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Why your product needs to be on Amazon - with Cara Sayer, Snooze Shade
Episode 8819th November 2021 • Bring Your Product Ideas to Life • Vicki Weinberg
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Cara Sayer is the inventor and entrepreneur behind SnoozeShade, a bestselling range of baby sun and sleep shades, and shares her story from starting out in 2008, through starting to sell on Amazon in 2014 to where the business is now.

EPISODE NOTES

**Please remember to rate and review the podcast - it really helps others to find it.**

Today on the podcast I'm talking to Cara Sayer, an inventor, and entrepreneur, who launched her first SnoozeShade product in 2008. Cara now sells her product worldwide. Starting to sell her products on Amazon in 2014 was a turning point for her business. Cara is really candid and honest about her experiences, sharing everything from marketing at the Oscars to dealing with negativity on social media. It is a really inspiring conversation, and offers something to everyone, wherever you are in your product business journey.

Listen in to hear Cara share:

  • An introduction to herself and her business (01:06)
  • How she started out (01:25)
  • Securing her first trade orders (06:11)
  • Funding her initial product order for 10,000 pieces (11:29)
  • How to have a successful trade show (14:04)
  • The importance of having a product that meets a need and works (17:04)
  • Why she decided to start selling on Amazon (22:11)
  • The importance of also having your own website (30:34)
  • Providing a first-class customer experience and managing any faulty items (32:39)
  • Dealing with unsubstantiated social media claims  (37:30)
  • What she would do differently if she was starting out now (45:54)
  • The importance of safety testing for a baby product (49:33)
  • The advantages of using Amazon over other retailers & distributors (46:27)
  • Her number one piece of advice for other product creators (56:42)


USEFUL RESOURCES:


SnoozeShade Website

SnoozeShade Instagram

SnoozeShade Facebook

SnoozeShade Twitter

Cara Sayer LinkedIn

LET’S CONNECT

Join my free Facebook group for product makers and creators

Find me on Instagram

Work with me 



Transcripts

Vicki Weinberg:

Welcome to the, Bring Your Product Ideas To Life Podcast, practical

Vicki Weinberg:

advice, and inspiration to help you create and sell your own physical products.

Vicki Weinberg:

Here's your host Vicki Weinberg.

Vicki Weinberg:

Today I am talking to Cara Sayer from SnoozeShade.

Vicki Weinberg:

Cara is an inventor and an entrepreneur.

Vicki Weinberg:

She created her first product back in 2008.

Vicki Weinberg:

In 2014 she decided to sell her products on Amazon.

Vicki Weinberg:

And that was a real turning point for her business.

Vicki Weinberg:

Cara shares everything with us in this conversation, right from the

Vicki Weinberg:

really, really early days up into what she's doing with SnoozeShade right

Vicki Weinberg:

now is a fascinating conversation.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, Cara is really candid, really honest.

Vicki Weinberg:

We cover all kinds of topics.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, specifically we do talk a bit about selling on Amazon.

Vicki Weinberg:

So if that's what you're interested in, this will be a great episode for you.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, but regardless of where you are with your products business,

Vicki Weinberg:

I think you'll find this a really interesting conversation.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I'd love to introduce you to Cara.

Vicki Weinberg:

This is going to start recording.

Cara Sayer:

Got it.

Vicki Weinberg:

Okay.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I'm going to start by asking you to introduce yourself, your business and

Vicki Weinberg:

your products, and we'll take it from.

Cara Sayer:

Okay.

Cara Sayer:

I'm CaraSayer.

Cara Sayer:

Um, I invented SnoozeShade, which is now the world's bestselling

Cara Sayer:

range of baby sun and sleep shades.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, thank you so much for that Cara.

Vicki Weinberg:

So can we talk a little bit about the first of all we'll

Vicki Weinberg:

thank you for being here.

Vicki Weinberg:

And, um, can we talk a little bit about creation of SnoozeShades, so

Vicki Weinberg:

why and how it came about and should go right back to the early days.

Cara Sayer:

Yeah, well it's early days cause um, my daughter is now 14, big

Cara Sayer:

years old and is nearly as tall as me.

Cara Sayer:

In fact, she keeps telling me she's taller, but I don't believe her.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and I shall hang on to that like quarter of an inch that I've got on

Cara Sayer:

her for as long as I possibly can.

Cara Sayer:

But at the time I, um, was, uh, so I had, I was pregnant with my daughter in 2007

Cara Sayer:

and I had her at the end of October, 2007.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and, uh, I, and I can't remember the exact timings, um, but I.

Cara Sayer:

So, uh, so I was in a wheelchair when I was pregnant.

Cara Sayer:

Um, so I couldn't walk.

Cara Sayer:

And when I got back out of the wheelchair and started walking again, it was

Cara Sayer:

around sort of January, February, 2008.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and so I was out and about all the time and I used to do things like

Cara Sayer:

putting a blanket over the pram or my coat over the pram to keep her warm.

Cara Sayer:

Um, I would then suffer because I'd either be freezing or the coat or

Cara Sayer:

pram blanket would fall off and then you'd get mud all over it and the

Cara Sayer:

pram would roll over it, et cetera.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and then the seasons changed.

Cara Sayer:

And, uh, so we were out and about, and it was sunny and I wanted something

Cara Sayer:

to use to protect from the sun, but I also wanted something to help her sleep

Cara Sayer:

because, um, sleep was very important.

Cara Sayer:

It's very important to me.

Cara Sayer:

I think probably genetically I'm not sure she's my child now because

Cara Sayer:

she doesn't like sleep as much as I do, but maybe that's become later.

Cara Sayer:

Um, but, um, yeah, so I wanted something to help her sleep as, and

Cara Sayer:

when, so I, I, I remember, I think, and I think it must've been mid 2008.

Cara Sayer:

You know, six months old.

Cara Sayer:

And I had a group of friends, maybe we all went out for lunch and we all sat there

Cara Sayer:

and everyone sort of fed their babies.

Cara Sayer:

And then everyone did the same thing.

Cara Sayer:

They put a pashmina over the pram, they put a blanket over the pram,

Cara Sayer:

they put whatever they could find muslin, et cetera, the pram, trying

Cara Sayer:

to encourage baby to go to sleep.

Cara Sayer:

And I just thought, this is ridiculous.

Cara Sayer:

Surely there must be a product out there.

Cara Sayer:

That's like a blackout blind, but for the buggy, the pram, rather than

Cara Sayer:

the windows that we were all used to.

Cara Sayer:

And, um, so I don't know why it's really strange that people would say to

Cara Sayer:

me, you know, why, why did you do it?

Cara Sayer:

I really don't know why I did it.

Cara Sayer:

I just felt like it was sort of a calling if you know what I

Cara Sayer:

mean, or I was just really bored.

Cara Sayer:

I think.

Cara Sayer:

Really bored.

Cara Sayer:

Cause I'd had quite a sort of high-powered career before I had my

Cara Sayer:

daughter and I was quite bored at home.

Cara Sayer:

And I think I sort of was looking for something to do.

Cara Sayer:

That would be a hobby, a slightly bigger than a hobby now, obviously

Cara Sayer:

didn't realize that when I started.

Cara Sayer:

Um, but, um, anyway, so I sort of developed a prototype, which I now

Cara Sayer:

know would have been completely wrong.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and then I found a manufacturer and this is way back, like 2008, 2009, uh,

Cara Sayer:

way before the days of all the help that you get nowadays with sort of setting

Cara Sayer:

up, you know, e-commerce businesses, Amazon businesses and all the rest of it.

Cara Sayer:

So I managed to find somebody who manufactured in China and I actually

Cara Sayer:

still work with them now, uh, 11 years on.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and then I went to a, um, so basically er I then dropped it dropped it, picked

Cara Sayer:

it back up, dropped it, picked back up.

Cara Sayer:

And then there was a trade show that was happening at Excel in London, uh, which

Cara Sayer:

was a baby products association show.

Cara Sayer:

And I thought, well, do I go on Dragon's Den where I could get potentially laughed

Cara Sayer:

off TV, which could be embarrassing, or do I go somewhere like this show?

Cara Sayer:

And they had an area which was called the innovation zone,

Cara Sayer:

which was all about new products.

Cara Sayer:

And I thought, well, you know, I'll meet people who might be a bit more useful

Cara Sayer:

in terms of meeting re who would cause obviously in this stage and remember

Cara Sayer:

we are going back 10, 10 plus years, and e-commerce, wasn't where it is now.

Cara Sayer:

And it has changed a lot even in the last five years.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and so I just thought, well, you know, that's why I'm going to

Cara Sayer:

meet retailers and see what they think is a good idea for a product.

Cara Sayer:

Because if they think is a good idea, then they're going to know more than I am

Cara Sayer:

because I'm one mum, but they might know lots of parents and think, oh yeah, that,

Cara Sayer:

that would be something that would sell.

