Inventor of Sidewalk Chalk moves into eCommerce - An inspirational story like no other - Amazon Seller Tips with Marcia Reece - Part 2

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A. Part 1

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Transcription in this episode:
[00:00:01] spk_2: welcome to the seller roundtable e commerce coaching and business strategies with and er not and amy [00:00:07] spk_1: Wiis. Bill Kilgallon was the chairman and as I say he is a dear dear friend of mine now but I didn't know him at all then. I knew his father had started the company and they were a very well to do established family in bryan Ohio I had done my research about their stock and what bill was paid as chairman of the board and on and on. So when I sat in his conference room, his private conference room with elephant tusks around the fireplace in a Persian rug on the floor. My factory, my office at my factory was a loading dock. I didn't need, I mean it was so different but we had made trips back and forth to each other's factories a few times in those nine months. So I'm in his office. The last thing is conference room the last day and as a woman in business amy you'll get this now. He said to me now marshal, what we're gonna do is we're going to merge our company's first. You said you're going to have to move to bryan Ohio because we're gonna need you to brand manage this product line. And I said, well Bill, um I would consider that and he said and we'll pay you, this is 1989 will pay you $42,000 a year. And I said bill in all due respect and he was making 580,000 a year and stock options and I said bill um in all due respect, I pay my plant manager more than that. And he said about Marcia, you'd be the highest paid woman in bryan Ohio and you've got an employed husband strike one. But I kept my mouth shut and I kept my woman temper down then he said, um, so what we're gonna do is, um, well let me step back before I went, met with Bill Check doll was their senior VP of sales and marketing took me around the executive suite and introduced me and I noticed there was not a single woman in a, in an office other than behind a typewriter. There were no female executives in the company. And I made a little note of that and he introduced me to their chief financial officer and he looked up and down and up and over to chat and said, she can't look like that and have a brain to [00:02:20] spk_0: right in front of you like you didn't even exist. Women have come so far and again, you're part of pioneering that, you know, some [00:02:29] spk_1: of these young young girls who are making a mark in business. Now I do take a little tiny bit of credit for helping open the door because they can't imagine what this was like then. So now we're back in Bill's conference room and he says, uh, what I'm going to suggest we do is merge our companies. Now this is october and then we'll go to Toy Fair, which is the big industry event in new york, every february will go to Toy Fair will announce the merger and then we'll sit back down in june and determine what the company is worth. And I said, Bill, it sounds to me like you want are companies to sleep together before they're married and I'm kind of old fashioned and traditional. So I'm not interested in that proposition. I don't mean anything sexual [00:03:16] spk_0: Marcia like you didn't, you didn't get that. You were trying to make an apology. No, apparently, you know, you can have mahogany that I don't need brains [00:03:30] spk_1: audited financials. They had nine months to due diligence. They knew everything was on the table. There were no hidden secrets. So he just didn't want to pay. I tease him that he was born with a birth defect, his arm isn't long enough to reach his wallet. And so that's been our longstanding joke. But, [00:03:51] spk_0: and the thing was from that you actually, you didn't end up selling to them and you and you already told us about the deal that you got, which was really incredible. And you know, so that's the other lesson here, out of your story is that yes, it's important to say yes sometimes, but it's also important to know what's important to you and know when to say no. So ultimately, you know, what made you decide what was the deciding factor? Because this was an opportunity still, you knew that, you know, sorry [00:04:26] spk_1: with Ohio art. What was that? [00:04:28] spk_0: What was the, what was the thing that made you decide to say no. [00:04:33] spk_1: Well it was $42,000. I was running a company with five. I mean this was an insult. [00:04:40] spk_0: You were insulted. I [00:04:41] spk_1: was insulted. I was working my tail off and Bill's father created his company. Bill was the oldest son. He never loaded a semi. He never did any of the work I had done and just no acknowledgement of what I had put in to build a company with this distribution. Um, so it was that and then moving to bryan, Ohio, when I lived in Boulder county colorado, I mean I really didn't want