Chris Thomas raised $110,486 on Kickstarter for his product (which he reveals in this episode). He now sells that product in his own ecommerce store as well as on Amazon.
Beyond the Kickstarter numbers shared, Chris also dives in and speaks about his other revenue numbers from selling his private label products using Amazon FBA as well.
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Get involved and ask a question about selling on Amazon and Chris may answer your question live on a future episode of Sellercast. Also, if you think you'd be a good guest for the Sellercast podcast feel free to tell us more about you and your company here.
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Hibermate.com (Chris' company)
Intro: Hello, everyone. Chris Guthrie here, host of the Sellercast podcast. In today’s episode, I’m interviewing a fellow Chris, which is always a treat. But this episode is great because he’s actually sharing his specific brand that he built, and along with that, a story of how he raised over $100,000 on Kickstarter. Today’s episode is a great one, so listen to this and let us know what you think in the comments by going to Sellercast.com to check out the podcast show notes. Thanks and enjoy the show.
Chris Guthrie: Hello, everyone. Chris Guthrie here, and alongside we have Chris Thomas from Hibermate. Chris, welcome to the show.
Chris Thomas: Oh, Chris, thanks very much for having me.
Chris Guthrie: Yes. I know you’ve been using Salesbacker since June 2015 for the Amazon side of your business. But I also know you have some components of – you did a Kickstarter. You have your own ecommerce store. And before we actually get into that Kickstarter project and some of the successes and challenges that you experienced with that, can you tell us a little more about your company and what it is you sell and why you started to sell?
Chris Thomas: Sure. Look, I’m going to try to keep it as short as I can. I used to work night shift way back in 1992 or 1993. So it gives you an idea of how old I am. And just during that process of trying to sleep during the day—it was very noisy—I created a product that blocked sound and light that I could sleep with. Roll around to about the year 2000, I decided with the Internet to try and commercialize the idea. And so I actually have been in business since about 2001, selling an older version of what I have now—which hopefully is a bit more improved on that old version. So that’s really the product history of the business. It just came out of a need that I had personally. And I felt that maybe a lot of other people might have a similar need. So why not create a product to help them.
Chris Guthrie: Yeah, I mean that’s the most common story I hear from people, that they created products that solved their own pain points. And that’s ultimately what we did here with Salesbacker as well. Let’s talk about the Kickstarter. I mentioned that before. You mentioned too that you started early 2000s, but the Kickstarter was much more recent, since I know Kickstarter hasn’t been around for that long.
Chris Thomas: Yeah, that’s right. Basically, what had happened was that the business had always been a part-time business. It was really just a sideline. And I was actually running a search engine optimization company in Melbourne in Australia for about seven years. And when Google released Google Suggest – or it was Google Suggest and Search. I think it was about 2009 or 2010. And I was kind of messing around with that when it first came out. And just on my own business, I starting typing in keywords to sort of see what other suggested search terms would come back. And the one that came back for me was when I typed in earmuffs—because my product sort of had earmuffs, but there are more pads—it came back with earmuffs for children, I think, and earmuffs for shooting. And one of the search terms that came back was earmuffs for sleeping. I was like, “Oh, so that means that there’s people looking for that product.” And so I clicked that result. And all of the results in Google were all about earplugs. And so to cut the long story short as I can make it, I threw up a Google ad so I could actually get a sense of how often people were typing in earmuffs for sleeping and variations of it. And it turned out that there were quite a lot. There were probably about 1500 to 2000 people a month, so a reasonably big audience. Once I went into variations, it was actually quite a lot higher. But it was quite an interesting little niche. And I thought, “Well, if there’s demand there and no one is selling a product that is earmuffs for sleeping, maybe it’s time for me to innovate again. And let’s make it and make it properly.” Fast forward then to the Kickstarter project, that was in 2013. So it actually took a few years to talk to product development companies and that sort of stuff and get a working prototype.
Chris Guthrie: Just to interject there before we get to the actual project, why do you think it took a little bit longer to actually get the prototype up? Was it a matter of just as you mentioned before that this is something on the side? Or was it just that there are some challenges that you’re facing in the production that you couldn’t find a supplier that could really meet those needs?
