in the space. And the only way that that where we, you know, did co-branded products with and that was very early on before most other brands did it. And, like our credit that like the only reason why I thought of doing that, and why we’re able to kind of do that is because we had, you know, a unique brand, and we built up a solid foundation. So people wanted to work with us, and it was much it made the growth plan much more natural than just kind of pushing, you know, seeing, you know, whatever return that you get, you know, by launching this parliament, and it just it led to a much more organic and natural growth, which was very interesting. And it’s something that is
Yoni Mazor 14:41
But let me ask you this. So 2015 16 When you were you know, growing up with this, will you do even any form of advertising or PPC was that even part of the marketing strategy, or can you share with us more about what we’re doing besides images and influences? What are we doing on the marketing level?
Michael Lebhar 14:57
Yeah, so on the marketing level, there was PPC We start with a little bit of PPC. On a marketing level, we always did you know, the tradition always like even though I was like, you know, coming up with like different creative marketing strategies, we also just use the fundamentals of like giveaways back in the day they had, you know, with like Amazon review trader, I don’t know if people remember that and things of that nature. But really, what we started doing a lot more of is working with influencers even really early on, even in 2015, at the end of 2015. What
Yoni Mazor 15:27
Kind of influencers if I can ask was Instagram, YouTube, all Instagram,
Michael Lebhar 15:30
So Instagram on people, but like very nice people, so like, either like bodybuilders that like all our conference focused on bodybuilding or Cross Fit, because we had crossed that line. And what’s that well, was very interesting, because they make very, they have a very engaged audience, and they make very, they make very targeted, like, very make very targeted content, because especially when you have a product that that’s unique, and it’s easier for them to talk about, and they know how to talk about it. So because it’s their zone, you know,
Yoni Mazor 15:59
Realizing it, the passion comes out of them the passion like this, is this, is it, this is it, this is what you should be using everybody. Okay, done deal, let’s move on, you know, it’s like, and since the argument is no friction,
Michael Lebhar 16:09
Yeah, and since then, I’ve probably launched 1000s of products and over 1000 products. And what I’ve realized is, that it’s so much harder to gain the marketing traction, when you don’t have that unique kind of story, whether it’s behind the brand or the product. That and you know, I think because, you know, we started with that early on, it kind of led, you know, a more natural structure, which I think is important, you’re seeing that to become more of a necessity now with the current landscape. But I think, you know, back then it wasn’t, and it’s what kind of led to that. So that’s kind of how the brand evolved.
Michael Lebhar 16:49
Very early on, around probably around 2016, and mid-2016, I was like, we have this really strong brand, and we already had another product Star Line. I’m like, I like Amazon, but like, we have this really good foundation, as I look at Amazon, it allowed us to build this foundation, I would have never been able to build a brand with you know, this, you know, unique product line, you know, a lot of inventory we had, and, you know, I would have never been able to build, you know, the resources behind it without Amazon, but when I looked at it, I was like, at the end of the day, what am I getting is this product, which is this brand and these products. So I was like, I started looking into other channels to sell on, you know, I had experience with eBay at that point we were doing, you know, we were doing probably like 25,000 a month on eBay. As we saw, we’re still reselling some of the other products we had, and we were constantly on that up.
Michael Lebhar 17:39
But Amazon was our main channel, and what really, came up was like, Okay, let me start looking into all the other channels. And we started looking into them. And what you know, what I realized is because our products were different, and you know, the brand was pretty established, people wanted, like more and more willing to work with us. So retailers, online retailers, which were more gated, were a little bit more interested. So you know, we started with just reaching out and trying to get on as many of these other marketplaces as possible. And what we soon realized was a lot of them, you know, take a lot of work and effort and our waste of time, but a lot of them, just there’s so much, it makes so much sense because you’ve already built almost everything you need to succeed. And it’s just putting in front of customers on Amazon, like the most important, it’s like, even if you build the best brand, the best products, it’s like now you have to figure out how to like get it ranked and getting constantly on the customers and profitably on these other markets. So
Yoni Mazor 18:35
you launch that it’s a break in you were able to break in, but once you reach that point, you have to keep optimizing it to maintain your position just to survive, just to maintain the business, so to speak. So So that alone will grow because Amazon as a platform is growing. So we have built-in growth, just surviving, so to speak, and keep optimizing and playing defines or speak. But you identified saying I need more growth, and your growth component was other channels, and the channels or other marketplaces that you can sell, you know, directly to consumers but any other channels were like when you wholesale to them and retail it was anything like that at all. Yeah, so
Michael Lebhar 19:08
We were doing a little bit to Janice because we realized we had a very unique customer. So we were we started selling to gyms directly. It was a little more difficult because a lot of gyms are owned by chains. And it’s like you have to work through corporate and that takes like a long time. And we were very small at that point on this until 2016. So I remember like, we were little kids, like technically rolling into these gyms and trying to sell them. But you know, some of them were interested because of unique products.
Michael Lebhar 19:33
So, um, you know, when we got on these other marketplaces, but what we realized was, we have a really good product and a good brand. By just being there, you make sales, and you don’t have to, you know, a lot of the money doesn’t get wasted and have to be spent to just survive. So, you know, that was an interesting kind of learning for me and that, you know, there’s a lot of marketplaces that we couldn’t sell on because, you know, it’s a long process and, you know, they have harder approvals and stuff but you know, slowly started expanding. And I remember we got on Group on, which we started making sales. There was a couple, a couple other like smaller marketplaces we got on there were more like, unique, but we started on our site, obviously, but the main one, and I really, I think it was leading into, like 2017 already was Walmart. And at that
Yoni Mazor 20:19
The point there, this is a pivotal moment for you guys. Because escort is focused on them on Walmart side of things. So this is the moment to take us there.
