Scaling your Business in Amazon's Industrial Space - Tjernlund Products | Ep. #002
On this 2nd episode of The Ecomm Show, our host Andrew Maff is with Andrew Tjernlund of Tjernlund Products where he talks about scaling their business in the industrial space of Amazon. They talked about how to grow your business in selling on Amazon.
Learn how he became the largest vendor in the industrial space of Amazon for over 300,000 products and making 8 figures annually.
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Scaling Your Business in Amazon's Industrial Space
Andrew Maff & Andrew Tjernlund
About Andrew Tjernlund
Andrew began his first importing business in 2005 at 19. Graduating as a double major with High Distinction from the Carlson School at 20, Andrew now owns and operates businesses related to manufacturing, importing, private labeling, wholesale distribution, eBay, and Amazon. His lifetime sales exceed $250 million and his company is the largest supplier to Amazon in the Industrial/Electrical category. Now 36, he lives in Minnesota with his wife and three young children.
We sell to their warehouses, and we have 45 days to fulfill an order. So long story short, I buy everything in reaction to demand, not in anticipation of demand.
Welcome to The Ecom Show, presented by BlueTuskr. The number one place to hear the inside scoop from other e-commerce experts share their secrets on how they scaled their business and are now living the dream. Now, here's your host, Andrew Maff.
Hello, everyone. Welcome to The Ecomm Show. I'm your host Andrew Maff. And today I have a very special guest I have Andrew Tjernlund of Tjernlund products. Andrew, ya'll set? Are you ready for a good show?
I'm ready to go. Let's go!
Beautiful. So of course, I've obviously you and I chatted a little bit prior to the show. I've done as much digging into your business as I can. And I gotta be honest, I'm so excited for this episode because I have no idea how you do this. This is amazing. So this is going to be great. So let's start real high level, obviously, let's do the traditional pretend no one knows who you are. And tell us a little bit about Tjernlund products. And we'll go from there. Okay,
so I'm Andrew Tjernlund, I've got a company Tjernlund products, it's built out over its basis was a 83 year old manufacturer of HVAC parts. And basically long story short, they started selling on Amazon, I did a separate company early on. But then we started selling some of those products, we really kind of grown in an industrial space. And we've grown not only through first through seller, Central and E Bay, kind of in the mid-2010s. But then we started selling directly to Amazon. And so now we're the largest vendor in the industrial electrical space with about 300,000 different products. And so we basically use Amazon to scale and now we're trying to expand even further not only in the Amazon ecosystem by offering services to other sellers, like three PL services, but also using Amazon as a springboard to grow in other retail whether it's a Home Depot or a Granger or something like that.
So it is damn near impossible for a seller to come on the show and tell me that they have 300,000 products without me asking them like, how do you manage that I work? We work with people who have like 10 and lose their minds. So how are you doing that?
Well, we're a wholesaler. And I think what we're the main thing that people don't understand about Amazon, when you're when as far as their goals. Remember, they're trying to take over the world, they have 1000 year plan to take over the world essentially, right. And so the main thing that they need to do that with is they want to always grow revenue, they want to grow marketing spend. So that's why you see Amazon advertising being so you know, emphasized in the reports and things like that. And then they want to grow selection because selection drives all those things. And so when we sell directly to Amazon, the beautiful thing is we sell to their warehouses, and we have 45 days to fulfill an order. So long story short, I buy everything in reaction to demand, not in anticipation of demand. And so I can offer as many products as I can possibly put into their catalog. And when they work for me, as long as I can get it within six weeks. I'm good to go. And so we built a business where essentially, we make Amazon happy, and we make ourselves happy. by just adding products. we've simplified our business model, where if we add 10,000 new products every week, we will make more money. And that's what we try to execute. That is amazing.