Cara Sayer:

So I went to the show.

Cara Sayer:

Completely hysterical went with my mom.

Cara Sayer:

Um, you know, I had a bird poo on my pram hood, which my mum spent

Cara Sayer:

a lot of time trying to get off.

Cara Sayer:

Uh, actually baby wipes are very lethal, like getting everything off here, but

Cara Sayer:

apparently it seems, I didn't know how we use them on baby's bottoms, but it also

Cara Sayer:

gets bird poo off pram hoods, just FYI.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and, um, you know, and I'm an ex event organizer.

Cara Sayer:

So I'm used to doing on putting on very professional displays,

Cara Sayer:

forget that I went super low key.

Cara Sayer:

It was all sort of pick, you know, A3 pieces of printed paper and whatever.

Cara Sayer:

So I'm very much a fan of, um, just get on and do something because if you sit

Cara Sayer:

there waiting for perfection, if I'd sat and waited for everything to be perfect,

Cara Sayer:

I hadn't even finished the prototype.

Cara Sayer:

I mean, I took the prototype with me and I was still sewing

Cara Sayer:

the straps on, in the middle.

Cara Sayer:

And so I shown people this product getting, oh yes, new,

Cara Sayer:

lovely product, high quality.

Cara Sayer:

And then as I did that, one of the straps would ping off and I'd be like, oh,

Cara Sayer:

except for that strap, which I sewed on.

Cara Sayer:

So just ignore that, you know, before it goes into manufacture.

Cara Sayer:

Um, so, um, yeah, and I, and I got, uh, JoJo Mama Bebe signed up straight

Cara Sayer:

away, wanted a couple of hundred units.

Cara Sayer:

And I had a couple of other interested that retailers and people who said

Cara Sayer:

yes, and then I signed up John Lewis and then I signed up Mothercare

Cara Sayer:

and, you know, and then it just kind of grew from there really.

Cara Sayer:

And so I went off and, um, ordered 10,000 units, uh, based on the fact

Cara Sayer:

that they'd never been a product like this before in the world.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and I had no idea like what it was going to sell.

Cara Sayer:

But what I did was I just sort of looked at the numbers and I said, right, well,

Cara Sayer:

there's three quarters of a million babies born in the UK every year.

Cara Sayer:

I think it's gone down recently actually.

Cara Sayer:

But that's what was, that's what it was at the time.

Cara Sayer:

And I thought, well, even if I just sell to like 1%, like to seven and

Cara Sayer:

a half thousand babies, um, then you know, surely I must be able to do that.

Cara Sayer:

Even if I end up like, And I was like, Ooh, investing.

Cara Sayer:

And then it was actually slightly cheaper if I order 10,000 units.

Cara Sayer:

So I don't know why I should've just, now I wouldn't do it, but

Cara Sayer:

at the time I was like, oh, well, if it's cheaper, I must buy more.

Cara Sayer:

Um, so anyway, I bought this 10,000 units and then I was walking up and down

Cara Sayer:

my corridor late at night, sweating and crying and all the rest of it because I've

Cara Sayer:

put all this money into a product that I didn't even know if it was going to sell.

Cara Sayer:

And then my mum was like, well, worst case scenario, darling, is that we'll just go

Cara Sayer:

and, um, go and sell it at car boot sales.

Cara Sayer:

So I was like, okay.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and I think, you know, that's, the other thing is

Cara Sayer:

sometimes we do get a little bit overwhelmed by what we're doing.

Cara Sayer:

And there is usually, you know, there's usually a backup plan somewhere and

Cara Sayer:

okay you know, if I'd have sold them a car boot sales, I would still have

Cara Sayer:

probably made a bit of a profit, you know, but not as much of one.

Cara Sayer:

And I probably wouldn't have drove a program to have lost all the money

Cara Sayer:

either as it turns out I sold the first 10,000 in about the first sort of only.

Cara Sayer:

Oh, I only went on sale in March, 2010 and I think had sold out by about September.

Cara Sayer:

So, um, you know, actually, as it turned out, 10,000 was the

Cara Sayer:

most sensible amount to order.

Cara Sayer:

Um, but, um, you know, you live and you learn and you, and

Cara Sayer:

you learn these things really.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you so much for all of that.

Vicki Weinberg:

I've got so many followup questions.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um okay.

Vicki Weinberg:

Let's start with those initial 10,000.

Vicki Weinberg:

Did you sell those were they, were they all sort of retailers

Vicki Weinberg:

or some of those you selling them?

Cara Sayer:

But what I also did, and this is why I also suggest people

Cara Sayer:

do, um, and I learned this actually from a friend of mine who runs

Cara Sayer:

a very successful baby business.

Cara Sayer:

And she told me this at a show, it was really interesting actually.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and I was at this trade show, not trade show.

Cara Sayer:

It was a baby show at the NEC in Birmingham.

Cara Sayer:

And I had, um, a new product coming out and she said, take the money now.

Cara Sayer:

Right?

Cara Sayer:

Take the money.

Cara Sayer:

And then you can always refund it.

Cara Sayer:

Um, she said, but if you don't take the money in general, what I was doing

Cara Sayer:

is I was just asking people for their details and then I'd let them know.

Cara Sayer:

But the problem is people know, then they'll probably be too lazy or they'll

Cara Sayer:

be, oh, I don't, I don't need it now.

Cara Sayer:

Whereas if you get them at the time, when they want to buy

Cara Sayer:

it, get their money off them.

Cara Sayer:

So I did that.

Cara Sayer:

Initially, what I did is I, my website went up in, uh, I think that's September,

Cara Sayer:

2009, and I had a waiting list for products, uh, for people, uh, customers

Cara Sayer:

who wanted to buy it from me direct.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and I think I had about, you know, 150 people or something, and I converted

Cara Sayer:

a lot of them, but obviously remember this is a very unique product at the time.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and, um, but now retrospectively, I'd say if you're going to launch, you

Cara Sayer:

know, it's easier to take the money.

Cara Sayer:

Keep it on one side, please don't spend it.

Cara Sayer:

Like, that's what I would say.

Cara Sayer:

Um, in the event that you need to refund, it don't go mental.

Cara Sayer:

Um, but at the same time, it's much easier to keep people in the loop

Cara Sayer:

and let them know if that, like, even recently, obviously with all the crap

Cara Sayer:

that's going on with like shipping left right and center, you know, I've

Cara Sayer:

just had products where I've been out of stock for like six weeks and I've

Cara Sayer:

had to fly products in and all sorts.

Cara Sayer:

And so therefore I, I do pre-orders so people pay up front and then I'm

Cara Sayer:

constantly communicating with them to say, okay, we've had another delay, but

Cara Sayer:

then I'm always as well ending that with.

Cara Sayer:

But if you want to refund right now, tell me not a problem.

Cara Sayer:

We'll refund you immediately.

Cara Sayer:

So there's never any concern for the customer, from the customer they're not

Cara Sayer:

going to get their money back somehow.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and I think that's what most people worry about is that, you

Cara Sayer:

know, they, they pay for something.

Cara Sayer:

It doesn't arrive.

Cara Sayer:

And then actually no one, they don't hear from anyone from the company.

Cara Sayer:

Two weeks, three weeks, four weeks, five weeks, six weeks, because yes,

Cara Sayer:

it's on pre-order but people like to know that you're thinking about them.

Cara Sayer:

So I'm a big one about communicating with your customers.

Cara Sayer:

So I communicate a lot with my customers.

Cara Sayer:

In fact, I've just set up a whole, like post-purchase customer journey, um,

Cara Sayer:

for all my website customers, and I've got four websites around the world.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and, um, you know, they're, they're very personalized, but they're very

Cara Sayer:

much me, my personality as well, lots of GIFs, lots of cat GIFs and Friends GIFs,

Cara Sayer:

but, um, you know, but, but the thing is people like I've even had one lady.

Cara Sayer:

It was so funny.

Cara Sayer:

She literally, she was waiting for a product and because I wasn't very good

Cara Sayer:

at the technical stuff, I'd actually set this post-purchase thing off and she

Cara Sayer:

was on pre-order and she was like, oh my God, I just love all the messages.

Cara Sayer:

I've never seen anything like it before.

Cara Sayer:

It's great.

Cara Sayer:

And I was like, oh, thanks.

Cara Sayer:

But you know, little things like that, people underestimate how important it is

Cara Sayer:

to kind of be in touch with your customer and sort of get on your customer's

Cara Sayer:

wavelength from where they're coming from, which is not about you selling to them

Cara Sayer:

about, about why they should buy from you.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

And obviously your product solve a real problem as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I think the other thing, yeah, coming back to these 10,000 orders, which I

Vicki Weinberg:

hope you don't mind that that's massive.

