September 23, 2021
Are you someone wanting to or currently trying to scale a product shop? Don’t’ ya dare go anywhere, because today on the podcast we are welcoming the gals behind The Product Boss – Jacqueline and Minna.
Jacqueline is a fashion designer and product startup expert who has helped launch over a thousand product brands over the last 12 years, including celebrity brands. Minna is a product business expert with a vast knowledge of Amazon and product-based growth strategies. She has a Master of Business Administration(MBA) and over 15 years of entrepreneurial experience.
Jacqueline and Minna are the combined force behind The Product Boss Podcast. They have grown a community of high-achieving product-based small business owners and have helped them scale their physical product businesses through masterminds, group coaching, and digital courses designed specifically for product-based business owners ranging from start-up conception to multi-million dollar companies. Together their goal is to change the landscape of product entrepreneurship by connecting women around the world through a blend of real-life business tactics, creative strategy, and modern leadership
Today we talk to Jacqueline and Minna all about how to market your products online, whether you should use organic marketing or paid ads plus tips on HOW to use organic marketing, how to get started without spending an arm and a leg, and keeping a low overhead. They also cover the biggest misconceptions people have about how to grow product shops and the biggest thing you might be overlooked when trying to scale. If you’re ready to dive into learning the nitty-gritty scoop on scaling a product shop, you’re right where ya need to be!
Jacqueline never thought she would be a fashion designer. Not being interested in any other major in college, Jacqueline transferred to an art school to major in fashion design. After school, she was hired on at a major lingerie company and then from there was hired by a celebrity to run a women’s company. There she handled runway shows and had incredible experiences and opportunities at a young age. At the age of 26, she left to start her own business as a Designer and Consulting Co-Op. Where she has now launched over 2,000 fashion brands and even one of her own. After being on a podcast Jacqueline heard about Minna and her expertise around Amazon and was interested in liquidating her first company selling the cuffs on Amazon. The conversation went from, one you don’t liquidate on Amazon, you sell, and then fast forward they became fast friends speaking the same language of business and products.
Minna’s background comes more from an educational background with her family being mostly in the math and science degrees. Graduating with a degree in advertising and psychology and her master’s in business administration. After finishing school Minna started her own business taking on clients for graphic design for corporate banks and car dealerships. Then Amazon started getting bigger and her husband thought that she could start a private labeling business and rebrand products to then sell on Amazon. Learning so much from that experience from Amazon itself, building a brand, fulfillment, and shipping operations. It then evolved into understanding bestseller ranking and all these things about Amazon. Minna created her product called Lil Labels that specializes in waterproof labels for daycares, schools, camps, etc. You can write your child’s name on the label, self seal it yourself and it becomes waterproof, dishwasher safe, and microwave safe. It took off on Amazon and that is what led her to Jacqueline.
There are different challenges when it comes to selling something physical. You have inventory, physically ship it, etc. It’s easier to start a service-based business, where you can start a podcast and start coaching. Whereas physical products take a lot of money, there is product development and production. At the Product Boss, Jacqueline and Minna believe that you can build an empire out of your living room. They believe that your business can be the vehicle to your dream lifestyle. Even when they talk about getting to a million-dollar business and that’s not what you want right now, that is okay. Make your business work for you! They want you to be the best boss you have ever had, who pays you a lot of money and doesn’t work you twenty-four hours a day.
The Product Boss focuses on growing and scaling your product businesses. Educate you on organic versus paid ads, visibility, and how to clean up your system. They want to take businesses that started as hobbies and turning them into real businesses.
The Shop 1in5 pledge they launched in the fall of 2020 because they saw small businesses as the hero. The government was stepping up to fund small businesses to keep them going. They are the backbone of the US economy and they impact your community, your city and state, and ultimately the national and global economy. We launch the shop 1in5 pledge and that is to pledge to make 1 in 5 of your purchases from a small business online or offline.
As we have all seen a big impact, it has been a blend for product shops. Since most of the world has moved online, things are starting to open up again and kind of get back to what their lives had been before, but most have adopted these new forms of shopping. We have adopted going online to buying a gift instead, having Zoom calls as a regular thing, or having local pick-up as part of their online business option.