to move to, Ohio would have, I probably, but no, it was not high on my list. And then this whole nonsense of, let's go wait till next june to find out what I'm going to pay. You know, it just didn't make sense. [00:05:20] spk_0: Yeah. [00:05:22] spk_1: As much as I like to kill galan's and they are some of the finest people you'll ever want to deal with builds a shrewd business kinds of very wealthy man because he knows how to strike these kinds of deals, but it wasn't fitting what my needs were. And so I guess. And I remember we were shipping to Discovery toys at the time and we had a huge discovery toy order and I got off the airplane, took off my brand new, uh, oh, I bought this fancy designer sell my business suit to wear into the meeting, took it off, put on my sweats and my blue jeans and went back over and help that I wanted to make sure discovery toys shipped on time. And, And I just, and I cried on the airplane trip home. I was so sad because I needed, I needed to sound mental and physical. I probably weighed £65 less than I do now. I was killed. I was living on Diet Pepsi and no sleep and it's not healthy. But, [00:06:22] spk_0: but it was still important even though you were in that situation where you kind of were desperate. I mean to sell, you were very desperate to sell at that point, but you still knew your, you still knew your work. You really wanted to sell and you knew that you were seeking that relief, but you knew your worth And and so you know, it's important. It's such an important lesson learned. So let's fast forward. So here we are today and now marshes figuring out e commerce, which has been fun so far. She's been in amazon jail. She's done all the things right. We had her at the women's in power at the empowering women's conference in Vegas and she came out in a, in a prison jumpsuit and said, I'm wearing this jumpsuit because I'm in prison amazon prison and it was hilarious. We love have been [00:07:16] spk_1: unjustly [00:07:17] spk_0: charged. She has been unjustly charged. So she has been through the flag for pesticides issue. So it's so you know, but anyway, so we're going to fast forward now to what you're doing now, which is e commerce and you know, we learned so many lessons from your story and you know, I think you say I'm figuring I'm a dinosaur. I'm figuring out e commerce. Well guess what? You have more experience than all of us and you know, yes, you might not know all the bells and whistles for e commerce, but none of us do. Okay. They change every single day and we're all just hanging a flying by the seat of our pants going along the ride for the ride. So you know, let's talk about what had you starting stable Coppers, your new company, what had you starting that and deciding to enter in the e commerce. How did you decided to do this? It's [00:08:20] spk_1: exactly the same thing my whole life. I have tried to, I've been a product designer, I've done over 100 products. You're hearing some of the bigger ones. I had another product, the gel filled wrist rest that went in front of the keyboards that I created that and I licensed that worldwide to case logic. That was a whole different way to [00:08:42] spk_0: exchange your company case logic. Yes, yes. [00:08:45] spk_1: So I love creating easy, practical, affordable solutions for everyday problems like my daughter wanted something to play with. It didn't stay in her clothes. I wanted something that makes my wrists not hurt when I was typing because back then our computer keyboards were this high and you had to cock your wrist to type. So, Um in 2000 I became deathly ill with immersive staph infection in my lower spine. I had final rites twice. I was sick for six months. I had to learn to walk again. I had six surgeries when I got done with all that, I thought there's got to be a way to kill germs. Besides all these drugs, I was on um a drip, more a drip. Banco Miocene, which is the most potent antibiotic we have in the world. And it ruined my hair, my skin and my nails and all those cells reproduce frequently were destroyed. So when I got all regenerated, I thought there's got to be a way to kill germs that doesn't ruin our bodies. So I started doing research and came upon antimicrobial copper and I was blown away. I didn't know anything about the power of copper. But boy, I do now, it is the most amazing metal on the planet. We think gold is the most precious. If I could choose between a pound of copper and a pound of gold, I would take the copper because your health is your wealth and without your health, you have no wealth at all. Gold doesn't do anything. It's just a pretty metal. Copper kills 99.97% of germs on contact. I have my copper hope. Nicholson right now, by the way, you can get it on CVS dot com. As of yesterday, I roll this between my hands whenever I am exposed to a germy surface, I use it as a push button for elevators or the checkout at the grocery store. Yes. AmY I put it in my nose every morning and every night and my husband