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EXECUTION G-Man's Brand Creation/eCommerce

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by G-Man, Oct 25, 2017.

  1. G-Man
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    G-Man Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    First, big thanks to @amp0193 @PTP and @Scot for helping me get started. These guys have given me tons of their time. I was going to wait a little longer to start a progress thread, but I've already got some questions for the forum hivemind, and if this doesn't work out, it will be easier to have an autopsy everyone can learn from.

    The Goal: To create a branded product line for ecommerce in a space full of products that are poor quality and generic.

    What I've done so-far:
    • Formed LLC (minor dumpster fire, because Incfile messed up my address for the EIN)
    • Got first batch of samples, ordered 5 more skus as samples, and full order of 1 sku
    • Spent countless hours trolling Amazon with Jungle Scout, and picking out line extending products.
    What I have to do to launch:
    • Packaging design
    • Start of trademark process
    • Bank/credit card accounts
    • Amazon seller account
    • GS1
    • Learn to take pictures with my newly purchased lightbox
    • All the other things I'm forgetting.

    Current Question for the Forum: I know that ultimately this is a question for a lawyer, but I want to pick your brains. I have a 2 word combination I want to word mark. One of the words, by itself, is already word-marked by a company that's in the roughly the same industry. Not a competitor, but same space. Does that seem like a show-stopper to anyone?
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2017
  2. G-Man
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    G-Man Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Anyone is free to interject, but I think I've found the answer in case interested. From a friend that started several brands. "Unless you have a ton of money to spend on lawyers, the best words to trademark are ones you make up out of thin air. Added bonus is that you can then give that word any meaning you want. If you can't come up with one, look for some word with a cool story from a dead language, a language nobody speaks, or anglicize a foreign word with a cool meaning"
     
  3. Invictus
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    Invictus Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    If you give me the industry/theme/somethingsimilar, I'll give you an obscure literary or historical reference.

    Alternatively:
    Kaisar (Bastardized form of Caesar/Kaiser which means Emperor)
    Cayne (Altered form of Cain from Lord Byron's Cain and the Bible)
    Sirith (Character from the Medieval fabliau, Dame Sirith)
     
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  4. jpanarra
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    jpanarra Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Yeah! Excited to follow you on this journey.. I'm jumping on board the E-com train as well! Looking forward to this!
     
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  5. G-Man
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    G-Man Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Thanks @Invictus I'm going to keep Cayne in my back pocket. I came up with a few names. One is an obscure person from American history with a unique last name - other is extremely obscure Scandinavian folktale.

    Progress since my first post this morning:
    • Got a credit card (pretty sure it'll be delayed when they catch me using a UPS box as my address. Always happens)
    • Sent 3 different logo ideas to fiverr designer whose portfolio I liked. Should have something to look at before week-end.
     
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  6. Bearcorp
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    Bearcorp Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Good luck on your journey! My question to you regarding this, how strongly do the fans of this existing brand identify with the word you will be using? The legal aspect is for a lawyer to advise you on, I'm just throwing it out there that you may get some heat if people think your idea and direction has been inspired by the existing brand.
     
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  7. G-Man
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    G-Man Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Thanks @Bearcorp For a lot of reasons, including not wanting to look like a cheap ripoff, I'm going with another name that's nowhere close... it's not as grabby, honestly, but I don't think it will matter a ton.
     
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  8. G-Man
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    G-Man Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Found another thing I suck at: Got my trusty lightbox yesterday and tried my hand at taking product photos for the first time. They were genuinely mediocre. The good news is that the best seller in the product is such a sh*tty listing that I can do pretty mediocre-ly my first time out and still do better than them.

    In other news, because Incfile effed up my address when it filed the EIN, I still don't have a separate credit card or bank account. It's sh*tty to pay someone to do something you can actually do, thinking it'll make one less thing on your list,... only to have that thing turn into a problem.

    @amp0193 already laughed at me over this, but I honestly don't know how you import people do it. The hurry up and wait of the whole thing is making me crawl out of my skin. This has been the slowest moving week of my life, and I once spent an entire summer in my grandmother's retirement community.
     
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  9. G-Man
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    G-Man Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    The sense of anxiety of having made up my mind to launch this product, but now having to wait on all this stuff has brought back a very specific memory for me, which I present below so I can be brutally mocked by the forum.

    My First Date

    It was the year 2000. I was 14. She was a little older. More sophisticated. She had been to Paris once with her dad, and knew how to order a cheeseburger in French. Ivory skin. Eyes so blue they sparkled even in the fluorescent lighting of geometry class. There I was, standing by her locker, fresh hair gel, copious amounts of body spray, and my best pookah shell necklace.