Obviously, that's a ton of research into these different product lines. How do you decipher which product or which entire line to go into next? Well, we
There are many different ways of doing that we've got certain lines that where they contact us or we're specifically excited about maybe even a vendor manager within Amazon says, Hey, I really want to add this product line. It's something that's been, you know, there's a huge selection gap or competitors all have it, but they won't sell directly to us. Can you acquire it either directly or indirectly, and then start off offering the catalog. So we have that gap field. They can't, Amazon can't have some of the best-selling products. And so we've done that in a bunch of different areas. But generally speaking, what we try to do is we try to find brands that are underrepresented, they don't sell directly to Amazon, even if they have a lot of sales on Amazon and we just get their catalog. One way or the other and uploaded, so we'll upload 1000s of products at a time. Now I'll be honest, Amazon is not buying and stocking on a weekly basis, all 300,000 products, that's just not the case, especially in our category where we have a lot of oddball industrial products that Amazon maybe sells half a dozen a year. But you know, my thesis has always been, it's easier to sell 100 products once a day than one product 100 times a day. And so we try to do is just continue adding product, because even if we have relatively meager sales, if you times it by 1000, and then every once in a while you fall into a real winner, you basically allow yourself to get to, you know, major, major, major scale very, very quickly.
That's genius. So what made you get into this product line, like out of all of the different product lines, like what made you kind of stick to this one and obviously scale that?
Well, I think there are two things. So one is dumb luck, I come from a family that's an industrial, electrical background, so I can't take any credit for that. And so it wasn't a foreign intimidating. area, to me, I think a lot of people, well, then this kind of gets into why we're able to scale up, a lot of people stick with what they know, right. And that makes a lot of sense. So if you have an interest in scuba diving, you should maybe look at scuba diving products, that's, you know, not really popular, a lot of people don't go scuba diving, so you might have a really good opportunity to come up with a scuba diving knife, or an oddball snorkel or something like that, that you could sell and actually have a certain level of expertise, I happen to be in a kind of an HVAC Industrial background. So I started going into that space. But what's great is one Amazon is wanting to grow in that area, they're not nearly as powerful as they are in electronics or toys in the industrial space. And then to it's basically run by a bunch of people that are really scared of Amazon, they're not used to selling retail. And so the thing that we do the real value if I want to, I mean, I'm a glorified middleman. But if I want to put that in a more charitable way, what I do is I bridge the gap from products that sell really well but never have sold retail and allow them to sell retail. So if you sell cement mixers, and you're the fourth largest cement mixing manufacturer in the United States, there's probably a lot of sales of contractors that want to buy cement mixers on Amazon. And they're 1000s of dollars apiece. So there's a lot of revenue there. That guy who owns a cement mixing company just doesn't know how to play the Amazon game. And we bridge that gap by being the liaison who understands the challenges and difficulties and needs of the cement mixer guy. And the challenges and difficult season need Amazon needs. And we make that happen.
Genius. So of course, I got an I put my marketing hat on. And now I have so many questions. So are you advertising for all these products? Or are you just putting them up on Amazon just kind of benefiting from the existing traffic?
kind of both what we found so we're we've sold we spent millions of dollars in advertising, we have a cost of about 4% lifetime. And so it's really, really good. And what we found though, is the main driver of these sales is not a car not marketing, to a certain extent, because a lot of the things so let's say I sell replacement motors, the way people shop for replacement motors is they look at the old motor, they have look at the model number on there, and they search manufacturer model number. So to show up for that organically is very easy when you sell that manufacturer and model number. Now if I was selling generic replacements, there's a little more difficulty to it. But when in those kinds of places. Besides that very, very, very specified search. There's not a lot of people looking for it as a general replacement, the way they are looking for a coffeemaker or something like that they're not shopping, they're buying. And so that's kind of the big difference. So one thing we have done from an advertising standpoint is one we try to win in certain categories where there is very, very small, you know, maybe two or three niche players and we try to win that space. But for the most part, um, I guess marketing isn't the key driver to our sales because as much as I've tried to spend I plan one or two cents a click anyway. And so no, it's not that I can throw money at it to to to solve or to drive our revenue. Okay,
I totally understand so then from off Amazon because I know you have a website are all the same products that you have on Amazon also on your website.
