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If you're looking for ways to drive more sales that don't rely on the Amazon platform, we've got a change of pace for you in this episode.

Karen joins the show to talk about how to take the products you're selling on Amazon and get them into physical retail stores.

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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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Show Notes and Links

Podcast Transcript

Intro: Hello, Chris Guthrie here, host of Sellercast. And in today’s episode, I speak with Karen Waksman who I met at a conference where she was actually speaking at the event.

What she’s talking about in this episode is how to get your physical products into retail stores. She’s covering all about that. I ask her a lot of different questions about how it’s possible to do that. I had a lot of fun interviewing her and talking about this process.

So, let’s start the recording and I’m sure you’ll enjoy this episode.


Chris Guthrie: Hello, everyone. Chris Guthrie here. And today, I have on Karen Waksman. Thank you so much for joining us, Karen.

Karen Waksman: Hi, Chris. Excited to be here!

Chris Guthrie: Yes. I’m excited that you’re here. I’ve seen you at a couple of events, and I’m glad we got a chance to connect at the last one. And for those that may not have heard of you, I’ll just briefly tell them a little bit about yourself, and then you can kind of chime in.

I know that you help that are selling physical products get that into retail stores. Is that the gist of it or you can elaborate?

Karen Waksman: Yeah, that’s actually precisely. I have a company called Retail MBA. My whole purpose behind Retail MBA was to help a physical product company expand their business, generate new revenue and sell into retail chains. So I help people get their products into Walmart or Best Buy or Home Depot or Macy’s or whatever it is depending on their product type and what their dream is, what dream retailer they want to go after. So, I provide education, coaching and mentorship opportunities to help them do that.

Chris Guthrie: Cool! I know the vast majority of people who are listening today are either already selling on Amazon or they’re planning on doing it and they’re listening to this podcast to get more advice and ideas on what they can do with their business moving forward.

So do you work with a lot of Amazon sellers that have had some success on Amazon and then they use that as the proof that they can bring then to retailers? How does that work?  

Karen Waksman: Yeah, that’s a really good question. To be honest with you, I have been teaching people how to get products into retailers for years. And Amazon started blowing up just a few years ago. And so, to be honest with you, I have worked with a lot of ASM’ers and Amazon people.

I’ve spoken at the ASM Amazing Selling Machine events. I’ve spoken at Rapid Crush and have worked with Jason Fladlien closely. I’m doing trainings for their audience and stuff. So I’ve spent a lot of time with Amazon people in the last bit of time.

So, I spent a lot of time with you guys, yes. I work with many Amazon folks. And the reason why I love the Amazon people, they’re so different than the inventor people that I work with.

Inventors are people who create products from their own concepts, their own minds. They bring it to market. They bring it to life. They’re trying to figure out how to monetize that aspect. But as an inventor, you’re trying to figure out how to go to China and develop a product and how to package. There’s a lot of nuisances. And usually, inventors are people who haven’t actually done any of these stuff before.

Whereas people who sell on Amazon, they’ve created physical products, because you’ve already gone through the ringer, you’ve already figured out how to bring to China and bring stuff in, you guys are already selling things or about to or whatever, you’re learning how to do that and stuff, you guys are really, really advanced.

So, for me, it’s just more fun because you guys can do phenomenally well on Amazon, and there’s a whole opportunity for you to grow your business and stabilize your business by going after retail as well.

So, I love the Amazon people because they can continue to sell on Amazon and it has nothing to do with what’s going on in the retail space for them. It’s a whole new revenue stream, a whole new way of growing their business.

And again, since Amazon is so big and fluctuating and so forth, retail is a little bit more stable. So it’s just a nice add-on to your existing business.

So, I really enjoy talking to the Amazon folks. And I do a lot of stuff with them.

Chris Guthrie: Yeah, that’s great. And I think sometimes too, it’s funny. I talk to a lot of sellers that start out where they’re doing the private label on Amazon. Then their goals then kind of … where they’ve worked with their customers for so long that they’ve identified some unique space that they could actually create a new product. So, I feel like we’re going about in a different way.

