Amy Wees | How to Build a Successful Amazon eCommerce Business at Home
In this Prime Talk Podcast Video Sponsored by GETIDA – Amy Wees, Founder & CEO of Amazing at Home - shares how to Build an Amazon eCommerce Business and discusses her consulting agency, Amazing At Home. Amy shares her life story and her inspiring tale of entering eCommerce.
From her early childhood growing up in Wisconsin, on to working as an executive at Target, serving in the Air Force for 18 years, all the way to realizing the power of eCommerce which led her to open and successfully run 4 businesses from home!
Learn how from a modest upbringing knowing that she wants more, Amy was able to keep growing her myriad of skills, capitalize on her accomplishments, and establish herself as a successful independent businesswoman.
Find out more about Amy & Amazing at Home: https://amazingathome.com/
Find the Full Transcript Below
Yoni Mazur 0:04
Hi, everybody, welcome to another episode of prime talk today. I'm really thrilled. And I'm curious to have Amy wheeze with us on this episode. I see her everywhere. She's very, very prolific at this point. She's very active in e-commerce and I like what I see and what I hear. And I hear a lot of good things. So you know, I thought it would be interesting for everybody to get to know her and her story. She is the founder and CEO of amazing at home, which is an e-commerce consulting agency. Amy, how are you? Welcome on board.
Amy Wes 0:35
Amy Wes 0:36
Thank you for having me.
Yoni Mazur 0:38
A pleasure, really? So you are right now in
Amy Wes 0:41
Amy Wes 0:42
Yoni Mazur 0:43
All right. You founded the Spurs? Ah,
Amy Wes 0:47
well, you know,
Yoni Mazur 0:48
don't tell me the rockets.
Amy Wes 0:51
I'm actually not a huge sports fan. My husband is like the most epic sports fan. He's a fan of all sports. And he follows a lot of that, but
Yoni Mazur 1:02
you're very active. Like, you know, you're very athletic. I see that you do a lot of exercises out there. Yeah,
Amy Wes 1:07
I love to wait. I'm big into CrossFit and weightlifting and that kind of stuff. I'm you know, I'm just I love to go and watch a sport. I love to go to spurs games. It's a ton of fun. I just don't do a lot of watching sports on TV. But I guess many entrepreneurs don't do a lot of TV watching.
Yoni Mazur 1:25
I agree. I agree. It's that bug that you have the productivity bugs. So if you're going to invest time into something is better be beneficial if it's business or like I said, physically, you go to CrossFit, you feel great afterwards, you know, just releases all the right, you know, chemicals in the body to keep giving you that thrust and motivation. Alright, amazing. So you know, so you're out there in San Antonio, this is pretty much your episode. This is your show. So we would like to dive into your your story and your background. So please share with us where you're from. Where'd you grow up? How'd you end up? You know, in e commerce? Go ahead.
Amy Wes 1:59
Well, I was born in Wisconsin actually
Amy Wes 2:05
I was born in Seymour and I grew up in the fox cities in Wisconsin. So born in Seymour Green Bay, in a hospital in Green Bay. So you know, the Packers were big Packer fan center blood in Wisconsin. So I grew up around a lot of snow and cold. But I came from really poor beginnings, I was raised by a single mom. And we didn't, we didn't have much, you know, we worked very hard from a very young age. My first real job was babysitting at the age of nine. So I kind of always worried and I always had dreams to kind of, I had bigger dreams, you know, I've got something to prove. I'm going to be the best that I can be in school, I'm going to do whatever I need to do. I wanted very much to get out of Wisconsin, you know, there's nothing wrong with Wisconsin, it was a great place to grow up. But I just had big dreams. I wanted to travel the world. I wanted to see things I wanted to do things I wanted to go to college, you know, not a lot of people in my family had gone to college or, or done that. So I just really wanted that big career. I wanted to, to see the world and do many, many things. And so that's what I did. You know, I was a straight A student and, and I worked really, really hard. And I moved to California at 17 years of age.
Yoni Mazur 3:31
So for, the whole family?
Amy Wes 3:32
No, just by myself, I actually got married very young, to my high school sweetheart, and to move together.
Yoni Mazur 3:39
Yes. Anybody who wasn't into acting or anything Hollywood?
Amy Wes 3:44
No, no, actually, he was in the Air Force. So I moved there to be where he was stationed at the time. And you know, we're not still married. I'm married to a different guy. No, but anyway, you know, as a young marriage, but moved away, you know, moved to California and started going to college myself and started working. I worked in retail, I was an executive at Target, I ran their garden center.
Yoni Mazur 4:12
Wow, that's really awesome. That's a good position to have anyways, outside of e-commerce, you know, target is still in brick and mortar is a leading position and so interesting. So, so you saying you're executive at Target? How'd you get to let's let's talk for a minute. How'd you get there? I was in college after college.
Amy Wes 4:30
No, before college, I started as a cashier. And I was quickly bored because I'm one of those people. I'm an overachiever you know...I love a challenge. So I just kept saying, Well, hey, you know what else? And by the way, I have also been a manager at McDonald's for years. That was my first real, you know, job.