No, no, because we when we sell stuff, say on our website or we sell through our various websites. Now we're the buyer record so when we sell directly to Amazon, Amazon has this I'm sorry, seller record on Amazon is the seller record. It's up to them to stock get into the customer time deal with customer service. Yeah, because we have offloaded the actual selling function online. to Amazon, we don't have to deal with any of that stuff in it, it frees us up for things that we actually do stock or where we are the seller of record, that's where we have a much smaller catalog, I mean, literally, like, one 1000 smaller, because all of a sudden, we have to drive customer service, we have to deal with a bunch more much, much more of the difficulties. And so we're not able to scale that the same way as when we're able to outsource the selling. I mean, basically, as the middleman, we outsource the production and supply to our suppliers, and we outsource the selling to Amazon. And so there's nothing for us to do, but just make sure that you know, when we when Amazon wants six, we get six and we shipped six. And so that's where our you know, three PL services come in, really, we've come to be really good at that. That little bridge in the middle and we offer a little bit of expertise, but being that bridge in the middle is where we're really good. And when we start selling through our other websites, that's where we take a little more traditional e-commerce approach marketing's important discoveries important. All that good stuff.
Yeah. So okay, so that lets that's a good segue actually into so it's, um, turn on services as your is the three PL side of things correct. So I can safely assume based on your sheer product size alone, that you are a complete guru and operations. So what is, so what is tell me a little bit about trilling services. And that whole approach that you have on
the services are basically, we have a lot of customers, there's a lot of inquiries we have where people want to completely outsource the Amazon experience. So they're an industrial manufacturer, let's say, and they just say, hey, if you can buy and resell it, and just be another customer, we don't have to change any part of our business. I love that. So just pay us wholesale. And I can never have to worry about this again. And we know we're doing really well on Amazon because you know what you're doing, you're doing at scale. There are other people that say, listen, we could use a lot of help on Amazon, we don't really need consulting, we've got marketing, we've got an e-commerce team, but we just don't know how to pick pack, and ship for Amazon, our amazon seller account has a 67% positive rating, because we're used to doing these major wholesale orders. And not doing onesie twosie orders here and there with you know, all these returns because of the open box, which is just not our cup of tea. That's where true and services can come in. And basically, we can be your pick Pack and Ship arm specifically to e-commerce and specifically to Amazon. So we know obviously know how to do FBA shipments, we can sell through vendor Central, we know all that. And I think you know, unlike other three peels, the two things that are different is one, we have kind of a different three things really we have a different pricing structure that grows with you your The more you do with us, the cheaper it is, but it's it's automatic, so you don't have to like choose when to make a certain jump. Yeah, too. We are really, really, really good at Amazon. And so no matter how you sell on Amazon, let's say vendor Central, if you're a big corporation, there's not a lot of three peels that know how to do that, right? We know how to do that, right. And then third, we're really good at big and oversized stuff. So I sell 1000s and 1000s. Probably this week, I've sent in 2000, air conditioners to Amazon. So when it comes to like major, sorry, refrigerators giant art pieces that are you know, bigger than my wingspan, all that kind of stuff, we are really good at that were a lot of three peels they want to sell, they want to ship pairs of socks, key chains, that kind of thing. So that those three areas, if you're that kind of you have that kind of product during a lot of places. But if we're that kind of product, we are like a perfect match for you.
So I love that you have this massive product line. And so you started a second business where you can take over other people's product lines like it's the number of products that must go through your businesses is got to be
half a million, I would assume we at least, I mean, we get many truckloads a day, I got six truckloads coming tomorrow, we shipped by the train carload. And so it's one of those things actually, again, when we sell directly to Amazon, one of their costs is inbound fulfillment, because they pay the shipping cost for that, right? Well, yeah, when I can sneak in one cell phone case cover on a train carload the cost to ship that into their system, rather than be, you know, than being 25 cents. You know, when it comes by a UPS shipment. It's now you know, point or one scent because it's just this, you know, it cost me 11 $100 to get there and it took up, you know, 111 10,000th of the space. I mean, it's a really really you know, attractive thing. So getting to a certain scale, the scale we've gotten to it's opened up a lot of different opportunities for us where we can help the brands that we work with you with either directly or indirectly.