and I have not had a cold for five years. And the reason is we get most of our germs Enter our body 80% on our hands, the rest through our nose. So if we can keep our nasal passages and our hands clean, we're way ahead of the game on staying healthy. We have about 200 people in our focus group who use our phone patch which goes on the back of cellphone. The germiest things we touch all day and thank you Andrew. I see that you're rocking your phone patch. Um uh If we can keep our yep, there's AMy's if we can keep our hands germ free, we're way ahead of the game. But of our 200 people, No one has had COVID or a cold since August of 2019. Now that's powerful. No drugs. No, and this is all natural, no chemicals. And here's what's amazing. This one copper roller or your copper phone patch will kill germs for the rest of your life. One purchase last forever. They just found a pyramid in Egypt 10 years old and it had copper water pipes in the bottom of the pyramid. The water in those pipes was 10,000 years old and it was still pure and drinkable. That's how powerful this medal is. So it just just I just became obsessed with. This is the way we have to help people stay germ free. Nobody should be as sick as I was In the year 2000. It was it was horrendous. So [00:12:21] spk_0: you were not responding to the pandemic and coming out with you already had this and it was something that you discovered and you're clearly a serial inventor and entrepreneur. Um you know I'm the same way I'm always inventing new things. I always have new ideas and that's why I just connect, we have to [00:12:42] spk_1: Do one product together. [00:12:44] spk_0: We both, we both [00:12:45] spk_1: love it. It's just the way my brain works. I want to find easy, affordable practical solutions because if I've got a problem. You, my other people have it too. But it's just looking at things a little bit differently but we started this so people wouldn't get cold, it had nothing to do coronavirus didn't exist yet. Actually. Our company was doing lights out fabulous until coronavirus. That's when we cratered because um amazon throughout thousands of accounts that were making kill claims. So last March 18th ST Patrick's Day we got our nationwide E. P. A clearance where we are legally able to say we kill 99.97% of germs and we got that on March 18th but it still took my genius near in Israel near reveille. You know him, he's been working on getting us back on amazon. I had hired six other consultants to help near the one who cracked the code. But it took us until july 25th to get our first product back up. So we're starting all over again. But I'm [00:13:51] spk_0: on twitter. No and that's the thing is like you know it is very difficult dealing with amazon because they're conglomerate right? And you can't get to that right person. And what's flagging your listing is the words in it. Even though you have the authority to claim those words it's against their policy. So you know it's just it's just one of those things and often times and I see this with my clients all the time, it's like it's actually an easy fix. And when I looked at your listings as well I was like oh Marsha this is actually an easy fix. But how are you supposed to know because amazon is not going to give you the fix. You know it's only people like Mirror and me who know like okay we've actually had to deal with this and work through these problems and learn by experience because it's not documented anywhere and here you just get shut down and you don't know what to do. So I don't even know why [00:14:45] spk_1: you don't even [00:14:46] spk_0: know why they don't make no sense. There's [00:14:50] spk_1: no human being to talk to at least back in my sidewalk chalk days. Every one of my accounts, I have an account specialist or a buyer that I could call and say, Hey, we've got, What are you forecasting for the next 90 days. Amazon doesn't give you any forecast. You just better have a lot of product because if it gets strong, you better be able to run. So it's just so challenging the lack of humanness in e commerce. [00:15:17] spk_0: Yeah. That's [00:15:18] spk_1: what I miss the most because I'm a people person, I truly love people keeping them germ free and just people to be [00:15:25] spk_0: Yeah, retail, retail is very still very old school and still very people oriented. And you know, it it, and I think coming from that side of things, it is more difficult. E commerce can be lonely if you're not well connected. And I think that's why you found your tribe in all of us hanging out with, you know, and coming to all these networking events and I would encourage anyone else who's out there who's feeling lonely like they, they don't really know where they're going or what they're doing, start coming to some of these events because it really does make a huge difference and you know, you just you feel networked in and you feel like part of the family and the people are just wonderful. So that being said you were