Vicki Weinberg:

That is a massively scary number.

Cara Sayer:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

I'll ask these two questions together because

Vicki Weinberg:

I think they might be linked.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, so what I'm interested to know, because I think people want to know this,

Vicki Weinberg:

um, and if you don't want to answer, do you say as well, because that was fine.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, but how did you manage to fund 10,000 units and.

Vicki Weinberg:

Did you have orders from retailers at that point and had they sort of paid for,

Cara Sayer:

well, I didn't have orders per se.

Cara Sayer:

I'd had interest and I'd had JoJo Maman Bebe had placed an order or told me they

Cara Sayer:

were going to place an order and they could have pulled out and retailers do.

Cara Sayer:

Um, but I think I had ordered for a couple of hundred, um, and the reason

Cara Sayer:

I was able to fund it actually is it's not a good story in some ways, but I

Cara Sayer:

worked for an ex friend of mine and I was doing business development for her while

Cara Sayer:

I was pregnant and she didn't pay me.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and it took me like nearly two years to get the money out of her.

Cara Sayer:

And by the time, and actually, because, because of the fact that she hadn't

Cara Sayer:

paid me, I was saving the money in a separate bank account to ensure that I

Cara Sayer:

got the full amount because I kind of knew she might try and be a bit shady.

Cara Sayer:

And actually that's what funded like, you know, everything happens for a reason.

Cara Sayer:

That's what funded the first, uh, I spent, I think it was at the time it's

Cara Sayer:

about 30,000, so it was 30,000 pounds.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and, um, and I put my own money in, um, it was my, my money, my savings.

Cara Sayer:

Um, it was quite a big risk, I suppose, but, you know, um, I

Cara Sayer:

suppose, I mean, I suppose I.

Cara Sayer:

I not that I could afford to lose it.

Cara Sayer:

Cause I was, I couldn't necessarily, but I, I suppose my attitude was a bit

Cara Sayer:

different with that money because I'd lived without it for several years.

Cara Sayer:

Just, I mean, because of the fact that I owed to me and I'd done the work

Cara Sayer:

and then I hadn't been paid for it.

Cara Sayer:

So maybe it had it been money I'd had for longer, I might have

Cara Sayer:

thought harder about it, but it just seemed a good idea at the time.

Vicki Weinberg:

Clearly it paid off.

Cara Sayer:

Well, it has done yeah.

Cara Sayer:

In, in, in spades, but, um, you know, it's, it's not something, I mean, I always

Cara Sayer:

hear about, I hear about, I mean, I knew somebody who God, I mean, they were like,

Cara Sayer:

remortgaging their house and doing all sorts of things to fund their business.

Cara Sayer:

And I, I'm always very nervous about things like that.

Cara Sayer:

I mean, I would never jeopardize my overall financial security in life

Cara Sayer:

in order to fund something like that.

Cara Sayer:

I mean, I, not that I could afford to lose the money, but if it had gone,

Cara Sayer:

it wouldn't have like destroyed me.

Cara Sayer:

So, you know, that was the difference.

Cara Sayer:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

And it sounds also, like you say, your products

Vicki Weinberg:

at the time was really unique.

Vicki Weinberg:

You clearly had a lot of faith in your products as did others.

Vicki Weinberg:

I mean, it sounded like at this trade show you did remarkably well considering

Vicki Weinberg:

you had a prototype that you've said wasn't, you know, a hundred percent.

Vicki Weinberg:

So what is it you think that?

Cara Sayer:

It wasn't actually finished.

Cara Sayer:

I ended up adding extra details to it anyway.

Cara Sayer:

So I mean, it wasn't even, they didn't even sell it.

Cara Sayer:

Hadn't got any final packaging or anything.

Cara Sayer:

I mean, you know, it was literally just this prototype with the,

Cara Sayer:

with the, um, the pingy straps.

Vicki Weinberg:

And what was it you think that sort of, you sounds like

Vicki Weinberg:

you did really well at that trade shoe.

Vicki Weinberg:

So what do you think about that attracted so many retailers?

Vicki Weinberg:

I mean, do you think it was you, do you think it was a uniqueness of the product?

Vicki Weinberg:

A bit of everything.

Cara Sayer:

I think it's a bit of everything.

Cara Sayer:

I mean, obviously I know it's hard to believe.

Cara Sayer:

I ha I think I have got quite a personality on me.

Cara Sayer:

Um, I did actually, win I think it was nursery industry personality of the year

Cara Sayer:

award in like 2011, I think, um, mainly cause I just go around getting very drunk

Cara Sayer:

and messing around with people I think.

Cara Sayer:

And, um, but, um, but, um, No.

Cara Sayer:

I think what it is is also I don't like selling.

Cara Sayer:

Um, so I tend to chat to people and I don't.

Cara Sayer:

I know, and I wasn't really, and also I think the other thing that was

Cara Sayer:

interesting is I wasn't, I always say this to people when you, if you're going

Cara Sayer:

with something new don't sell, ask.

Cara Sayer:

Right.

Cara Sayer:

Because I didn't try.

Cara Sayer:

I mean, I wasn't really so much interested in selling cause I hadn't

Cara Sayer:

actually got a finished product, so I didn't feel like I could sell per se.

Cara Sayer:

And my objective of going to that show was research and it was to find out

Cara Sayer:

whether or not like, was it well priced?

Cara Sayer:

In fact, I mean, I actually ended up putting the price up after I attended

Cara Sayer:

that show because the original price that I'd put it, um, I was going to put it on.

Cara Sayer:

It was actually too cheap and people said, oh, it sounds, I

Cara Sayer:

didn't put it on at that price.

Cara Sayer:

Cause I probably wouldn't have like, but still I would still be in

Cara Sayer:

business, but I'd put the price up.

Cara Sayer:

But you know, and that's the other thing you can adjust prices just because of

Cara Sayer:

the fact that, you know, if something doesn't work, it doesn't mean you can't.

Cara Sayer:

I mean, I adjusted some of my prices this year.

Cara Sayer:

I adjusted some of my prices last year.

Cara Sayer:

I tend to be quite.

Cara Sayer:

Slow, but I don't, I don't, I tend to literally just go, right.

Cara Sayer:

I'm changing the price from this, to this.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and then that's it.

Cara Sayer:

And then I see if it really hits the product and whether or not it's

Cara Sayer:

slows down sales, and if it doesn't slow down sales, then it's fine.

Cara Sayer:

And I do try and be practical.

Cara Sayer:

I mean, my main product, the bestseller that note that the range is known for

Cara Sayer:

has stayed £19.99 since I launched it.

Cara Sayer:

And I launched it in 2010.

Cara Sayer:

So it's been the same price for 11 years.

Cara Sayer:

Um, now obviously the cost of manufacturing that product have gone up.

Cara Sayer:

Um, but I still feel that that is a good price point for that product.

Cara Sayer:

I still make enough margin on it and I'm quite happy with that.

Cara Sayer:

Yeah.

Cara Sayer:

So, um, you know, I think it's probably, um, you know, and I've always sort

Cara Sayer:

of chatted and I don't stalk people.

Cara Sayer:

I mean, I was telling somebody the other day there was a particular

Cara Sayer:

retailer I really wanted to get into and I just used to chase them

Cara Sayer:

down the aisles at trade shows.

Cara Sayer:

I think he was quite scared of me at various points, um, and used to run away.

Cara Sayer:

I got himin the end

Vicki Weinberg:

Persistence definitely pays off.

Cara Sayer:

It can do.

Cara Sayer:

I think as long as it's persistence with a smile, um, and also be prepared to

Cara Sayer:

be rejected, be prepared to be turned away and don't get nasty about it.

Cara Sayer:

I'm I'm, you know, I was like, ok fine no problem.

Cara Sayer:

I am going to come back and I'm going to try you again, you

Cara Sayer:

know, just be warned, you know?

Cara Sayer:

So, cause I, I said, I believe that my product is absolutely spot on

Cara Sayer:

for your customers and I wouldn't be chasing it if I didn't believe that.

Cara Sayer:

So, you know, I'm not doing it just to make a sale, I'm doing it

Cara Sayer:

because I genuinely think that it will add to like, you know, the

Cara Sayer:

range of products that you offer.

Cara Sayer:

So I think having that passion behind what you're doing and that true belief, rather

Cara Sayer:

than just doing it, kind of for the money.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, absolutely.

Vicki Weinberg:

And also your product genuinely, geuinely helps people.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I can say I had a SnoozeShade.

Vicki Weinberg:

It was one of the best things I brought when my first child was born.

Vicki Weinberg:

And then I use it for my second child.

Vicki Weinberg:

It was probably one of the longest running items that I had.