Yoni Mazur 4:48
I started actually getting a paycheck from some sort of a legal organization.
Amy Wes 4:52
Yeah, exactly. I was 14 years old when I started at McDonald's and I worked my way up to crew chief. I was running the, you know, restaurant I had a daily food budget, all that kind of stuff and the keys to the restaurant there.
Yoni Mazur 5:06
So for you taking responsibility young, it's pretty good.
Amy Wes 5:10
By the time I got into working in retail, I had already worked at Sears for a little while and during the summer, I'd always have like a couple of jobs, right? I would earn as much money as I could during the summer. So I've worked at a couple of different retail establishments, I had managed a restaurant with a pretty large, you know, at a very young age. And so, you know, I started at Target and I was bored as a cashier. I'm like, this isn't enough for me. I'm, you know, being just a McDonald's manager alone is a very busy job. So anyway, you know, I kept asking for more challenges, I kept learning more and more, and I started working in the garden center, and I really loved it. And I worked my way up to management there. I loved driving the forklift every day. I had clients that had rose gardens, the size of football fields, you know, so it was cool, helping people kind of manage their gardens and stuff. And then we moved, we move to South Carolina and the military moved us and we moved to South Carolina. And there I got a job as an accountant at a home health care agency.
Yoni Mazur 6:15
Amy Wes 6:16
Yes, I had a temp, I got in touch with a temp service. And they put me in with this. And I started working in accounting and, and I've managed so many of their accounts, and I really but before I did that, though, I learned how to do accounting because I was an inventory manager for a horticulture company...
Yoni Mazur 6:55
Which company, a horticulture company?
Amy Wes 6:59
So it was called Heinz horticulture and they took care of the plants for Kmart Lowe's, Home Depot, until we had 1000s and 1000s of potted plants. And my job there was to count all the pots every day and manage the live inventory. There was like a device or was it like a technological This is like old school, rocking, and then writing it down in my notebook. And then I had to manage their inventory.
Yoni Mazur 7:05
This company selling businesses horticultural play?
Amy Wes 7:08
Probably they're pretty major horticulture company, but I manage their inventory on 27 Excel spreadsheets. So that's how I was able to get into the accounting job because I knew you how to kind of manage numbers and reconcile numbers and stuff like that. I already did this massive Dude,
Yoni Mazur 7:27
I would assume this is a inventory in the millions or hundreds of millions and sometimes even billions of retailers.
Amy Wes 7:36
No it was 10s of 1000s of potted plants. And each plot looks like..
Yoni Mazur 7:41
Retail value of if you take them all together?
Amy Wes 7:44
Oh, yeah, definitely. Like we had trucks coming and going every day. So anyway, you know, this job at the garden center, and target led me to this other job. And after that, you know, my husband and I did not work out, we were young, we didn't work out and, and I was trying to go to college, and it was so hard to go to college, having this this job and accounting because they didn't if you had to close your books at the end of month, they don't care if you're gonna be late for class, they're like, no, this is your job, you're gonna stay here and reconcile..
Yoni Mazur 8:16
But your rigid framework for you.
Amy Wes 8:20
Yeah, it's hard to mold yourself into that framework. So I was like, I'm done with this, I'm not going to the people that were getting promoted in this company were like people that didn't have a large workload, what they would do is take the people that seemingly didn't have, you know, we're not really good at being the worker bees, right? And they would promote them to management. So I was like, I'm never gonna get promoted,
Yoni Mazur 8:40
You guys just put down upside down.
Amy Wes 8:42
Maybe, they just keep giving me more accounts. And I'm like, I'm drowning here. And I'm not doing well in school. Because, you know, I'm just there too much responsibility at this job. So I joined the military.
Yoni Mazur 8:53
You joined me? Wow, what a plot twist.
Amy Wes 8:57
So that's what I did for 18 years after that.
Yoni Mazur 9:00
18 years in the military. What do you do?
Amy Wes 9:03
Yeah so I did surveillance of aircraft during war time. So I helped with, you know, there's air traffic controllers that help the planes take off and land when they're at the airport.
Yoni Mazur 9:20
And then there's their station in South Carolina or your station
Amy Wes 9:22
No stationed all over the world.
Yoni Mazur 9:25
Got deployed? You got deployed? That's horrible
Amy Wes 9:28
Take this whole hour. And I might be able to tell you Oh, in a nutshell, in a nutshell.
Yoni Mazur 9:33
Yeah. We'll keep it simple. But I didn't expect that 18 years in the Army. Well, I did three years. Just you know, full disclosure, I did three years. But I did it in Israel, the idea of Israeli Defense Forces, very cool years, and it was a whole world of experience. And you did 18 years. It's like, for me, it's mind boggling.
Amy Wes 9:49
Yes, I did. I was also, you know, during that time, so in the beginning, I started in surveillance and then I got into actually being a military planner. So my job was to plan major campaigns. So I've planned a lot of the major campaigns that the military campaigns that you know about.
Yoni Mazur 10:08
So you know, Iraq, Afghanistan...