Chris Thomas: Well, actually, the biggest issue was the cost. The business was making a pretty modest annual profit. It was only doing about maybe somewhere between $40,000 and perhaps $55,000 a year, depending on the year with old model of the masks. And turnovers were pretty modest too, maybe $120,000 to $150,000 Australian a year in revenue. And the product development actually cost probably circled around $20,000 Australian to go from what started as originally commissioned – I think in about 2011 was when I really thought, “Okay, let’s just do this.” So there’s a bit of a gap between realizing there was a need and then actually going, “Now look, I need to get my skates on.” And then I hired a company called Cobalt Niche in Melbourne who had helped a friend of mine develop another innovative product called the KeepCup, which I don’t know how big is in the United States, but in Australia it’s pretty big. It’s a reusable barista-friendly coffee cup. And I really like that product. I owned a couple of them. So I spoke to my friend, Abigail Forsyth, at KeepCup and said to her, “What was it like working with Cobalt Niche?” She said, “It was great, but they’re slow.” And it turned out she was right. They were really good, but they were really slow. It took them about 12 months of prototyping and that sort of thing to where I finally had in my hand an ear cup, effectively. That was the main thing. I was quite happy with the way it looked. I was reasonably happy with the way it performed. And then it was just off to the seamstress. That took a long time to figure out how to actually attach the cup to some kind of mask mechanism. Look, it just takes a while. Everything takes about twice to three times as long as you think it should.
Chris Guthrie: Yeah. This was interesting because you were already selling a previous version and successfully. And then in 2011, you said you want to try and do something more involved. You mentioned hiring that company to help you out. So I guess would you use them again in the future, knowing what you know now? Or would you say, “Okay, maybe I want to find someone who could do it a bit faster?”
Chris Thomas: Great question. I may go back to Cobalt Niche again. But at the moment, what I’m finding—I’m actually living in Hong Kong—is that the new suppliers that I have are quite innovative. The Chinese are actually becoming quite innovative anyway, and they’re looking at the kind of version that I have, because I’m looking to innovate again and to improve on what I have, based on customer feedback and stuff. And already, they’re coming up with some really good ideas around materials and design. And I’m really quite surprised that there’s less need, I think, now to be using Western companies to potentially design or do product development. I think if you find the right partners in China, you can really work quite successfully with them to create very, very commercially ready products.
Chris Guthrie: It’s interesting. Do you know any companies offhand? Or is it more like, well, maybe you don’t want to share a source, or maybe you don’t know yet.
Chris Thomas: Quite happy to share. There’s one company that I’m really impressed with, although they are probably a bit more specific in my case. I use a company called Clave, and has a wonderful CEO. And our friend there called Lynda, who is an innovator. Her company makes headphones. So obviously, there’s a synergy between her business and what I’m trying to do. And she sort of developed her own range of pretty cool-looking headphones for the street and high-end stuff. We’ve been working together for the last sort of six months. And I’ve been really happy with her and had the direction and design that she’s taking. I’m hoping that at the end of this year, we’ll have a new model that addresses most of the issues that the current model has now, so we’ll see.
Chris Guthrie: That’s great. Yeah, that’s great. And I think the other thing too as I mentioned for listeners who have links to all these in the show notes. And I’ll talk to you afterwards, Chris, to get new links that I might not be aware of. That’s great.
So let’s jump forward to the Kickstarter project. 2013 is when you launched it. What was your initial goal for that project? And you can talk about how much you ended up actually raising.
Chris Thomas: Yeah, sure. Well, there were actually a couple of goals, Chris. It wasn’t just a financial goal with Kickstarter. It was more just to make sure that if I did make this thing – remembering that all I had was a pretty ordinary looking prototype – people would actually want to buy it. And so using the sort of lame startup type methodology was really just to validate that if I put this thing up, was anybody interested in actually purchasing it? And then the second objective was to raise some money. But really, what we did was put a nominal target of about $10,000 U.S. on that. What ended up happening was that we were able to smash that in about 17 hours. We were quite shocked given that Kickstarter backers were sort of probably looking for something a bit more innovative, a little bit more techie. I thought that something as passive as what this was wouldn’t get a lot of traction. But it still took off. And my friend Dillon and I, who I worked with on that project, ended up really having the tiger by the tail. Where we ended up after about 30 days or so was around about 110. So it wasn’t by any stretch a massive, groundbreaking Kickstarter project. But…
Chris Guthrie: That’s still pretty good though, six figures off a goal of $10,000. And I know you mentioned your initial goal was lower than – just to see if people were interested. But that’s pretty good, right?
