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million$$$smile

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Awesome! If you don't mind, regarding outsourcing your programming:

Are you saying that you are outsourcing adding tangible product descriptions, weights, packaging requirements to marketplaces?
The reason why I ask is that you mentioned you had approximately 25,000 items you are selling online. This has been one of my biggest dilemmas on adding more dropshippable products do to the fact of having to provide the data for others to add to various marketplaces, websites.

If you are doing that, can you share a generic process of making that happen?
If not, I understand, but you are making me think that this might be possible without having to oversee every dotted I and crossed t.

Or, are you referring to outsourcing your programming of developing an online store only?

Again, thanks for your time!

Randall
 

Flyleaf

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Awesome! If you don't mind, regarding outsourcing your programming:

Are you saying that you are outsourcing adding tangible product descriptions, weights, packaging requirements to marketplaces?
The reason why I ask is that you mentioned you had approximately 25,000 items you are selling online. This has been one of my biggest dilemmas on adding more dropshippable products do to the fact of having to provide the data for others to add to various marketplaces, websites.

If you are doing that, can you share a generic process of making that happen?
If not, I understand, but you are making me think that this might be possible without having to oversee every dotted I and crossed t.

Or, are you referring to outsourcing your programming of developing an online store only?

Again, thanks for your time!

Randall
Hey Randall,

Well for me I outsource all of my programming. I know enough web design and HTML to get by but nothing major. A good developer will be able to go to a site and develop a system that automatically pulls product descriptions, weights, SKU's etc. put that into a program that can then input that information into an ad or listing for whatever marketplace you are targeting. From my understanding It can be done in a number of different ways. Again, I found mine at freelancer.com but I've also heard that elance.com is good as well. Just read feedback and discuss your expectations with any programmer before hiring them. In the beginning some of these things can maybe be handled with an excel spreadsheet or even by hand. But once you start getting into even hundreds of items it starts to become more necessary to integrate programming. Don't let programming intimidate you though. I can't program my way out of a paper bag. lol But a good programmer will walk you through everything that needs to be done. They are out there you just have to look.
 

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Thanks for sharing your story Flyleaf. Here's to much more success to you in the future. I've been working towards a similar path the last few weeks and officially started this week.
 

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Just amazing! This is exactly what I needed, at this exact moment in time! You answered so many of the questions I have been asking myself over and over, and have opened my eyes to possibilities that I haven't even considered before! I'm so glad and appreciative you decided to come out from shadows and post your story...it truly is inspiring and motivating!

I've been dabbling in ebay since 2001, but only started getting serious about a year ago. I've been getting all of my products from China and am starting to wonder if this is the best route to go. Do you currently work with suppliers in China (or elsewhere overseas), here in the states, or both? Have you or would you ever dropship from a supplier overseas? As a few others have commented, I too have always been leery of dropshipping. Mainly because of the feeling of not being in control of what gets sent, how it gets sent, when it gets sent, etc. I pride myself on my customer service, and to potentially compromise that seems foolish. But I haven't completely wiped the idea from my brain and would still love to get into it.

But again, thanks so much for posting your story, and for all of the continued support you're providing me, and everyone else reading this! You definitely deserve all of the kind words, rep, likes, and donations that are coming your way!
 

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Something I should make clear here is that I never go out looking for "dropshipping companies". If a company advertises that they are a dropshipping company then I stay away. Many of them are scammy where they want a big fee up front, or even if they are legitimate then everyone else and their brother is already using them.

I hope people caught this little tidbit of information.

When he first mentioned "drop-shipping" I thought, "utt oh, entry violation." Why? Because everyone is looking for dropshippers who will make their life easy. How he fixes the entry issue is he doesn't use company's that specifically mention dropshipping because that is where the crowd, or the herd is looking.

Instead, he uses his personal capital and tries to establish relationships with manufacturers that are off-the-grid, and not advertising dropshipping. Heck, some of them might not even know what it is.