Amy Wes 10:11
Hawaii, yep. All of that kind of fun stuff. So, you know, but that actually really made me a great business owner, because I know how to take Impossible..
Amy Wes 10:22
Impossible situations on a large scale and break it down into executable goals. So anyway, I stayed in the military, you know, and then I transferred from being active duty military after like 10 years and moved in, became a civilian civil servant. And I moved into it. And I started doing cyber, I have a master's degree in cyber security. I was going to school the whole time I was in the military. So I have a couple of undergrads looking at the wall right now. But I've got a couple of undergraduate degrees in business, I have a business admin, business admin, business management, as well as aerospace technology. And then I have a master's degree in cybersecurity, as well as an MBA. So I went to school forever. I was a lifelong learner, and I just loved it. And luckily, I didn't don't have any debt, because the military paid for all that. So that was great.
Yoni Mazur 11:18
Unbelievable, it seems to me, even at this point, you choose so much from your early childhood dreams. And you're able to do that with no debt. That's like, you know, well, you know, army style.
Amy Wes 11:33
Yeah, so, you know, I met my husband when I was stationed in Korea. And, and we, you know, got married, we have two children. I have two daughters, ages 10 and 12. Or 13. She just turned 13. Oh, my goodness. So, you know, I started flipping products. I've always been kind of a serial entrepreneur, you know, and when I was in the Air Force, I started flipping products on Amazon and eBay.
Yoni Mazur 12:02
What was that? Like? What year did you start?
Amy Wes 12:03
Yoni Mazur 12:05
Amy Wes 12:08
Yeah, so I just started flipping textbooks and like, the stuff I had laying around my house.
Yoni Mazur 12:13
Some aircraft carriers, some radars from the Air Force. So like that, you know, some leftover fell off the airplane and oh, yeah, exactly...
Amy Wes 12:23
No, no, I don't like prison. So I avoid taking things from the givernmend.
Yoni Mazur 12:29
Not not from my military compound.
Amy Wes 12:32
Exactly. But yes, I have a bunch of textbooks and stuff like that. And just like CDs, stuff laying around the house. And when I realized that I could kind of do this and just, you know, make a little extra money on the side. I was kind of hooked. And so I would start going to like thrift stores. And I would remember I found this camera. And it was like a little Polaroid camera. And they were a whole bin of them at the goodwill. And they were $8 each and I looked it up back then you still have the Amazon seller app on your phone. Right? That's how you did it back then, now they use an inventory lab and all that stuff. There was no inventory lab back then it was bare bones.
Yoni Mazor 13:15
It was bare bones.
Amy Wes 13:17
So I looked it up on my phone. And I'm like, Okay, wow, this camera was selling used on Amazon for like 50 bucks. And I could buy it for eight bucks at Goodwill. And they had a whole bin of them. And so
Amy Wes 13:32
yeah, so from there. I went from like textbooks to Wow, there's some cool potential here. So I started that. We got stationed in Hawaii after that. I stopped doing Amazon because back then everything was merchant fulfilled. FBA wasn't really going yet it was just kind of getting started, I think in 2000. And like eight is when FBA really started to like, gain some ground. So since I was mostly doing merchant when I moved to Hawaii, I was like, Man, I'm not going to continue this. It's just too expensive to try to navigate the Postal Service stuff. So I really focused on my career when I was in Hawaii and then we moved back to San Antonio, Texas, so we decided to retire here. My husband's from Baltimore, Maryland. I'm from Wisconsin. We decided I took a job here working in it with the Air Force, and we decided to move to San Antonio, Texas. You love it here. It's a great military community and, and just a great community in general. It's a melting pot of people and cultures. And this is really a fun place to live. Um, so yeah, so anyway, I'm working at my awesome job and having a great time and, and I had a problem.
Yoni Mazur 14:53
There's a bug in your system.
Amy Wes 14:55
There's a bug Yeah. So my cats I have cats. We have three cats. We were cleaning the litter boxes every day. And they, I get migraines from smells like any kind of smells, I have a keen eye nose. And, and, you know, no matter what we were doing with these litter boxes, they were just really just stinking, and I'm like, you know, I tried every kind of litter box on the market, and they were all terrible. And, and so I was like, you know, there has to be a better way, there has to be a better solution. I'm not going to get rid of my cats. So my whole thing was, I don't want to get rid of my pets, I don't want to hurt my daughter's feelings, I have to get rid of my pets, I have to solve this problem, because I'm not gonna sit here with migraines for the rest of my life.
Yoni Mazur 15:43
You take this dischord that creates a situation where it all still sticks together, but it remains with harmony, you know?
Amy Wes 15:52
So Exactly. So that was a challenge. And yeah, every time I would I travelled 10 months out of the year for my job. And so every time I would travel, I would have a little notebook with ideas where I would try to draw, you know, concepts of, oh, maybe I could work, maybe there's a better way to do a litter box. So I worked on that for like six months. And every time I would finish a drawing, it would be like this really isn't better it's I've done something similar or I've already tried this. And it's not, it's not gonna work, right. So one morning, I woke up at like 2am. And I just like realize at that moment, I'm like, Oh, my gosh, the litter boxes are the problem. Like all this time, I've been focused on trying to create a better litter box, when really I just needed to create a better way to clean it. So I started ripping apart laundry mesh, and putting it on top of a bin and I was dumping the litter from the litter box like it was getting all over the floor. It was a total mess. But I knew it was an experiment.