Chris Thomas: It was brilliant. I mean it was, like I said, the tiger by the tail. I wasn’t kidding. I mean it was a really very busy period, very stressful period. But yeah, it was a really exciting time, definitely.
Chris Guthrie: So what are some of the stresses? You mentioned kind of the tiger by the tail. And so clearly, there were some challenges with that success, which is always the kind of the darker side of success that most people don’t hear about. You read about Kickstarters, and any other example, they raise a lot of money. But then it’s like, they got to actually make the thing. And you have all this money that you’ve raised during this time. Now you’ve got to go out and make it and deal with all the backers that are presumably giving you a hard time and everything. Can you talk a bit about some of those challenges and how you dealt with them?
Chris Thomas: Yeah, look, I’ll do my best. First of all, what you don’t see when you kick-start a campaign, really gets cracking, is just the amount of private messages that you’re receiving all the time from backers. So there’s obviously a lot of public stuff that you can see on the campaign page or the comments, obviously the pledges that are going on. There are lots of people that figure out how to contact you in different ways. There are lots of folks that want to become a supplier to you. There’s just a lot of input, dozens of questions coming in a day. You’ve got people that you think are probably trying to scam you because they’re saying, “We want fulfillment places,” that are saying, “We can stock your product and ship it to your backers,” people that want to get into business relationships with you, people that want to retail your invention, IP lawyers. People just come out of the woodwork and you’re just going from sleepy, sort of nothing to all of a sudden, there’s a lot of focus and attention on what you’re doing. That creates quite a lot of pressure. And certainly with the backers too there, they’re anxious to hit goal, the stretch goals.
Chris Guthrie: Just to jump in there, what are some of the stretch goals that you had? And then maybe you can continue on with some of the challenges. I’m just curious what you did with your product.
Chris Thomas: I am actually struggling to remember. What did we do? Oh, we ended up putting in a spare sort of foamy cushions that at the time – because that model is no longer in production. It’s changed a lot since the Kickstarter campaign because of the ultimate outcome of that campaign was that yes, we raised a lot of money. But we rushed and we had very little control of the manufacturing process. And to be frank, I think we oversold the capabilities of the product, which was a huge mistake. When we shipped, I wasn’t very proud of the initial version that we shipped out of backers. And I think there was quite a vocal group of maybe 50 or 60 backers out of the 2,200 that we had that really got stuck into us after the campaign had finished. So when they received their item, we had a lot of work to do.
Chris Guthrie: I wonder if that’s just a typical thing of early adopters. I know I bought a desk off Kickstarter. Actually, StandDesk was what it was called. And it was $600 or so. But I was tired of sitting all day at my desk. And I was sending emails, but not necessarily being too difficult, I suppose. And I guess it’s just interesting. It’s something you don’t think about, that there’s going to be so much communication and that early adopters in general, maybe because they’re taking a risk or just because they’re on Kickstarter, I suppose, just waiting for the finished thing and buying it on Amazon a few years or months or whatever might be later, when you bring it there. There are going to be some extra challenges.
Chris Thomas: I think a lot of backers really expect a world-class finished product, like a Pebble Watch or something. Really, it’s the reality of taking a prototype to market, particularly with Kickstarter, within the space of maybe three months, which is effectively what we’re able to do. I think we did in four.
Chris Guthrie: So you shipped out in about four months?
Chris Thomas: Yeah, it was a hugely challenging exercise. And bearing in mind too, I was working full-time, as was my friend Dillon who was working on the project. It was a really stressful period.
Chris Guthrie: I had so much to talk about where you’re at today now with your own store and that you’re selling on Amazon. But are there any other main takeaways that you’d say for someone that’s considering Kickstarter?
Chris Thomas: I think probably, just hit YouTube, do a lot of Google searches on other people’s projects to really understand because a lot of people have written extensively about their experiences on Kickstarter, and I don’t think mine is in any way unique. I can’t really think of anything off the very top of my head other than don’t oversell what you’re planning to do because if you do, that’s one thing that’s really going to come back and potentially bite you.