new at the e commerce thing, obviously you have way more experience than most um with you know with retail and with product development and all of that. But what would you encourage new people to do? Um new sellers that are just thinking about getting started and they're trying to figure out how to pick a product and what to do. What's your word of advice there? [00:16:34] spk_1: Well, if they're creating their own products, which is what I've always done. My best advice is to test and find a couple of 100 people who will test your product and give it to them free and get feedback. Because if I could show you the first roller we made, you would just laugh if you saw it now. In fact, amy, I've never shown this before. I'm going to show it to you. [00:16:59] spk_0: Yeah, this is [00:17:02] spk_1: such an embarrassment. This is the very first copper roller. It was a piece of anti microbial copper with a wicky stick holding it to a drinking straw. [00:17:12] spk_0: Oh my gosh! That's gave that to people to test. [00:17:16] spk_1: No, no, no. This was the first one I made. And then this prototype first prototype. That's how that's so you have to test. And then the next piece of advice, listen to what they say and take your ego out of it because some things just aren't worth taking to market and, and you don't know that because we all love our own products so much. Um, so I would say test and listen would be that if you're creating your own products and then start, just start, it's so easy to list a product on amazon or walmart marketplace or um, oh Etsy or Ebay, Ebay's, they don't really protect intellectual property. So I'm not crazy about Ebay, at least if I tell amazon someone is violating my patent there off the next day and I do respect that amazon is good about that. So I would say test, listen and start because if you've proven among 50 to 100 to 150 people that yes, I would buy this if this were fixed up and finalized, Just like we did at the craft shows, we took this to 86 craft shows one year before we entered into selling to the gift stores in Colorado, I already knew what people would pay. I knew if I had three for $10 and they wanted to buy Uh six, I knew they thought it was a good value. If I had one of these marked it $7 a goal, they put it back down, it was too expensive. I just did it all the old fashioned way by watching consumers touch and interact with product. So, and then I also think the power of the media is so huge now the media has changed just like everything else. But when we were on abc world news tonight with Peter Jennings that blew our world up. We were then on Oprah when she had two names, the Oprah Winfrey show, we were on the Phil Donahue, those were big names back then and they, that's what my retailers really loved, that. We were also pushing the media [00:19:18] spk_0: people [00:19:19] spk_1: into their stores. [00:19:21] spk_0: Yes. And it's really, nowadays, it's so important what you do off of amazon. I'm speaking in Miami at the, at the amazon Powell and that's when we're talking about is how your competition is beating you and specifically what they're doing off of the amazon and that's the thing is, is content and content marketing is so important and you know, the things that, it's not even that hard, it's not, you know, people think, oh, it's unreachable for my product to be featured in a major news outlet. No, it's not. You know what, [00:19:59] spk_1: here's what's interesting Amy back when I did sidewalk chalk, there were three networks, abc NBC Cbs, that was it and they were only on nine or 10 or 12 hours a day at certain time. You'd hear the, I think it was, what was the song they played when they all went off the air was a God bless America or one of those songs and then they'd go off the air, the screens were dark in the middle of the night Now we have 10s of thousands of news outlets that [00:20:29] spk_0: are [00:20:30] spk_1: Needing News 24 hours a day. There has never been a better time to get media. It just takes a lot of time. And that's, I think the biggest hurdle for most of us entrepreneurs is waking up and looking at your to do list and knowing what's the most critical thing I have to get done because there's a million things to do every day. [00:20:52] spk_0: So I want to tell you guys that Marcia does amazon lives and she doesn't do them herself. She has found other people who do amazon. I got an email from Marcia one day and said, we're going live on amazon and this time come support us, which is the other important lesson to learn. We could just go all day, couldn't we just talking about all these lessons. Right. And I know everybody is loving it. We're getting all these messages and you're saying the marshes amazing look at this. But also, you know, amazon life is completely new to you. It's, you know, when people are intimidated by it, but you are going, hey, I'm going to give it a shot. This pirate guy has a show. I'm going to get on his show and we're going to have fun