EP 10: Growing Camskin Online with Colin Dougherty

Narrator: (00:01)
Welcome to the process, to e-com profit podcast, where we know top line sales, just isn’t enough to have the business of your dreams, learn to run a profitable business online that doesn’t run you.

Robyn: (00:16)
Welcome to the process to e-commerce profits podcast. I am excited today. We have got Colin. He’s the founder of cams skins, and he’s developed as a great product. He’s been using influencer marketing and, you know, a lot of times we just focus on Amazon and not every product can make the jump from Amazon to Shopify or Shopify to Amazon. But I think it’s important to kind of know what are people who are in different segments of the e-commerce space doing in order to make their products SU successful. So, Colin, thank you so much for coming onto the show today.

Calin: (00:46)
Thank you guys for having me

Cindy: (00:48)
Colin. We’ve got some questions for you. We, we like to understand why people actually got into the, e-commerce business to start with, what, what’s the story behind creating skins?

Colin: (01:01)
Yeah, I mean, just to really just to push it down into a really, really brief story. I lost my job at the peak of the pandemic and I had the prototype slash most minimum viable product for cam skins and I lost my job and I had my life savings and I said to my manufacturer, now I said, I’m willing to make this jump. I have X amount of money and I’m willing to run outta all of it. If you guys wanna take this jump with me. And they were like, all right, you’re not getting many orders right now, but, we’ll make the jump. And, wild, I mean, looking back on that it’s I don’t know why I did that, but, we’re here

Cindy: (01:49)
Well, in, in, I mean, a lot of times we like to know, were you, were you trying to solve a problem in your life? And it sounds like you were, you, you were at a crossroads and you needed to, to figure out what to do next. And, but, but you were already going down this path. So what got you interested in, in, in the minim what got you started with that product to begin with?

Colin: (02:11)
Yeah. so there was somebody else in the marketplace who was making, skins for cameras. And I didn’t like any of the designs that they were putting out. I thought they were a little bit too aggressive. And, I was talking with my girlfriend and I was like, Hey, there’s like other options here. There’s like rainbow tie dye. There’s like a blue tie dye. There’s a pink you could do. And she was like, yeah. I mean, there’s definitely like girl photographers. There’s not, not girl photographers . And, I was like, yeah, I think, I think this is a thing I think I could just change a lot of the colors and market it a completely different way. and just totally go a different route and push out different colors and, you know, offer a lot quicker shipping because we’re made in the United States. You know, we don’t have to deal with anything, dealing with customs or anything like that. and I was like, I think this is something and here we are. yeah.

Robyn: (03:10)
Can you tell us a little bit about, you know, your, your growth and kind of where you’ve, you’ve brought the company to today to kind of give people an idea of where you’re at?

Colin: (03:19)
Yeah, totally. so I have one stat that I found out, about two months ago, which kind of blows my mind, but it’s like something I can always take with me. cams skins has customers in all 50 states, 72 countries and, seven continents. That’s crazy. I’m literally an idiot outta South Carolina. So I don’t know how that happened, but that’s where we’re at now. so trying to, trying to grow that even more.

Cindy: (03:50)
So, so where are you at in South Carolina? I’m from North Carolina originally.

Colin: (03:53)
Nice. so I moved to Charleston, South Carolina. That’s where my manufacturer is now. and we’ve been operating from there, which is really nice because I know you guys have probably talked about the supply chain issues, dealing with containers and all that. I’m not a genius. We completely dodged all of that because of our local manufacturing. And I’m not some like visionary who predicted that there was gonna be a supply chain issue and no one was gonna get stuff. we just lucked into it, like completely fell into like we have local manufacturers, so we avoided all of it.

Cindy: (04:31)
That’s awesome. And, and Charleston, South Carolina is gorgeous. I mean, it’s really a beautiful place to be too. So, if you’re gonna be in a, a lockdown in a pandemic, you might as well be in a gorgeous spot. Right.

Colin: (04:43)
yeah, yeah, exactly. That.

