In our second case study we are extremely happy to present to you an interview we conducted with a couple from Eastern Europe or precisely from Lithuania. Oleg and Stacy started their business as a kind of a hobby. They decided to get rid of their old clothes and shoes online and it was their go to place when something was not going to be worn anymore. They had no idea that this was just a beginning to a successful business venture. Today they are at 10.000€ Euro in revenue just from selling BrandsGateway’s products. This is a truly inspirational story so here we go:
BG: You are fairly new to BrandsGateway, you just started dropshipping our products recently. Is this something which you do full time or just as a part time job?
Oleg: This is my full time job and this is my main source of income. My wife Stacy is also part of the business on a full time basis. We actually started selling our own clothes online, we found a way to get rid of old clothes and at the same time generate some income.
BG: As you started selling on various online marketplaces initially, are they now your only sales channel or there are other places where you are dropshipping clothes as well?
Oleg: I would say that online marketplaces are our main sales channel. Our own website is in the process of creation at the moment.
BG: How do you manage your online marketplace stores, how do you manage all of your inventory?
Oleg: We use few third party tools like Shopify, then InkFrog which is a great shopify tool that is doing a great job when working with online marketplaces. Also crucial to us are Instagram, Pinterest, and Mailchimp for marketing and redirecting our leads to our store.
BG: From your point of view, what is the best way to start a dropshipping business? What would you suggest to new dropshippers starting out now?
Oleg: First and most important, choose the right and easiest platform to sell on. In our experience those were online marketplaces, easy and simple to start even with no or low inventory.
Stacy: People who want to get into dropshipping should invest time in researching a bit and learning about which niche to get into, which supplier to choose, where to sell etc. It is crucial to have at least some preparation for the business.
BG: What made you both decide to focus on luxury clothing and accessories?
Stacy: As I am a woman :), I had a lot of excess shoes and clothes so I decided to try and sell them online. That worked for us and I guess it was the trigger which made us get into dropshipping clothes. Also, Oleg had some previous experience with e-commerce where he gained initial experience. We then used that experience and decided to start a business together, initially from our own wardrobe. Dropshipping was a natural decision as we did not want to mess around with inventory and the ability to work together from home made this a great opportunity for us.
BG: From a dropshipping point of view, how much would you say one needs to get into dropshipping?
Stacy:Just a few hundreds dollars and you can kick off your dropshipping journey.
Oleg: It’s crucial to have an overview of all the expenses including tools, fees, memberships etc. Even sometimes with lower capital, it is possible to take advantage of the tools that marketplaces offer and use them for free. It is even possible to start without using any third party tools and marketing expenses because online marketplaces offer so much.
BG: What would you say are the biggest challenges in the dropshipping business?
Oleg: Everyday is kind of a challenge just like every other business. It is crucial to create your own daily routine and just stick to it and follow it. It is also a challenge to build successful communication channels and relationships with all the stakeholders but it is an obstacle which is achievable.
BG: How would you rate your experience with BrandsGateway so far?
Overall, the experience with BrandsGateway has been great! We have stumbled on some minor issues but we are very satisfied with the cooperation so far. We are also working with some other competitors of yours, they are also doing a good job but what stands out with BrandsGateway is the inventory, you are providing some exclusive luxury items which we can not find anywhere else. Also, the content – pictures, descriptions etc. are on a higher level at BrandsGateway which helps a lot when you are selling clothing items.
BG: Well that’s great to hear! Do you remember your biggest sale of an item from BrandsGateway?
Oleg: Yes, definitely. Recently we sold a bag for €2.500 EURO and our margin on that item was about 40%.
BG: What are the numbers you are making with BrandsGateway’s inventory per month?
Oleg: I would say we are at around €10k per month with BrandsGateway products. It could be much higher but because of the current Covid-19 situation in the world, we are noticing a decline in our growth which is affecting our bottomline. Our sales decreased at least 30% during this coronavirus time and we started with BrandsGateway just as the virus started spreading so I think that our numbers could have been higher. What is worth emphasizing is that we have not listed all of your inventory so we are basically just starting out with BrandsGateway’s catalogue.
BG: So you make about €10k EURO per month in sales with about 40% margin and you just started a few months ago. Are you happy with the results you are seeing?
Stacy: We are happy with what we have achieved so far even though the economy is not in the best shape. It’s not the best time to sell but we actually have some great sales. Considering that we just started you can still consider us in the research phase of starting out a dropshipping business, we are still figuring it all out. It is also a challenge to track all the sales, margins etc.
BG: What are some of the most important features you look into when selecting a supplier?
Oleg: The main criteria is the items they provide to be branded, secondly, worldwide shipping option. Third and also extremely important, the suppliers have to have great customer support which is crucial in this business and you are doing a great job with your support.
BG: Are there any learning or motivational resources which you could recommend to future entrepreneurs and dropshippers?
Stacy: There is one book which we can recommend to everyone. It’s the book “The Goal” by Eliyahu M. Goldratt. We both read it and it is a great source of knowledge and guidance for both of us through our business.Additional books worth mentioning are: “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck” by Mark Manson, “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi.
We are also following a few youtube vloggers( Ralli Roots, Paul J Lipsky who are in a similar business category like us and share useful and motivational information.
Oleg: My advice is to use the customer support which the marketplaces offer. The customer support offered by the online marketplaces can be very helpful sometimes, the same goes for marketplace’s Help Centers. Also, dropshipping communities like forums or facebook groups, people are always happy to answer questions in these communities.
BG: What is your opinion about our dropshipping subscription which we charge?
Oleg: That’s an interesting question. Looking from a customer’s perspective, we always want to have things for as cheap as possible. On the other side, developing a subscription service like yours, we are fully aware of the resources which are necessary for the software development, round the clock customer support, orders fulfillment etc. That certainly justifies the price, in the end good service can not be free.
BG: What are some pieces of advice you can give to future dropshippers?
Stacy: Choose the niche wisely, our advice is to start selling items which you like and know about. For example we started with our own clothes and then selling branded clothes was a natural follow up. It is very important to have knowledge about the items you are selling. Next most important advice I can give is to just start working on it. Don’t waste your time thinking about it or just planning, go and dig into it, learn by working on it, learn from your mistakes. Literally everyone can get into dropshipping, it is easy but you have to figure it out and you have to invest your time, nothing comes overnight.