Michael Lebhar 20:27
Yeah, so this is a pivotal moment. But I didn’t realize it was a pivotal moment until like, a year and a half ago, and my company didn’t realize until really a year and a half ago that that was a pivotal moment. At that point, we were doing pretty well on Amazon. So around that point, our fitness brand was doing very well on Amazon. And we also launched a Home and Kitchen brand, where we launched a laundry basket I remember, which became like the number one in Home and Kitchen for like, a few days before we ran out. But so, you know, it was that was like an interesting kind of thing, we took the same approach. I’m like, you know, let’s build unique products in this unique space or find a few gaps.
Michael Lebhar 21:06
And it was kind of the same, you know, a process we went through. And I’m like, this model works. Like, let me try doing it in unique kinds of spaces. So it’s like, it was the fitness we were mainly focused on, but we did it in Home and Kitchen. And we even did it in packs. And I you know, that was all within that same period. And then when we decided to sell on Walmart, there was no, like Walmart seller center, there wasn’t any of that, that to work with, as an API partner, we applied, I believe we only got approved because even at that point, just because of our brands, and you know, they looked legitimate. And at that point, they had different, you know, requirements, they want a certain amount of revenue and things like that. And it was all I remember, once we got accepted, it was so annoying to get the listings off, there were always errors and things like that. But I was always pushing the team. I was I was
Yoni Mazor 21:55
Like there was a clock experience. Of course, if you compared to more established marketplaces like eBay and Amazon, correct.
Michael Lebhar 22:00
Yeah, it was very clunky. Like you couldn’t like a lot of things were just out of your control. It just it would be an error you couldn’t kind of fixing were like, you know, let’s not go crazy about it. Let’s just set up our products there. Do the best we can, you know, leave that leave it growing there? So, you know, during that time, you know, Amazon was our main channel, we were growing it a lot. We started getting into more issues with that I’m starting to get a lot more competitive. You know, I was still in school this entire time as well. So
Yoni Mazor 22:28
It’s incredible. You are still in billing all these you know, this whole business online business. You are probably in the seven maybe eight-figures. Were still in high school. Correct?
Michael Lebhar 22:36
Yeah. Yeah. So we were out we were doing seven figures in high school. And then when I graduated high school, I went up a second year on year of a Shiva on the East Coast. And then when I went to the East Coast, it was a much harder schedule. So this is right, when
Yoni Mazor 22:55
Was that? Or if Rockaway, Rockaway, New York? New York?
Michael Lebhar 23:00
Yeah. So for an LA boy, it was cold. But I remember in there was a longer schedule. And it was much harder to like, actually work. But I had you know, we already had by then our warehouse. You know, my brother was leading a lot of operations. But we had you know, we have your brother
Yoni Mazor 23:20
Is younger than you correct.
Michael Lebhar 23:22
He’s younger than me. You both are young, like young. Yeah. Yeah. Now I feel like I’m old but I used to be young. So yeah, and at that point, we were ready a little more established. So it worked out I would come back every few weeks. But that was the point where we had our pet’s brand new Home and Kitchen brand and our fitness brand. And you know, we were at this point as we were doing some fitness but it was getting more difficult. We’re coming across a lot of issues.
Michael Lebhar 23:49
And I remember we decided to launch another fitness brand that was more general fitness. So like our first preference brand was much more bodybuilding, Cross Fit, but we wanted this more be more of like a home brand. So you know, jump ropes, yoga products, things that just address a much larger audience, but still like unique products within that. So we launched our member. These like these resistance bands were a new kind of it was a new we wouldn’t take we weren’t the first person we were the second first people to brand to launch these fabric resistance bands. And it took off well on Amazon. And you know, it was new. The first seller we started with it wasn’t doing that well. And you know, we were taking off quickly. The resistance as Mark was already huge. It was like a big issue that all resistance bands were slipping, ripping and all these things we launched this product did well and because it’s such an aggressive market, we have it was our first time in an aggressive market.
Michael Lebhar 24:48
We started getting people attacking our cow attacking all this stuff. And I’m like we have to, you know, start establishing the business much more and we started coming into a lot of compliances She’s on Amazon, which wasn’t our fault. Like, you know, a lot of sellers kind of trying to mess us over. And at that point, our brand was built out, we were selling on Walmart, we’re selling on these other marketplaces, I started to start putting much more emphasis on, you know, growing these brands on other marketplaces. So we started, we started making sales on these other marketplaces. But we also started trying to consume a lot more. So I started spending a lot of time, seeing which influencers to work with and doing partnerships with them.
Michael Lebhar 25:28
What was unique is, like, what I’ve realized is, and this was something that I still work on a lot today, but I realized that early on was that influencers, you know, they don’t care about your product, a lot of times, they’ll just, you know, quickly, you know, pick it up, talk about it. And it’s like, you know, to get their audience engaged, they have to constantly be talking about it and constantly be promoting it. And it’s funny because one of my friends owns an agency. And he always says he doesn’t like clients who don’t work with him for influencer partnerships unless they pay at least six posts with an influencer. And it’s kind of a concept like I saw wasn’t working a lot of these. A lot of what brands are doing, they’re just paying for posts and trying to judge, you know how it went, it’s a lot of risks, because you’re paying a lot of funds, you don’t know. So I’m like, let me take a different approach. Let me reach out to these influencers who want to be, you know, entrepreneurs, they want their product, let me tell them, and we’ll make them the product. And what we did is we’re like, we’ll make you know, and we work with this wonderful answer. Yeah, like,
Yoni Mazor 26:26
They’re really bad at this product. Thing, but New Age,
Michael Lebhar 26:30
Exactly. And what was cool as it were, like, let’s do it as a partnership, and the sales spread on our site, cu