Vicki Weinberg:

Cause my, you know, they slept in the pram for quite a long time and is a

Vicki Weinberg:

product that solves a need because my children would not sleep in the

Vicki Weinberg:

prom unless it was completely dark.

Vicki Weinberg:

It had no stimulus coming from outside.

Vicki Weinberg:

So this isn't a sale.

Vicki Weinberg:

This isn't an ad, but yeah, it does.

Vicki Weinberg:

It really, it really does solve for me.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I think if you've got that faith in your products that actually this,

Vicki Weinberg:

you know, this is something that'll be useful for people, as opposed to

Vicki Weinberg:

just trying to sell it to make money.

Vicki Weinberg:

And obviously there's nothing wrong with trying to make money, but I

Vicki Weinberg:

think that's possibly the difference is that you knew you had something

Vicki Weinberg:

that solved a need for customers.

Cara Sayer:

I hoped it did.

Cara Sayer:

So in the early days, I didn't know that you see, this is the

Cara Sayer:

thing because I hoped it did.

Cara Sayer:

And I'd used it with my own daughter and I've seen other people using them.

Cara Sayer:

And, and obviously we've got the most, really fabulous

Cara Sayer:

reviews and all the rest of it.

Cara Sayer:

And, you know, actually, you know, it is, it's quite logical, which is that,

Cara Sayer:

you know, when you have children and you take them out and I've always said

Cara Sayer:

this, you know, we take babies out and we expect them to sleep wherever they are.

Cara Sayer:

Well, if they're in a busy playground or in a restaurant and you know, children

Cara Sayer:

are also in get babies, particularly, um, get knocked out of sleep cycles by

Cara Sayer:

what they see, because they can't go into REM if they're, if, and if they're

Cara Sayer:

stimulated and it takes like three seconds or something for them to be stimulated to

Cara Sayer:

a point where they can't go back to sleep.

Cara Sayer:

So what I do and I jokingly say this, but it's true.

Cara Sayer:

I bore babies to sleep because there's nothing interesting for them to look at

Cara Sayer:

and it's not scary blackout either, but it is dark enough to help them go to sleep.

Cara Sayer:

Um, but I didn't really know that.

Cara Sayer:

And I would say it probably took me a good few years to be genuinely confident.

Cara Sayer:

I'd probably say about five years actually.

Cara Sayer:

Um, to be kind of, and I think that's, I don't know whether it's a female thing.

Cara Sayer:

I think it might be, I think women are less in terms of being very

Cara Sayer:

bullish about, you know, what this does and what this doesn't do.

Cara Sayer:

And I like to prove everything.

Cara Sayer:

So I like to test, I mean, I, you know, I, I safety tests to the extreme, um, I've,

Cara Sayer:

I've done tests that nobody else would do.

Cara Sayer:

Um, you know, because I like to be able to say, well, I've tested it for that.

Cara Sayer:

And I know it doesn't do it.

Cara Sayer:

Um, whereas some people would just be happy to sort of say, oh, well

Cara Sayer:

it's passed general safety tests.

Cara Sayer:

That's not good enough for me because, you know, so I always sort of think,

Cara Sayer:

as I said, I always try and come from it from a sort of parent's perspective.

Cara Sayer:

What, what does the parent worry about?

Cara Sayer:

What does the parent want to know?

Cara Sayer:

But it has now I would actually confidently say a hundred percent,

Cara Sayer:

you know, obviously no product suits every child, cause that's just not

Cara Sayer:

possible, no product suits every person, but I think I've sold enough of them

Cara Sayer:

now and got enough reviews to know that it does what it says on the tin.

Cara Sayer:

You know, it helps them sleep.

Cara Sayer:

So, you know, for me that is really genuine and every single time I get

Cara Sayer:

a message on Instagram or Facebook or a review on the website, review

Cara Sayer:

on Amazon, whatever saying, you know, this has been a game changer, it's a

Cara Sayer:

lifesaver, you know, can't believe, I didn't know about this, my first

Cara Sayer:

child, you know, blah, blah, blah.

Cara Sayer:

It honestly, I genuinely every single time I love it.

Cara Sayer:

I, I, you know, it's just so satisfying to think I've helped yet.

Cara Sayer:

Another person.

Cara Sayer:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, absolutely.

Vicki Weinberg:

And coming back to what you were saying about not being sure at the

Vicki Weinberg:

beginning that it works, did you do much testing the, in the early days

Vicki Weinberg:

in research or what was it, or, you know, did you try it out at the time?

Cara Sayer:

I didn't do the testing on with the sleep actually.

Cara Sayer:

I mean, obviously all safety features have been tested

Vicki Weinberg:

of course.

Cara Sayer:

Um, but now I didn't really think about it.

Cara Sayer:

I mean, I really didn't.

Cara Sayer:

Um, because I mean, I had, I gave out samples to people

Cara Sayer:

to try and things like that.

Cara Sayer:

Yeah.

Cara Sayer:

You know, I might've given out, you know, say 20 samples or something.

Cara Sayer:

And then who knows, I might have just had 20 people who had

Cara Sayer:

good sleeping babies, you know?

Cara Sayer:

Um, but I think it was because of the logic behind it, if you know, what

Cara Sayer:

I mena and I'm quite logical person.

Cara Sayer:

And so, as I say, for me, it was quite logical that it should work.

Cara Sayer:

Um, so the biggest challenge was to get it, to fit all prams and push chairs.

Cara Sayer:

So I spent many, a happy day in Mothercare in my local Mothercare

Cara Sayer:

in Weybridge, where they thought they call me the mad shade lady.

Cara Sayer:

Cause I'd sort of come in and I'd have Holly with me who was a little,

Cara Sayer:

two, three year old at the time.

Cara Sayer:

She'd be squishing around playing with all the toys and I'd be standing

Cara Sayer:

Yeah.

Cara Sayer:

And then I'd just be like trying it on another buggy, trying on

Cara Sayer:

another buggy, trying on another.

Cara Sayer:

That was the thing I worried about more was the fact that it wouldn't fit

Cara Sayer:

a buggy and then I'd be like, right.

Cara Sayer:

You know, it can't be universal fit.

Cara Sayer:

And I think that's the other thing you have to.

Cara Sayer:

Realize a bit, like what I said, there's no product that will suit everybody.

Cara Sayer:

You know, there will be some buggies, which it not necessarily

Cara Sayer:

won't fit, but people might not work out, but it does fit.

Cara Sayer:

And I get people now even now going, oh, it didn't fit this buggy.

Cara Sayer:

I'm like, I know it fits that buggy.

Cara Sayer:

I fitted it on that buggy, but they, for whatever reason haven't worked out.

Cara Sayer:

Um, so I still call it universal fit.

Cara Sayer:

Cause it is, you know, and I can make it, I can make it fit most things, you know?

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

Well, thank you for that.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, and we've talked a lot about the early stages of your business.

Vicki Weinberg:

Should we talk a little bit about the turning point?

Vicki Weinberg:

So why it came and what happened there?

Cara Sayer:

Sorry, what do you mean in what, in what way turning point?

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, was there a stage in your business where

Vicki Weinberg:

things sort of wish things change?

Cara Sayer:

Oh yeah.

Cara Sayer:

Um, yeah, so in 2014 I was getting divorced.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and I realized that, um, you know, as much as I love my ex-husband and I do

Cara Sayer:

very deeply, he's one of my best friends.

Cara Sayer:

Uh, I wasn't going to get a penny.

Cara Sayer:

Um, so I had to either makes SnoozeShade work very hard for me

Cara Sayer:

to, in order to be able to support me and my daughter or go and get a job.

Cara Sayer:

Now I'm probably pretty unemployable at this point, I think really.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and so I thought, well, you know, the business was looked like superficially,

Cara Sayer:

like it was doing very well.

Cara Sayer:

I was doing sort of mid six figures, but the profit margin wasn't brilliant.

Cara Sayer:

I mean, it wasn't awful, but it wasn't brilliant.

Cara Sayer:

And, um, I certainly don't think I could have afforded to

Cara Sayer:

sort of actually genuinely live like on it quite comfortably.

Cara Sayer:

Um, So, um, I started looking away around what, what, where I was losing money

Cara Sayer:

and I was fine primarily it was the old bricks and mortar distributor route.

Cara Sayer:

And because you have, when you sell to a distributor, you have to give

Cara Sayer:

them a really, really massive margin because they've then got to sell to a

Cara Sayer:

retailer who wants their 50% margin.

Cara Sayer:

And therefore you end up making like a pound on an item.

Cara Sayer:

So imagine if you want, if you want to make a hundred thousand,

Cara Sayer:

you've got to split, you've got to sell a hundred thousand units.

Cara Sayer:

Well, when I sell on Amazon, say for example, that same

Cara Sayer:

product, I might make six pounds.