So you personally, how are you managing all of this? Like, where do you kind of split your time between the place I never needed. I've only
got two people on my team that actually deal with Amazon stuff. So one guy basically gets new products and one person just puts out fires constantly for me. I end up doing a lot of that too. But I've got that. So I've got the firewoman, and I've got the upload guy. And then I've got basically 1213 people who all they do all day long is pick pack and ship. And so there's a logistics team. And so it is really operations heavy. And then my main goal is basically to get access to new lines. So my ideal goal rather than operating the business is to actually continue getting new access to new lines. But when I'm not doing that, it's just taken care of whatever I mean, I'm, I'm on the forklift, sometimes I'm you know, other times we're figuring out how to get new racking in or get a new forklift or something like that. Other times, I'm working with brands to add other stuff, like one of the new things I'm going to be selling online shortly, is bags of rock salt for your driveway or sidewalk. Now, it's one of these things that on Amazon should not work. It's a thing that costs $2 to make, and it weighs 40 pounds, logistically e-commerce, should not work. But we are going to make it work. And it's going to be awesome. And we have the model in place now though, with our logistics, but Amazon's logistics, where we will be able to dominate that space in a unique way, where all of a sudden, you'll be able to buy rock salt delivered to your door, that's just as cheap if you were to pick it up at the gas station or at the grocery store. And we're going to be able to make all that work so that sales are going to go bananas.
I mean, that's obviously a very common issue, right? Like you think of this stuff that's so inexpensive. It's so heavy hat, like the fact that you figure that out, I'm sure that's going to be incredibly lucrative. Congratulations. That's awesome.
And that's, that's where that's the other part. So I mean, I guess besides getting new lines, it's figuring out the model of how we can make some of these things work that where there's a giant opportunity, like for a while we were selling the cheapest hand sanitizer spray on Amazon, it was I think it was like 299 Prime delivered not an add on item. So you could get it and have that be the only thing in your cart, and it would still be 299 with free shipping. And so there are things that we can do where all of a sudden, you know, so we're the cheapest one on there, it didn't sell as well as I'd like it to mean it's 1000s of units. But I mean, we weren't making a ton on it. But the long story short, is we're trying I'm trying to figure out ways that we can take advantage of Amazon's rules and their and their goals, and meld them in a way where we can grow a new category that otherwise you know, the opportunity hasn't been exercised yet.
So I know that so you started your first importing business, you said when you were like 19 right? So how did you come up with this idea? Like where it How did like from back then to now? Like what was that? That whole trail of like how you figured this stuff out? Because I know sellers who have been doing this for years and have no idea how to do any of this stuff.
So now what was that timeline, like,
I think my advantage or disadvantage, so I never sell anything that like needs any kind of marketing panache, or actually needs a champion because I'm just, I'm totally just passionate about the products and apathetic to them. Um, but I am very analytical. I'm an INTJ. And so I just psychopathically just try to figure out what factors are in play and how I can mash them together. And so I mean, when I started importing, the first thing I sold I sold this business A while ago was ping pong paddles, no moving parts. It's a piece of wood with a few filaments and rubber. And so basically I could buy them in China for 83 cents apiece, bringing them into us a few 1000 at a time a landed cost would be like $1.50. And basically, I knew that is what was great is I can commit to 1000s out of the gate brand new products I've ever seen because I knew the way Amazon and eBay were set up if I could sell them for 599 with free shipping This is back on first-class was like 289 I could sell it for 599 free shipping and make money and I could blow everybody out of the water. So if I really needed to if I guess if it was a disaster and I couldn't be branded as cool or awesome, I could always just dump them and still make money. Now I tried to sell the panels for like $40 a piece and we were very successful doing that so I was awesome margins. But basically, I knew in that time period, people were still not regularly importing from China. I mean I Alibaba was fairly undiscovered. Ecommerce wasn't as dominant there. And then one of the key things in that specific case was I needed I want I found a product where a brand is important. Just like on like like Portland put it this way. If you're a serious golfer, you don't buy a non branded Golf Club, do you want to title it Do you want to Callaway, you need to have those if you're going to buy a shovel no one cares I don't even could name What brand or shovel is I needed something in the middle where I could come in as a new brand. And sound cool and different. Were brand was important. I could get value off of quote-unquote creating a brand. But also I wasn't locked out because I wasn't you know, there wasn't a moat around you know these existing brands. What are the key ones. And so ping pong paddles with Sega and butterfly, they have those ones for the hardcore people. But most people, they're just playing in their college dorms like me much care if it had a cool name, like, let's do it. And so we cannot be stupid, sexy titles and model numbers. And that's, and that's what we went with. And so I think, I think what I tried to do and what I encourage a lot of people to do is really take an analytical approach to what they're doing. I mean, it helps to like know your market and helps you analyze better. So if you want to do scuba diving, as I mentioned before, because that's a passion of yours, like do that it will help you sifting products on Alibaba a lot better. But at the end of the day, you have to go with you know, clear eyes and say, Alright, this is how this works. And if it's not there, the only times I've gotten in trouble is when I've tried to think that I'm smart enough to sell something where the math doesn't make sense. And I could just do it through sheer enthusiasm. And that's not something I've been successful with. Hmm.