Chris Guthrie: Yeah, okay. I think that’s good advice. And then ultimately, reading. If you’re thinking about doing Kickstarter for a product that you want to do, then go out and just read other Kickstarter stories. And that makes sense. And I think even sharing what you said is good advice as well.
Chris Thomas: Thanks.
Chris Guthrie: Okay, so let’s continue on then. You did a Kickstarter campaign. You pushed it out, maybe a bit faster than you initially wanted to. When during this process did you launch a store for your brand? Did you launch that pretty much after the Kickstarter campaign had finished and you finished pushing those out? Or did you start selling on Amazon first? How did that sequence of events occur? I’m just curious how that worked out.
Chris Thomas: That’s pretty straightforward. Remembering too that I was also selling products off my website, the original version, to the point where you received the product from Kickstarter. Now probably the biggest mistake I made on the Kickstarter campaign was to manufacture it – because we’d made quite a lot more money than we expected. I ended up making about 8000 units of that product. And so we shipped out around about 3000 to the Kickstarter backers, all of which was done from my house. And I don’t know if you know what it looks like when you see 3000 products in your house... It’s just a sea of logistical chaos. But then we were left with another 5000 units. Now what that meant was that I had no more money left to commission a new production run. So we were kind of forced in 2014, the last year, too—I will answer your question in a second—just maintain selling the existing or the Kickstarter version of the mask off the website. And what we’d done was that I switched from Magento late in 2013 as well to Shopify, the platform that I’m still currently running and quite like. So I was thinking about Amazon the whole time because at that stage—I think in early to mid 2013, at the same time as launched on Kickstarter—the first amazing selling machine campaign had launched. And I’d been watching that and thinking, “That looks really amazing. How would it be like to sell my product on Amazon?” I was just too busy to even think about it. So really, it was just let’s just sell as many of the Kickstarter versions as we possibly can on Shopify through 2014. And I will use that money to spend on fixing all the issues that a lot of the Kickstarter backers had sort of jumped up and down about. I guess a good thing was with that negative feedback, I knew exactly what I had to fix. There wasn’t any doubt.
Chris Guthrie: Yeah. I like that it’s clear that you see this as a continuing story, an evolving product. You’re going to continuously improve. Even looking at your site, you’re talking about the 2015 version and as you’re kind of going along. So how did that work out for you then? You mentioned you had the extra 5000 units. So did you end up selling all those in 2014?
Chris Thomas: Almost. We’re still selling them now. I’ve got them discounted on the site at the moment on hibermate.com. I was talking to my assistant Paula the other day who handles all the stock and the fulfillment. She was saying there are probably about 300 left or maybe 200. I can’t remember, not many. But through 2014, there were a few other relationships that I managed to build during that time where I was able to get some additional help to modify the ear cups because they were way too thin. They didn’t block enough sound. So we made some minor tweaks to the ear cups to thicken them up a bit. And also the sort of foam that we were using, we were trying to use sound suppressing foam, but it wasn’t very good. So we just improved the packaging and the mask itself and the ear cushions and the cups. Basically, everything was updated through that time. And that then arrived at the warehouses in my assistant’s place in Australia. I think it was January of this year. So we had another 6000 units of those. I was planning through the second half of last year towards the end of 2015 to have them shipped, a batch of them. I think about 2400 units got shipped to Amazon. So we were live on Amazon, I think, about March in 2015.
Chris Guthrie: Okay, March, so that’s not too long ago from when we’re recording this. How’s it been going now when you’re running both platforms? I think your story is a little bit more unique than some of the people that we were listening because a lot of them start just on Amazon. Then they’re looking at shifting and doing their own store eventually. But how has the sale split been for you? I know that on your site, you do income reports, which is definitely more unique to sellers out there. But it’s something you like sharing as a part of your story. So can you share the split, maybe just since you started selling on Amazon and just that more recent time period?
