Podcast #148 – Marc interviews Jean LeFebvre about an Amazon business of selling online.
Fashion is what you see in the magazines and stores. Personal style is how you make your fashion. Jean LeFebvre is a certified personal color and style consultant who has spent more than 35 years dressing clients ages 9 to 90, sizes 0 to 26. Her first career was interior design. Then she discovered she preferred working with the architecture of the body and conducting seminars and writing about fashion and style. Now she has added Amazon entrepreneur to her list of careers. Seeking out clever, hard-to-find wardrobe helpers that make getting dressed easier and more fun.
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[1:49] Marc welcomes you to Episode 148 of the Repurpose Your Career podcast.
[2:01] If you are enjoying this podcast, please share it with other like-minded souls. Subscribe on CareerPivot.com, iTunes, or any of the other apps that supply podcasts. Share it on social media or just tell your neighbors and colleagues. The more people Marc reaches, the more people he can help.
[2:31] Marc is recording this podcast introduction on October 1st in Totowa, New Jersey. When this episode of Repurpose Your Career is released, Marc should be in Washington, D.C.
[2:48] Marc’s expenses to put this podcast on are about $400.00 a month. After nearly 150 episodes, Marc is grateful for his growing audience. It’s clear that the stories from experts and people like yourself on this podcast have had an impact. Marc needs help continuing to provide entertaining content, mindful of your time.
[3:30] Marc is asking for direct listener support. Marc asks you for a donation of $5.00 a month but you can contribute as much or as little as you like. Every penny counts.
[3:44] If the Repurpose Your Career podcast is a part of your week and you like what Marc is doing, please support the podcast today. Go to Glow.fm/repurposeyourcareer/ to give. This link will be at the top of the show notes at CareerPivot.com/episode-148.
[4:08] Repurpose Your Career, Third Edition, is now available! The book tour has launched. Marc had a great first week. There are almost 30 Amazon reviews. Marc is in Philadelphia, early this week and D.C., later in the week. Marc would love to meet his readers and listeners.
[4:22] Marc has a meet-and-greet this Saturday at the Friendship Whole Foods Market in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Please go to CareerPivot.com/launch to find out more.
[4:35] Marc has yet to decide on the subject of next week’s podcast episode will be. It will likely be an interview Marc had with Mark Anthony Dyson on The Voice of Jobseekers podcast, but depending on how things go, it could be something different.
Now on to the podcast…
[4:48] This week, Marc is playing the audio from a webinar Marc did with Jean LeFebvre for the Career Pivot Membership Community. Marc shares Jean’s bio. This is the third time Marc has had Jean talk to the Career Pivot Community about her journey into becoming a Fulfillment by Amazon entrepreneur. Marc welcomes Jean to the podcast.
[6:21] Jean tells how she got started with Fulfillment by Amazon. Two sets of friends had started a successful course on selling on Amazon. Several of Jean’s friends joined the course and had a good measure of success. Jean was looking for something that would allow her to have an expanded income without as much hourly work.
[7:00] Jean consults people on their wardrobes. She helps them clean out their closets and takes them shopping for new clothes to match their style, according to a personal color analysis. Marc went through this process. Marc is an ‘Autumn.’
[7:35] Jean took the course Amazing Selling Machine. One of the first things Jean learned was how to select a product. It took Jean a year to select her product. First, she tried a product that was unrelated to her experience. It turned out to be wrong for her. She finally chose to sell a product that matched her existing audience.
[9:54] Most people do not start with a large following. Jean did, which is a built-in market for her. Jean hopes if you have something you are already good at, with product potential, don’t disregard what you know or who you know.
[10:35] Jean’s product is an earring lifter back that “makes earrings sit up pretty.” They give a youthful look. It’s an easy sell.
[11:30] Jean has learned that you don’t have to be the number one vendor for your product to make a profit. You will likely move into more than one product. Having a line of 10 or 20 products is common. Don’t leave all your eggs in one basket.
[12:27] Jean sources the product from China. The course taught her to use Alibaba, a group of Chinese manufacturers that are vetted by Alibaba. They have rankings and gold is the top ranking for manufacturers who have been with Alibaba for more than two years and have been investigated on fulfillment and good reviews.
[13:25] The manufacturer ships a moderate quantity of the products to Jean and she has laser-printed labels that she attaches to the package. She has the labels printed inexpensively at FedEx while she listens to an audiobook. Jean ships them to Amazon.
[14:17] The first earring lifter backs that Jean ordered were formed in a shape that somebody else was in the process of patenting in the U.S. After a day on Amazon, the patent holder complained and the product was removed.
[15:52] So Jean hired a patent attorney who had a patent searcher. They learned that the patent violation was a design patent violation, not a use patent violation. After some research, she ordered them in a different shape that was not patented so she could sell them in the U.S.
[17:10] Jean also learned that the name she had been using for her consulting company was not eligible for a trademark. There were too many companies already using that name, Panache Images. Jean came up with the name WardrobeJazz, which she uses now for both for the earring lifter backs and her consulting practice.