Robyn: (04:46)
So, you know, when you start a business in a pandemic, I’m sure that there’s a lot of roadblocks and I think there’s, you know, when you start a business, you’re like, okay, I’m gonna probably have a part where this is gonna be tough or this is gonna be tough. What was the roadblock that’s kind of surprised you that the, the problem that you didn’t anticipate that you were gonna have, you know, like you, you had an unanticipated solved problem in that, you know, that there, there was probably increased demand for your products cause you didn’t have to worry about supply chain. but what was, so what was a roadblock that you didn’t expect?

Colin: (05:14)
Yeah. I think a roadblock that I didn’t expect was, and this, I mean, this isn’t really that much of a roadblock, but it’s more so of the mindset of the consistency of it. And in the fact that you have to show up every day, you kind of have to show up every week. I unfortunately worked last Saturday and Sunday because we’ve been dealing with web a brand new website doing web development. And I think there’s this like notion or like this painted picture that eCommerce is, I’m gonna make this thing online. I’m gonna sit on a beach and the orders are gonna come in and all I’m gonna hear is the Ching sound and people are gonna start bringing me margaritas. But I think I, I just wanna dismiss that myth so badly because there’s so much you have to do and so much software that you constantly have to be updating. And so many things that are just like every day. And it’s like, you have to have the, the mental health and the mental focus to just be able to, okay, I’m gonna, I’m gonna see this through, I’m gonna see this through another week. We’re gonna go through another month. We’re gonna go through another. So it’s, it’s more so that the consistency of it

Robyn: (06:38)
And for the people who are, have only been doing Amazon, I think the grass is always greener on the other side for, those who are only doing Amazon and would like to get more into, you know, on selling directly to consumers on their own site. What are the biggest things that you that are, that you like the biggest pain points that you experience, on, on the way that you’re selling, to customers?

Colin: (07:01)
Oh, totally. I mean, it’s, there’s, it’s only one issue. It’s media buying and what channels are you media buying on? and there, if people are being truthful with you guys over the past two weeks, Facebook has looked like a blood bath. It’s looked like civil war, you know, civil war, era bay, and that’s going into everybody’s chest. the ad platform that is Facebook is in a really bad state. There’s been some rumors that they have a lot of issues that are rumors from the executive team that they’re gonna have some issues that are finally gonna get fixed in November, but it’s where you media buying. And a lot of it’s shifting to TikTok ads, which is insane to me. So, I mean, I’m seeing, I’m seeing some guys that are doing a thousand dollars CBO budget on TikTok to an instant page and they’re selling makeup and they’re making an ungodly amount of money. And I’m just like, Jesus, this is the new frontier, I guess ,

Cindy: (08:10)
You know, even accountants are going on TikTok. Now there’s this one guy I’ve been on Facebook for, in for years. And he started doing these TikTok videos. Now he’s, he’s on the today show. they bring him in as an accountant commentator all be. And, and he was the funniest guy. He would, he would dress up as people with a washcloth over his head and I’m like, people loved it. And, and now he’s on the today show when they want to, when they bring in a tax expert, they bring in duke and I’m like, holy cow. It’s just,  it, like you said, the new frontier.

Colin: (08:46)
Yeah. It’s, it’s wild, but again, you have to move with the industry, which is always the best.

Cindy: (08:53)
Do you think the pandemic actually, increased the demand for your product? Were people, I mean, I know like the national parks people, so many more people were out doing those kind of outdoor things. Do you think you just hit it right. With, with your product and, and the pandemic just kind of, kind of hand in glove opportunity there?

Colin: (09:16)
yeah, I mean, I, I don’t think it was more so camera skins or any type of thing special that I did. I just think the pandemic accelerated eCommerce growth and eCommerce stores so aggressively. and then there was some pullback a little bit when everybody started to like, things started to open up. So e-commerce kind of dropped a little bit more. but it just kind of had people realize the market, I guess, is more so what happened, where it was like, holy smokes, we just did this amount of money because of a pandemic and everyone’s locked in their house. so it was more so just realizing the market and, just seeing, seeing everything which was notes.

Robyn: (10:00)
What was, when, when you’re looking at, you know, you said it’s really, it’s a lot about paid media right now for what you’re, what you’re growing. how much is that? Are you doing like influencer marketing and how much of it is paid? I know that there’s always a lot of talk about, you know, which path is the better path to take.