Chris Thomas: Yeah, sure. I’m actually on vacation at the minute in Australia. I haven’t had a lot of time to update the site. So it’s actually a little bit out of date when we’re recording this. But it’s actually split pretty much 50-50, although certainly in May and June of 2015 and into July 2015, Amazon has really quieted down. And I’m not sure whether that’s because of not as kind reviews of the newer version that we’re selling on Amazon. Our review ratings have dropped a little bit. It’s hard to say. But my feeling is it’s probably seasonal at the moment. The website is actually performing quite strongly. We’re probably doing about maybe $600 to $800 Australian a day off the main site. And on Amazon, last time I looked, yesterday we did about 5 units for about $250 or close to $300. The main website at the moment is doing double that. It’ll be interesting just to see how that pans out over the next few months.
Chris Guthrie: Yeah, collectively, low five figures per month. And you mentioned this is still something that you’re – Are you still doing this on a side? Or is it just now you’re shifting into doing this your full-time thing?
Chris Thomas: That’s another great question. What I’m hoping to do, it’s not really to support me at all or the business. At the moment, I’m definitely in a great phase again. It feels like I’ve been doing this for years. Basically, what I’m doing is I’m putting every single cent of profit back into – First of all, paying down a little bit of debt that the company racked up when we made the last batch of 6000. I think we got maybe $20,000 Australian to pay back. That’ll take maybe another month and a half, maybe two months, depending on what happens. And all other profit is then poured back into product innovation and development. And I’m hoping that I don’t have to do this again.
Chris Guthrie: Yeah, that’s what my next question is. It sounds like a lot of innovation and changes, but when will it be just “done”? We’re using air quotes since for audio you can’t see.
Chris Thomas: It’s also a big passion of mine. I actually really enjoy working with designers and innovating and coming up with new ways that we can improve things. I think a lot less of the revenue will be going into product development and more will be coming out. And my goal in 2016 is to basically have the company at a position where it will be able to support me financially and the family a little bit as well. But at the moment, to answer your question, I’ve been extremely fortunate in that the reason why we moved to Hong Kong is because my wife took a role in Hong Kong with a large Australian telecommunication company. And she’s paid quite well. So I’ve actually become what’s known as a trailing spouse there, which means that I kind of look after the children and take care of the house and run Hibermate, the little company in Amazon and all that sort of stuff, so very, very lucky individual.
Chris Guthrie: Yeah, that’s great. I think that ultimately, if you look at anyone’s desires for building business, a lot of times, it’s spending more time with family. So if you’re able to do that well at the same time as watching your family, then that’s awesome.
Chris Thomas: Just can’t thank my lucky stars enough, to be honest.
Chris Guthrie: Yeah. Another thing I’m curious about because I’m sure that people are thinking this and wanting me to ask it. How are you actually getting traffic to your store? And how are you generating these sales? Is it just kind of a byproduct of your success at Kickstarter and maybe the press and just the people talking about your product and just kind of that carrying you through to today? Or is it something else that you’re doing that’s creating that success that you’re seeing on your store, which I believe you said was $600 to $800 Australian a day?
Chris Thomas: Yeah, that’s exactly right. There are probably three main channels that I’m using, and there’s one that I should use more and I don’t. But anyway, I’ll talk about it in a minute. The main thing is SEO. I mentioned at the beginning of the interview that I used to run a search engine optimization company. So what I’ve tried to do is really own the phrase ‘earmuffs for sleeping’ and ‘sleeping earmuffs’, all the kind of keywords that move around that theme. So I search on Google. I search on Bing. I search on Yahoo. They’re same search engine, actually. Even I search on Amazon. I just really want to absolutely own and dominate that vertical. So that’s the first thing. So that drives, as I mentioned, quite a lot of traffic through to the site and quite a bit through to Amazon. I think the Amazon product page is also starting to rank organically at Google and other search engines because of the optimization I’ve done there, subtle keyword stuff.
Chris Guthrie: Just to interject, what are you doing to rank in Google? Are you doing a lot of link-building? Or is there some other stuff that you’re doing from a search perspective? You don’t have to dive in too deep because we don’t have as much time... Maybe we’ll have to do an episode on that, but yeah, go ahead.
Chris Thomas: It’s keyword optimization. And look, really, I was a bit slack. I just took the About Us on my website and just optimize that and just use those keywords all through it. And then I built some internal links. Remember that the site has actually been around since 2001, it actually just has a lot of inherent authority for 14 and 15 years. So that really helps. But definitely, the Kickstarter campaign also generated a lot of links and referral traffic too. And that’s definitely really helped, the sort of the page rank authority and traffic, around that theme. So you just sort of own a theme. And notwithstanding the fact too that I SEO’d, the Kickstarter campaign page. So that…
Chris Guthrie: Oh, nice.