Yoni Mazur 16:53
Amy Wes 16:55
So as soon as Home Depot opens, I go to Home Depot, and I'm all secretive about it, right? Because I don't know anything about inventing something, you know. So I'm like, I have this idea. And I don't want to give it to the guy at Home Depot.
Yoni Mazur 17:09
Thomas Edison at Home Depot running around getting, you know.
Amy Wes 17:11
Yeah. So I find this like hardware mesh and wood and some handles and I get like a waste in a trash bin. And I'm like, Okay, I'm going to go home and I'm going to build and I built my first prototype.
Yoni Mazur 17:26
With your bare hands not in China, you didn't wait for it to come and FedEx air, or to Home Depot, old school, build it your hands, wow.
Amy Wes 17:34
Which is actually the same thing now that I help other entrepreneurs, develop products and bring their products to market. That's what I recommend that they do. Even if they're just taking a piece of cardboard and taping it together, why go and try to find a supplier for something you don't even know works, right? It's just in your mind, you want to make sure that it works. And it's the size that you want, it's the shape that you want. And that you know, the concept works.
Yoni Mazur 17:58
Your methodology is basically to have your, on your trial and error, right as you test it out as much as you have your hands on it, it will probably, you know, bring better outcome. You know, at some point, let's go back to the tail, and then it will finally get to where you're at now, hopefully we get to the position right now. But yeah, I'm a little bit of suspense. So what happened?
Amy Wes 18:19
So I built my first prototype, and I dumped the nasty litter box into it, which was great because I didn't have to bend over and scoop or make a mess. And it all you know, it worked great. It was super fast. It was awesome. And I was like okay, well what the heck, like, this isn't a product, though. Like it works. And it's amazing. But how do I get this manufacturer? Just because I have an MBA doesn't mean I know how to source a product. Do you know what I mean? Like, I had no idea what to do. So I was like, Okay, I gotta get this to the point where I can get it manufactured. Because this is...
Yoni Mazur 19:02
Let me put a stop right there. So initially, you need it for your own needs, right? You created this whole solution for your needs. But did you immediately have the idea of you know, putting it to the mass market, or that happened only after you realize you have something that works? What was that trigger? What was that turning point?
Amy Wes 19:18
I knew the thing was, at first I just thought that I invented a faster way to clean the litter box. But all of a sudden, like a week later, and we were using this prototype every day. We didn't smell the litter boxes anymore at all. Like at all. We invited our friends over that have dogs you know because we thought maybe we're just nose blind. We don't know you know, so we invited our friends over that don't even have cats and we're like they'll surely smell the litter boxes right? And we brought them into our tiny laundry room. There were three litter boxes inside of it with no windows, no air, and we said we can't smell anything. We cleaned these yesterday with This prototype, can you smell anything? And they're like, it's amazing. We don't smell anything like your house does not smell like cats. And I've never been in a house that doesn't smell like cats.
Yoni Mazur 20:10
So basically, once you get the validation from another party, then you realize, okay, this is not an illusion guy got it? All right.
Amy Wes 20:18
Yep, I solved a problem here and then I went on the journey to patent it. I hired an attorney on upcounsel. And interviewed several attorneys. I did a ton of research on, you know, what goes into patenting something and what's a utility patent and, you know, nine patents and what is all this stuff, right? Like, I knew I could launch this product on Amazon. But I didn't know how to get from where I was with this prototype to that point, right. And so I started calling some of these design firms. There's all these product designs, like you Google, like product design, stuff like that. There's all these design firms. Well, those design firms want a minimum $30,000 just to take your, like inventhelp and stuff like that. They want $30,000 minimum just to take your drawing and turn it into a 3cat.
Yoni Mazur 21:16
So I've got a tip for you, obviously, at that point, it was out of reach, right?
Amy Wes 21:20
Yeah, well, I mean, I made decent money, and you know, I could afford it. But I was thinking there has to be a better way. Companies bring new products to market all the time, I must be missing something, there has to be a better way than just Shark Tank, which, by the way, we'll get to that part of the story I tried out for Shark Tank, but there has to be a better way than just Shark Tank, or going to invent help, right? And so I started cold calling manufacturers. And I was like, you know, somebody's gonna talk to me. I'm smart, I can figure this out. This is not the hardest thing I have done in my life.
Yoni Mazur 21:57
This is definitely a military grid right there. You know, you're like, I don't know what to do, how to fix this, install this, it seems like you know, it's pretty much of a small screen at this point. I was like, I'm head on, I'm gonna go into this battlefield. And when the smoke clears, I'll be able to shoot my bullets and hit the target. String. Incredible. Okay, so you call them benefactors? And what happened?
