Wooden Stamps – A Make it or Break it Situation:
Gross Sales in Under 4 hours: $32,520
If you take this idea or any of the other ideas that are posted here on AJP.com, and sell it, I can’t guarantee you’ll make the same amount. You could make a heck of a lot more or a heck of a lot less. That seems pretty obvious, but just want to make sure it’s stated so every thing is super clear and I can sleep better at night knowing I’ve just laid this all out. These eCommerce reports are a way to get you thinking about your products and what you can do to produce a product, source a product, and then sell a product. This is not to brag or boast about sales. This is simply to inspire you to get out there and live your dreams because dreams cost money. Become a doer and make things happen.
This was the make it or break it moment for me on PickYourPlum. You know, as an entrepreneur, you have to sometimes go with your gut feeling. Take that step beyond comfortable and into the very uncomfortable world. That feeling that non-entrepreneurs tell you is heartburn? Well, the moment that rubber stamps were on my radar, I knew that this was the moment that I was either going to sink or swim this Plum business of mine.
Let me back up a bit to give you a very brief background of PickYourPlum. It was launched in April of 2011. In about June, I needed to take it to the next step. A new product needed to be found that was unique enough to make this business stand out from the other deal sites that were popping up.
I had come across some personalized rubber stamps that hovered around the $30 mark and knew they could be produced for less.
The hunt was on for me!
I was going to crack this and find them for less. The search began by trying to outsource; having someone else do them. Everywhere I looked, the prices were super high and I couldn’t sell them for less than $20 with very low margins. Not good enough!
I then began looking at making them in-house. The perfect machine was found BUT it was right around $18k. EIGHTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS. In my mind, I kept thinking that’s like 2 cars and this was one machine. One machine that I didn’t know if it would even make the money back.
I’d like to believe that I had a perfect amount of money in the account for this machine, but I had $3k in payroll that was due, other products that needed to be paid for, rent for a warehouse that was upcoming in a week, plus all of the other expenses of running a warehouse. If I bought this machine, I’d be about $10K in the hole. That meant, if I got it, I’d have to test it quickly and make a profit fast to be able to pay for everything else on my plate.
And let me mention the worst case scenario…I’d put them up and not one would sell and it would be over for PickYourPlum. An $18K loss would have devastated and sunk the business.
That scared me. It scared me a ton!
You know the nightmare where your teeth fall out because you are stressed? Ya, I knew if I bought this machine it would put me in the no teeth zone every night until I could turn a profit on this machine.
The machine was delivered mid-October and I was ready to become a rubber stamp technician in a matter of days.
Each day, I called in to find out how to run this machine. Remember, I’m not a technician in the slightest and was still trying to get product up on the site, ship products out the door on a daily basis, and manage my handful of staff. I’m sure the company I ‘d bought the machine from shook their head and started pre-qualifying people after me.
I was a stress case from trying to open the machine up, taking the beast out of the box, and hooking it up. Oh, and not to mention it needed a new voltage system and ventilation system. I didn’t know to ask, and the salesman before he sold it to me, thought it was just a known thing. Um. Nope. Each day learning this new machine and software system was just pushing the time back for sales and payroll was drawing closer.
On November 10 the day payroll was due, the first stamp was printed. Another tear was shed. Yes, half of the tear was joy and the other half was the stress of being so close to negative in the bank account…BUT look at these stamps. They were the cutest little stamps I’d ever seen. Take a look. I think you’d agree. Then I tied a bow around it and it made it even better!
These had to sell.
I just (in my gut) knew that these were going to be a winner.
The next day the stamps were launched for $8.95. YES! I’ll take that high-five. From $30 on other sites to $8.95 on PickYourPlum. This was the hunt and kill I was looking for.
4 Hours later we had to shut it down after selling
That day …er morning, we had sold a total of $32,520. I decided to turn it off after 4 hours because I knew we needed to get these out to our customers in a decent amount of time. Remember how I’d only printed a few samples for the lifestyle photos? We needed to get a better system before I felt right about offering more.
Let’s talk cost on these. I’m going to not include the machine and you’ll see why soon.
The blocks of wood cost $0.25 and the sheets of rubber cost $12.13. 30-40 rubber pcs could fit on the sheet so I’m going to average it to $0.35 a stamp. The cost of the actual product is $0.60. The production cost is around $2 (inputting info, cutting, gluing, and packing). Our cost to produce these was around $2.60.
Remember the fear of not being able to pay for the laser? We’ paid it back in one sale that lasted 4 hours long. I’d been taught that if you can pay back a machine for a business in a year, then it was a good investment. I think we could mark this one as a success:)
A $6.35 profit per stamp.
Three months later we ended up buying 2 more for a total of 3 machines in 3 months. It went on to be one of our most profitable products for about 3 years. Yes, we did have copy cats. A gentleman bought a stamp from us, came to pick it up (as we had local pick up at the time) and ended up ‘lost’ in our warehouse studying the machines. A few months later he started a stamp business using our same designs. Boo. Yes, you can say it. I did.
Moral of this story. Sometimes your gut talks to you and you need to listen. No, I’m not talking the tacos you just ate. The gut ‘feeling’. The deep one that says, get off your toosh and make this happen. NOW. Listen to it. It knows what it’s talking about.
Second moral: People will take your ideas and designs. It sucks. I still see that man selling our designs. I could focus on lawyers and be mean to him or just ignore it and find the next best product. After all, he’s just a follower. Be the leader. Find your product and shine.
Third Moral: Don’t put your exact Grandma and Grandpas address on the stamp and show it to the world. Lesson learned. They have since moved from that location. Oh, and it’s not because of the stamp.
We went on to sell many of thousands throughout the history of the company and I still count my blessings on that ‘gut feeling’. Go for it.
**Note: There is a difference between gut feeling and stupid ideas.