Colin: (10:17)
Yeah. I, I kind of jumped away from influencer marking. So we, when I initially started camp skins, I vetted out probably 150 to 200 free camera skins to photographers all over Instagram, all over TikTok. And I was hoping to see some huge return and just ride the influencer wave since then I’ve pulled back really aggressively. And right now I just use influencers from a creative standpoint. So if, if I send them a product, I don’t really care if they drive traffic or if they’re any part of paid, it’s just, hey, can you get me the best possible content that we own the rights to? So then that we can run paid on our side. So then it becomes an ad, because I don’t know, I, you have to get like a Kardashian level or somebody, you have to get somebody really huge for it to be like, this is gonna change the business. you can’t really get these micro guys that are a hundred to 500,000 and expect, like we’re gonna do a crazy numbers. That’s sustainable. so it’s more so focused on paid and then using those influencers to make the creative that we use for the paid,

Robyn: (11:41)
Because that user generated content does so well on ads.

Colin: (11:46)
Yeah. So that’s kind of one thing that we that’s our secret sauce in the fact that, our customers are really talented photographers and videographers. So the UGC that we get from customers is exponentially better than a lot of e-commerce companies. And that’s just like pure luck just in the nature of the business we’re in. and I’m extremely thankful for that. I will, I will say that.

Cindy: (12:14)
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense in your, profession before, you know, where you, you lost your job and you now got into this, was there things from that, that life that you brought forth that helped you be successful in your e-commerce store?

Colin: (12:30)
Yeah, so, before I, I did cams scans. I was working for an outdoor company, and, and running their influencer marketing. so I, I really got used to reaching out to influencers via DMS or email. and initially I think people get really intimidated by these guys. They see like the numbers and the likes and all this and are like this guy’s super scary and intimidating. And then you get on a call with him, and then you realize that like, oh, this guy, this guy’s a person. Like he has problems just like I do. And, it slowly kind of breaks out the barrier and this like facade that these people are just like going on trips everywhere and every meal’s perfect. And, you know, they’re just living this perfect life, but, it’s helped me kind of realize that these are just normal people. They just happen to be really good at doing their job, which is influential marketing.

Cindy: (13:34)
So you kind of had that tool in your toolkit, so to speak whenever you started. And, and, the, the, the media side of it, the marketing side of it, wasn’t foreign to you. with, I’m curious from an accounting perspective, a lot of the people that I work with, they have some area of their business that they, you know, profession that they did before, but it doesn’t always set ’em up to, to understand their numbers. And we were talking just before, we started recording about how important that is, what made you know that, the financial side of it was a piece you had to dig into and understand

Colin: (14:17)
. Yeah. So, I mean, I I’m horrible with that stuff. so I made it a really big effort where I hired an accountant on freelance, that I know personally, and I said, hey, I want you to do the numbers every month. And then we’re gonna hop on it one to two hour call and talk to me like, I am the biggest idiot in the world and just what’s going on with this thing, how are we doing? Do I have any hope left in, in this thing? Like, you know, break it down and it’s, that’s been almost invaluable. I can’t stress enough how important it is for both for, businesses to get an accountant and to have a second set of eyes that they trust on the numbers. cuz she will see stuff that I completely miss. and be like, why are you spending all this money here and be like, that’s totally true. Why am I doing that? so it that’s, it that’s like not a fun thing. It’s not like a cool influencer thing. It’s not crazy cool marketing. It’s so boring, but it is so important. it’s wild

Cindy: (15:36)
And kudos to you for doing that because I know so many people are, that it’s not a strong suit for them, so they ignore it and they push it away and they’re like, okay, you know, I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna look because it might be bad news, but if you don’t know, how are you gonna fix it? And so kudos to you for actually digging in and realizing you could learn it, you know? it’s interesting to me, people learn the, they learn what numbers mean from a marketing side of things, but they, they don’t want to go beyond that. They just wanna see the dollars add up in the top line sales. But you know, it’s not that much harder to look down your P and L and understand what’s going on.

