Karen Bonnici believes that the key to resilience in the human spirit is to have the courage to step into the thing that’s difficult. Resilience and courage – and choosing happiness – that’s the name of the game.

This storyteller and performance artist knows a thing or two about resilience, courage, and overcoming the odds. Karen, the focus of today’s Seller Portrait, is a phenomenally successful Amazon seller, with a patented product that’s bringing in 7 figures combined on Amazon in both kids and adult categories for her product. Her secret to success isn’t difficult at all to follow – so let’s dive in, and take a page from Karen’s book, so you too develop the courage and spirit to achieve her same levels of success!

Part 1: Appeal to Your Strengths

Karen Bonnici is a storyteller. She performs in schools, libraries, community centers, and the like, pulling on a theater background to communicate a fable or fairy tale to an audience. She captivates and enthralls, whether she’s speaking to a gaggle of rowdy 6-year-olds, or to an enthused group of 60-year-olds. She involves the audience in her storytelling, so the entire experience is memorable, interactive, and so much fun.

These strengths have played in perfectly with her product line. There’s a theatricality behind her products, which contain a deeper purpose: “Bring the happiness, and remember to stand in your resilience.”

Creativity takes courage. – Henri Matisse

Karen’s products seek to influence her buyers, much in the way that her storytelling influences her audience. These aren’t run-of-the-mill products purchased from a catalogue; her products contain the true essence of private label. They are pure inventions, born out of creativity, courage, and purpose, a warm hug for everyone who purchases them, from this warmhearted and engaging lady. When we get to it, Karen explains that her products are a reminder: “You have to put your feet on the ground every morning and step forward.”

On many days, that’s a demanding request. On many days, you summon up your guardian angel, your inner superhero, to help you stiffen your spine, to do the things that need to be done. The missive behind Karen’s product development centered around courage. “We have to have the courage to step into the thing that’s difficult,” Karen says, compassionately.

Pull on Karen’s product, and you feel the superhero inside you come out to play: “Like that superhero, (you say) I’ve got this, I can take care of this.” Then, miraculously, it gets done. Miraculously, the end of the day beckons, and you sip a cup of tea, amazed at all you’ve accomplished: “you don’t really know you’re being courageous.” That’s the benefit of putting one foot in front of the other – with Karen’s product, draped around your shoulders, comforting and bolstering all at the same time.

Now, inventing new products isn’t for everybody. Many sellers aren’t quite ready for that giant step — it’s daunting. When to patent? Are you assured of success? How do you know this product will even work? Perhaps Karen had the necessary chutzpah to make it big – but maybe she also had some help.

Part 2: Learn Everything, Especially That Which You Know You Don’t Know

Imagine the impact that the pandemic had on a performance actor. As the world closed, Karen found herself bereft of an audience. What was she going to do now? She toyed with the idea of bringing her performances to YouTube – but then she had another epiphany. She found herself sewing the first of her prototypes as gifts for her nieces and nephews, and realized that she had happened onto a brilliant idea. It resonated with the warmth in her soul, with her life’s mission of spreading courage and resilience, and her love for learning.

“Everybody’s got their ‘what did they do at home during the pandemic’ kind of project. Learning was mine.”

To say the least, Karen was intimidated. “When I was hand sewing the product, I had a small cut-and-sew shop sewing them for me. I had to source the fabric from an importer. I was overwhelmed by that. I thought I could never talk to a factory overseas and figure out how to do that.”

Karen experienced the same rough roads that any beginner Amazon entrepreneur faces: an abundance of information. The overwhelm was real. “There’s tons of programs out there,” Karen sighs. At this point, performance anxiety would seep in: which way works? Does this person know what they’re talking about? Will I achieve ROI from this investment? Karen even found a program that caters to creatives hoping to launch products on e-Commerce or wholesale.

So, like many of the Amazing at Home community, Karen’s path to Amy was roundabout, but it came as a massive relief. There’s just so much information out there – and teaching creative people isn’t always easy – so Karen wasn’t 100% sure where she fit in, and where she’d find the teacher she needed. “Amy taught me what to do,” Karen exclaims. “That’s the honest-to-goodness truth. She’s got this course that is just very put together from A to Z, how to get your brand built. I followed her steps and I’m pretty thorough as a student. I did everything in order, just as she instructed, and it’s working.”

For every one of us that succeeds, it’s because there’s somebody there to show you the way out. The light doesn’t always necessarily have to be in your family; for me it was teachers and school. – Oprah Winfrey

The Amy Way, as the Amazing at Home team fondly calls it, arms students with the tools and steps for success – but even more than that, it arms them with the right attitude. Amy herself is an Amazon seller, so everything she teaches in her courses is tried and tested – which is why Karen’s been so successful. She’s walking in the footsteps of someone who’s done it and been successful at it. Moreover, Amy’s optimism, courage, and resilience are contagious. Truly, Karen and Amy have distinct similarities – for one, they’re both avid problem solvers.