Karen Waksman: It is! It’s so different than what I’m used to, and I love that. You guys have got the bug for creating physical products. You have the system down or you’re figuring out. And it’s like why wouldn't you come up with new, creative, interesting ideas to keep adding to your product line? And why not take those concepts and what you’ve learned with Amazon and just create a new skill set for yourself, and then make even more money in a whole new world.

A lot of people who go and buy products from retail stores might not necessarily be the same customer you’re selling to on Amazon.

So, it’s just a whole, big, expansive world. And retail is just another way of making more money. So that’s why I love you guys, and I have so much fun with this conversation.

Chris Guthrie: Yeah, yeah. So, for people wo have been listening for a while — is the link to the episode we did with Susan. She had her product into smaller retail stores. And the way that she did that, they were local in her area. That’s how she got in.

What’s the typical process of someone who’s coming up to this where they’ve got a product that they’d like to try and get into retail? And do they go for smaller stores to start out with?

I guess maybe explain what the process might be if someone wants to go that way if they really have no idea and where they would even head.

Karen Waksman: Well, the reason why I teach this stuff is not because I want to scare anybody about getting their product into those big Wal-Mart stores and so forth, the big Macy’s store. It’s not that. It’s just that as a person who likes to make money, who likes to expand their business and grow and stuff, to me, it takes the same amount of effort to go after a big chain store as it is to go to your individual stores one-on-one.

So, to me, I don’t mind exploring the mass retail front because in the retail space with the bigger retailers, typically, the way it works is one buyer buys the products for all of their stores.

So, to give you an example, if you’re dealing with Home Depot or Lowe’s or something like that, if you have a specific product for that company, what you’re looking for is the particular buyer who buys products that are similar to yours.

To give you an example, if you have a consumer electronics product, there’s usually a consumer electronics buyer. There’s even an underwear buyer. There’s usually one buyer who buys products for all of their stores at these chain stores.

So, when you go to a small retailer, you have to go into that store, you got to make introductions. You have to set it up and they start slowly and so forth. Or you can do the same thing, reach out to that one big buyer who has access to lots of money and a big pen and a big ability to buy things, and you have the ability to just do the same thing, cultivate that relationship, expand that business, and then just do things much bigger and more expansive and more fun.

Now, whether or not you should start small or go after the big chains first, it really depends on you and your personality. It sounds kind of weird, but I have many customers who are like, “Look, I don’t want to go after the small guys. I don’t have time for that. I have a big vision for my business. I want to grow.”

And for those of you, I say, go for it because there’s so many people who get into chain stores who’ve never sold their product anywhere else. I know that for a fact because I have many clients who just went straight for the big guns because they believe in their product. They did what they needed to do, prepared themselves for retail, learned what it took to do that, and then went for it. And that’s their personality.

They want to go big. They’re going big. And then, they got their product into store. Their job was to make sure that it’s successful and it’s in the stores, work with the buyers and so forth. And so they grow their business that way.

Then there are people who are really more kind of, “That freaks me out. I don’t know. I don’t know enough. It’s not comfortable for me. I want to start small. I want to see what it looks like. I want to test everything out. I want to know everything is perfect. And then, once I slowly build that up, then I will go to the chain stores.”

So, there’s no wrong answer here. You can do it both ways. You can succeed equally. It’s just a matter of you, what you’re willing to do, how much you’re willing to learn. You don’t want to just reach out to chain stores if you don’t know what you’re doing. There’s a learning curve which isn’t brain surgery. But you can do it both ways, and I’ve seen it happen both ways.

Does that make sense? There’s no wrong answer here.

Chris Guthrie: Yeah, yeah. I like that. And I think that it definitely depends on what that seller is already doing or what they prefer to do. But I like that approach of “Don’t bother going to the single store. Just go after the chains. That way, once you get one, you get them all.”

Karen Waksman: Yeah! And so, here’s one thing I want to say to people who are starting out because you guys are like, “Yeah, whatever. You know what you’re doing. I don’t know what I’m doing.” So again, there are things to learn about the industry. But one thing I will tell you is that these chain stores are not going to buy a million units of your order on day one.