Colin: (16:13)
Yeah. And, and the thing is if, if you’re not looking like you said, and you think it’s gonna be bad news, it’s usually not as bad news as you think, but you have to be willing to look at it objectively and, and really see the numbers. Like, I mean, it’s kind of the life blood of your like cash flows, life, blood of your business. And like, if you’re just aimlessly driving the wheel, hoping that the bills are being paid. I mean, Lord help you , you know, like

Cindy: (16:46)
. Yeah. And, and so many people say, well, I’m waiting to get my taxes to see how I did last year. I’m like, boy, I wanted to know last month how I did. I don’t wanna wait until the end of the year. Oh yeah. That’s awesome.

Robyn: (17:01)
When Cindy does my numbers and you know, sometimes I find that, you know, because I, you know, I don’t know about you, but I’m, you know, I’m in a lot of groups that are around the community that I sell in. Right. Or, you know, and so, you know, everybody just has this tool, everybody has that subscription or, and they’ll be like, but what do you do with it? Why do you, why do you need that? And I’m like, you know, I don’t actually need that. So yeah. Or, you know, I’m not really utilizing it or, you know, so I think having somebody they can objectively look and that isn’t caught up in the, you know, the, whatever the hot new thing in the moment is, is it can really make cuz even if you, it is necessary, it does make you look at what role is this having and how important it is.

Colin: (17:44)
Definitely. I mean, we don’t do anything crazy. It’s just like having her talk to me. And I mean, I guess it’s just my total weakness, but like just having someone talk me through everything, just because I can’t look at those like an Excel sheet like that and just absolutely see all the pieces fall into place. Like somehow she does, I don’t have that mindset. She does, she likes it. And she’s described it as, this is crazy. She’s described it as she is a pirate and she’s on the search for hidden treasure

Speaker 5: (18:22)

Colin: (18:24)
And I was like, Taylor, I’m so glad you find joy out of this because I could never, but I’m really glad you do so yeah.

Cindy: (18:33)
That’s awesome. Sounds like you’ve got a really good match there. Yeah.

Colin: (18:37)

Cindy: (18:39)
One of the things we, we like to talk about on, on, this show is the operations of things. In fact, Robin and I both are real big fans of a guy named Mike MCOW. So I don’t know if, you know, I have heard of him. He wrote a book called profit first. it it’s a, it’s a cash management strategy and, and, Robin and I both really like it a lot. He’s got another book out there called, fix this next. And that book talks about how there’s kind of a hierarchy of needs in business. You have to have sales first, then you can focus on your profits. Then from there, you can get into the order and the systems in your business, ultimately the impact, and then finally a legacy. And, you know, it’s kind of like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs that, that we all got a little taste of somewhere along the lines in college, usually. I’m just curious from your perspective in your business right now, do you, do you have one of those areas that feels like is the most challenging for you?

Colin: (19:40)
Yeah. I would say sales, but, sales from a, a lifetime customer standpoint, because customer acquisition costs are getting more expensive. I want to be able to retain a customer for two to three purchases. so it is sales, but it’s also, I want customers to fall in love with the product and also think, oh, I have other devices like a MacBook or a GoPro or a drone. I should cover those too. because that, I mean, that’s such a big thing because then that customer becomes so much more valuable. I think that’s huge it’s sales, but also looking at lifetime value sales, for a valuable customer, not just the quick buck of the guy, who’s gonna buy like a little thing and then you’re never gonna hear from him. So

Cindy: (20:50)
Mm-hmm, , that’s awesome. And you know, for, for me in the accounting world, it is recurring revenue and it’s sounds like a same kind of thing. You want that customer to keep coming back. And, and, and there’s a, an element of designing delight and, brand loyalty, et cetera, to, to making that happen. And, paid media can, it’s just a different strategy than paid media. Paid media is probably how you get ’em in the first place, but then what are you doing to keep ’em coming back is, is a different way to focus your attention. I would think,

Robyn: (21:28)
Especially with everything that’s going on in Facebook right now.

Colin: (21:32)
Yeah. They’re, they’ll figure something out.

Cindy: (21:35)
Yeah. Yeah. They got too many talented people. what Colin, what’s one thing you wish you had known whenever you got started looking back on it. If you had known this, it would’ve been a game changer for you.

