The other day I was sitting with my dear friend Ederlinda, sharing the latest news of what has happened in our lives since we last checked in (probably three days worth of updates). Edś two older children recently went off on their own, one to travel the world and the other to tackle his first year of college, so she is now feeling the empty nest and has time on her hands. Boy, do I know that feeling! My advice to Ed…. ¨Girl you gotta get a side hustle!¨ And I am speaking from experience!
About two years ago with both of my boys out of high school and in college, living their lives like young adults do, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands and needing an outlet. This may sound corny but it was after reading Amy Schumerś book ¨The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo¨ that inspired me to start this blog. I enjoyed sharing my blog posts, I was never short of topics and it fulfilled that creative restlessness. After about six months of blogging, the posting slowed down and I found myself restless again. One of the hopes I had in writing my blog was that it might generate some income or at least free swag (for cryin’out loud!), but it did neither. So ideas started swirling in my head again of what I could create and sell and how I would do this. My ideas centered around women empowerment messages on tshirts, pens or anything else I could put a logo on, but then………
One day I was sharing with my bff Kelly my ideas for generating some extra income. I thought about refurbishing furniture and then selling it on Craigslist or OfferUp but decided that would be too much work. I can´t remember exactly how, but we came across something called retail arbitrage on Amazon. Basically it´s buying items super cheap at WalMart or any other retail store and reselling it on Amazon for a profit. Itś pretty crazy how it works. They actually have an app that you can use to scan an item at the store and it shows you how much you would have to sell it for and how popular the item is so that way you know if itś worth selling. We tried this a few times. For instance Kelly found rolls of graduation ribbon at Michaelś for about $4 each and we sold them for $10 a roll on Amazon, but the problem we found with doing retail arbitrage was that shopping for items took up a lot of time. Although the ribbon did sell fast we didn´t want to spend our whole weekend going from store to store searching for clearance items.
That summer Kelly and I and the rest of our gang were all turning 50, so we started thinking about selling things around 5oth birthday parties BUT when we checked on Amazon their were TONS of party supplies and gifts for a 50th. The other event that was coming up for us was our sixteenth annual girls weekend.
When we looked on Amazon their were products for girls weekends but many of them were focused on bachelorette parties or many of the products would say something about ¨bitches,¨ which I find offensive. Once we saw how few products their were focused just on girls weekends, ideas came pouring out. We found our niche and our business, Gracie Products was born.
Developing our business has been a slow process. There has been lotś to learn, its been frustrating at times, confusing (Are we really making a profit when itś all said and done? Still to be determined) and in the beginning a little worrisome with forking out money and crossing our fingers that people will like our product. The best part about it? The creativity, spending time with Kelly and working together to make it work, the support of our friends and watching our product sell! We decided to stick with the Amazon platform and sell our product on what is called Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). Basically we buy from a wholesaler and send it to Amazon where they store it in one of their warehouses, advertise it, send it to the customer and put the money in our account when a customer buys our product. Amazon charges us some steep fees to do this but for us it is worth it. If we didn´t sell through Amazon we would have to store the product at home and spend our weekends and evenings packing and shipping to customers. No thank you!
We started our business with two products. One of which was a cute coffee mug with a girls weekend logo. We had problems with the mugs themselves so eventually removed them and have stuck with the one that seems to work, this charming stemless wine glass
We have been selling this glass for almost a year now and it has been so fun seeing where the customers are from. We sell to a lot of people on the east coast, especially the Carolinas (thank you Carolinians). So far we have sold probably around 300 glasses (as business owners, keeping track of numbers like these is not our strong point. Don´t worry we have one of our other bffś taking on this task) and have finally generated enough money that we can order again from the wholesaler without using our personal money or business credit card. I think this is a good thing!
Our next focus is really shoring up and organizing the amount of money going out versus how much is coming in (obviously very important) and creating a second product to sell. Gracie Products has been the perfect remedy for our empty nest syndrome and really the bottom line is…….. a girlś gotta have a side hustle.
You will find our product on Amazon if you just search ¨Girls Weekend¨ or at the link below:
If you are thinking about starting your side hustle using Amazon please feel free to reach out if you have questions. I have left out a lot of the tedious boring details like registering the business, setting up a business bank account, etc. etc. so let me know if you have questions.
Have an idea? Make it happen! We did.