    This was the day. I was going to ask her out. What would she say? Where is she? She always comes back to her locker before lunch, but it never usually takes this long. It’s taking an eternity. I saw her laughing at a joke with that kid from gym class that’s 6 inches taller than me. sh*t. That’s where she is. She’s in the storage room behind the civics class making out with the tall kid. Oh, wait, no… here she comes around the corner. It’s game time. Time to be super smooth. Give the pookah shell necklace one last adjustment now….

    Her: Hey!

    Me: Hey, what’s up?

    Her: Nothing much, you know it’s Valentines day soon, right?

    (Is she kidding? Of course I know. That’s why I’m here. Wait… I forgot that heart shaped box of chocolate candies in my locker. Mom’s gonna be pissed I made her drive me to the K-mart for nothing. No worries. Go for it)

    Me: Yeah, um,… so since, it’s um,.. Valentine’s day,.. I was thinking, um,

    (Why won’t the words come out? Why do my feet feel like they’re on fire right now?)

    Her: You wanna go see a movie this weekend?

    Me: Um, …. Yeah, I guess.

    :clench::rofl:
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017
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  10. amp0193
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    amp0193 Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    I hope your product launch goes this well
     
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  11. Bearcorp
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    Bearcorp Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Best time to practice this is now while your waiting for the product! Take a few photos and start learning photoshop, you can learn to do anything just from typing in your problem to you tube. how to improve colour, how to change background, all sorts of skills. Once it lands you want your photos to be the best they can possibly be by doing them in house. A Lightbox and iPhone was all I used for years but looking at my website no one would know.

    And loved the dating story! At least you got the date, my youth was spent friend zoning myself haha
     
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  12. G-Man
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    G-Man Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Bad News:
    I went to check competitor listings of a product I was planning to launch as part of my line, and a bunch of the listings have disappeared. Turns out, it was added to the motherF****** prohibited items list.

    Good News:
    Because Incfile messed up my EIN, I waited to order the first $1,000 of items. I guess there's silver linings....

    I still have another item to launch, but given the items being added to the list, I'm wondering if I need to just switch to a different product category entirely, and go back to the drawing board.

    Any thoughts?

    f*ck. This is one of more discouraging days I can remember in recent history.
     
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  13. PTP
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    PTP Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    I say push through and keep going. The act of being on Amazon and making sales gives you a lot more confidence in the process. It gives you a better insight into products that will and will not work and changes your way of thinking.

    Also, constantly moving forward opens your mind up to a lot of different possibilities. It's MUCH easier to see new opportunities when you're already on Amazon selling, as opposed to browsing for products to sell yet never having made a sale.

    Verify that your product is within the TOS and just keep moving.
     
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  14. G-Man
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    G-Man Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Thanks man. Plan right now is to move forward cautiously with current products. I'm going to have to find a way to get rid of a sh*tload of samples, so it looks like I'm learning eBay too. eBay, by the way, looks like a total dumpster fire.

    I'm taking my time - I have less than 1k invested at this point, so no reason to double down if something looks like a bad idea. My concern is, that reading through the ToS, I see certain product groupings and language patterns appear repeatedly that lead me to believe that the entire category of items might be eventually banned.

    Cautious optimism. BTW - I've still got feelers out on the niche you pointed me to. Problem right now is for those kinds of products, you need to commit to a really high run size, which isn't a problem in itself, I just don't have enough confidence in my own abilities right now to be willing to commit to a large amount of inventory.
     
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  15. Scot
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    Scot Ductus Exemplo Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Well.... sh*t.

    At least you have another sku to work on man. Amazon is a fickle mistress.

    Out of curiosity, is this still something you could sell on a shopify site you create? If its a good enough niche, why not go for it on your own channel?
     
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  16. G-Man
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    G-Man Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    It is, and the long term goal is to have a true brand, not just an Amazon private label. This, however, would require a lot more product development time/budget. The idea was to launch products with the brand name on them via Amazon to get my chops down, start making sales, and have an audience already out there when I can launch a truly BA product. Until then, just focusing on simple improvements to existing products. For example, the best selling product in the niche, has about 20% 1 star reviews. Literally every single one is the same complaint, and it's super easy to fix.

    EDIT: I've always kind of just disregarded eBay out of hand, because it seems like such a ghetto, but the more I get familiar with eBay, the more I think that's an opportunity. The listings are such garbage that some of the top selling items in my category are 2-3x the price of others, but they're selling because they're the only listings on the whole thing that look convincingly like you're buying from a US seller. @MidwestLandlord kind of confirmed my suspicions yesterday.... he's taking advantage of the same opportunity.
     