Easy - Oh look at this list! This website lists 100 dropshippers. I'm gonna call em!
(Problem is, every tom-dick-and-harry is using them, crowding the space.)

Hard - Call 2 dozen manufacturers that don't necessarily "drop ship" and establish a personal relationship with them.
Result: Unique products without fly-by-night money chasers crowding the space.
 

Flyleaf

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I hope people caught this little tidbit of information.

When he first mentioned "drop-shipping" I thought, "utt oh, entry violation." Why? Because everyone is looking for dropshippers who will make their life easy. How he fixes the entry issue is he doesn't use company's that specifically mention dropshipping because that is where the crowd, or the herd is looking.

Instead, he uses his personal capital and tries to establish relationships with manufacturers that are off-the-grid, and not advertising dropshipping. Heck, some of them might not even know what it is.

Easy - Oh look at this list! This website lists 100 dropshippers. I'm gonna call em!
(Problem is, every tom-dick-and-harry is using them, crowding the space.)

Hard - Call 2 dozen manufacturers that don't necessarily "drop ship" and establish a personal relationship with them.
Result: Unique products without fly-by-night money chasers crowding the space.

This is exactly it! Some of the products I sell on channels I'm the only one even selling the item. But its because I spent the time to make the relationship. This in turn leads to higher margins on those items, but its all a result of reaching out to companies.

I'll admit that for me cold calling a company is not exactly a favorite past time, although its led to some of my best relationships. But even if you don't want to do that, see if on their website you can ship the product to a different address then the billing address. How many 10's of thousands of websites are out there that will let you do that? Now you have to be careful and not just trust anyone but what I'm trying to point to is that there is virtually limitless inventory already online. Developing a system to use what's already there and sell it on different channels for a few bucks more is where I see lots of opportunity.
 

Bigguns50

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@Flyleaf Congratulations on your success so far ! Thanks for all the info.
There is a TON of information in this thread. It should be read multiple times.
Rep $$ coming your way !
 
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Eskil

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Wow... awesome success story! +$rep transferred... ;)

Yeah drop-shipping and selling on eBay both have some negative connotations these days so it's refreshing to see someone doing so extremely well at to this day, even having started it so recently!

This really goes to show that old sayings like "that method has been done to death" or "you can't do that anymore...too much competition these days" don't hold water when an individual dares to think different and finds a new way to go where others can't or won't.
 

Kak

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Hey Randall,

Well for me I outsource all of my programming. I know enough web design and HTML to get by but nothing major. A good developer will be able to go to a site and develop a system that automatically pulls product descriptions, weights, SKU's etc. put that into a program that can then input that information into an ad or listing for whatever marketplace you are targeting. From my understanding It can be done in a number of different ways. Again, I found mine at freelancer.com but I've also heard that elance.com is good as well. Just read feedback and discuss your expectations with any programmer before hiring them. In the beginning some of these things can maybe be handled with an excel spreadsheet or even by hand. But once you start getting into even hundreds of items it starts to become more necessary to integrate programming. Don't let programming intimidate you though. I can't program my way out of a paper bag. lol But a good programmer will walk you through everything that needs to be done. They are out there you just have to look.

It sounds to me like you are taking copyrighted material and marking up the product that can easily be found elsewhere. If this is indeed the truth, the loophole will close and your "business" will tank. I hope I am wrong about my analysis. I have literally threatened legal action against at least 15 companies like yours last year and was responsible for the ban of many ebay, sears, and amazon accounts that do this.

Your "programmers" go out and scrape information from people like me and mark it up to resell in the same marketplace? LOL your whole business is based on a large scale deception.

I know I am going to catch some kind of bullshit for this because there are already people singing your praises. I have been known not to give a f*ck about popular opinion. I just thought before this thread goes any further I would expose the truth about what is really happening here.
 
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Vigilante

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Have you ever received heat for not being an authorized reseller of the merchandise? There are two models here :

1. creating new drop ship relationships (legit and awesome) and

2. buying products from places like Amazon and reselling them on eBay for more than market (consumers get screwed)

I applaud the first one, and distain the second one.
 

