Ben Webber owns 8 private label brands in various categories on Amazon. He is recognized as an 8-figure seller and speaker at a previous Billion Dollar Seller Summit. Ben has traveled around the world to various sourcing locations. Ben and his business partner have put up their own warehouse and fulfillment centers.
There is no doubt that Ben has come a long way from his retail arbitrage origins. It’s hard to imagine that Ben used to work the 9-5 and only decided to explore Amazon when the company cut their bonus. Ben used to explore salvage auctions and discount stores – looking for items with selling potential on Amazon.
But reselling on Amazon did not take off the way Ben wanted it to – and soon he realized that going back and forth to discount stores wasn’t sustainable.
Hence, the shift – it was in 2016 when they started exploring the possibility of a private label business. By 2018, Ben and his business partner have managed to go full-on exclusive private label with their very own brand.
What was Ben’s biggest challenge in reselling? “You couldn’t always maintain a steady inventory level.” Ben recalled, “If suppliers run out then we don’t have it anymore.”
The freedom to take advantage of successful brands is what attracted Ben to a private label model. Sourcing goods from discount stores meant their business was too dependent on another business’s performance. They wanted independence and unlimited growth – so private label was the way to go.
And grow they did – slowly and carefully – Ben and his partner took the leap with only $800 in inventory. They haven’t looked back since. They now have 8 private label brands on Amazon and other eCommerce platforms. The growth of their business allowed them to put up storage facilities of their own, to handle off-Amazon logistics.
How smooth was the transition from retail to private label? How much hoop-jumping needed to commence to get their private label business running?
“It was easier then than now,” Ben answered. “Back then we could figure out a simple product, put PPC on it, and we knew we’ll be okay.”
Word of warning: That was then. Things have gotten a bit more complicated today. There are about 2 million third-party sellers on Amazon this 2022. Now it would take more than just PPC to make it as an Amazon seller. “It’s harder, but still doable,” says Ben.
Ben’s Pro Tips for a Smooth Private Label Transition
“Your first product may fail.” Ben shrugged. “… and if it does, it doesn’t mean you’re a failure.”
Ben’s pragmatism is evident throughout his interview. This, no doubt, is one of the secrets to his success. We reached out to Ben because we knew that his story is relatable to a big chunk of the Amazon seller community. Perhaps there’s someone out there who’s in the exact situation he used to be in 7 years ago? Here are several of Ben’s useful insights to help a start-up eCommerce entrepreneur:
- Getting into eCommerce is harder now – but it’s just going to keep getting harder. There are more people getting on Amazon every day. So if you’ve got plans of starting an eCom business, start taking action now. Figure out the kinks later.
- Learn to make quick decisions, pivot, and adjust according to the times. Covid was a reality check for various businesses that made them realize their supply chain wasn’t solid enough.
- The best way to scale your supply chain is to diversify your business. Ben traveled to Mexico, Vietnam, and other sourcing locations for supply chain solutions. He knew that the infrastructure in other sourcing locations was not as advanced as China’s yet, but that didn’t stop him. And it shouldn’t stop you, either.
- There may be a world of differences in processes between sourcing locations. In Ben’s experience, sourcing in Mexico required a lot more legwork. Manufacturers may not always have everything you need in one place and you’d have to be the bridge connecting one supplier with another. That’s okay – just be aware and manage your expectations.
- Be creative with business solutions. In Ben’s case, it was putting up their own warehouse for storage and logistics. This helps bring down production costs and allows wider margins.
- Find ways to make your product unique and valuable to your customer. Make sure your customer understands this value.
Take The Leap
If the Ben Webber of today met the Ben Webber of 2015, we imagine a pat on the back for encouragement and a small push in the right direction. Now it’s your turn: look back to who you were 7 years ago. Track your progress and ask yourself – are you where you imagined you would be today? Did you ever take a leap of faith – and then found yourself landing on higher ground?
“Trust that you can do it,” says Ben. He did. And so can you.
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