So you mentioned Alibaba, you mentioned eBay, obviously, we talked about Amazon, your website, what other marketplaces Are you selling on.
So we sell through some of the kind of because we sell a lot of industrial products we sell through like Granger, Home Depot, Northern tool, these are all kind of like contractors slash home places. I what I've What about what I've done, which is, unfortunately, or fortunately, just I guess, kind of different is we only sell basically Amazon, US has a lot of our electrical stuff, there are different voltages in the eastern hemisphere. So we're immediate doesn't make sense for us. And so we not only sell just pretty much in the US, but we pretty much only sell on Amazon, I can only we can only have Pat go so many different ways besides our of our own safe kind of like Shopify sites or standalone sites that get traffic outside of e-commerce, we've really focused on selling on Amazon, and even primarily through a vendor, although we sell millions with Seller Central as well. But we really try to focus on that because what I've tried to do is I've tried to simplify the business, as I mentioned, so that we have one goal, add new products, and if I can execute on that we will grow if you try to be all things to all people, add new products, add new marketplaces, become an expert in those work on advertising work on product development work on branding, or you know, all of a sudden, now you have to be an expert in eight different things. And that's really hard, you take a really, really special person to do that. And that's why those companies, you know, one-man shows sell for $20 million. And it's just, it's amazing, but they're quasi geniuses to be able to pull that off. What we try to do is just simplify to one thing, and if we can operate and add more products now with something that I can get my whole team behind, and everybody's rowing in the same direction.
How many different Shopify sites are you managing
right now? Oh, only a handful, probably in any serious manner. Three or four?
I mean, really, mostly they're glorified lead pages for our industrial audits, right for our contractor. So we'll sell I'll give you an example. So I have one product that's called a flood sack. It's called flood sacks sex, and basically, they're, they're stainless sandbags, they blow up with water and they can they work as a big sandbag boat, you know, in a hurricane or flood situation. They're really, really important. Now we sell those primarily through the Home Depot's the Granger's Amazon of the world. That's our main focus. But I also get institutional sales. And so I have a website so that if, you know, the city of New Orleans, New Orleans wants to contact me and buy 1000s of these for you know, in a situation where I'm selling to the Red Cross or something like that, they have a way of contacting you because maybe their infrastructure infrastructures and set up to buy 1000 on Amazon. And so it's really, it's really more for these bulk sales than that I'm using it as a particular marketing tool. But it also helps to have kind of a landing page. So if it's an unknown brand, rather than being limited, the A-plus content that you know, six images of video on the five, if it's a more complex sell like an electric vehicle charger, I have that other standalone site where they can get a lot more information versus having to make a buying decision of several $1,000 based on five bullet points.
And so of all the people you mentioned you had about I think you said you have about 12 or 13 people who are constantly picking packing you have your firewoman and you have your upload guy who's overseeing those websites who's overseeing like the marketing of those, like how are you getting the traffic to those sites?