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  17. G-Man
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    G-Man Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    So - we've jumped from having a false sense of momentum straight into the desert of desertion.

    Got the first small order of product 2, and the quality is absolute sh*t. I'm going to see what I can work out with the vendor, but it's technically not faulty,... it's just garbage. Backup plan is to add it to the list of stuff I'll firesale on eBay to get rid of.

    Second iteration of the logo from graphic designer was also bad. I don't know if it's her, or if I'm not effectively communicating. Possibly both.

    It's beginning to sink in now that I'm probably at least a couple months away from having a legit product, and probably 6 months + to a flagship product.

    Probably the last post on this thread for a while, but not because I've quit - there's just going to be a very long lull while I try to find new suppliers, new designers, and all that..... hopefully I can get a soft launch done before the summit in Feb.
     
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  18. Scot
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    Scot Ductus Exemplo Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Ain’t it a bitch when we can’t execute as fast as we want to?

    You’ve got the starting points though, the samples may be bad quality but you’ve got an idea of what you want now. You can always either find another manufacturer or you can try to upgrade the quality.

    I’m so bad with graphic designers because I can’t reakly translate what I have in my head. Just let them know and be honest that it’s way off from what you were thinking and see where they take it. A good designer will go for a new concept.

    Keep truckin
     
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  19. amp0193
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    amp0193 Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    That's the point of samples though. Sometimes they're sh*t, sometimes they're not. For small/cheap-ish products, I'll usually order samples from 2-3 suppliers at the same time, to speed up the process.
     
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  20. G-Man
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    G-Man Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    I've got 2 different suppliers, and on this sku, since the freight was such a big part of cost, and the actual items are small and super cheap, I just went ahead and ordered 100pcs. It's one of those scenarios where ordering 2 pcs as samples cost $50, and just ordering 100 pcs cost $110. I figured that way, if it worked out, I could go ahead and list, and I ordered samples of about 10 other skus thrown in the box with this order. Unfortunately, it's mostly junk.

    Working on 4 other skus at the moment - 2 are related to this category. 2 are not.

    I'm a hunter by nature, and unfortunately, there's a gathering aspect to this whole process that doesn't suit my impatient personality.
     
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  21. Vanderbilt
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    did you already knew your niche or did you pick randomly with junglescout whatever fit in your filter??can you little bit elaborate on this :)?
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2017
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  22. G-Man
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    G-Man Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    So - I didn't do random jungle scouting. I picked a category of products that I actually purchase and use. Here are my thoughts about the category:
    • It's two tiered. On the top you have a bunch of really flashy, overpriced products put out by national brands. At the bottom, you have tons of Chinese garbage.
    • As a category, the opportunity is for a branded product with a "quality" image, and for products that are nice but not laden with unnecessary features, and reasonably priced. All the products out there are like a zune, and I just want an iPod.
    Once I had the basic idea, I spent tons of time going through competing products with jungle scout and fba rev calculator. The goal is/was to get a few basic products out there to get the brand started and get my feet wet, since I'm totally new to eCom. There's essentially two weak links here: The product and me. Goal is to cut my teeth on simpler products, so that I have the skills to launch the flagship product I have in mind.

    EDIT: My main hypothesis is that there's need for a brand in the category. The main weakness of this project is I could be wrong on that most basic belief. I'm also hoping that launching some of these sort of peripheral skus helps me get feedback on whether I'm right or wrong on that. If the market tells me that it doesn't want what I want, it changes the complexion of this exercise entirely.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2017
  23. amp0193
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    amp0193 Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    I'd have done the same. That was a +ev decision.
     
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  24. Valor
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    Part of the game. It took me at least 3 versions of my main product before I had something good.

    Although I don't condone selling garbage, the initial versions of my product were vital in proving the concept, and without them, I probably wouldn't have made it to the great product I have today.

    "If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late."

    I also wouldn't let the logo hold you back from launching your product - I was selling my product for almost a year before having the logo and brand that I use today - the brand kind of developed over time. If you're having trouble with your designer, I'd be happy to send you the contact info for the designer I used from Upwork. I think I paid her $100 for 4 iterations which I chose from, and she nailed it on the first try.

    Also part of the game - it doesn't go away and it sucks.
     
  25. G-Man
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    G-Man Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    That's great. I'll keep that in mind.

    If the product were 80% of quality I wanted, I'd launch it. Right now though, it's not something I would stand to make much money on, and the downside is starting off with really sh*tty customer reviews. Going to just throw it on wife's ebay account to get it out of my living room for now.

    @amp0193 basically told me this several different ways, but, like everyone destined to learn the hard way, I told myself my experience would somehow be magically different than the guys on here who have done well at eCom.
     
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