Chris Thomas: That worked really well. And then there are links from that campaign page which ranks organically at Google that drives traffic back to the site. I was pretty strategic, I think, I hope, around the way that I sort of structured that whole campaign. Understand that you can’t actually change the Kickstarter campaign page the second that the Kickstarter campaign ends. So I sort of set up redirection, sort of little fancy things on those links so that I can point them wherever I want to. In fact, what I could do is actually redirect some of those links, just thinking out loud, sorry, Chris… to the Amazon product page.
Chris Guthrie: That’s cool because as far as I understand, with Kickstarter, once the campaign is done, you can’t really do anything to that campaign page. So if you’re able to use links that you can redirect later, then there’s a way to sort of keep it up to date.
Chris Thomas: That was my plan, yeah.
Chris Guthrie: That’s a brilliant tip right there. I like that.
Chris Thomas: So you just drive through one redirect from a vanity URL or something.
Chris Guthrie: Okay. Let’s continue. So the other two things, SEO for your site, and then one of the two elements.
Chris Thomas: And then the other two is just paid advertising. There’s a bit of what’s called Google retargeting and occasionally Facebook retargeting as well from the site. So I drop a lot of cookies out onto visitors’ browsers. And then I follow up with ads that they’ll see and sort of chase them around, you know, the creepy, stalky ads. They’re pretty effective. And I’ve got brand campaigns and product keyword campaigns. So if anybody is typing in earmuffs for sleeping, that sort of stuff, I’ve got ads that show up, I think, on Bing and Google.
Chris Guthrie: I have to ask these questions because I have no shame. So what would you say your budget is for those, if you’re able to share it? I know people want to know, so that’s why I have to ask.
Chris Thomas: I think I spend about U.S. $350 to $400 a month.
Chris Guthrie: And then do you know roughly how much that generates in sales?
Chris Thomas: Absolutely. That’s where my analytics – It’s so important to set up your Google Analytics to understand your return on investment. I’m not going to spend that money if I’m not going to make a lot more back. We’d be generating probably around about sort of $3000 to $3500. Probably 10 times what we spend on Google, we get back in revenue.
Chris Guthrie: It’s awesome. That’s fantastic. That’s very good takeaway as well for people that are looking at doing their own store to do retargeting and remarketing.
Chris Thomas: Yes, definitely. Don’t put a lot of budget into it. It really also just creates that top-of-mind awareness. People get busy when they – You’re not going to convert everybody and get. But you get a lot of people coming back to the site, and they will convert.
Chris Guthrie: We don’t have a lot of time left. On the subject of retargeting and remarketing, do you have any resources that you’d recommend to people? Or is it just a matter of just go try it, just use one of the free Google – Or all the different engines offer these free $100 credits. Use that first credit to see how you can take it out?
Chris Thomas: Absolutely. Google does make it really easy because you can create really cool banner ads. And Google has a sort of a banner ad generation machine in there which creates perfectly workmanlike ads that show up. It scans your page and it pulls out images and builds an ad for you in lots of different sizes in HTML5, which means it’s friendly on a tablet and it’s not flash. So definitely, just invest a bit of money, but make sure you know how much you’re getting back. So that’s where in analytics, you want to set up the ecommerce tracking through Google Analytics, which is free. And if you can get that to work for you, it pretty much works straight out of the box for something like Shopify, which is fine. So it’s definitely worth having a try.
Chris Guthrie: Okay. Two more questions and then we’ll wrap it up. Are you doing any list building or anything like that through your website?
Chris Thomas: That is one thing that I do a little bit. And I have a lot of previous customers. So I’ve been quite fortunate in that when you have customers, you start capturing all their details. Not so much on Amazon, of course, but certainly through your own store, you tend to own the audience. Basically, the strategy with Amazon at the moment is that I’m starting to go a little wider. I’m actually just about to launch a second product on Amazon, which is a compact latex travel pillow. It’s pretty boring, but it sort of complements the mask. I’m going to start sort of going a little wider and travel vertical on Amazon. So I’m sourcing lots of products off Alibaba and that sort of stuff at the minute. But what I’ll be looking to do is to go out to the group of previous customers on my website that live in America that are probably Amazon customers as well. And I’m going to sort of run promotions to that group to really get my new Amazon products moving with not so much giveaways but certainly really heavily discounted new products that I’m releasing there to try and get those products moving.
