1. How I made $6754 with Merch by Amazon in one month

Find out how Elaine Heney recognised a huge opportunity and made nearly $7000 with Amazon’s newest print on demand platform Merch by Amazon and how you can get started too.

Welcome to the Merch Entrepreneur Podcast. You are going to hear these strategies, the tactics from the stories of people who are making money with Merch by Amazon. Welcome, my name is Elaine Heney and this is the first episode of the Merch Entrepreneur Podcast. So as you may have gathered from my accent, I am from Ireland but right now I am actually recording this podcast in the Canary Islands of the cost of Africa.

Actually I ended up here because four years ago, I was working in a corporate job in an office and a little grey cubical, in the middle of Dublin and while my job was fine, I knew it wasn’t for me any longer. I wanted to be able to try new things and see if I could actually make money in this crazy world the internet and interweb.

So I decided I would quit my job and my first adventure into making money on the internet was doing mobile apps. In the beginning it was really daunting. I had to figure out how to hire developers in India and lots of strange places. I used to figure out the marketing, optimization, building up a team. So it was definitely a kind of steep learning curve but worked pretty well in the end. After that I moved on to Amazon FBA.

Amazon FBA if you are not familiar with this, and I am sure a lot of you are listening are, it’s where your private label product. So you actually create your own brand on a range of products usually these products you buy come quite cheaply maybe in China and then you transport them over by air or by sea to amazon.com or Amazon in Europe and from there, then you set the price is you make a profit on the difference between what you bought so far and what you sold so far by taking away the cost of Amazon fees and the cost of shipping it over and that kind of stuff.

That was really interesting but again there is quite a high barrier entry and both figuring it out and having money to put into investing new products. I find FBA is that while it’s really good business model, you always need money to invest in the next round of stocks. So you have bought 100 units of whatever it is that you are selling, once you sold 50, that’s great. You have got 50 but maybe the next time need by 200 and you need to order today because you got to give them time to stock and ship it over. So you are always kind of ahead of yourself in terms of ordering and ordering more money. So in terms of the money management side of it, it could be making a really good profit, it was definitely hard to always have enough capital to reinvest to grow the business as you would like to do it but same amount of FBA was really good to me and worked out well but I actually was in one of these FBA groups last year.

I stumbled across something really interesting and I am always curious about online businesses and how people are making money and what’s actually working. So I stumbled across something called Merch Amazon. It’s about last November. I was like interesting. What is this Merch by Amazon?

Last September, early October 2015, Amazon launched a new program and basically to cut a long story short with this program, what you do is you get an account a merch account with Amazon, doesn’t cost you anything, you get the opportunity to upload 25 designs that would be suitable to be printed on T shirts. Amazon then put these live on their amazon.com website. It looks like any person selling a T shirt but design on it.

If someone decides to buy it, Amazon will print that T shirt because they have got a warehouse. It’s full of lots of t shirts and lots of t shirt printing machines. So they will actually print that one particular T shirt for that person that ordered it. Then they will send it out using prime shipping and for every t shirt that you sell for 20 dollars, you the person who made the design gets a little over 7 dollars.

So I was like holy cow, this is insane. Seriously, because I was familiar with the volume and Amazon from FBA and I was okay, so this is like FBA, you can list products on Amazon but that’s hilarious. I have t shirt you may have heard. That’s good. So you list products on Amazon but you don’t have to buy any inventory. I did not have to be spending more money to buy t shirts. I don’t even see the t shirts and never have to bring to the post office.
There is not any customer service because these t shirts are actually printed and sold by amazon. So I never even get a customer service email. So I was like completely taken a back immediately I was like this is something I have to do. This is crazy. This could really take off and it was absolutely brand new. So I went to the website. For a couple of weeks when I launched initially, when you signed in, straight away you can [inaudible 00:05:44] which is obviously really good if you knew about it but then things changed because I think a lot of people got into it and Amazon didn’t expected so many people. So now when you go to the website which is merch.amazon.com you have to request an invitation which is kind of cool. Give me your email address and you are going to have to wait a couple of months, maybe 2 months, maybe 3 months.

It depends and then one day, you wake up and you will get an email by merch on amazon and you are approved. Then of course, you do your happy dance whatever. Then you get into making T shirts, you upload you first 25 t-shirts and you wait until you get sale which is the whole definitely talk episodes how to maximize possibility of getting sales and what to do in 25. So just some info of how I have been getting on.