Kak

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Have you ever received heat for not being an authorized reseller of the merchandise? There are two models here :

1. creating new drop ship relationships (legit and awesome) and

2. buying products from places like Amazon and reselling them on eBay for more than market (consumers get screwed)

I applaud the first one, and distain the second one.

I would go a step farther and argue that if the consumer is willing to pay, then that is that. My beef with him is his large scale intellectual property theft scheme. f*cking copy and paste mill.
 

Flyleaf

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Yeah I have seen people doing the model you guys are describing and it is not sustainable for the long term. This is really more of an issue on eBay.com then other sites like Amazon where there is one product page and image with multiple sellers. I think when you are starting off then it is an okay way for people to get their feet wet but as you said you would begin dealing with Copyright and Trademark issues of companies who either don't want their products listed or their images used. Of course you have to respect this and if you don't then you'll get your business shuttered. In my experience about 95% of the companies out there have no problem with you using their images as long as you are buying the product directly from them. But you can't just assume that. I always try and get permission if I am unable to take my own pictures, but even then some companies will open a violation against you on various channels. Usually this is just a case of a company where the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. Establishing relationships is always the best way to go but using other retails sites for arbitrage is a model that works well. Anytime I have ever had anyone accuse me of anything like copyright, trademark or even counterfeiting I always contact that company immediately and explain the situation. 9 times out of 10 the problem is fixed over the phone. If you are doing things right then you have nothing to worry about, but no you can't just copy and paste everything you find on the internet. Apologies if I gave that impression.
 
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Kak

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Yeah I have seen people doing the model you guys are describing and it is not sustainable for the long term. This is really more of an issue on eBay.com then other sites like Amazon where there is one product page and image with multiple sellers. I think when you are starting off then it is an okay way for people to get their feet wet but as you said you would begin dealing with Copyright and Trademark issues of companies who either don't want their products listed or their images used. Of course you have to respect this and if you don't then you'll get your business shuttered. In my experience about 95% of the companies out there have no problem with you using their images as long as you are buying the product directly from them. But you can't just assume that. I always try and get permission if I am unable to take my own pictures, but even then some companies will open a violation against you on various channels. Usually this is just a case of a company where the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. Establishing relationships is always the best way to go but using other retails sites for arbitrage is a model that works well. Anytime I have ever had anyone accuse me of anything like copyright, trademark or even counterfeiting I always contact that company immediately and explain the situation. 9 times out of 10 the problem is fixed over the phone. If you are doing things right then you have nothing to worry about, but no you can't just copy and paste everything you find on the internet. Apologies if I gave that impression.

I apologize if indeed you are building relationships with all of these suppliers, but it doesn't sound like you are. Let it be known my disdain with copyright infringement.

Folks the way to be successful in business is to always make sure every angle of the venture is in the right. People like the ones being discussed will be looking over their shoulders for years to come. If you always adhere to strict moral standards from the beginning you will never have to worry about being shut down, sued and even criminally punished.

A well respected friend of mine says to always "walk in the light" and it makes sense on so many levels. Don't be a bottom feeding dickhead.
 
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Vigilante

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This is the problem with retail arbitrage :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Millennium_Copyright_Act

It's simply not legal. You can't take images, copy, trademarks, etc... and repost them.

I think eventually all of these types of "businesses" will be purged from the marketplaces, or the marketplace itself is violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

There are a lot of people jumping on what appears to be easy money, when in reality all it takes is one "Napster" type of lawsuit to bring it all into equilibrium and restore the rights of the brand holders.

I love your drop ship relationship method. I distain advocating anyone take any intellectual property from anyone and reposting it anywhere. Do more of the relationship building, and less of the "easy way" which in reality --- isn't sustainable as you said.
 

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Flyleaf

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I apologize if indeed you are building relationships with all of these suppliers, but it doesn't sound like you are. Let it be known my disdain with copyright infringement.