Chris Guthrie: That’s great. I think we need to wrap up here, but I love to maybe have you back further along down the line so you can share how you’ve been doing with adding additional products to your company and kind of expanding overall into the travel space. I’ll be curious to see how that works out for you from your ecommerce store site and also on the Amazon site.
Chris Thomas: Yeah, I’ll be more than happy to share all that. I know a lot of the Amazon forums and groups and things that you can get involved with are very secretive about what they’re doing in their strategies and the products that they’re selling, around all that. I’m just going to maintain a very transparent sort of story to tell. And hopefully, I don’t lose any money which I have on Amazon. I’ve managed to, with a failed promotion, lose about U.S. $42,000 this year.
Chris Guthrie: Yeah, I read that story. Just real quick to touch on that, that was from doing a promo code. You didn’t uncheck a box or there’s a box, something like that.
Chris Thomas: Yeah, radio checkbox. I just didn’t realize that that was green. I didn’t know what I was doing. I was trying to do something nice.
Chris Guthrie: I know exactly what you’re talking about. It’s definitely something that it seemed at Amazon, we just have off by default. I’m sure that the most common use case is that people are doing promo codes that are hidden for their audiences but their by default is to make them public.
Chris Thomas: Huge blunder and a massive financial blow this year. But we’ve learnt from it. I’ve moved on from it. And hopefully, we can have a bit more success in the next six months or so, and we’ll see how we get on.
Chris Guthrie: Yeah. I think any time there are big mistakes or challenges like that, it’s better to just accept, “Okay, well, that’s what happened, but time to move on and have better future ahead of us ourselves.”
Chris Thomas: Totally agree. Chris, the one thing I’ve learnt in my business life is that you definitely learn a lot more from the mistakes that you make than the successes that you have. It’s good to own up and share the mistakes that you make because that then helps get it off your chest. And you might get a little bit of sympathy along the way, which might make you feel a bit better. But it’s funny how many people crawled out of the woodwork to – that’s unkind way to describe it. A lot of people contacted me privately saying that they made exactly the same mistakes. So you often find that you’re not the only one. And it feels like all is lost.
Chris Guthrie: Yeah, that’s definitely true. And I think that your last point about learning a lot from your mistakes is a good ending note. So I think on that side, I’ll say again. Thank you for continuing to use Salesbacker. I appreciate.
Chris Thomas: I just love that product. It’s great. Thank you.
Chris Guthrie: Yeah, thank you so much. And also to continue following your blog and your story, I’m sure that a lot of people discovering you from this episode are going to continue following along with you as well and learn from some successes, and also maybe some mistakes, along the way. But everyone can be better for it.
Chris Thomas: Thank you, Chris.
Chris Guthrie: Thank you so much as well, Chris.
Chris Thomas: Your humble servant, thank you. Good night, bye.
Outro: All right, that’s the episode with Chris. Hopefully, you enjoyed that. I really loved to hear his experiences talking about selling on Kickstarter. I know it’s not rainbows and puppy dogs when you raise a bunch of money on Kickstarter because then you have to deal with fulfilling all those orders, and that can be a big challenge. So be sure to check out Sellercast.com/2 if you want to look at the resources that were mentioned in this episode. The other thing I want to tell you is you can also sign up for Salesbacker by going to Sellercast.com/now to get 60 days of free access. If you want to get more product reviews for the products that you sell on Amazon, that’s exactly what you do, one of the tools that we built to help you accomplish that. And additionally, you can also win six months of free access. And if you’re already a Salesbacker user, this goes ahead and gets added to your account. But you can do that by going to Sellercast.com/contest. So Sellercast.com/contest to check that out and Sellercast.com/2 to look at the show notes.
Thank you so much for tuning in. And let us know what you think of the show. I’m always looking to find new ways to improve it and also more great guests to have on. Thank you so much. Enjoy the rest of your day.