Cara Sayer:

So therefore I can sell six times less units, but make the same amount of money

Cara Sayer:

and having not had to buy all the other products that I would have had to in order

Cara Sayer:

to sell to Tesco and all the rest of it.

Cara Sayer:

So, um, and I saw these Facebook ads where, um, apparently you could just

Cara Sayer:

sit on a beach, uh, drink, drink cocktails, and listen to the sound of,

Cara Sayer:

uh, Amazon gives you loads of money and I thought, well, that sounds good.

Cara Sayer:

I'll have me some of that.

Cara Sayer:

And so I went to this conference, it was a two day conference at Heathrow

Cara Sayer:

I think 2015, it was either 2014.

Cara Sayer:

I think it was early 2015.

Cara Sayer:

And what I realized was was that a lot of Amazon sellers were not selling

Cara Sayer:

branded products and they weren't selling products that were particularly different.

Cara Sayer:

Actually.

Cara Sayer:

They were just, you know, it was the typical garlic crusher, postural

Cara Sayer:

supports and all the sort of things that we all joke about as being, you

Cara Sayer:

know, the sort of the joke products sometimes in the Amazon world.

Cara Sayer:

And, um, I spent, I realized that actually the other thing with a

Cara Sayer:

brand is that brands sometimes get on their high horse a bit too much

Cara Sayer:

and think everyone knows them.

Cara Sayer:

And actually, you know, for Nike, for example, you know, people

Cara Sayer:

are looking for a trainer, right.

Cara Sayer:

And, you know, for, um, you know, Coca-Cola, they're looking for a

Cara Sayer:

Cola drink, a fizzy Cola drink.

Cara Sayer:

And so I sort of started thinking about it a little bit more suppose I

Cara Sayer:

say rationally and more practically in terms of what are those keywords

Cara Sayer:

that are gonna drive traffic?

Cara Sayer:

Um, I also had to do a lot of like quite painful stuff.

Cara Sayer:

So I had to get rid of my distributors.

Cara Sayer:

I had to part ways with them, even though I'd been working with them for many years.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and I explained to them, I said, look, you know, this is a situation either.

Cara Sayer:

I either give up the, I either don't do this.

Cara Sayer:

And I don't, I try and make more money either, you know, or I go out of business.

Cara Sayer:

So either way, you're not going to have the product.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and, um, and then I started working on Amazon.

Cara Sayer:

I launched in the U S and Canada and Australia.

Cara Sayer:

And I did all that in April, 2016.

Cara Sayer:

Um, so, um, and then I had to also, uh, I was selling previously, uh,

Cara Sayer:

my distributors and wholesalers had been selling to resellers.

Cara Sayer:

So I had to stop selling my own product for about six months, um, because I had

Cara Sayer:

to wait to everyone to clear their stocks out and stop selling because I, I had like

Cara Sayer:

37 resellers on same product, for example, you know, and the only thing that happens

Cara Sayer:

is the price just goes flying down.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and, um, so I did that, that was hard and, you know, cost, cost,

Cara Sayer:

money, um, cost, cost sales, but it was really sensible thing to do.

Cara Sayer:

And then I started working on all of the listings and all that sort of thing.

Cara Sayer:

I started learning PPC.

Cara Sayer:

Um, I did all that myself to start with.

Cara Sayer:

I now outsource it.

Cara Sayer:

I have been outsourcing it now for about three years, I think.

Cara Sayer:

But the first few years I did it all myself, which was a major headache.

Cara Sayer:

Cause I hate spreadsheets.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and yeah, just started building, building, building, and

Cara Sayer:

it's just been growing every year.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you for that.

Vicki Weinberg:

See, I know that you, um, I'm in the same camp as me and believe that selling

Vicki Weinberg:

on Amazon is a really good opportunity.

Vicki Weinberg:

Can you talk a little bit about why you think it's such

Vicki Weinberg:

great opportunity for brands?

Vicki Weinberg:

I mean, I have my own thoughts, but I would love to hear yours.

Cara Sayer:

Well, I just think you're missing a trick, um, because, um,

Cara Sayer:

you know, however much we like may like to pretend that, you know,

Cara Sayer:

we're a brand and everyone should be buying from us, et cetera, et cetera.

Cara Sayer:

Actually, the customer.

Cara Sayer:

May not want to buy from you.

Cara Sayer:

They don't necessarily want to have to hand their credit

Cara Sayer:

card details over to you.

Cara Sayer:

They don't want to have to worry about whether they get delivery like

Cara Sayer:

tomorrow or in a week or whatever.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and actually I find as well that sometimes, you know, even offering

Cara Sayer:

them a discount, they'd still rather go and pay full price at Amazon, but

Cara Sayer:

they'll get next day prime delivery.

Cara Sayer:

I do it myself.

Cara Sayer:

I think the thing is you have to think like a shopper, not a

Cara Sayer:

seller, and you have to think about what's best for your customer.

Cara Sayer:

So, I mean, I have links to all my products on Amazon, on my website,

Cara Sayer:

because if someone wants to buy it from Amazon, I might as well tell them

Cara Sayer:

where to go, make it easy for them.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and, and I think also, you know, I mean, I've got a friend of

Cara Sayer:

mine I'm always banging onto her.

Cara Sayer:

She's got amazing bag brand.

Cara Sayer:

And I, and I know people are searching for that brand on, on Amazon.

Cara Sayer:

Cause I can see it in search terms.

Cara Sayer:

And I keep saying to her like, and she does really, really well.

Cara Sayer:

She does seven figures just off a website and I'm like, you

Cara Sayer:

should definitely go on Amazon.

Cara Sayer:

She said, oh, well, no, blah, blah, blah.

Cara Sayer:

But the thing is you're not detracting from what you're going to do.

Cara Sayer:

Your customers are gonna stay with you and you'll still be bringing new customers on.

Cara Sayer:

And I mean, I'm growing my website at the moment.

Cara Sayer:

I'll explain a bit more about that in a minute, because I'm not all about Amazon.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and, um, you know, but the most important thing is that

Cara Sayer:

you give the customer what they want, not what you want.

Cara Sayer:

And if an Amazon, if a customer wants to buy it from Amazon,

Cara Sayer:

then they should be able to.

Cara Sayer:

And if you don't, then a lot of people who only shop on Amazon and there are

Cara Sayer:

quite a lot of them won't buy from you.

Cara Sayer:

So you're actually just missing out sales in my opinion.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, I absolutely agree with you.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think.

Vicki Weinberg:

And the good, and the other thing about Amazon is that people are there to shop.

Vicki Weinberg:

Whereas if they're on Google or if they're on Instagram and your ad pops

Vicki Weinberg:

up, they might not be there to shop.

Vicki Weinberg:

They might be there to see.

Cara Sayer:

I just, I was having this conversation with somebody the other day.

Cara Sayer:

And I said, the thing is also is that quite often, for example,

Cara Sayer:

I'll see a Facebook ad, right?

Cara Sayer:

So I've been working with a Facebook ad agency for the, not for the first time.

Cara Sayer:

I've been ripped off many times, but this one is actually very good.

Cara Sayer:

And, um, and I've seen my sales, my website sales, my Amazon sales, everything

Cara Sayer:

has definitely gone up this year.

Cara Sayer:

Like, you know, really well.

Cara Sayer:

And I, and I, although I can't put a hard figure on it, my personal

Cara Sayer:

belief is that people do what I do.

Cara Sayer:

And what I do is I see a product on a Facebook ad.

Cara Sayer:

And then I go and see if I can get it on Amazon.

Cara Sayer:

Because, I don't want to deal with some Facebook, random

Cara Sayer:

company that I don't know.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and so I, you know, and most of the time on Facebook ads, it's not

Cara Sayer:

a brand it's like, you know, it's a sort of, you know, backscratcher or

Cara Sayer:

something or, you know, new makeup brush.

Cara Sayer:

And then you go to Amazon and there's like 20 listings, which

Cara Sayer:

are all for the same product.

Cara Sayer:

Cause all the Facebook ad company is doing is basically pretending they're a

Cara Sayer:

brand when they're not really in there selling, you know, we've, I've been

Cara Sayer:

ripped off many times by Facebook ads or not many times a couple of times.

Cara Sayer:

Um, but I sort of feel like, well, if I go and buy it from Amazon, at

Cara Sayer:

least I know what's going to happen.

Cara Sayer:

I'm not going to suddenly get hit by the fact that it's being shipped

Cara Sayer:

from China and I'm not going to get it for three weeks, you know?

Cara Sayer:

Um, so you know, there is that confidence in Amazon as a retailer that

Cara Sayer:

customers have, and especially, you know, when you're a prime customer,

Cara Sayer:

you know, you're, oh, well, if it's on prime, if it's available through

Cara Sayer:

FBA, you know, you're going to get it tomorrow or even that evening.