Colin: (21:48)
Oh man. God, that’s a phenomenal question. What’s one thing I would’ve known. I think that, I think that it’s always a moving target. so like we just redid our whole website and we were working on that for three weeks and it’s kind of like this, this thing where you think like, when I get that thing, then the business is gonna be there. When I do X, Y, Z app install. When we add X, Y, Z model, then that’s it. That’s the, that then we’re good. That’s the business. I wish I would’ve realized that it’s never the next thing it’s, it’s always gonna be changing. You’re always gonna find something that, you know, you could be doing better. You know, we did 50,000 in sales last month, we could have done a hundred thousand. We did a hundred thousand. We could have done 200,000. we released two new colors.

Colin: (22:55)
We should have released five new colors. And I think, I think figuring out people’s mental health with that too, I don’t think it’s talked about enough where like people attach themselves so aggressively to their business. And my girlfriend’s a Saint because she somehow puts up with this and figuring out a way to kind of detach yourself from the next thing and realize that like, Hey, I’m not just cam skins, Colin. I’m also, you know, Colin, the guy who just like has a life and wants to like see his friends sometimes. So it’s, it’s figuring that out, you know? And I, I wish I would’ve known that more.

Robyn: (23:39)
I, I had to kind of very much the same thing. Like when, especially when we, we first got started, like when we were like, when there’s money in the account, I was like, I’m so good. And man, I just have this and this is great. And yeah. So good to leave my job. And then when it’s down, you’re like, I’m a loser. Everybody’s gonna know I’m a loser. And you know, like, and then I’m gonna be so embarrassed and I’m gonna lose all my, like, you go like this. I, I would go like, it was, it was like I was schizophrenic, you know? And it was like, you know, and I think that, that did, you know, if, if you have to, I had to like say, okay, I’m not my bank balance. I could be a good person and have a high or a low bank balance. I could be a bad person and have a high or a low bank PA. It’s not a morality thing. and you know, good people, smart business people have failed businesses and, you know, people who they debate it by the grace of God, you know, like, you know, have, have great businesses. , you know? And so I, I think that, that, that detaching that makes it, it frees up a lot of space for you to actually, creatively build your business instead of always trying to run from a monster.

Colin: (24:42)
Totally. Yeah. It’s, I completely agree with that. Like the whole schizophrenia thing where you’re like, is this me? Is it like, I’m a bad person now because like, we didn’t do a good week. Like it, that I think nobody understands that unless you’re in it. And I think that’s crazy. You said that because that is so real. And no one understands that I try to explain it to ’em. I’m like, I’m telling you, you feel like a bad person, but you might have like a wonderful personal life and all this stuff, but you just feel like I’m a bad person this week for some, and it’s, it’s so real. I, I can’t figure out a way to describe it. Other than that.

Robyn: (25:20)
And in talking, he would go get a cup of coffee and then he’d come back. And I was in the depths of despair. I was like, you know, and, and he is like, what happened? I was like, we got an email from a customer. And they said, I ruined their Christmas.

Colin: (25:34)
That’s so real

Robyn: (25:36)
Their kid with cancer’s gonna die now.

Colin: (25:40)
Yeah, that’s so real. That’s so real.

Cindy: (25:44)
And, and, you know, from the financial side, I see it all the time. People do equate, what’s going on in their bank account with whether or not the it’s a good day or a bad day. And, you know, we talked a little bit about profit first, and that is a cash management strategy, but that’s one reason I really like it because it separates out your bank accounts for specific purposes. So you can have money in your inventory account. Maybe you’re a little low on OPEX, but that’s a problem you can deal with as opposed to, I don’t have any money. And what am I gonna do about it? You, you can start to see the purposes behind those bank accounts. And it makes it less of a, everything’s all in one bucket and, and things are low. So, so I feel bad today or things are high. I’m gonna go buy a whole bunch of stuff because things look good, you know, and that happens too. People, people start riding this wave of spending money cause their bank account looks good and they’ve already forgotten that there’s a boat with stuff coming from China that they’re gonna have to pay for, you know, pretty soon. And, then money’s gone.