So, if you guys think that you’re going to lose all your money on day one, if you reach out to them, Wal-Mart is going to bankrupt you because you don’t have the money or the funds or anything, I just want to tell you that all these chain stores don’t buy a lot of units initially.

They buy a very small quantity, they test it out in a few of their stores. And when I say a small quantity, I mean these mass chains have bought as little as a hundred pieces of a person’s product or 500 pieces or a thousand pieces of their product, and has started really, really small. They make sure that the product sells.

And so they’re not going to go and buy a ton of your product. If you guys think that if you go forward with these chain stores, you’re going to get a million dollar. It’s not going to happen. They’re going to baby step it, make sure it works. They’re building up a relationship.

And that’s why it’s so interesting for me for people who are on Amazon. You guys are making a tremendous amount of money on Amazon right now. It’s like the wild west and everything. With retail, it’s been around forever. It’s very consistent. It’s very slow. It’s methodical. It grows. You build the business. If the product sells, those hundred pieces or 500 pieces or a thousand pieces sell, then they’ll reorder, then they’ll buy a little bit more and they’ll buy a little bit more. They’ll grow with you until they make sure that this thing is going to do well. And so that’s what they’re doing.

So, you can simultaneously work with Amazon and you can work with these retailers, kind of grow your business that way. And so for those of you who are really afraid about going after these big stores, trust me, they’re going to test you out and make sure that it does well because it’s upfront money for them. They want to make sure that they’re dealing with the right products and so forth.

Does that make sense?

Chris Guthrie: Yeah, yeah, definitely. And actually, while you were speaking, I came up with a few different other questions I had just based on what you’ve said.

So, the first one I want to ask was how that test buy process go. So you set up this agreement with them, and they say, “Okay, this process is going to run over this number of times. This is how many years we’re going to buy. And then, after that, we re-evaluate and see what will happen next.” Is that basically the gist?

Karen Waksman: Yeah! What they’ll essentially do, if you approach the buyer appropriately and correctly and get them excited about your product or if they believe it, there’s some window of opportunity there, they will say, “Okay, let’s try this.”

And what they’ll do, essentially, is they’ll either try and test your product out online first or they’ll put it in some certain stores—usually, their top 20 or top 50 stores or something like that depending on how big the retailer is.

And by the way, you guys have control over what retailers you go after. You don’t have to go after the Wal-Marts of the world. There are hundreds and hundreds and thousands of other retailers that are chain stores that are much smaller than that. So you can control this if you go.

And so then, what essentially happens is they will send you a purchase order, they’ll put the quantity on there, and they’ll also give you access to information about what it’s like to work with them. So they have to set you up in their system, they’ll give you a vendor number. And before you sign anything, they’re going to give you access to this guide to working with them, this vendor guide/manual. And essentially, you do not sign your purchase order until you review this book that they give you.

And it’s pretty elaborate. They’re going to give you so much information about how to work with them, what they’re going to charge you back for if there’s anything that they do charge back for and stuff like that.

So, essentially, they have to tell you everything upfront about what the deal is going to be like. And you have to sign off on it. And so if you don’t review the information and you just go by the seat of your pants, just sign whatever even though you feel uncomfortable, that’s not a great way of doing business.

So, what you do is you review the information. You see the quantity. You make sure you’re comfortable. You talk to the buyer if you feel like maybe you want to start smaller, whatever. You work things through because they’ve already gotten past the interest level, and now you guys can have an adult conversation.

And then, when everything feels comfortable, you sign this agreement, you’re both on the same page, and you go for it.

And so, that’s how it works. They’ll test it out. They’ll put it in certain stores or they’ll say, “Well, we’ll try it out online” because online, they’ll buy even smaller quantities, make sure that the product sells. And then, they’ll bring it into their stores.

And it will be over a period of some months. You guys are both kind of looking out to see how the product is selling and making sure that all things go smoothly. And during that test, your job is to make sure that it’s magical. Your job is to make sure it goes well. And there are ways to do that. It doesn’t have to be so expensive. It can be very, very cheap. There are lots of interesting ways to make sure that the test goes well.