Vicki Weinberg:

Absolutely.

Vicki Weinberg:

And you know, your credit card details are safe.

Vicki Weinberg:

You know, you can return if you want to, there's going to be no hassle there.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think all of that makes a massive difference cause you're right.

Vicki Weinberg:

Putting your credit card details on the internet.

Vicki Weinberg:

It's quite scary, especially when you don't know what you're going to

Vicki Weinberg:

get or if you're going to get it.

Cara Sayer:

Know if you're going to get it exactly, I've had both instances.

Cara Sayer:

I got sent, I bought this robotic vacuum cleaner once, which when it arrived, it

Cara Sayer:

was supposed to be this all singing, all dancing, like vacuum robot, back floor,

Cara Sayer:

vacuum cleaner, which all sort of plugged in automatically to the plug and it,

Cara Sayer:

when it arrived, it was like a child's toy that took about 29 AA batteries.

Cara Sayer:

Um, so fortunately I managed to get my money back through my credit

Cara Sayer:

card, and then another time I bought this dress and, um, and they said,

Cara Sayer:

well, you know, all, no problem with returns, had to return it to China.

Cara Sayer:

And then they wanted me to, and then they wanted to charge a 30% restocking

Cara Sayer:

fee, even though they on their website, they said, there's no restocking fee.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and so there's absolute crooks out there, you know, frankly.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and, um, you know, so, so I think, you know, I don't blame people for

Cara Sayer:

not necessarily wanting to go to some kind of semi-random website.

Vicki Weinberg:

Although saying that, um, I do also believe that even if you sell

Vicki Weinberg:

on Amazon, Amazon, as you do, it's also important to have the website it's vital.

Cara Sayer:

You must have your own website and you see, I see a

Cara Sayer:

lot of Amazon associates, millions of, and sellers who don't do that.

Cara Sayer:

And actually they're making a big mistake because the thing is also, your

Cara Sayer:

customer wants to know you're real.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and you know, having a Gmail address on a website if for domain is pathetic,

Cara Sayer:

frankly, in my book, it costs virtually nothing to have a domain email address.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and you know, and it makes you look more professional.

Cara Sayer:

It makes the customer feel more comfortable.

Cara Sayer:

If I see like, you know, blahdy blue, blue at Gmail, I'm like, Nope, not doing that.

Cara Sayer:

Thank you very much.

Cara Sayer:

You know?

Cara Sayer:

So, um, you know, it is, it's all about creating a, a look and a feel

Cara Sayer:

that makes the customer feel that they can potentially trust you.

Cara Sayer:

And hand over their credit card details too.

Vicki Weinberg:

And you mentioned that you were doing some work on

Vicki Weinberg:

growing your website at the moment.

Vicki Weinberg:

So what are you doing there that you're happy to share?

Cara Sayer:

Um, we're doing, um, a lot of SEO work.

Cara Sayer:

Um, so, um, that is SEO work is not something that happens overnight.

Cara Sayer:

It's something that you need to work on with, like with a, with a plan.

Cara Sayer:

So I've got, um, a very good agency who, um, basically I've been up and

Cara Sayer:

working with them about the last year and we've been gradually growing it.

Cara Sayer:

And, um, it's quite funny.

Cara Sayer:

He like the guy that I worked with.

Cara Sayer:

Lovely.

Cara Sayer:

And he keeps going right.

Cara Sayer:

Well, you know, I'm going to aim to get you to here, like, you know, in sales

Cara Sayer:

and I'm like, oh yeah, right, whatever.

Cara Sayer:

And then actually we've hit it already.

Cara Sayer:

Um, so, you know, historically, you know, my website was

Cara Sayer:

only doing like 50 or 60,000.

Cara Sayer:

I think we've done 140 this year.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and that's a combination I think of, and that's just in the UK and

Cara Sayer:

then I've got the U S websites, Canada websites, Australia.

Cara Sayer:

So we're going to be working on each of those, um, individually.

Cara Sayer:

And I think it's really important that you have that direct customer interface,

Cara Sayer:

because just as there are the customers, who only want to buy on Amazon.

Cara Sayer:

There are also customers who actually prefer to buy direct from a brand.

Cara Sayer:

And so therefore you're giving customers a choice, which is what people want.

Cara Sayer:

They want to be able to choose where they buy.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

And you touched on this a little bit earlier, when you were talking

Vicki Weinberg:

about your email sequences.

Vicki Weinberg:

Now I bought from you on Amazon.

Vicki Weinberg:

I have to be honest for all the reasons that you've outlined

Vicki Weinberg:

and I bought my SnoozeShade.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's where I bought it.

Vicki Weinberg:

But what's the experience like when people buy from you and your

Vicki Weinberg:

website, and do you have any tips or advice on how to make buying from.

Vicki Weinberg:

But, you know, from your brand

Cara Sayer:

on Amazon as well now, so you probably bought from me far too long ago

Cara Sayer:

because obviously things have changed now.

Cara Sayer:

So I use something called Helium 10 and there's quite a few of them, actually.

Cara Sayer:

There's quite a few providers out of those managed by stats

Cara Sayer:

and there's helium 10 and.

Cara Sayer:

I used to use another one Feedback genius.

Cara Sayer:

I think that day, I'm not sure if they're still around.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and I have automated sequences on Amazon as well,

Cara Sayer:

so I triggeratvarious points.

Cara Sayer:

So I do have, when someone buys from me, they get a follow-up email

Cara Sayer:

just to say, has everything arrived?

Cara Sayer:

Okay.

Cara Sayer:

Et cetera.

Cara Sayer:

And I send them a link to instructions so that they can like, hopefully

Cara Sayer:

get like use of the product.

Cara Sayer:

And then also if someone returns the product, I always send a message.

Cara Sayer:

And I just say, why have you returned it?

Cara Sayer:

I don't get very many returns.

Cara Sayer:

And the.

Cara Sayer:

Quite a high percentage of returns, emails on that.

Cara Sayer:

And people expect that It's ever so sweet.

Cara Sayer:

There was like, well, Hi Cara well I returned it because of

Cara Sayer:

such and such that we went on holiday, we didn't end up using it.

Cara Sayer:

Or like actually I realized I've got the wrong one and therefore

Cara Sayer:

I went and ordered the other one.

Cara Sayer:

And so what that does is the ones who've obviously bought it and didn't need it.

Cara Sayer:

You, I replied.

Cara Sayer:

And I said, well, thank you ever so much for letting me know.

Cara Sayer:

That's really, really kind.

Cara Sayer:

And next time you go on holiday, you know, do feel free to try and buy again.

Cara Sayer:

And if they bought the wrong one and they're now happy with the one

Cara Sayer:

they've got, I'm like, oh brilliant.

Cara Sayer:

That's amazing.

Cara Sayer:

Would you mind writing a review if you're happy with it?

Cara Sayer:

And you know, and then, um, I also, uh, what's that, oh, and then the other

Cara Sayer:

one is sometimes we get faults as well.

Cara Sayer:

Not very often, but we do.

Cara Sayer:

And then that's an opportunity to make her an unhappy customer into a raving fan.

Cara Sayer:

Um, so we bend over backwards for people.

Cara Sayer:

Who've had a faulty product and they love it because you know, there's no quibbling.

Cara Sayer:

We just ask them to send a photo and I need like the washing

Cara Sayer:

label to get the batch number.

Cara Sayer:

Is it.

Cara Sayer:

Just send a photo of the fault and then like, yeah, we'll send you a new one.

Cara Sayer:

No problem.

Cara Sayer:

No quibbles, no messing, you know, um, even when people have had it for several

Cara Sayer:

years, you know, I'm like, okay, well it's destruction to broken actually.

Cara Sayer:

Um, so, you know, if it comes to me, I've got like a 10 year old one.

Cara Sayer:

I mean, I got sent one back the other day, actually via Amazon.

Cara Sayer:

I think someone must've bought one off eBay or something or, or

Cara Sayer:

bought it maybe like 10 years ago.

Cara Sayer:

And then the elastic has actually cracked, uh, like, you know, when

Cara Sayer:

elastic breaks and goes flat.

Cara Sayer:

And I think what they've done is I think they've bought a new

Cara Sayer:

version of my product and then sent back as a return, the old one.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and I was horrified horrified, but people are sneaky.

Cara Sayer:

I mean, I do get people sending stuff back with babies, sick

Cara Sayer:

on it and all sorts of things.

Cara Sayer:

And I get all the returns sent to me.

Cara Sayer:

So in the UK, so they don't get very many of them.

Cara Sayer:

So I inspect them all.

Cara Sayer:

And you know, sometimes you get babysit or grass or cat hair.

Cara Sayer:

Yeah.

Cara Sayer:

If you've used this, you git, you know, and then you've returned it.

Cara Sayer:

I bet you said it's faulty.