Well, in some cases, we are the so a lot of times we're distributing right and so we expect the brand that brands itself in the manufacturer to be driving traffic to a lot of that stuff. So again, when we're simplifying, we're outsourcing I outsource the sales that Amazon not only do we all sold the actual supply for to the suppliers, but we're also outsourcing the brand promotion. So I'll say this, creating a new brand. And a new product is not our expertise have we done it and have we sometimes done it successfully? Yes. But generally speaking, we're a lot better at taking existing brands and making them available for sale, I would put it this way, a company like, I don't sell any other products. So I'm just gonna put it there a Minnesota company where I'm at. So three, alright, 3 am doesn't necessarily need help promoting their brand people are familiar with them, they already have great products, the main thing that's maybe struggling for them is they don't have a good way to close the sale. No one knows where to get to, I want him to get a safety vest for you know, or a safety vest, I don't know what store to go to buy a three M or n safety vest, I don't know. But I would, I would want to go on Amazon. And if they're not comfortable doing Amazon themselves, we would help them make it so that they can close the sale. So we are is we are the CO closer we are we're the shopping cart, add to cart guys, where a lot of the other branding, although we can help with that, and we can do it within the Amazon ecosystem, we really try to let the brands do it. Because, you know, we assume that they know their customers best, but not all of it. The one thing I'll say, Andrew, it's a place that we need improvement. I mean, we would like to do a lot better. We'd like to do a promotion. I'm working on that now. So speaking of sights, I mean, I've just launched a new one power Midwest, where we get into the EB charger market, we're spending hundreds of 1000s of dollars to stock a bunch of these Evie chargers because I think electric vehicles are going to be a huge thing sooner rather than later. And what I'm still in the learning phase of when I don't have millions of people visiting my website as I do through Amazon, um, and you know, and a very trusted site, how do I convert that over? So it's something that, you know, what we're trying to do is we're trying to use lessons we've learned on Amazon and try to make that happen on our own site. So it's a learning curve for us,
I'd say cuz I feel like that market might be something that you would need to have a relatively solid brand on. Whereas you'd kind of mentioned that's not really your expertise. So how are you? How are you currently tackling that?
I think what we're doing is this, so we are a reseller, we're still wholesaling. Right. And so we're again, standing on the shoulders of our existing brands. So we have great Evie brands that have their own prestige in the industry. So as a seller of those brands, it's sort of a what a tacit endorsement. But it's something we're working on too. So I spent, I just before this interview, I got off a call with a major contractor of these things I spent this morning emailing 40 different electric vehicles. I mean, I'm doing it the old-school way of kind of reaching out. And so I think the main thing, what we'll do is, we will need to do some stuff from an e-commerce standpoint for discovery. And then we're going to probably parlay that up with some very targeted because these are high dollar amounts, we can do more targeted advertising as well. So I plan on setting you to know, a personal FedEx to the CEO of each one of these companies or the owner. And with just a small one-page thing, not asking for a sale and nothing like that. So we're going to spend the, you know, 20 to $5 to send a personal FedEx, so that gets opened and view to the owner for them, we're also going to have to do some discovery so that homeowners, things like that, that are looking for electric vehicle chargers know that they can come to us, and we can create that. So it's something that we're, we're, we're taking on, you know, as as we go and I'm learning because it's not only in this case, we are I'm taking the leap to have a brand new product and a brand new company kind of pushed out there. And I guess we'll see how it turns out.
I mean, in my opinion, it's a great market to go into if you know how to do it. I mean, obviously, you have all these different Eevee you know, kind of different brands out there. I think Vivian is now going public or something I know, Tesla's obviously doing well. And then but you still have the other traditional you know, auto automakers like point 50s are now like are now the lightning is electricity charger calm.
So do you Yeah, so Julius, is that making money on that domain alone?
Yeah. Oh, it's amazing. So okay, so you there you so much so Okay, so you have this massive like, you know, huge product line you're doing through Amazon. You have these three PL companies now you're doing power Midwest, so you're starting a new brand. Basically, you have all this stuff going what's what is your personal exit strategy? If you don't, some people don't like to get into it. You don't have to but are you planning on exiting one Or is it I know you have kids? Are you handing it down to the kids?