Colin: (26:48)
Yeah. It’s, it’s weird. So I I’ve actually talked to a couple other people about this. I have a really weird thing now because I started in the peak of the pandemic with so little amount in my bank account. I mean, it was just my whole life savings. And then we’ve, we’ve scaled this thing up. Obviously. I, I mean, I, I need to figure it out, but I’m so afraid to spend money on myself in any amount, like I’m afraid to buy a pair of shoes for myself or do anything it, and like the money’s there, it’s fine. Like I see it in the bank account. Like I know it’s there. This will go through. It’s fine. I am so afraid to do any personal purchases because of anything that might come up with the business. And I don’t know why it’s a completely irrational fear, but I physically can’t spend money on myself, which is like, it’s so frustrating. Yeah. My girlfriend would be like, yeah, it it’s horrible. She’s like, you know, you can get yourself something. And I’m like, I know, but I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know if I can do it.

Cindy: (28:00)
There’s a certain amount of that that’s healthy. But then there’s another side of it that I see entrepreneurs get into where they, they’re not rewarding themselves as business owners or as employees. And though they’re what, where that runs into a problem is then spouses and children don’t understand why is, mom or dad never available. They’re always working and there’s never any money to do things. And after a while, the family starts to put a lot of pressure on, on the business owner and saying, you know, is it really worth it? Can you go back and like get a job? And so it does create some dynamics with the family that are, are not really always the healthiest thing.  so I, I, I would love to send you the book, profit first. And because it, it really does make you think about the fact that as a business owner, we do have, purposes for our money and that we should be paying ourselves not only as an employee, because we do work a lot in our businesses, but, but also as an owner, you know, if you were investing in Coca-Cola or something like that, every quarter you get some kind of dividend for taking the risk of owning that stock.

Cindy: (29:24)
And as business owners, we should be doing that too. We should be taking something out of our business for paying, you know, for the work we do, but also for the risk that we’re putting into it. And maybe if you, if you, if you saw the structure for doing that, it might help you start to separate, okay, this is my business money, and this is my personal money. I earned it fair and square . And so I, you know, and then there’s probably also some mindset stuff going on from having lost your job. I mean, of course being a business owner is, is a risky endeavor, but also having had a job that evaporated that’s kind of unsettling too. And so just recognizing that those things have happened and it, it, they do kind of, start to eat away at your feeling of security because the security you probably thought you had, we all did, you know, I mean, during this whole pandemic, we all thought the world was one way and now look at it. It’s totally different. And, things that we never expected are, are governing how we, how we do things. And so anyway, if you’re interested, I would love to send you that book, cuz I think it might be, a way for you to think about it, to that, would, would make you more comfortable.

Colin: (30:46)
Yeah, I, yeah, I absolutely love that.

Robyn: (30:48)
And I, like, so I’ve had to really work on my money conversations, like the conversations that like, like I’ve inherited from my parents and from my family about money, you know, my dad had a business and it failed and then he, you know, like it was, and then my had, I had like a rich uncle, right. He was, you know, he was, he was not like, like not screwed McDuck rich, but like he could go to Disneyland whenever he want rich. you know, and so, we, you know, he was doing really well and he started a business and it failed. And then he ended up having, you know, was in his senior years and he was gonna have to report to Walmart to be a greeter. And the day he was supposed to report, he just died. Like he was, I think his soul was just like, I’m not, this is, I can’t do this.

Robyn: (31:30)
And so I had this conversation that you, you might get money, but keeping it is not gonna happen. Like I was ex I was waiting. It was like, I had just walked through or watch like 17 horror videos. And after you’ve watched a bunch of horror movies, like you’re always waiting for something to jump out at you. And I think that being an entrepreneur, you’re living this there’s parts that are great and there’s parts that are the Exorcist and you’re waiting, you know, Freddy Krueger, you’re waiting for something to come out and get you. And I think that it, you have to make a conscious effort to get out of that survival mode.

Colin: (32:03)
Definitely. I mean, and, and future planning too. I mean, there’s, there’s other things where you need to put your money other than just your business. And I’ve tried to make that, I’ve tried to make that kind of established with, regardless of how much money is coming in. Like my fidelity retirement account still needs to like have a lifeblood to it, you know, cause who knows what’s gonna happen, but like that money’s still gonna be there.