I applied November 2015, I was approved to sale in the end of February 2016. So unfortunately that’s life. So I started off first year which is 25. So I can upload maximum of 25 designs. I am not a graphic designer. So you can pay a graphic designer to do it but honestly you can figure out how to do it yourself. You don’t have to be fancy designs. It can literally be text designs. So I started off the 25 tier and as you sell designs, they kind of creep you up and you can sell more and right now I am on the 4000 tier which is really good. I should actually be tiering up quite soon in the next couple of weeks. 4000 tier I have just over 3800 t shirts live, which I know sounds like a lot and it is a lot but that’s like over a good few months.

I have had my biggest month in royalties just last month, last October which is nearly 7000 which is completely crazy, considering there is no customer service. There is no up-front costs. I don’t have to buy an inventory, any cost that I do have for just some designers or virtual systems and that kind of thing. So I just think it’s absolutely crazy. I was actually out of a digital news up last night in our local bar and [inaudible 00:08:0] and I was telling some of the other the friends of mine there seriously there is t shirt thing, you need to have a look at it. They are like what. They couldn’t get over so I think I have an English teacher, an SEO specialist and a data analyst who are now going to start doing this t shirt thing explaining it to them over. So it’s completely crazy. I think it’s just a huge opportunity right in the beginning like this is really going to get much bigger. What I am really excited about actually what I would love to do is if you listen to this podcast and you are a Merch by amazon seller, so maybe started a couple of months ago and you have just sold your 25 first t shirts and you are going to tier up or maybe you started I don’t know way back in the day, 10 months ago or something and you are making really good consistent income.

Maybe you are someone who is never even thought of having an internet business but you saw this and you are like I will give it a shot. You are doing a really nice making a couple extra dollars a month. So I would love to hear from you, love to hear your story and share with the community. So if you would like to be featured on this podcast what you can do is go to the website which is Merchentrepreneur.com and you can find my email there and then just drop me a message and I will love to hear from you. So thank you very much for listening.

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Welcome to the Merch Entrepreneur Podcast. You’re going to hear the strategies, the tactics, and the stories of people who are making money with Merch by Amazon. Welcome. My name is Elaine Heney and this is the first episode of the Merch Entrepreneur Podcast.

As you may have gathered from my accent, I am from Ireland but right now I’m actually recording this podcast in the Canary Islands, which are islands off the coast of Africa. I actually ended up here because four years ago I was working in a corporate job in an office, in a little gray cubicle, in the middle of Dublin and while my job was fine, I knew it wasn’t for me any longer. I wanted to be able to try new things and see if I would actually make money in this crazy world of the internet and the inter web. I decided I would quit my job.
My first adventure into making money on the internet was doing mobile apps. At the beginning it was really daunting. I had to figure out how to hire developers in India and lots of strange places. I had to figure out the marketing, optimization, building up a team, so it was definitely a steep learning curve but worked out pretty well in the end.

After that, I moved on to Amazon FBA. Amazon FBA, if you’re not familiar with this … I’m sure a lot of you listening are. It’s where you private label products. You actually create your own brand on a range of products. Usually these products you buy quite cheaply, maybe in China. Then you transport them over by air or by sea to Amazon dot com or Amazon in Europe. From there, then you set the price. The idea is that you make a profit on the difference between what you bought if for and then what you sold it for, taking away the cost of Amazon’s fees and the cost of shipping it over and all that kind of stuff.

That was really interesting, but again, it is a quite a high buyer’s entry initially, both figuring hours and having money to put into investing in new products. One big [inaudible 00:02:25] that I find at FBA is that while it’s a really good business model you always need money to invest in the next round of stock. Say you bought 100 units of whatever it is that you’re selling. Once you’ve sold 50, that’s great. You’ve got your money back in for 50 but maybe the next time you need to buy 200 and you need order today because you’ve got to give them time to make the stock and to ship it over. You’re always ahead of yourself in terms of ordering and ordering always involves more money.

In terms of the money management side of this, while you could be making a really good profit, it’s definitely hard to always have enough capital to reinvest to grow the business as you would like to do. FBA was really good to me and worked out well. Actually I think it was when I was in one these FBA groups last year, I stumbled across something really interesting. I’m always curious about online business and how people are making money and what’s actually working. I stumbled across something called Merch by Amazon. It was about last November. I was like, “Hmm, interesting. Interesting. What is this Merch by Amazon.”

I had a look. Basically, the story is that last, the end of September, early October 2015 Amazon launched a new program. Basically, to cut a long story short with this program, what you do is you get an account, a Merch account in Amazon. It doesn’t cost you anything. You get the opportunity to upload 25 designs that would be suitable to be printed on T-shirts. Amazon then put these live on their Amazon dot com website. It looks like any person selling a T-shirt but it’s got your design on it. If someone decides to buy it, Amazon will print that T-shirt.