And once that goes, the buyer looks at you and says, “Okay, this looks interesting. Alright! I’m going to buy you some more quantities… maybe I’ll put it in stores now… maybe let’s try a little bit longer.” They’ll have discussions with you along the way.

Because they have a vested interest in your product succeeding, they want this product to sell. They’re there to make money. And if your product sells, then you’re their best friend. So they’re open to that.

The reason they test is because there’s so many new products, they don’t always know if it’s going to crush or not. They need to make sure that their budgets are careful and so forth. So that’s how they establish themselves.

So, essentially, you have a lot of control over this too. So it’s baby steps with them. They just want to make sure that where their money goes is a good bet. Does that make sense?

Chris Guthrie: Yeah, definitely.

And then, so during that process, what can a seller do to try and help make that process successful? Or is it sort of a matter of—well, other than doing what they’re asking you to do in terms of providing them what they need like their units on time and whatever else they might need from a marketing standpoint, is there anything like where you’re trying to—sort of like how you get a book publisher and they help you publish a book.

But in a lot of cases, especially nowadays, a lot of the work still falls on that author to try and help drive a lot of initial sales. Is that something similar in that process? The retailers are really—

Karen Waksman: Yeah, yeah. That’s such a good point, Chris. So here’s how I want people to look. This is the biggest issue buyers have, retail buyers have with people who approach them with products.

You see, most people come to a buyer and say, “Look at my great product and sell it for me.” You know what I mean? And so the buyer is like, “Okay, well I don’t want to deal with people like you because people like you don’t help me.”  

Buyers are busy. They have a lot of things going on. They have the hardest job. They have to put products in stores. They got to make sure that it sells. They don’t get paid so much. It’s very stressful. It’s not the prettiest job.

So, when somebody approaches them and assumes that because they’ve got that 20,000-unit order, their life is complete and the job is done, those are the people that are probably not going to do very well. The people who understand that retail is exactly like Amazon in that Amazon has created a platform that enables you to sell to their clients, they bring the people to you, and your job is to put your product online and to sell that product, the people who do better are the people who do some sort of advertising or do some sort of work where they let people know how great their product is. They do the product reviews. They nurture that relationship.

And if you could look at retail as exactly the same way as Amazon, you are going to crush. And it’s because what the retailers are doing for you is providing you a platform, so that you can go and get access to all of their millions of customers. They’re giving you access to their customer base, and they’re asking you to help them get the word out that your product is there with them.

So, it’s like Amazon. If you go and put your product up on Amazon, but you don’t do much, you’ll make money—you know what I mean—but you won’t make great money. But if you really put some effort into thinking about “How can I tell people that my product is on Amazon? How can I let people know that my product is so great?” it’s the same thing for retail. It’s just a new audience.

So, replicate what you’re doing on Amazon, and expand it when you’re working with these retailers. How would you get the word out about your product being in a retail front? You know what I mean?

If you look at the numbers of people who go to these best buys website, there’s like millions of people who come to their site every year. That’s a whole other audience for you. You know what I’m saying?

So, you treat it the same way. And that is the way that you have to look at it. It doesn’t have to cost a lot because you guys all know that you don’t spend a fortune on driving some Facebook ads to your product. You don’t spend so much on getting magical product reviews and that type of thing. You know what I mean? It doesn’t cost that much to do these things. You guys are smart.

The inventors are people who are engineers, who have day jobs, who don’t think about like an Internet marketer does. They have a disadvantage, and they’re trying to figure it out. You guys already do this. You guys can just take what you’ve learned about working with Amazon, and replicate it for all the different retailers.

And the person who’s buying on Seers is not buying at Macy’s. The person who’s buying at Target is not buying necessarily at Lowe’s. Does that make sense?

So they’re all new, expansive audiences. That’s why I love retail, if that makes sense.

Chris Guthrie: Yeah, it’s nice too. If you go to one, and it doesn’t work out, there’s still plenty that you can go and contact certainly.