and we're going to and not only did you do that, you spread the word that you were going to be live. So that you would get your friends and anybody who is a customer of stable copper to support you. So what a great message and what a great lesson. [00:21:58] spk_1: I'm also doing 4-6 Amazon posts every day and I am seeing continued growth in following and engagement. I don't [00:22:08] spk_0: video shorts on other people's pages on other product [00:22:12] spk_1: post on my essence. [00:22:14] spk_0: Yes. Which is really good. But what you can do, you can do video shorts on other people's pages. [00:22:21] spk_1: You gotta teach me how to do that. [00:22:24] spk_0: Let's do it. That'll be fine. Yeah. So, um, you know, there is [00:22:28] spk_1: much to learn. [00:22:29] spk_0: You're already doing 90% more than most of your competition, which is so cool. Right? So you're learning this new platform and you're doing things that are completely foreign to other people like amazon live. What's that? But amazon live has been around for a while and guess what? Amazon pushes it during the holidays. So they're going to replay all these old lives during the holidays and new ones because they want that 24 7 kind of shopping tv shopping field and you're going to get all that traffic over again. What's [00:23:01] spk_1: Amazing. They'll let you run an Amazon live for an hour, two hours, three [00:23:06] spk_0: hours. They don't care. You can [00:23:07] spk_1: talk about your product and that's why I invited other people because after a while, you know, people get tired of hearing me say conference. Uh, and so I wanted other people to say what they had learned and it really became fun exchanges. I think we did get some really interesting emails and people were happy to, to get involved. [00:23:27] spk_0: Yes. So we're almost at the top of the hour and I want, I don't want to forget Marsha has a special offer for our audience. Um, so Marcia sells these amazing and for those of you who are listening, I'm going to describe them. Um, Marcia sells um, copper plates for your phone. So I've got one of my phone here. Copper plates for your phone as well as um copper [00:23:53] spk_1: rollers [00:23:54] spk_0: rollers. Thank you. I was like, what's the word for that? As [00:23:58] spk_1: key chain or a necklace, [00:24:00] spk_0: key chain or necklace inside [00:24:02] spk_1: home without it. [00:24:03] spk_0: It actually comes with a little clip on the end and I flip it to my purses. So because I like having it on my purse and it's so nice because then I just pull it out of my purse and you know, if I'm in the car and I don't have sanitizer or anything, I just pull it out my purse and just rub it between my hands. And then I always have one on the back of my phone Martius. Everyone with my logo on it, it's so cool and look at it. It's getting character now it's kind of, you know, [00:24:30] spk_1: copper oxidizes with air and you can clean it off. But it, here's a cool thing. Copper kills just as many germs brand new and shiny as it does patina. So it's just a personal choice. [00:24:44] spk_0: Yeah, I love it. It's really awesome. I like the character in the copper um it reminds me of my brand, it has a little bit of character. Um so you just recently listed on cbs and lows dot com and you need reviews. Yes, you be purchases and reviews and we all know how hard that is. So Marcia would like to tell you guys if you go on cbs dot com or lows dot com and you buy one of Marshall's products on there and you just reach out to Marsha, she's going to give you her her information on how to reach her in just a moment. But if you reach out to Marcia, you better know that you did that, leave her review, Help her out, tell her what you think of the product, Put it out there for lows and C. D. S. And that way she's getting a lot of that extra S E. O. Juice, right? And do that for Marcia, reach out to her, show her that she did that and she will send you something free. You're free products. So [00:25:46] spk_1: if you will go to Lowe's dot com or CVS com and buy our product. I will send you a free product with everyone you purchase. And I'm only doing that on Amy's show because we do need to get the sales, we just got on cbs yesterday, lows about two weeks ago. So we need to get sales and reviews started. So it's the holiday season. It's the beginning of cold and flu season in the U. S. So think of all the people that you love that you want to keep germ free and you can buy one, get one free and I'm happy to do that to any of your audience in exchange for a review. Now, here's the cool thing. Amy I can't say that on amazon, you can't ask for a review on amazon but cbs and lows I can ask for the room [00:26:32] spk_0: and it's not like your anyway, it's it's something that we all want to do to support each other's brands and you are asking them to buy the product full price. You're not you're not like I'm going to give you some money to go buy the product that's