Cara Sayer:

Uh, you know, just so you get free postage.

Cara Sayer:

Um, but.

Cara Sayer:

It's um, yeah, so, and then the post-purchase on the website is

Cara Sayer:

again, you know, I tell people what they're going to get.

Cara Sayer:

Like I say to them, look, you know, you're going to get an email,

Cara Sayer:

it's going to have instructions.

Cara Sayer:

Then I'm going to check in that.

Cara Sayer:

It's when it, after it shipped to make sure you've got it.

Cara Sayer:

Okay.

Cara Sayer:

Then I'm going to check.

Cara Sayer:

Everything's fine.

Cara Sayer:

And then I've, you know, I've got an extended extension on the

Cara Sayer:

warranty, um, which to be fair, I don't actually need them to do it.

Cara Sayer:

Um, uh, with my website, somebody's got their details, but I do it

Cara Sayer:

because it's like a nice extra touch.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and then we ask them for a review.

Cara Sayer:

So there's like this sort of, it's a five email or six email process

Cara Sayer:

that goes on over about a month.

Cara Sayer:

Uh, just but, but the never, the only are you saying you really, I suppose

Cara Sayer:

at the end, when we asked for review, um, and even then sometimes we've had

Cara Sayer:

it where we, when we've sent that email people then go, oh, I've had a call.

Cara Sayer:

You're like, okay, great.

Cara Sayer:

You know, Fantastic.

Cara Sayer:

Let's sort that out, you know?

Cara Sayer:

Um, so, you know, I welcome people having issues, but coming to me

Cara Sayer:

or us, I've got team obviously.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and, um, you know, we sought it out for you rather than sitting there

Cara Sayer:

bitching about the fact you bought this product and it's broken after 31

Cara Sayer:

days and so Amazon won't take it back.

Cara Sayer:

Cause that's the bad thing about Amazon is that they have the stupid 30 day rule.

Cara Sayer:

Whereas I don't care.

Cara Sayer:

Like I said, if, if something breaks and it's like a couple of years down

Cara Sayer:

the line, I'll still replace it.

Cara Sayer:

Or at the very least I'd give you a five 50% discount off the

Cara Sayer:

next one you buy or something.

Cara Sayer:

I'd definitely do something.

Cara Sayer:

Whereas Amazon just goes on those, sorry.

Cara Sayer:

And then you get a bad review because Amazon is basically

Cara Sayer:

messed up on the customer side.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, that definitely is one of, one of the downsides.

Vicki Weinberg:

And they also, I also don't think they take as much care

Vicki Weinberg:

for shipping as you would do.

Cara Sayer:

Do they take care of shipping?

Cara Sayer:

Honestly, I have some removals and they accidentally went to my house

Cara Sayer:

as opposed to going to the warehouse.

Cara Sayer:

And literally it was like, they'd taken a box that had been beaten

Cara Sayer:

within an inch of its life.

Cara Sayer:

And then put a couple of teeny, tiny little sellotape holders

Cara Sayer:

around it and then put at about 1500 quids worth of my stock.

Cara Sayer:

And actually some of them were missing.

Cara Sayer:

So they'd fallen out.

Cara Sayer:

And the DPD guy actually apologized to me, said, I'm so sorry.

Cara Sayer:

Like that's what it state it was in when I picked it up, I'm like, oh my God,

Vicki Weinberg:

Good.

Vicki Weinberg:

Well, we're talking about sort of a bit of a sort of negativity around products

Vicki Weinberg:

I hope you don't mind me talking about this, but when you're talking about what

Vicki Weinberg:

sort they're talking about, people's sort of saying, not as nice things

Vicki Weinberg:

about your product, it doesn't work.

Vicki Weinberg:

You criticisms.

Vicki Weinberg:

I'd love to talk a little bit about how you deal with any criticisms

Vicki Weinberg:

that come regarding your product.

Vicki Weinberg:

I hope you don't mind me being in this up, but I know recently you've had some

Vicki Weinberg:

and I think you dealt with it really well.

Vicki Weinberg:

That isn't what she did list.

Vicki Weinberg:

I thought you dealt with it really well.

Vicki Weinberg:

So do you mind talking about that a little bit because I think

Cara Sayer:

I get it all the time.

Vicki Weinberg:

It can be your worst nightmare.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think as someone who creates products passionate about their products, I think

Vicki Weinberg:

when you get any criticism about it, you can really take it to heart so hard.

Vicki Weinberg:

So can you talk a little bit about how you handle it and what,

Vicki Weinberg:

you know, what advice you would give to others in that situation?

Vicki Weinberg:

Cause I guarantee it, what happens to all of us.

Cara Sayer:

So.

Cara Sayer:

Much more like defensive than you are further down the line.

Cara Sayer:

So, you know, when you've only sold a few hundred or few thousand

Cara Sayer:

units of something, you're like, oh my God, someone's criticizing.

Cara Sayer:

It might like close the business, blah, blah, blah.

Cara Sayer:

Whereas when you're selling, like, you know, tens twenties, 30,000

Cara Sayer:

units or whatever, you know, it's like one person's opinion.

Cara Sayer:

And that's why also I'm a big believer in if you make any claims about

Cara Sayer:

your product, make sure you've got something that actually backs that up.

Cara Sayer:

So, um, you know, one of the things that people didn't always get, remember this

Cara Sayer:

was a product that looked very, very different from normal baby products.

Cara Sayer:

So normal baby products, pretty patterns, pale colors, pastels mine's black.

Cara Sayer:

Okay.

Cara Sayer:

It's black and people don't really necessarily like, or

Cara Sayer:

didn't like the idea of black.

Cara Sayer:

So I've had people calling it, the baby burka.

Cara Sayer:

I've had people, um, you know, and also the problem is there's a perception about

Cara Sayer:

colors, which is that black attracts heat.

Cara Sayer:

And so obviously my product is a sunshade and to sleep aid and

Cara Sayer:

people were going well, if it's black, it's all going to heat up.

Cara Sayer:

The baby is going to cook to death and die.

Cara Sayer:

And so in the early days, you know, that was actually very upsetting.

Cara Sayer:

And I knew for a fact that that isn't what happens.

Cara Sayer:

But, and I even went, so what I did was because I'm not a scientist, um, I found

Cara Sayer:

it, uh, the, it was actually the, um, the UKs leading Thermo physicist, um, who,

Cara Sayer:

um, I went and spoke to them about it.

Cara Sayer:

And I said, look, you know, it was never very good at physics myself at school.

Cara Sayer:

I think I got 25% for writing my name and that was about it.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and I said, but you know, I know that my product doesn't overheat, but

Cara Sayer:

I don't really know why, you know, um, and actually, you know, what

Cara Sayer:

are the benefits, blah, blah, blah.

Cara Sayer:

So he actually wrote me a really nice letter where he actually explained the

Cara Sayer:

physics behind it and the fact that, you know, this and that, and actually

Cara Sayer:

fundamentally, even if it is like 40 degrees out there, it's still better

Cara Sayer:

to shade your baby from the direct sun than it is to leave them exposed.

Cara Sayer:

So even if it was to get a fractionally warmer, then it wouldn't matter.

Cara Sayer:

Yeah.

Cara Sayer:

But, um, I think it was this year.

Cara Sayer:

I just about had enough.

Cara Sayer:

I think that's the thing it's less about being defensive.

Cara Sayer:

You just get so fed up with hearing people being so uneducated.

Cara Sayer:

And, and actually in this instance, it was a, uh, an influencer, an

Cara Sayer:

Instagram influencer who basically saw one of my Facebook ads, um, and

Cara Sayer:

decided she didn't like the look of it.

Cara Sayer:

And then, um, because there was a problem with Instagram and Facebook,

Cara Sayer:

where there was an algorithm problem.

Cara Sayer:

Um, what was happening was you would comment on something and then it would

Cara Sayer:

say it wasn't posting, but then what actually happened was you'd then pack

Cara Sayer:

it in if you saw that, notice this, but it was, um, it was a few months ago.

Cara Sayer:

It was whenever it was whenever this thing kicked off.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and it went on for about a good month afterwards.

Cara Sayer:

It was really annoying.

Cara Sayer:

Every time anyone posted on it, they would then post like 20 times.

Cara Sayer:

So you'd be sitting there deleting like 20 comments because you

Cara Sayer:

only want their one comment.

Cara Sayer:

So she thought that she was her negative comments were being blocked.

Cara Sayer:

So instead of actually approaching the business like Instagram, she

Cara Sayer:

then took to her stories and then basically said, I've seen this thing.

Cara Sayer:

It looks like a death trap and baby's going to boil to death and it's like

Cara Sayer:

an oven and all this sort of stuff.

Cara Sayer:

And I just was like, do you know what I'm so sick and tired of this.