Karen Waksman: There’s so many! There’s so many. I have a program. And in my product, I give them a list of the top 300 major, major retailers. And there’s more, right?

There’s so many. And each one of those has tremendous buying power. All you need is one or two to work out, and then the rest kind of follows. It’s just a different audience from Amazon if that makes sense.

Do you have any examples of clients that you’ve worked with that have done really well with that test buy process where you’ve helped to get to be successful early on and then to help that ball I guess to roll down the hill?

Karen Waksman: Yeah, I have so many clients all across the board. I’ve worked with people who have never sold their product before, and then they got their product into Wal-Mart. You know what I mean? They just literally finished this product, and then followed the process, and got into Wal-Mart. I’ve got clients who used to sell online, and then blew it up and got into Lowe’s and so forth.

To give you some examples, I have one client who—I love sharing her story because she’s such a quintessential example of someone who just goes for her dreams. So, she created a product called SleepPhones. SleepPhones are headphones that you sleep in. And essentially, she created this product. She’s a doctor. She’s not a salesperson. She doesn’t do Internet marketing. She doesn’t do anything. And for her, she just believed in this one product.

She started selling her product online. She did pretty well online. She came to me because she wanted to start getting her products into retail stores. And so, through just some tweaks and understanding of what the retailers wanted, today, she’s in Sam’s Club and Best Buy and all these major chain stores. Her business has grown exponentially. She still does well online. She sells to Groupon and all these different types of online retailers and physical stores.

Her business has exploded because she was willing to go beyond her comfort zone which is just one way of making money. Online worked really well for her, for her story and that type of thing. Does that make sense?

Chris Guthrie: Yeah.

Karen Waksman: I have clients who have gone on Shark Tank and won. The Paint Brush Cover is an example of a customer of mine. I don’t know if you guys ever saw that, but Paint Brush Cover was on Shark Tank. But before he was on Shark Tank, he reached out to me. These guys had this product. It was a thing that you utilize with a paint brush because paint brushes are messy. He figured out a way to create a cover with it, so it doesn’t make such a mess.

Chris Guthrie: It’s like the best idea. It’s one of those, “Why didn’t I think about that type of thing?” I saw the episode.

Karen Waksman: Yeah! And these guys are firefighters. They’re not a business guy. You know what I mean? They’re doing good things. They just came up with this idea, and they thought it was a cool tweak to an existing product.

And so, they learned how to pitch. They started going after retailers. And then they had a shot. They saw that Shark Tank was doing a big thing. And so they had a good story, went on Shark Tank, glue it up. They won Shark Tank. Laura Granger picked them up. Now, they’re in Home Depot and Lowe’s, all these different chain store. You know what I mean?

That’s how it goes. It’s like putting your foot down and saying, “I’m going for it. I’m going for this thing. I’m going to expand my business and my life.” That’s what it takes.

And I really, actually, to be honest with you, see the people who are succeeding with physical products, it’s usually your mindset. It’s usually your belief system. If you’re really going to go for it, if you really believe what you’re doing and you want to do something cool and big, those are usually the ones who are going to get into retail and all these different things.

The ones who are skittish and not really sure and kind of scattered, those are the ones that take a lot longer and so forth.

So, I get to attract a lot of people who are go-getters and stuff. So it’s really fun for me to see all these guys just going after their dreams and going for it.

I have so many stories. I have an ASMer. I think he was selling vacuums online. He was flushing it with vacuums. He came to me—or to my programs—because he was blowing it up with ASM, with Amazon and so forth. And I think his website we called

And so, long story short, he reaches out, he buys my programs and stuff. And his issue was that he was going after retailers. He’s actually reaching out to them, and they weren’t responding to him. Nobody was interested in his product.

And so when he figured out what he was doing wrong and approached them differently, all of a sudden, within a week or two, they’re responding to him, they’re interested in his product. He got his product into Lowe’s, Home Depot, all these different retailers. Now, he’s working a deal with QBC. Phenomenal things! And it’s only because I believe that knowledge is power. You just don’t quit until you work it out.