“You have to wake up everyday, and know that you’re going to be fixing things and resolving issues that need to be dealt with,” Karen confesses. “These problems cost a lot of money.”

Well, thank goodness Amy’s there to hold Karen’s hand whenever things get overwhelming. Artist or no, it’s comforting that you don’t have to do this alone. It’s a relief to know that there’s someone there, a faithful teacher, who’s got your back, who knows her stuff, and who can gently and carefully lead you down the right path.

Part 3: Scale the Right Way

The first of Karen’s products started as hand-sewn Christmas gifts for her nieces and nephews. “I gave it to them because I really wanted them to believe that they were strong and capable, could stand on their own two feet, and take on the challenges of this world.” What a message! Talk about a truth that we could all afford to hear, on a regular basis. Scaling upwards and bringing the product to market was a non-negotiable. You could even say it was an obligation. Karen has a philosophy that many of us could benefit from.

It wasn’t always rainbows and puppies, though.

“While I was launching this product right at the beginning of launch, I went through breast cancer myself,” Karen reminisces – proof in the pudding that Karen walks the walk and talks the talk of courage and resilience, herself. “I had been in Amy’s class, I’d been taking all the training and really getting excited and ready to go. And then I got diagnosed. I was like, what am I going to do now. You don’t know how you’re going to move forward. But I just decided – I’m so compelled by what I have, and what I want to share – I just kept moving forward. The day before I went in for surgery, I placed my deposit on my first order with my factory!”

In spite of this rough road, Karen has launched, sold, and experienced successful sales with a profitable product. “It was a thing that kept poking and poking and poking at me. Like, if I didn’t do it, that would have been awful when I’m 99 years old.”

Your regrets aren’t what you did, but what you didn’t do. So I take every opportunity. – Cameron Diaz

Karen’s business structure enables her to achieve her dreams. She has a few part-time VAs that work for her, and she works with an agency for Amazon PPC. She has big plans: she hopes to expand to other markets pretty soon. Yet, her business philosophy is clear: learn it first, then entrust it to the pros. “We’re hiring on people who are much better at it than a single solo entrepreneur, and that’s what you have to do. You can’t do this yourself. You start out by yourself, but to grow on the path that you’re headed, that’s what you do.” 

Many entrepreneurs have experienced the “Superman Syndrome” – the need to be on top of everything. And it’s perfectly understandable. Every entrepreneur has to have a healthy dose of passion and dedication – entrusting outsiders, non-owners, to have that same passion and dedication is tough. But in addition to being resilient and brave, Karen is sensible, wise, and humble – she’s scaling the right way.

My biggest talent is I know who is more talented than I am. I find them and I go to them, and I learn. – Liza Minnelli

Also, it helps having the correct mindset. Karen doesn’t get burned out. She thinks far ahead into the future, and doesn’t see herself sitting on the laurels of a successful and profitable Amazon business. “I wouldn’t be retired because I love working. I really do love my work!”

If you’d like to know more about how to scale your operations, Amy’s concept to launch course contains a module on business planning & operations. The Mastermind group also contains modules on operations and scaling. These courses have actionable modules to keep you on track, so you’re not just listening to a lecture – there are steps you can take in your business in real time. For a list of all the courses, click here.

Part 4: Have Courage. Choose Happiness.

Dream Mighty. How else will you affect the change that the world needs from you? When customers pull on Karen’s products, they feel safe, they feel powerful, they feel capable. Karen has put her money where her mouth is. If Amy is teaching sellers the steps she herself has taken to become a success, so too is Karen selling a product that espouses values she lives by daily.

Karen’s biggest regret is that she didn’t start selling 10 years earlier. She admits that she didn’t have that courage 10 years earlier, but we believe things happen when they’re supposed to.

If there’s any lesson we can take away from Karen’s experience, it’s to approach everything in life with courage, and to choose happiness everyday. This cheerful, warmhearted lady is a massive success – in part due to Amy’s assistance, and in part due to her sunny and indefatigable spirit. Now, not many of us have that same Sound of Music vibe that Karen has, and that’s okay. Like we’ve covered here, success starts with a seed – the tiniest idea that comes from a place of wanting to do good and impact change. The next part is finding the teacher that can help lead you towards your dreams. Then, pursuing happiness on a daily basis, following your path with courage and resilience, becomes much easier, knowing you’re not alone.

Actors are agents of change. A film, a piece of theater, a piece of music, or a book can make a difference. It can change the world. – Alan Rickman


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