like, what's the goal, honestly. So I've, for the longest time, I was trying to get out before I was 40, or work all the way through, I didn't want to get caught were at the exit when I'm like 52. And maybe I just don't have the energy to start over again. You know, I'm, I either want to get out relatively soon, and be able to start the second half of my career, I've started to come along, though, which is kind of sad is that I don't think I'll ever retire. I mean, realistically, I enjoy working, I can imagine my version of Heaven is to have a giant forest in front of me and then have been handed an ax. I mean, that's what I like to do. I, when I'm not, I don't like sitting at the beach, because my wife, scolds me, every time I don't relax, I go and get up and I start doing stuff. And so I think there's a very positive, there's a very strong possibility that I just work till I'm 75. And what's nice is, though, it's very free, if you actually aren't worried about exit, you can do the right things all the time, I'm not worried about hitting certain financial metrics, I'm worried about putting one foot in front of the other. And I'm not trying to create a valuation. It's very, very tricky in this current environment, with everything going on with Amazon, roll-up companies, and things like that. And I've spoken to many of them. My model is just there are a few teams of moving parts, and we're not one brand, there's, it's great to be one brand because you're very segmental, my business is not very segmental. And so what's been tricky is, I wouldn't get any value from anyway. But it's very freeing to know that, hey, no one's gonna give me any value. So let's just keep doing great things. I think it's Ilan, Musk, quote, right, that they said, he said, you know, basically do what makes you great. And if you keep doing what makes you great, everything will take care of itself. And that's what we're trying to do. We're trying to do what makes us great. And at some point, hopefully, we're big enough, where you know, every company is complex enough, once you get to $100 million in sales, every business is complicated. And so, you know, once we hit that figure, and on an annual basis, no one's gonna care that we're complicated or not, you know, we're big enough where, you know, we're a serious player for any kind of major company.
So what is it that makes you personally great, like, what is it that you really enjoy doing that, you know, you're great at that you work on all the time for your businesses, and then what is it that you hate doing that, hopefully, you've outsourced at this point, or that you are
hoping to get rid of soon. So I'm a, I'm a schemer. Um, I mean, in the best possible way, basically, I can figure out the moving parts,
how to balance them, and figure out whether a makes something work that shouldn't work. And so a lot of times, if anybody who's done with Amazon, or I'm sure, it's kind of, it's probably e-commerce, in general, what you run into is, there are all sorts of goofy rules, you know, to get up to get Amazon to you know, they're constantly creating issues, whether it's new requirements, or, or other logistical issues, things like that. We know how to get around those, and they're not in blackhat ways they don't do anything blackhat or anything shady that way, it's just, we know how to give kind of a minimum viable product to get products up and get the problem solved. And we keep moving on. And so we do a pretty good job of making sure that
we get the deliverable that we want. And if that means we want a 20-pound big assault, sell for 899, with free shipping prime, we will make sure that happens. And if we're able to do it, we're going to be rewarded for making that available on the marketplace. As far as stuff I don't like to do. I think it's more of the Yeah, the malarkey around just different stuff getting taken down for silly reasons. I mean, I can tell you that, you know, when you have 300,000 products, and Amazon comes out with a new pesticide warning, anything that has most or bug or something like that in it. So I mean, we got a bunch of stuff taken down that eventually put up or sometimes we just abandoned essentially, because it wasn't worth the juice wasn't worth the squeeze, because it was you know, it had a bug screen on it, or it was a bug in reference to a, you know, some electrical bug or something like that, right. And we just, we just, you know, it's stuff like that, that's just a giant distraction. And you'll hear lots of Amazon's close talk about that. But, you know, essentially, I'd love to get back into, you know, more marketing building brands, I do think there's a lot of value there. And we've started pivoting that way a little bit. And that's, that'd be the thing that I want to mostly get into. But I also know that you know, putting in the time to be a passionate champion of products is not something that I have the patience for. And so, you know, that's the thing that you know, I don't do that. I like to be able to get better at? Yeah,
I know, not a lot of sellers like sharing their revenue. So I'm not asking you to do that. But let's do turn on products. So the big one that you're mostly on Amazon for,
Have you broken?
I assume you've broken eight figures manually correct. What do you think? Is what helped you break that eight-figure, Mark? And what is it? What would you What advice basically, would you give other sellers to break that mark? Because I know a lot of sellers where that's, that's a big hurdle. I know, it's kind of like the 1 million to 5 million, but then that 10 always seems to be a big struggle. So what helped you kind of jump that?