And so, that’s some stories for you.

Chris Guthrie: Yeah, yeah.

And what was he doing wrong then? Was there something specific that he was…

Karen Waksman: Yes. Yes! His big thing was—so this is something that I talk about. And I see people do this all the time when they’re trying to go after chain stores. The biggest thing that I see that people have challenges with—and it’s exaclty what he was doing—was he was following protocol. Let me explain it.

Most people, if they want to get their product into, I don’t know, a major chain store—and I’m just throwing it out there. It could be Office Depot. It could be any of the chain stores you have secret dreams of selling into. But pretty much any one of those chain stores usually have some sort of protocol where if you reach out to them and say, “Hey, I want to be a vendor for you? What can I do to do that?”

Most people are novices, and they don’t know what novices. And it’s totally okay because why would you know? It’s not your business. What usually will happen is the retailer will send them to a webpage, a vendor page, a place to fill out a form and spit their information online.

And so the retailers, they’re telling people to go and submit their product online. They’ll fill out the form, talking about what the product is and does, how much revenue they’re making, all these stressful things.

And then, what they’re doing is telling them to submit it to the cloud to wait for an answer. You know what I mean? So they’re telling them to specifically go and do that.

So, people believe that and they’ll say, “Oh, okay. Well, I’m going to just follow what the retailer is telling me.” And that’s cool.

The problem with that is that you’re kind of just throwing out hope into the wind. I like to take more control over my life and I like to ensure success—and so does other reps, sales reps, manufacturers’ reps, people who sell products to chain store. All of us know that following protocol isn’t the way to go with these chain stores.

It’s not a bad thing if you’ve done it. It’s not an issue. Who knows? They might reject you. They might not. You know what I mean? You just don’t have any full control there. You’re filling out forms, it takes time and all these things.

So, what the sales professionals do and understand—and what I understand, and what I’ve known for years—is that I do not follow protocol. I do not go and submit my product online and randomly hope that the appropriate buyer is looking at this product.

What I’m actually doing is I’m actually finding the appropriate buyer who would purchase my product—and there are a lot of tricks and strategies around that. But essentially, what I do is I reach out to the appropriate buyer, reach out to them in a way that I know works (because I’ve been doing this so long and I’ve been teaching people my strategies for so long).

And essentially, what I do is I get the buyer who has the money to really look at that product, to say yes or no, to get an answer, to get them interested. And then, I’ll fill out any form they want and I’ll do anything that they want to move forward.

But I’m not going to do what everybody else does and all my competitors do, which is just submit a product, don’t know if the appropriate buyer is looking at it, don’t know when I’m going to get a return and so forth. I want a specific way to pitch the appropriate buyer and say to them all the things that need to happen because they are, at the end of the day, the person who’s going to ultimately decide whether or not my dreams come true. And so, I always go that route.

So, what he was doing was he was reaching out to the retailers via protocol—because why wouldn't he? And then, even if he was reaching out to retailers, he wasn’t saying the appropriate things. And so, that was the differentiator between him getting his products into stores and not. He understood the psyche of the buyer. He understood how to massage his message and get it interesting enough for the buyer to be intrigued. And that’s how he got to move forward.

That’s the essence of what I do, helping you come up with that, that magic to flip the switch if that makes sense.

Chris Guthrie: Yeah, I like that. And I think the parallel is people that just want to get their resume in the resume stack. It’s like, “Well, you have a lot lower chance of getting that job or whatever it is you’re trying to do if you’re just doing the exact same process.” So I like that.

Karen Waksman: That’s so true. That’s exactly correct, Chris. That’s the big difference.

And sometimes, people get their products in the stores doing that route. But no sales rep, no professional ever does that. We don’t do that. And that’s something that most people don’t know.

And here’s the thing. Why would you guys know that? Why would anybody know that?

And that’s the reason why I started my business. I really saw that there was this tremendous gap in the marketplace.