They’ve got a warehouse. It’s a huge warehouse and it’s full of lots of T-shirts and it’s full of T-shirt printing machines. They’d actually print out one particular T-shirt for that person that ordered it and then they would send it out using the Prime shipping. For every T-shirt that you sell for $20, you, the person who made the design gets a little over $7. I was like, “Holy cow, this is insane, like seriously.” I was familiar with the volume that Amazon can do on FBA. I was like, “Okay, so this is like FBA. You can use products on Amazon but …” Oh, that’s Larry. I’ve just sold a T-shirt. You may have heard the ka-ching. That’s good.

You list products on Amazon but you don’t have to buy any inventory. I didn’t have to be spending more money to buy T-shirts. I don’t even see the T-shirts. I never have to bring anything to the post office. There’s not even any customer service because these t-shirts are actually printed and sold by Amazon so I never even get a customer service email. I was like completely taken aback . immediately, I was like, “This is something I have to do. This is crazy. This could really take off.” It was absolutely brand new. I went to the website and for a couple of weeks when I launched initially , when you signed in straightaway you can upload T-shirts which was obviously really good if you knew about it. Then things changed because I think a lot of people got into it and Amazon wasn’t expecting so many people.

Now when you go to the website, which is Merch.Amazon. com, you have to request an invitation which is code for give me your email address and you’re going to have to wait a couple months, maybe two months, maybe three months at times. Then one day you wake up and you get an email from Merch by Amazon going, “You’ve been approved.” Then, of course, you do your happy dance or whatever and then youngest into making T-shirts. You upload your first 25 T-shirts and you wait until you get a sale which is the hole we’ll definitely talk on further episodes on how to maximize possibility of getting a sale and what to do in the 25 tier.

Just some info on how I’ve been getting on. I applied November 2015. I was approved just about in the end of February 2016, so unfortunately I missed Q4, but that’s life. I started off on the first tier which his 25, so I could upload a maximum of 25 designs. I’m not a graphic designer. You can pay for a graphic designer to do it but honestly you can figure out how to do it yourself. They don’t have to be fancy designs. They can actually be text designs, like really simple.

I started off at the 25 tier. As you sell designs, they creep you up and you can sell more and you can sell more. Right now, I’m on the 4000 tier which is really good. I should actually be tiering up quite soon, in the next couple of weeks. Four thousand, I have just over 3800 t-shirts live which I know it sounds like a lot. It is a lot, but that’s over a good few months. I’ve had my biggest month in royalties just last month, last October, which is nearly 7000 which is completely crazy considering that there’s no customer service. There’s no upfront costs. I don’t have to buy inventory. Any costs that I do have are really small for designers or virtual assistant to help, that kind of thing. I just think it’s absolutely crazy.

I was actually at a digital nomads meetup last night. I was telling some friends that were there, I said, “See, this t-shirt thing. You need to have a look at it.” They were like, “Seriously, what?” They couldn’t get over it. I think I have an English teacher, an SEO specialist, and a data analyst who are now going to start doing this t-shirt thing. It shows me explaining it to them over a rum or two. It’s pretty crazy. I think it’s just a huge opportunity. We’re right in at the beginning. This is really going to get much bigger.

What I’m really excited about actually, what I would love to do is if you listen to this podcast and you are a Merch by Amazon seller. Maybe you started a couple months ago and you’ve just ordered 25 t-shirts and you’re going to tier up or maybe you started way back in the day, ten months ago or something and you’re making really good consistent income. Maybe you’re someone who’s never even thought about having a business but you saw this and you’re like, “I’ll give it a shot,” and you’re doing a really nice side hustle and making a couple of extra hundred dollars a month.

I would love to hear from you, love to hear your story and share it with the community. If you’d like to be featured on this podcast, what you can do is go to the website which is Merch entrepreneur dot com. You can find my email there and then just drop me a message. I would love to hear from you. Thank you very much for listening. This is it, first podcast. Over and out until two, on podcast number two.

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4 Comments

  1. Cindy

    After hearing about you a couple weeks ago in Side hustle, I filled out an application with Merch, but each time I log in, it still has the request an invitation form up. So I have filled it out a couple of more times and there is not a change. Insights? did this happen with you?

    • Latoya

      Hi Cindy. I listened to that same podcast and applied right after it finished. The approval process takes a very long time because I just got approved 1 week ago and the podcast was released months ago. Best advice I could give is to try and forget it about and wait until you receive that email from Merch Amazon stating you are approved. Good Luck!

  2. Matt Ohms

    Hello Elaine, what made the “cha-ching” sound when you made a sale? Is it an app? I want it! Would be cool to hear the cha-ching every time I sold a shirt 🙂

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