Amy Wes 22:15
And they are like, some of them just straight up, like hung up on me, especially in the US, you know, they're too busy to deal with it. They're not like Chinese manufacturers, right? And so you know, some of them just like, we're like, whatever, don't call us, we'll call you, right. And then other ones were like, Well, do you have a prototype yet? And I was like, Well, yeah, I do. And they're like, well, like, Is it ready to be manufactured? Do you have a prototype that's ready for mold making? And I was like…
Yoni Mazur 22:42
And this is after you had the patent, right? Well,
Amy Wes 22:45
Yeah, after No, not yet. I was still working on my provisional patent at that time.
Yoni Mazur 22:51
Some processing mode to have some legal, you know, ability to say this is my intellectual property, and then I'm gonna reach out to the factories. You know, if I do give a prototype, I don't have the exposure of saying, Oh, this is good stuff. We can use it there is somewhere...
Amy Wes 23:06
The good news is you could just in the US, you can just use an NDA and just calling a manufacturer and saying hey, I have this thing doesn't mean that you're giving up your ID.
Yoni Mazur 23:15
100% the the instrument you effectively use was it one trail was, you know, Richard trying to get tan and the second trail was and is that was instrument pretty good nondisclosure agreement. Yeah.
Amy Wes 23:26
Exactly. Until I could finish my patent process. Once you get a patent pending in the US, that's when you file your provisional patent, once your patent is pending, then you don't have to worry about nbas anymore when you're talking to us manufacturers. China is another story and I am a china sourcing expert. Now if I would have known then what I know now I could have saved myself over $60,000 and so much time and effort.
Yoni Mazur 23:50
That was your tuition, I will say when you eventually figured it out. After all the spending and all the trial and error, that's your that's your tuition, it's like you know, paying 60,000 a year on Harvard, and you get something out of it. What do you get? The ability to do something afterwards.
Amy Wes 24:05
Yeah, so I don't regret any part of the journey at all. It was amazing. So and I did end up with really great mold and really, you know, no, worries on that. But anyway, my product is actually manufactured in the US. Believe it or not.
Yoni Mazur 24:22
Good job. Unbelievable. Um, this is unbelievable now because I mean, I hope you're still in production now because of the COVID-19.
Amy Wes 24:30
Oh, I'm making crazy sales right now. Because people are home with their cats and they're like, Oh, this stinks.
Yoni Mazur 24:36
And you will not rely on overseas production because when it was started to hit overseas in China back in December A lot of you know sellers were hurting back then. And now they're hearing it's a double swing it started there and finally maybe they have the goods has no market or they can't even shipped FBA or whatever their restriction
Amy Wes 24:51
Oh, pro tip, have a US based warehouse. That's what we do. We have a USPS warehouse we order a container at a time and then we have an In stocks, so even our China base goods that we have, we got plenty in stock, and we're not running out anytime soon. So that's a really great way to do it. And then you're not also not paying high inventory and storage fees.
Yoni Mazur 25:13
What do you mean? On FBA you mean? Correct?
Amy Wes 25:14
Yeah, exactly. You know, and you have your stock right where you need it. If you're wanting to sell in multiple channels, you're ready to go because you have the stock ready. So when FBA started with these crazy shipping times, we were able to pivot immediately, we're like, we got stock, sent it merchant fulfilled, and then we started listing on, you know, a bunch of other platforms as well. So that's, that's the pro tip there is, you never know what kind of robots you're going to run into. And you definitely get more discounts ordering in bulk, I wouldn't recommend that with your first order.
Yoni Mazur 25:49
After you have established business, you got to know you got the income, hopefully, you got the profit, then you started, you know, developing an infrastructure which can accommodate, you know, a situation where it's more versatile across more markets, you have more legs of revenue streams, so you're just more grounded in a better business way. Okay, so let's talk to your insurance e-commerce after really 18 years in the Army, doing almost any type of job and pulling up the ranks of any type of big organization. You finally on your own, you know, you were, you saw a simple situation in your house where it was, you know, there was a discord, you took that opportunity to basically took a discord, it's turned to something positive and to create some sort of a new prospect for your life. That upon us production. And our you're an e commerce,was that was that the entry? Or was that the point where you enter the gates of?
Amy Wes 26:45
Yeah so we built our own 3d printer, we 3d printed it, I've luckily worked in a building full of engineers. So I utilized the people that I worked with and said, Hey, you got a 3d printer, hey, you've got experience in 3d CAD, let's make something happen here. We did all the designs and everything, I was able to find a mold maker. And then I had my molds made in China, and then I shipped them back to the US. Now why did I do that, because my product is large. And there's no point in making a large product, if you'll notice most of the products that are manufactured in the US are like large plastic products, because there's no point in shipping and paying the extra shipping.
Yoni Mazur 27:26
So it's not feasible to get, you know, sourced overseas because of the logistics around.