[17:47] WardrobeJazz says more about what Jean actually does, so she likes the name. She applied for a product trademark for that name and expects approval soon. The approval can take six months to a year.
[18:01] Marc takes a moment to talk about the Career Pivot Membership Community, which continues to help the approximately 50 members who are participating in the beta phase of this project to grow and thrive.
[18:22] Marc reads a member testimonial from Jean: “I’ve been a member of the Career Pivot Community for many months now and have been delighted with the support and guidance that I’ve received. This isn’t a group and Marc isn’t the type of person that makes ridiculous promises or puts you under pressure to get a lot of quick results.”
[18:39] “Results come from making incremental changes regularly but they do come. Marc helps each of us to grow in our own way. The community is a comfortable, safe place to discuss our common problems and to work toward long-term improvement.”
[18:57] This is a paid membership community where Marc offers group coaching, special content, mastermind groups, branding sessions, Slack channels, and more importantly, it’s a community where you can seek help. Please go to CareerPivot.com/Community to sign up to learn more.
[19:28] Back to the interview — Jean went to Fiverr to get bids to have a logo made. Jean selected a graphic designer she liked, who gave her five concepts. Jean chose one of them and with a couple of adjustments, it was exactly what she wanted. The logo cost her $65.00.
[20:51] Marc notes he had a Membership Community training with former member Jim Addams, who explained how he used Fiverr.
[21:09] Jean launched the product again and went through a refining process. She learned how to market. She started with Facebook ads, which were too expensive for the results she got. Over months, she changed the wording of her listing, changed the title and bullet points and paid for keywords. She included professional photos.
[22:25] The image stood out beautifully. Then, in two weeks, 10 other sellers copied the style of her image, so they all look similar. This is an example of how you need a thick skin to sell online. You get knocked down and you have to get right back up.
[22:55] Sooner or later you will get the progress you want. It’s not for wimps.
[23:16] Jean notes that a lot of people price too low and then their competitors buy their product for resale. When you have a special deal you must set a restriction that the quantity is limited to one or two.
[24:00] Jean has run Amazon ads, and that is the next step she wants to master. She will not go back to Facebook ads, for now. She sees more value in Amazon ads.
[24:33] Jean’s audience is people from 35 to 65. A lot of women in their 60s are still working and are a market for earring lifter backs.
[25:38] Jean’s biggest challenge has been keeping her chin up. The business is not easy. Having the community with Amazing Sales Machine helps when Jean needs answers. Having experienced mentors helps. Jean’s next goal is to have this product produce enough income to justify adding another product and then another.
[26:29] Marc has marketed his book with Amazon ads for a couple of years and now is going to Facebook ads. Marc took an Ads For Authors course from Mark Dawson. Mark talks about a formula: test, measure, test, measure, test, and particularly with Facebook ads that work for a while and then stop working. When you figure it out, it will change.
[27:28] Jean likes the category of fashion and wardrobe helpers for her next product. You could buy them in the notions department of a fabric store. People who need these things are often too busy to go looking at a fabric store. People like the convenience of buying on Amazon.
[29:08] The Amazing Selling Machine has videos on how to select products. Their advice is to pick something that’s not too popular but still a known product. The next point is to choose for weight, size, and price. Shipping large objects takes longer than shipping by air.
[29:35] Jean didn’t realize at first how smart she had been to pick a product less than an ounce, that ships by air. She can restock in two weeks with no problem.
[30:24] Jean’s advice: Don’t quit your day job. Don’t do it on your own. Get some training and find a supportive group that understands the technology of what you are doing. There is a learning curve.
[31:44] Marc is in Mark Dawson’s Self-Publishing Formula Facebook group because he bought the Ads for Authors course. Whenever Marc has a question, people in the group answer it for him. You can also search the previously asked questions.
[32:26] Marc also uses the Facebook groups for Mexico expats. That’s how he found the shoe repair man, Umberto. His only website is on Facebook. Marc suggests you should find your tribe.
[33:15] Marc thanks Jean and he hopes you enjoyed the episode. Jean didn’t sugar-coat anything. This takes perseverance. Marc will continue to follow Jean’s progress through the Career Pivot Online Community and this podcast. Link to The Amazing Selling Machine and WardrobeJazz to learn more. All sales help Jean.
[34:05] The Career Pivot Membership Community is a platform to provide both inspiration and practical help in creating changes in our lives and careers. It continues to help the approximately 50 members who are participating in the Beta phase of this project.
[34:14] This is a community where everyone is there to help everyone else.
[34:19] Marc is recruiting members for the next cohort. If you are interested in the endeavor and would like to be put on the waiting list, please go to CareerPivot.com/Community.
[34:35] Marc invites you to connect with him on LinkedIn.com/in/mrmiller. Just include in the connection request that you listen to this podcast. You can look for Career Pivot on Facebook, LinkedIn, or @CareerPivot on Twitter.
[34:49] Please come back next week!
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