Robyn: (32:31)
You wanna diversify your, your income and your investments. You don’t have everything in one basket because even the best baskets break, you know, there was a time when people thought blockbuster was gonna be a million dollar, you know, be the business for a long time. And you know, you know, when was the last time you, you know, like there’s a lot of businesses that people assumed were gonna be there forever, that aren’t anymore. So you can’t, you can’t just put everything all on black all the time. I mean, you can’t, it’s not a good idea.

Colin: (32:57)
Oh yeah. It’s horrible idea.

Cindy: (33:00)
That kind of makes me think of another aspect of this though. Is innovation in the business? One of the things I’ve seen is a lot of people who, get started and they have the one product and they think, okay, I’m gonna start with this product. And, and then it starts bringing in some money and they’re like, okay, good. We’re set. And they don’t realize that there’s kind of a life cycle to that product and competitors come in. How do you manage that? How do you stay innovative with what you’re doing?

Colin: (33:30)
Yeah. That’s one of the most miserable parts of my entire business. I’m gonna be completely honest with you because Sony, Canon and Nikon are not gonna stop releasing new models for little old camp skins. They’re gonna be pushing out brand new camera models with brand new specs and measurements every quarter. And then I gotta figure out a way to get ahold of that, put it through CAD, make a CAD model of it and then reverse that so that my manufacturer can then do a proper, skin install around it. And it’s miserable. It’s not fun. but we have to keep up with it. Like we can’t just be like, yeah, Sony just released a brand new model. We, we have to ignore it. Like you can’t.

Cindy: (34:18)
How much of the, market do you try to cover? I mean, I don’t know how many cameras are out there, but do you, do you pick like, okay, I’m gonna pick the top 10% that are most popular. How do, how do you decide that?

Colin: (34:31)
Yeah, it’s totally. It’s mostly by manufacturers. So, the big three are, Sony can Nikon. That’s kind of like your big three that are gonna take up 85 to 90% of the total market. So as long as you keep tabs on whatever they’re releasing, you’re, you’re pretty good for the most part. there’s Fuji and like, and like your black magics, which are like extremely niche and sometimes like the more expensive cameras, but as long as you take out kind of the, the Sony, the cans and Nikons, and you keep up with them, you’re in a good spot. Sometimes we have to update like the black magic or a new Fuji or something like that. But it’s the customer demographic is so much smaller. It’s, I mean, it’s astronomically smaller. So,

Cindy: (35:25)
And do you have to physically like buy the ne the cameras as it comes out? Or, or is there some other way you get around that? Or, I don’t know. Maybe you don’t wanna talk about that?

Colin: (35:35)
Yeah. I mean, from a layman’s standpoint, it’s catting it through, a Chinese source that we have overseas that are close with those, with those direct distributors, the, can, the Nikon, the Sony that have extremely close connections that can figure out a way to CAD everything, then send us that CAD file. Also CAD is so expensive for no reason. It’s horrible. I want to die. and then they send us that CAD file. We figure out a way to create the whole CAD file in house in the states. And then we start producing new samples and seeing like, hey, does this sample work? is there any tweaks that we need to make, but yeah, it’s, a wildly expensive process that kind of sucks. So yeah.

Cindy: (36:32)
Do you have to have people on your staff to do that, or do you rely on your, CAD people, overseas and then your local manufacturer to kind of help connect the dots with what’s gonna work and what’s not, or do you have engineering people? How does that work?

Colin: (36:50)
Yeah, so, I mean, I’m, I’m the middle man between them. So, they kind of don’t talk to each other. I essentially talk to them, get all the stuff, and then I’m like, hey, here’s gonna be some new stuff for, a, a new Kubota dragon skin. And then I send them all that. And then they’re like, okay, cool. We’re gonna work on this sample. We’ll probably get everything finished through the whole printer and everything within a week. And then have, have like a working sample prototype for you, usually within a week. But I, I try not to throw like three to six camera models at them at a time. So they’re like, dude, what do you, you’re, you’re throwing so much at us, please don’t do that. So I try to space it out where it’s like, all right, here’s a new one. And then like two weeks later. All right. Here’s another one. So, so they don’t wanna murder me is kind of why I do it.

Cindy: (37:49)
yeah. Being close to your supplier might be an issue if you’re, if you’re gonna abuse. ’em right.