Amy Wes 27:31
Exactly. So I just had my molds made in China, and then the mold was put on a boat and ship and brought back to the US and my manufacturer is in Dallas, Texas. And so you know that just finding a US based manufacturer could be a show on its own, because it's really, it's really tough, I help people do that. Now, because of USBs manufacturers, they have a lot going on. And they don't really they're not really willing to take on like a small brand new brand. So I had to really get dig into my business roots. And I started taking classes at my local Small Business Development Center to learn more about IP and learn more about how to set up my business properly. Again, an MBA does not necessarily guarantee that right, you still gotta figure it out. So I started doing that. And basically, I started learning about marketing, learning about all those things that I needed to do to be a successful business. I like to say that Amazon is just a sales channel, it's not a business. So you know, you need to treat it like a business, whatever you're doing your private label, whatever, whatever your model is, treat it like a business and plan for it and have you know, and for me, planning comes pretty easy. But I know for other people that can get kind of overwhelming, but take the time to plan it out. And that's what we did, we planned it out, we learned how much money we would need to get started. We saved that up ahead of time, so that when we went to order our inventory, we didn't just run out of money right away and we had enough to do our websites and our launch and everything like that. Yes, we launched on e-commerce. I actually started by doing wholesale and because it takes a while to produce a product to develop a product and all of that my mold maker quit on me halfway through like cutting into the mold too many times the mold had to be destroyed and I had to start completely over.
Yoni Mazur 29:21
The one that you brought from China was destroyed?
Amy Wes 29:26
Yep, so then. So then I found a whole new manufacturer, a new mold maker and I had to start over so that delayed me so in that time, I launched a bunch of other products in my niche to build out the brand so that by the time I was ready to launch this product that I had invented that I had a pretty good line of products and stuff like that right before you're basically.
Yoni Mazor 29:45
So you know it's a one time hit like you know and I can do this yet you have those bands with one hand that disappear. You already had an album full of you know of good tracks. But you know this one, I could just tell you What I sense from you is to two amazing components is the grid but the relentless you just relentless, you know, these all these challenges that you know, that are arising in overwhelming speed that can overwhelm anybody just to say, I give up let me go back to my it position, whatever other positions you had before which will be you know exactly the target whatever it was. I mean, that doesn't stop you, it doesn't intimidate you, I would assume it's part of your connection back to when you were a child, that dream that vision. And that pursuit of that vision, that dream you just that grid is instilled in you and you relentless until you get it and all these stations you pass along the way just gave me more and more tools and ability to deal with that successfully. I think that's very inspiring till up to this point. So okay, so you're saying right now let's go back to the you know, the story. So you're in wholesale even before e-commerce right. But when you got into e-commerce, it was a straight Amazon or what was more like your own dot com website. And then eBay. Amazon all the rest of it was like the...
Amy Wes 31:01
We were already on Amazon and our own website with the rest of our products that we know, in our brand name and everything we had done, our trademarks, everything like that. And at the same time, I was earning a side income. So I am still working full time at my cybersecurity job.
Yoni Mazur 31:18
So throughout the whole process, you didn't leave your income, I mean, your steady income was still a major factor of providing you the ability and the platform to to start this.
Amy Wes 31:30
And then, because I'm a total nerd. I started studying listing optimization and stuff like that, because I had all these wholesale products. So I wasn't selling wholesale. I was sourcing wholesale to add to my product lines, right. So I was sourcing really great. You know, like we were doing q4 stuff we had accounts with like major toy companies and stuff like that. Like we were doing all kinds of different things. We were selling all kinds of stuff. If it's sold, we sold it right
Yoni Mazur 31:55
So this is on the reselling end?
Amy Wes 31:58
We were doing the wholesale Amazon model right where you buy products wholesale or retail and you sell them on Amazon.
Yoni Mazur 32:06
So reselling arbitrage reselling. It's not your own brand. It's other brands.
Amy Wes 32:10
Yes, exactly. So and then we also had our own brands, we had our own brand of products, plus, we were doing wholesale and retail arbitrage. So we were kind of figuring all this out. And during that time, I learned that SEO and copywriting is so important in e-commerce, I learned that I could change a listing and suddenly sell out of a product that sucks in another category. So I started getting into this and then I started sharing online my whole journey, I started sharing on Facebook, in my little amazing at home group
Yoni Mazur 32:44
Through video, through blogging, or both?
Amy Wes 32:47
Just Yeah, I would do these videos, and I would teach people whatever I was learning. So like, Oh, this week for business planning, y'all, this is what I learned. And I would just share it and people were like, I can't believe like people charge 1000s of dollars for what you're giving away for free. To this day, those videos are still all in my facebook group, and people can't believe it. They're just like, I can't you know, so I get messed up.
Yoni Mazur 33:08
I don't know if you realized this, but this is the point where you actually started doing some philanthropic, you know, this is like philanthropy and so to speak. Because, you know, if somebody can learn from the journey and actually achieve what you've achieved, and basically creating your own brand and creating the will for financial freedom, you know, sometimes you know, these days, knowledge is power is even more powerful than money. And if you donate that to atrophy, it's pretty impressive.