No one is hard. I think I think really the thing that a lot of sellers, and I understand why a lot of sellers, the ones that they have a bigger selection, I think the simplest thing is to say, to go from 40 products to 200 products. And, you know, if you're really, really good, and you can sell millions of dollars within 40 products, so let's say you have 40 products, or each two and 100, grand, you have the bandwidth to find a bunch of $20,000 products you do even you've got you to know, it's not going to take that much of a leap. It's I mean, I should say, of course, caveat, caveat, a caveat. Everybody's got their own production issues, development issues, all that other stuff, right. And you don't want to just do something to cannibalize. But I do think growing and adding skews is the main thing I would say to
you might have to start all over again. And basically mean, if you're at the point that you are selling millions of dollars, through e-commerce, whether it's through a Shopify site, Amazon or what have You are a, you are a giant as far as your knowledge about how to work in those systems. And there's no reason that if you have the bandwidth, that you can't basically replicate the vast majority of that with a different product. And so you know, Don't sell yourself short, it's definitely not your vitamins that got $4 million, it's you being a just savage when it comes to being able to sell on those marketplaces. And, you know, whether you were selling supplements or all of a sudden you're selling plush toys like you'll be able to do the same thing to a certain extent, you know, granted that you get may be granted that, you know, there's bad luck and what have you in some of that. And in the model, as that makes sense. But I think anybody who's looking to go there, they just have to ask themselves, I think they have to ask themselves, is going from 5 million to 10 million? Is that worth working twice as hard and doing it all over again, twice? And for a lot of people that maybe doesn't make sense?
So correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like because of that mindset, the 80/20? Doesn't the 80/20 rule doesn't really apply in your business. Am I correct?
Absolutely not. No, no, no, no, no. Yeah. And we are, we are, we have a very, very long tail. And so I mean, why sell 1000s of different products each week. And I think that's to our benefit. I mean, people worry about, you know, I sell, say only one, let's say Amazon, my primary customer, why I have one big customer, right. And that's very, very scary to some people. But in reality, it's a Amazon. B, even if I were to lose some relationship with Amazon, somehow, I still have access, and I have great buying power with all these different suppliers. And so I can go to that whatever the next marketplaces are, there are different ways that I can still recover and recoup some of that revenue, which is what I prefer doing with Amazon. There are some specific nuances of selling directly to Amazon, which is hidden and underrated Lee amazing. Um, and then what I'd say too, is I have Donald I have one customer, but I sell them 1000s of different products in many, many different categories. I'm diversified, maybe not in my customer base, but in my product base. So yes, maybe someone has 10 different customers, but they only have 20 products. So if one product gets axed or ingredient gets banned, or some goofy thing like that, you know, they've lost 120 if we're if I lose one product, I mean, I literally don't even read the email all the way. I mean, it's just done, we move on.
Okay, so as we kind of come to an end here, I have to make sure that I give you your moment and let you kind of give us Okay, a little bit of insight into so Tjernlund services Why? Why should someone work with you like what's, what's the perfect ideal seller for you to be working with there?
So the perfect company is looking for, I'm looking for some handholding Amazon expertise when they're selling Amazon-specific but any kind of e-commerce so we can kind of fulfillment just to be clear, but basically, they're looking for a handheld fulfillment, they're looking for, not just a company that just blindly pick packs chase provides guidance. And then usually his look is a little more Amazon focus as far as e-commerce and that might include vendor Central. And so I think our biggest differentiator is besides like I talked about big products, things like that are really that if they want to continue selling directly to Amazon, but they don't want to manage shipping directly to Amazon, which is without going into details, it's a major pain and you have to reroute all your normal shipping processes to be able to do it, we can handle that for you. And so if you want to have to if you want to have a direct Amazon relationship without actually having to directly deal with them, we can be really helpful with that.
Beautiful, of course really appreciate having you on the show. Andrew is awesome, that was great. Your operational skills are mind-blowing, so this was totally worth it. Really appreciate it. big thank you to everyone who tuned in, of course, head over to theecommshow.com and make sure you subscribe on any of the podcast platforms or YouTube or anywhere else you want to. But until next time, keep selling, and good luck out there.
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