Building relationships is the primary way I do business, but after rereading some of what I wrote I can see how it could appear otherwise. My intent with talking about retail arbitrage was to get people thinking of the opportunities around them for doing a dropshipping model. The fact of the matter is that most people don't mind you using their images if you are purchasing the product from them. Some may not like me saying that but its the truth. Again as I said before, you should always ask, which is what I do now. When I was first experimenting with changing my business however I did try this with several online stores. The result? Many contacted me asking me to setup an account with them instead of purchasing straight from their website so I could get better pricing. Most online stores are extactic that you are moving inventory for them, not throwing a fit because you use their stock image. lol I did during that time though have 2 companies contact me and ask me to not use their images. Of course I complied with it immediately and it was no problem. But the fact that some companies didn't want me to use their images was what led me to seek permission with all the companies I now use. I went to a conference around the time I was changing over my business and met a woman who ran an online business out of Iowa. She had contracted with Victoria's Secret to be their sole buyer of out of season clothes and excess product. She told me that it wasn't easy securing the contract but her business exploded as a result of it. After talking with her this was the model that I chose to pursue as I felt it obviously made more sense.

Now if someone that is starting off asks me what I would recommend to get going then I do tell them to build relationships with companies, but to actually get sales in the door I have recommended retail arbitrage (maybe I shouldn't). I've seen it done and in the past I did try this with success. In all fairness though, the only angle I have ever thought about this in, is in terms of being an online reseller. I don't manufacture any of my own products so I'd never really considered the other side of those who do. I'd always assumed it was more business for them. I do think there are 2 sides to this though instead of assuming that every thing is illegal when it comes to using stock images.

Can I ask an honest opinion to some of you who manufacture your own products? What do you think about this - http://www.tabberone.com/Trademarks/CopyrightLaw/ImageTextTheft/ImageTextTheft.shtml I feel it shows another point of view on the law from an eBay sellers standpoint. I'm not saying I agree with either side but am genuinely curious how this plays out. Like I said, I now have permission for everything sold, but for a time did not always do it this way. I do think its better to er on the side of caution but am curious to hear your thoughts.
 

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Look dude. The only reason people are pissed off about the pictures is because it is the path of least resistance to get your shit removed. In my case each and every one of my ebay listings have a copyright statement at the bottom blatantly laying out that I intend to force action on anyone who violates my intellectual property rights. As does my website and also my listings on other marketplaces. Most of the time the rip off is so blatant they leave the statement in the duplicated ad!!!

Half of my problem is counterfeit items. I see fraudulent listings of shit I don't even have in stock that they are shipping AS MY BRAND NAME, GUARANTEEING THE PRODUCTS from MY COMPANY. I can not and will not be responsible for anything you or anyone like you ships in lieu of the actual product. I also can not and will not be responsible for a poor reputation brought on by slow, lagging shipping times and outrageous prices. Because this reflects badly on MY COMPANY, I go after every last one of them.

Some of your company's money is made illegally. You should hope you never come across my products or those of business owners I know who take brand protection very seriously.
 
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Flyleaf

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Some of your company's money is made illegally. You should hope you never come across my products or those of business owners I know who take brand protection very seriously.

lol Come on man. Are you serious? Your assumptions are quickly delving into unrealistic stupidity.I wish you would've actually read what was written instead of writing such an emotional response. How about checking the link I posted, calming down and writing something rational?
 
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MJ DeMarco

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Some of your company's money is made illegally.

C'mon bro, quit taking out your frustrations on someone who doesn't appear to be guilty of what you're saying. Reminds me of the emotional response we heard from people using ad blockers.
 
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Flyleaf

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He admitted to doing exactly what I am talking about. He said he doesnt always get permission. Ill drop it.
:totalbs:

...But the fact that some companies didn't want me to use their images was what led me to seek permission with all the companies I now use...

tumblr_lptp0wk3TW1qc9ljx.gif
 

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Great thread. Thanks for the quality information, Flyleaf, and congratulations on all of your success!
 

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