Amy Wes 33:34
Thank you. I just didn't want anyone else to go through what I went through, you know, and and I was like, you know, I can share this, there's, there's nothing, there's no reason not to share it, right, because we can learn from each other. And that's what happened. So I started writing listings just as a little side income as I was waiting for my productivity to go up. And I was able, I was able to turn around people's products like products that they weren't selling that they were like what's going on, right? I was able to rewrite their listing and turn their product around all of a sudden, they're selling out, and they're like, Can I consult with you? Well, you can get on a phone call with me and like teach me some of what you did and how you even think this way. And I didn't have a way to charge them for consulting. I wasn't a consultant, I was running my own brands and my own Amazon e-commerce businesses. And then I was still working full time. But I was like, I guess why not? I'm already writing listings for hire, why not consult with people so..
Yoni Mazur 34:32
It's basically the business model that was chasing you; you're not chasing this business model of consulting. Interesting.
Amy Wes 34:38
It was born out of nothing like I literally own the domain name amazing at home for I was gonna do a blog featuring people at home doing cool things. Like, since I had that domain name. I was like, You know what, I'll just use it for this consulting thing. I built a website over the weekend that was like a text based terrible website. But I put it out there over the weekend and I started consulting with people and I was continuing to write listings, I took myself off of Fiverr. And I started just selling listings on my own website, because I had enough of a following by then. And before I knew it, I literally, I would go out to my car at lunch at work, and I'd have a call. And then I will come home from work. And I would have calls until 10 o'clock at night, and I would go to bed and I would get up and do it all over again. And every person that I help was having so much success, they were spreading the word I never did any marketing or anything like that. They were just spreading the word like wildfire. And before I knew it, even if I started taking like two weeks off of work at a time just to catch up between my business and then helping everybody else with their businesses, right. And it was like, before I knew it, I was afraid to quit my six-figure job, because I was paying the mortgage. I was taking care of my husband who was working from home.
Yoni Mazur 35:57
You mentioned he retired already from the army, right?
Amy Wes 35:59
Yeah. From the Air Force. There's in the US, there's in the US military branches.
Yoni Mazur 36:06
In my country. It's one Army, Air Force and the Navy and whatever here is like each arm is like a whole army. It's a whole thing. So yeah, America is a superpower. Yeah,
Amy Wes 36:18
Yeah. So he had retired and he was actually a teacher. And we brought him home to work in the business. Because as you know, when you get started in e-commerce, it very quickly becomes a full time job.
Yoni Mazur 36:31
The doctor just pulls you in, it's the center of gravity right now. Just amazing how it is a repetitive theme that I see that it just sucks the talent in talented people who are full of grit and just relentless and relentless on finding solutions and staying innovative and creative. That is pretty much where, you know, the the space is out right now. And the people behind it. And pretty much this is a platform where we can expose that and share it out, you know, with the public out there. Okay, go ahead. Yeah,
Amy Wes 37:01
Yeah. So I just realized, like, I have to leave my job. I'm turning down clients, and there's not enough time in the day and I was terrified.
Yoni Mazur 37:09
t was a pivotal moment after the six figure, you know, job security mortgage Wow.
Amy Wes 37:16
And so yeah, I had a really close friend, that's also a life coach. And he really helped me figure it out. And I actually did a live with him at Amazong At Home. And that live session has changed a lot of people's lives because they have the same feeling, you know, problem of like, I'm terrified to leave, what do I do? And we just talked through that whole process and how I prepared to leave my job and how I prepared to let you know how my family and I prepared together, and I left, I left my job, I took the leap. It was terrifying. But that was in October of 2018. I now own four companies..
Yoni Mazur 37:54
A year and a half ago.
Amy Wes 37:55
Yes, I know, I own four online businesses. I have several private label brands. And I have I own a website called rebate jet comm where that's where we have we do Amazon rebates and stuff like that, for buyers and sellers. I have company digital fire and my podcast, the seller roundtable with my partner Andy or not. And then I have Amazing At Home, which we do trips to China twice a year . We had to cancel this one, but hopefully…
Amy Wes 38:25
Yeah. And then we did we have a mastermind group where we teach people, these fundamentals that aren't being taught, you know, outside of that aren't being taught in Amazon courses, you know, we are focused on really teaching people how to develop products, how to source off of Alibaba, how to, you know, thes fundamentals that are so important in business that I've learned from working with now, almost probably over 1000 clients, and their business is helping them launch helping them navigate this stuff. So you know, I started my own thing and really wanted to help people develop unique products and help them really make a differentiated product that mattered. So yeah, so I have Amazing At Home. And so those are my four, my four companies and, and it's only been, you know, a little over a year, and it's been a wild ride, and I wouldn't change it for the world. I love to say that my biggest fear when I left my job was not making it as an entrepreneur. And three months later, when I had tripled my income and didn't even realize it, when I finally came up for air on this journey, now my biggest fear is ever having to go back to work.
Yoni Mazor 39:39
Amy Wes 39:40
It's not for me, you know, this is my path. This is what I was born to do. This is you know, I was born to create things. I'm creative and I was born to grow things and take risks and I guess I just...