The biggest thing we are seeing is right now is small businesses are the heroes. What we are seeing on the consumer side is that people want to buy from people. As small businesses, we have to step up and be those people. Whether online or offline there is that connection and need and desire that we saw come out of 2020. We’re seeing people be more deliberate in making connections, also how they spend their money. While we are thinking of the pledge, and we want people to buy gifts on there for the holiday but is a lifestyle. Thinking about and being more thoughtful about your dollar. There is this new adoption of people buying from people and getting back to that as putting a face to a brand. As well as word of mouth and the customers being more thoughtful with their dollar and the business owners showing that they care about the same things as their consumers do.
If you are selling to everyone, you are selling to no one. So many start-up businesses have so many ideas and they want to create everything. Say they want to create clothes for a curvy girl, but they want to do dresses and bathing suits and leggings. Everything that they can think this customer needs they want to create. It’s hard to start a business that way unless you are a millionaire and have tons of money to dump into this business. Typically you want to figure out a minimum viable product.
What is the thing that you know you can sell?
There is a need in the market or your spin on the need in the market. Niche down and figure out a minimum viable product you can start with. It will cost you less money, is easy to develop, and you only have to source from one place. One process and one product, you lean into that and then you try to sell it.
People think it takes one thing (like Facebook ads) and they will go viral. You don’t realize when you are developing a business there are seasons of different things and there is no such thing as overnight success. You develop as your business develops. As you first start you need to research to see if that is the business you want to start, with the minimum viable product you want to have, the customer you want to attract and this is the person you want to be. People overlook all those elements.
If you have money to spend on ads, you know what you are doing or can hire a team, do that. What is so hard for many product bosses is that they are startups and their cash is tied up with product and that is the hardest part about being a product entrepreneur. Your cash flow is tight, you’re always going to be reinvesting into raw goods or products and try to move the business forward. That’s why we try to lean into more organic marketing, but if you can pay for ads with a strategy around it then do it because there is a huge return there.
Don’t have all your eggs in one basket, one basket might be the strongest one, but have multiple streams of revenue for product-based businesses. If your store is on Etsy they can shut it down at any point they would like. If you have one major platform, how do you diversify, get onto other major platforms? Not all at once but start with one new one and try to grow it.
When you get on other platforms, say the Etsy seller gets their own Shopify, when you are on other platforms you get a new audience. That is organic marketing because you are getting in front of new eyes. The same with collaborating, new fresh eyes on your products.
Do you have an audience and do they want what you are going to be launching to them? First, think about your audience and if you want there to be some sort of correlation between them.
Start posting content on your social media that has to do with what you are wanting to launch. One way is images, see if they will follow along, grow your audience, and then eventually you can launch a product for them because now you know people are waiting to buy.
You have to launch with a really big line or selling a whole bunch of stuff to a whole bunch of people for you to be a legit business. You think you need all the things. You need to get good at selling the one thing to the one customer with the one message. That is really what will make the most profit for you as a small business.
Is themselves. There is a whole bunch of mindset that happens with product businesses. You feel alone, there are super amounts of reinvestment compared to a service-based business, and so many different things as far as mindset. They overlook that they have to invest in themselves too. This comes more innate to a service-based business, they are the product that they are selling, they need to take care of themself, uplevel themselves, and invest in a coach. That is against a product business owner, they think they can hide behind their product, and they don’t need to work on themselves and never really need to invest in that.
Product people never think they need to do that until they realize that is what they are missing.
Minna: There are always seasons, it is ever-evolving. For a long time, I thought that once I figured something out it would hit and would carry me through but actually, it was never that way. When you are first starting you are testing and trying, then you dip your toe in, now you need a team. Now that I making some money how do I pay myself? Then you get to the million marks and you think about where am I investing in operations, leadership team. It’s ever-evolving, there are different decisions you have to make to get to the next level, it’s not the same decision each time.
Jac: Asking for help and getting help. A lot of times I do feel alone, if I had had access to coaches, mindset, courses to learn to invest in myself earlier, I could have saved myself a lot of heartaches. By one, knowing that there are other people out there feeling the same way in all revenue levels, I can get help and that help doesn’t make you weak. It allows for clarity and to continue with the community. If it feels uncomfortable it is something that you need.
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WASSUP FRIENDS. We’re Evie + Lindsey, co-founders of this wild partayyy called The Heart University. Our goal is to empower entrepreneurs to kick freaking BUTT in their businesses, dive down into the heart of their why and how, and serve you with all possible tools you’ll need to up-level your business game and CRUSH those goals of yours.
Whether you’re coming to an in-person workshop, joining our online course, or soaking up all the strategies via this blog or our podcast, we’re STOKED you’re here + can’t wait to see you out there kicking butt.
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