My original dream was to revolutionize the retail industry because the ideal was that these chain stores really want to know about the little guy. They want to know about these physical products. They want to know about your new thing that could make them money. And you guys want to work with them, right? But there’s some screw-up in the system where the retailer can’t handle the volume of people that are coming at them. So there’s a major disconnect going on.

And so that’s where the reps would harness their knowledge because they tried and tested everything. In the retail space, these guys wouldn't share their knowledge. So again, when I first got started, nobody would share that data with me. It took me years to figure out what it was that made the buyer tick.

And so that’s the dream of this business was. It really isn’t brain surgery. It’s not hard to do. Just nobody wants to share it. Nobody wants to talk about it. Nobody wants to help the little guy. And it’s stupid because the retailers really want to know about them. So that’s where my stance is on this stuff.

Chris Guthrie: Yeah, yeah. That’s great.

And so, we’re actually really close to wrapping up here, but I wanted to ask one final question. What’s the main motivation that sellers should have?

Say they’re selling on Amazon, they’re getting into retail. Is this a way to diversify the revenue stream or is it also if they’re looking at maybe selling their company down the line? Having an established presence online is great, but then having that also in, say, at least one or multiple chain stores provides even better value in terms of valuing the business perhaps.

Karen Waksman: It’s all of the above. To be honest with you—I mean, look, I’ve been teaching this stuff probably six years I would say. I’ve been a seller, retailer, I did all that stuff. But actually, I’ve been teaching and educating and mentoring and all these stuff for the last six years.  

And I have to tell you, Amazon was not in my window for the longest time. This thing has exploded—which is magical for a lot of you because you guys are all really succeeding. You’re making money and you’re doing all these things. It’s kind of again the wild west and all that.

But the scary part about that is, eventually, it’s going to balance out. And eventually, bases can go and change things. Amazon can do some different algorithm, and all of a sudden, your business is kind of different. And you guys are really reliant on making revenue with Amazon in this one specific way.

And so, the thing about retail is that it’s been around forever. It stays pretty consistent. It’s an excellent way to diversify, so that for your own benefit, for your own business, you can have a little bit of peace of mind.

You guys are used to the cash flow, what are you going to do if something changes? I don’t like to scare people. I’m not interested in scare tactics or anything. But just logically, as a business owner, I can’t always put all my eggs in one basket, right?

So, in that sense, retail is magical that way. And again, I’m really not interested in scaring any of you guys, but it’s just something that I think about, again, as a business owner.

And if you guys do want to sell—which a lot of you do, and I work with a lot of the top guys in the ASM space—you guys have to think about how much stronger your business will be when you can say, “I not only have a physical products business that’s selling phenomenally well on Amazon, but this product is in stores” and so forth. And so, that really just enables you to have a stronger message and, overall, a more comfortable thing for these investors and so forth.

So, all of the above. There are so many reasons to do it.

Plus, it’s just a different audience. So if you guys are really serious about making money, why not just add to your portfolio. Spend 25% of your time focusing on retail and growing it gradually and building that up. Why not do that? Or building out a team to support you while you’re building out your Amazon business.

And do it now so that you can have the best of all worlds because, again, retail isn’t as quick as Amazon, but it’s more long-term.

So, that’s where I see it, if that makes sense.

Chris Guthrie: Yeah, yeah. And I love that.

Karen, thanks so much for coming to the podcast. It was a lot of fun having you. And I think that, certainly, we’ve got a lot of people thinking long-term what they should want to have their business look like. And so I think that’s a lot of value.

So, thanks so much for coming on.

Karen Waksman: Thank you so much, Chris. Bye everyone.

Chris Guthrie: Alright, that was the episode with Karen. I’ll thank her again so much for coming onto the show and talking about how to get your physical product into retail stores. It’s not something we’ve covered on the podcast before. And so I think it was something that would help shed some light on that process. So thank you, again, for coming on to the show.

And if you’ve been enjoying the show, you can go to and leave us a review. I really appreciate when we get those reviews. It helps us get more listeners and find more great guests like Karen and others to come on to the show.

Thank you so much for tuning in. We’ll see you in the next episode.