Robyn: (37:55)
Well, I just realize we’re getting pretty close to overtime now. So we should, I, I wanna be respectful of your time cuz I know you’ve probably got some things to cat or like, you know, monsters to fight and things like that. So, so would you, when, if people wanna get ahold of you, what’s the best way for them to do that?

Colin: (38:14)
Yeah. LinkedIn’s really good. If you just wanna add me on LinkedIn, I try to respond to every single message on LinkedIn, just cuz I think it’s a great way for people to connect like super quick and just, pass information or advice as fast as possible. so LinkedIn’s always good.

Robyn: (38:33)
Well make sure we get that into the show notes. is there any like, like final thing that you’re like, hey, you know, if I, you know, this is the one thing I wish I had known or the, you know, unexpected bump that I, you know, that I think that would be helpful to somebody else.

Colin: (38:49)
Yeah. Take care of your mental health as much as possible. regardless of if you think that you need to take care of your mental health at this time, because if you don’t then it’s gonna turn into a thing where you need to take care of your mental health or else, nothing else is gonna function. that’s kind of just been my mindset for the whole new year is like, how do I stay as levelheaded and calm and not emotional reactive as possible. figure out a way to take care of your mental health need, get an outlet, you know, get a, join a smash room where they smash a bunch of stuff, but, but figure out, figure out some type of outlet for sure.

Robyn: (39:36)
Awesome. Thank you so much for coming on and sharing with us today. I hope, you know, everybody that’s listening that has a camera goes out and buys a cams skin so they can thank you for your time. And then, we are, this is that our episode for today, we’ll head to the five minute fix and we hope that you have a great day. This is Robin Johnson with your five minute fix welcome today’s five minute fix. And today we’re gonna be talking about click through rate on Amazon, especially for sponsored products. it’s a little different than maybe what you’re doing on Google, because what you’re doing on Google, especially what you’re doing on Facebook and, Instagram, there’s usually gonna be a, a level of creative there depending on the platform that you’re on Amazon for sponsored products and to some degree for sponsored pro brands as well and sponsored display your creative is primarily your main image and your title.

Robyn: (40:25)
So those are the first two things you wanna look at on your image. You wanna make sure that your, your product takes up 85% really look the proportions of your images to make sure that your product is not being shrunk, to, to fit into that box and making your product look smaller in comparison to your competitors, look at your title. If somebody didn’t know your brand, if somebody didn’t know your, your product name, would they understand what the product does? Especially if you have a fanciful name where maybe is not directly related to the use of your product, this is when you really need to make sure you’re, you’re working on your title, your title, and your primary image can all be AB tested. You can use manage my experiments in seller central, but there also are tools if you’re not qualified for that, like cell zone, has a free AB testing tool that you can use.

Robyn: (41:13)
And a lot of other software are, are developing those tools as well. So that allows you to test which title actually performs better. And what helps your click through rate? The other thing after image and titles is going to be your audience. We wanna look at how you’re targeting those ads, because if you’re driving a lot of, of, of traffic to keyword from keywords that just aren’t really relevant, or those buyers, aren’t going to be interested in your product. You’re gonna see a low click through rate as well. Then finally, the last two are kind of connected just like the first two and that’s coupons or promotions and price. So with coupons, for many ad types, especially on sponsored product, that coupon will show right there in the ad and that can help with the, with the click through rate. so that can make a big difference.

Robyn: (41:55)
So test running a clippable coupon, if you wanted to test lowering your price, clippable coupons are a great way to do that because you don’t have to worry about buy box suppression. The last thing is price. If your product is $70 more than your competitor, that looks pretty much the same. Maybe they’re even used in the same mold. It’s gonna be harder for you to get click through rate. So you could use something like that. Clippable coupon to test price, to see if that’s the issue, and, and use that to kind of help identify whether, price elasticity is one of the things that’s stopping your product from selling.

Narrator: (42:28)
Thank you for listening to the process to e-com profits podcast. Make sure you subscribe to get updates for new episodes, leave a review. And one lucky winner each month will win a one hour call with your choice of our hosts. A value of over $300. Keep listening to hear the winner announced on the first show of the month. You can contact our hosts by using the contact us form at process to e-com profits.com. You can also find the contact information of our hosts and show guests in the show notes for each episode.

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