Is it possible to identify a future trend, manufacture a product and put it up for sale online with only a couple hours of work? Two Australian entrepreneurs did, and they shared their techniques in a short but informative blog post.
Here’s a recap of how they did it, and how anyone else could do it too.
FIRST, GET AN IDEA
The first thing these entrepreneurs did was identify a good product to sell. They wanted to make a quick, honest buck by riding the wave of a hot trend, so they studied crazes in other countries that hadn’t hit Aussie shores yet.
They found a prime candidate on Amazon.com’s Top 100 list, a ranking of the top selling items on Amazon.com.
Their golden ticket? Loom Band Kits – colourful rubber band bracelets kids can put together themselves.
As is almost always the case, getting the idea was the easy part. The challenge in bringing an idea into cyber-reality is threefold:
1. Verifying there is a demand for the product
2. Developing and manufacturing the product and packaging
3. Drive awareness
It’s these three challenges that keep most ideas from ever materializing.
The Aussie entrepreneurs consulted Google’s free Keyword tool to see if anyone in Australia was searching for Loom Band Kits. Hardly anyone. Rubber band bracelets were ripe for the picking. As far as they could tell, no one in Australia was even selling the kits yet.
PROTIP: For those of us living in North America, look to Japan and BCN Ranking for the next craze. If you know of other / better sources, please share in the comment section.
With challenge number one handily dealt with, it was time for the next phase
DESIGN THE PRODUCT AND MANUFACTURE
Having tried repeatedly to contact the product owner to license the brand (for sale in Australia) and receiving no response, they decided to “re-engineer” the product with the help of a Chinese manufacturing company they found on Alibaba. They made sufficient changes to the product, then hired a very affordable graphic designer to jazz up the packaging.
They placed the order with the manufacturer for 5000 items for $1.05 each (the smallest amount they could buy). That was in July 2013. They received the finished product in December 2013.
Challenge number two was taken care of! Now they needed to get the word out.
MARKETING THE PRODUCT
The website the Aussie Entrepreneurs had developed for their Loom Band Kits was only bringing in a trickle of traffic. They weren’t sure what to do to increase the number of website visitors. Advertising with Google Adwords was too pricey, yet getting stuck with a garage-full of inventory would be even more expensive.
After several disappointing weeks of poor sales, they listed on eBay. That’s when the sales started kicking in. On their peak days, they were selling 70 to 80 items per day.
PROTIP: If you want a quick way to validate an online business idea, check out Slingput.
There were a few unpleasant surprises along the way, but in total they sold about 2700 units (they needed to sell 500-600 items to be profitable) which would make their total take-in at about $28,000. Not bad for what they say was “only a couple of hours of commitment and dealing with suppliers.”
You can find out what the gotchas were in the entire article here.
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