different. You're asking them to bite full price in return. You're offering them an extra product. And a lot of people, a lot of brands do that. They'll give a free gift, that kind of thing. So that's what you're doing and I think it's wonderful. Um and so caramel asked what is the name of the product? So stay well copper right and [00:27:06] spk_1: proper. And we have a phone patch and we have a Germ stopper roller. Those are and then on on cbs we have the dog tag necklace also which is just like a military dog tag. Some men like to wear those more than, and all of these come on our website. There's more products on our website. Lows has three listed and cbs has three listed because we're testing. [00:27:30] spk_0: Oh yes. So if I shared my story, all I did was search for stay, well all one word, S T A A Y W E L L copper um, on lows dot com and you can see all of Marsha's awesome products come up. I actually changed my phone case uh, just so I could fit these, these products on there. So all right, Marcia, um, last things here before we hit stop and I let these good people who are still in here just ask you a question that they have one. But how can people, if they want to get in touch with you, how should they reach out to you? [00:28:12] spk_1: The best way I'm going to give you my direct email. It's Marsha, M A R C I A at stay well copper dot com. And I'm happy to answer any of your questions and I do just see that. Andrew has a question about how to get product into lows. Andrew reach out to me afterwards and I will tell you exactly how to, it's much too much for this time in the podcast, but I want you to know and I'm happy to help anybody, you know, at my age in life and now it gets to be who I can help and give back to because so many people have helped me learn what I've learned. I I didn't know any of this at all. [00:28:50] spk_0: Yeah, those many years [00:28:52] spk_1: ago. So one step at a time and we are here to help each other. [00:28:56] spk_0: Exactly yes. And it is about giving that right when you have [00:29:01] spk_1: the rest of you amy and your audience because you all know so many people I am looking for a strategic partner that can join me and help take stay well to the next level. I have, I have built this so far but I know to get to the next level, it's time to bring in a really good strategic partner because e commerce is so critical and I don't want to make any more. There was 11 month delisting amazon mistakes. That was a critical blow and I just really looking for a strong strategic partner. So if you know someone please have them reach out [00:29:34] spk_0: to me. I do actually, I have a very good relationship with one of the best in the business and they run health brands like johnson and johnson in PNG and on amazon. So they're [00:29:49] spk_1: great products. We've got proven products that we've got a U. S. Supply chain with no glitches. We have intellectual property protected and I have a list of products that need to be finalized and developed. I don't and I'd rather do that. I can be more valuable to the company doing that then. So, I am looking for that partner. It's [00:30:08] spk_0: time. All right, you guys you heard it here, Marshal? Put it out there. Of course I'll connect you with mine. But if you're listening to the show right now and you have a good connection for Marcia reach out. She's always she's on facebook. She's on all the places, you know, so definitely reach out. She's so reachable and she's just I couldn't believe you know, the first time I talked to, I couldn't believe what a legend I was talking to. And you know, it's just awesome. She's just a wonderful lady. And we just thank you Marcia for being here today. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Thank you for inspiring us and everyone else listening. Thank you so much for being here. I'm going to hit the stop button on the livestream. We're going to do a few questions here in the zoom and don't forget to read, review and subscribe to the podcast. Everyone. We would so appreciate that. And don't forget seller poll is out right now seller poll. You gotta make your votes for your favorite podcast. We would love your votes for But of course seller poll also lets you vote for all of your favorite providers. So get out there seller poll dot com. Vote for our podcast. Vote for any of your favorite providers, including Amazing at home. We would love to get your vote there. Alright. Thanks everyone. Thank you Marcia and we will see you next time on the seller roundtable. Well, everyone, [00:31:34] spk_2: thanks for tuning in, join [00:31:36] spk_1: us every Tuesday [00:31:37] spk_2: at one PM, pacific standard time for live Q and A. And bonus content after the [00:31:42] spk_1: recording at cellar [00:31:43] spk_2: round table dot com, sponsored by the ultimate software tool for amazon sales and growth seller s c o dot com, and [00:31:50] spk_1: Amazing at home dot com.

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