Yoni Mazur 39:54
You discovered yourself 100% discovered yourself you took that leap of faith and now the leap of faith. You're in a position where I'm never going back. I'm not gonna vote never going back because I tested this and tested myself, I'm free to create, I'm free to innovate, I'm free to help others. And look, I'm being rewarded much, much more than ever before. That is a wild take on life. Because it's rare. It's not something to be taken lightly.
Amy Wes 40:23
You nailed it, you nailed it. That's exactly it, it was just a nice show.
Yoni Mazur 40:27
Look, I know are you, we should probably have a whole a whole season for you. It's incredible. So hopefully, we might get a chance in the future to do another, a few more sessions just to kind of dive into experiences that you had on other elements. But sadly, you know, we were limited on time with this episode. So I would like to do right now is, you seem to me like an ocean of solutions and, and positivity and creativity and innovation. So what is your current message for message of resilience for the seller, Amazon sellers out there or e-commerce businesses out there, you know, facing the Coronavirus, COVID-19 process?
Amy Wes 41:11
Well, I want to remind people that it can be really confusing right now, some of your sales, if you've got all your eggs in the Amazon basket, right, some of your sales might be affected right now, don't be afraid to be open to all of the opportunities that ecommerce has to offer. For example, we listed our products all merchant fulfilled, and then we use multi channel fulfillment on Amazon, to fulfill those products in a shorter shipping time period. And so that is one example of how you can pivot and how you can get around these terrible shipping times right now. And how you can use Amazon to do it, even if you're overseas and you have all of your products at Amazon. But I also want to encourage you that there are so many channels or so many ways to make money in e-commerce. You know, taking advantage of those who learn a new skill during this time to learn print on demand is taking off right now. For example, there you know, if you use a third party product and service, even though merchants shut down, you can connect that with Amazon, list those products on Amazon and do very well. So just be open to learning more, be open to multiple business models in e-commerce, be open and be flexible. There is a ton of money to be made. There's a ton of exciting things to explore, maybe you know, you'll explore a new niche, you'll explore something, a new way to do something. And then finally, I want to remind people that there's a lot of people during this time that have lost their jobs and have lost everything that they have, right. And they are going to start realizing that those of us in e-commerce are thriving, and there's going to be an influx before we had 3000 new sellers on Amazon every day. That's about to change, it's about to get a lot more crowded. And so I want to encourage all of you to remember that your business is a business. It's not an Amazon business, it's a business and really focuses on what you can do to be a legitimate business in multiple channels. And you're going to win at the end of the day. And finally, be careful sourcing right now. Be careful sourcing because just like e-commerce is getting very crowded. A lot of the factories in China have suffered as a result of this crisis. And all the people who were working at those factories and stuff like that a lot of them are putting up their own flag.
Amy Wes 43:52
They’re putting up their own flag and calling themselves a factory. And there's going there's a lot of factories that are out of business and asking for upfront money. And they might disguise it as, Oh, well, we have to order these materials because we're out right now or something like that. But I just want to, I want people to make sure that they're crossing their T's and their dotting their eyes when it comes to sourcing, because there's a lot of businesses hurting right now. And I don't want people to be stuck in a position where a supplier is running away with their money or their inventory. So just take those extra steps and make sure that you're vetting your suppliers, that you're vetting your resources and that you're treating your business like a business and you are going to just be super successful during this time. And I wish everybody nothing but success and reach out anytime you have questions. If you know you're wondering like hey, Amy, you know, what about that sourcing thing that you said I my supplier is
Yoni Mazur 44:48
I want to give you a shout-out where can they find you. Give them a giveaway.
Amy Wes 44:52
I have a Facebook group Amazing At Home so you can look that up and join that's free and so that's a really great place to reach Otherwise, you can always visit my website as well amazing at home COMM And you know, you can find me at least on Facebook and reach out anytime you have questions or anything like that and, and we're always happy to help, always happy to help. We want to support you on your journey.
Amy Wes 45:18
We wish everybody nothing but success.
Yoni Mazur 45:20
Awesome. Wow. All right there you have it, folks. I mean, Amy's out there, she's available, she's really a storm of a lot of good things. So feel free to reach out. And I just to summarize what she said with the message of resilience says you pretty much have nothing better to do because you're stuck at home, instead of just crying on the situation take action. If anybody is a poster image of doing that, that's Amy, she was back in the day in Wisconsin, you know, dreaming and she had the time to take action, she took action already starting age nine, you know, babysitting job. So every point of the way takes action, you guys are stuck at home, you're stuck in a dark position, take action to get yourself out of it. So try new things, you know, read things, I try to open up more self sales channels. And when it comes to sourcing, be careful with your money, if you're gonna have to put money out, be extra more careful these days, right? If I kind of got it correctly, there are things you probably should take a risk calculator but other things that involve money right now. You know, be super careful with the risk. Alright, ml one. I really thank you so much for your time, it's been a hell of a ride. I hope someday we'll get to do some over because I feel like there's an abundance of things that you can teach and share with others, which you already have, but not in our platform. So I want to thank you again. Stay well, stay healthy, goodbye everybody.