Cara Sayer:

And the problem was I didn't care necessarily about one person saying it

Cara Sayer:

cause I've had that happen a lot, but she had a lot of people who followed

Cara Sayer:

her and they were then going on to my Instagram and then putting abusive

Cara Sayer:

comments onto my old posts on Instagram.

Cara Sayer:

Oh, this is going to kill babies.

Cara Sayer:

This is going to, you know, all this negative stuff.

Cara Sayer:

And I was, and I, and actually I've got a team of three people who

Cara Sayer:

helped me on social media, all mums.

Cara Sayer:

And there was three or three or four of us, cause I was doing it as well.

Cara Sayer:

And we're going in there and we're trying to get them answer.

Cara Sayer:

And then they're saying, oh, well they haven't answered.

Cara Sayer:

They must be just like ignoring us sort of.

Cara Sayer:

And it was literally, I was just like, oh my God, I can't believe this.

Cara Sayer:

So I went and I said to my team, right, I'm doing a video.

Cara Sayer:

I said, I've had enough of this.

Cara Sayer:

I said, I am sick and tired.

Cara Sayer:

So I literally, I just went, look, you know, I designed my products to be as

Cara Sayer:

set that my products are actually safer.

Cara Sayer:

Then probably about 95% of most of the big manufacturers products, because I actually

Cara Sayer:

make my products safe enough to be safe enough for a newborn, which you don't

Cara Sayer:

have to do legally or any for any reason.

Cara Sayer:

But I do it because for me, I sleep at night and you know, I'm a mum and

Cara Sayer:

I would never forgive myself if any, a child was hurt you using my products.

Cara Sayer:

And you know, and I've always refused to do tests that are not

Cara Sayer:

scientific as well, because, you know, I will absolutely 100% test.

Cara Sayer:

So I've everything I, every claim I make on my product is tested, but you can't,

Cara Sayer:

there is no scientific test for whether or not a pram is going to overheat or not.

Cara Sayer:

It's just not possible, but there was all these influencers out there sticking like

Cara Sayer:

thermometers into their prams and then shoving a blanket over the top and then

Cara Sayer:

go, oh my God, the prams heated up to like 80 degrees and the baby's going to die.

Cara Sayer:

And I'm like, Jesus Christ.

Cara Sayer:

This is ridiculous.

Cara Sayer:

My product is nothing like a blanket.

Cara Sayer:

So, um, anyway, I did this video and then it got, and I actually did cry because I.

Cara Sayer:

You know, when you just get so overwhelmed.

Cara Sayer:

So, um, like that got picked up and it went a bit viral.

Cara Sayer:

And then I also subsequent, I thought, you know what, sod it.

Cara Sayer:

I thought I'm going to, I'm going to do what they do.

Cara Sayer:

I'm going to stick a bloody thermometer in a pram.

Cara Sayer:

And I'm going to show, you know, and actually, as I said,

Cara Sayer:

cause I've never, ever said it keeps babies cool in the pram.

Cara Sayer:

It can't because the pram heats up.

Cara Sayer:

There's all sorts of variants.

Cara Sayer:

But, but actually it was about the same temperature under the shade.

Cara Sayer:

In fact, it was slightly cooler.

Cara Sayer:

Uh, most of the time under the shade that it was outside in the sun.

Cara Sayer:

So I said, look, I've never said it keeps it.

Cara Sayer:

It's not an air conditioning unit, but it won't make your baby.

Cara Sayer:

It's not going to heat them up to like 80 degrees.

Cara Sayer:

And they're all suddenly going to die when it's only 25 degrees outside.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and so I've got those videos up now and I do say in it,

Cara Sayer:

look, it's not scientific test.

Cara Sayer:

I'm not using this to make a claim on just, this is literally like doing

Cara Sayer:

app, comparing apples with apples.

Cara Sayer:

If somebody is going to do a pram test and shove like a thermometer and a

Cara Sayer:

pram, that's what I've done, but I'm not making any claims based on it.

Cara Sayer:

So don't, and don't expect me to.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think, I think it was, I liked the way your dealt with it because

Vicki Weinberg:

it was very to the point and.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, it didn't escalate.

Vicki Weinberg:

Like you've got an apology in the end, didn't you from that lady.

Cara Sayer:

I did get an apology.

Cara Sayer:

Yeah.

Cara Sayer:

And I mean, also what was actually really lovely was because I had got

Cara Sayer:

visibly got upset about it, as you can tell, I'm very passionate about it.

Cara Sayer:

Um, but you know, safety to me is my, one of my, it's the number one

Cara Sayer:

feature of my products, you know?

Cara Sayer:

So for someone to challenge the safety of them, I don't care if you don't like the

Cara Sayer:

look of them because they're not fashion accessories, they help babies sleep.

Cara Sayer:

So if you want something that looks pretty, go elsewhere,

Cara Sayer:

go and buy something else.

Cara Sayer:

But if you want something that works.

Cara Sayer:

Then this is the product.

Cara Sayer:

I'm all about function over fashion.

Cara Sayer:

Um, actually I ended up being deluged by amazing comments from, um, from

Cara Sayer:

customers who were like, well, I've used it in 40 degree heat.

Cara Sayer:

It was amazing.

Cara Sayer:

I've used it here, like I've used, you know, and they

Cara Sayer:

were just sticking up for me.

Cara Sayer:

And that, to be fair, it was more valuable.

Cara Sayer:

And actually that really kind of made me feel a lot more confident about in

Cara Sayer:

future saying to people, no, it doesn't make the bloody pram hot, you know?

Cara Sayer:

And it's like these comments don't ask me, ask the parents here, here were like 200

Cara Sayer:

comments all saying that over the very, over the years they've used it in very

Cara Sayer:

hot climates and they're absolutely fine.

Cara Sayer:

And then you tell me that it makes the baby hot.

Cara Sayer:

Well, I'm not going to say anything, you know,

Vicki Weinberg:

I think it's great that you built up that much loyalty as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

The people that your customers want to sort of stick up

Vicki Weinberg:

for you and for the product.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think that's really good as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

Okay.

Vicki Weinberg:

I'm keeping an eye on the time card because I want to be respectful of that.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I've got just two more questions before we end if that's okay.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, the first thing I would love to know is if you were going right back to this,

Vicki Weinberg:

take yourself right back to the start.

Vicki Weinberg:

What?

Vicki Weinberg:

Well, I was gonna say would that, would, would you do anything differently

Vicki Weinberg:

if you were starting again today?

Vicki Weinberg:

If, so what would that be?

Cara Sayer:

Well, if I was starting a fresh, if I was starting today, I

Cara Sayer:

wouldn't, if I was going back 10 years, you probably wouldn't do things that much.

Cara Sayer:

If there are a few things I would do.

Cara Sayer:

I mean, I did some mad stuff.

Cara Sayer:

Like, you know, I went to things like Oscar ceremonies in America and

Cara Sayer:

like went to the guy, you know, and did gifting suites in the States.

Cara Sayer:

And I spent money on sponsorship campaigns in the U S where way

Cara Sayer:

before I was ready and way before I had distribution over there.

Cara Sayer:

Which if I'm honest, now I probably wouldn't do.

Cara Sayer:

But having said that was, it was an experience, you know, um, if I was

Cara Sayer:

starting a fresh now, um, I would a hundred percent start on Amazon and my

Cara Sayer:

website, you know, I wouldn't bother with the other region with the other retailers.

Cara Sayer:

I might, I might have a few.

Cara Sayer:

I mean, I do have still, I still sell to JoJo Maman Bebe, you know, who are

Cara Sayer:

the first retailer I ever worked with.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and, um, you know, but I, I pulled out of everywhere like,

Cara Sayer:

cause, cause I left my distributor.

Cara Sayer:

Um, I don't sell, like I was selling to Tesco and Boots and everywhere else.

Cara Sayer:

And I just think that, you know, depending on your product and depending

Cara Sayer:

on, um, You know, I mean, what I ended up doing is in the end, I mean,

Cara Sayer:

for example, Tesco kept putting that price down and I'm like, well, I

Cara Sayer:

know what price you're buying it at.

Cara Sayer:

So how can you afford to have it down that low?

Cara Sayer:

And then, uh, Amazon, because I was at the time I was selling to vendor central,

Cara Sayer:

which I then also stopped, um, is they would then match what Tesco were doing.

Cara Sayer:

And I'm like, why are you doing that stupid?

Cara Sayer:

Like both you're losing money on this product.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and, um, and things like that.

Cara Sayer:

Whereas now that I've got more control over where it's sold, I

Cara Sayer:

don't have problems like that.

Cara Sayer:

You know, because actually for me, it's not about the price per se.

Cara Sayer:

It's about the perceived value of the product.

Cara Sayer:

You know, my products are not cheap to me.

Cara Sayer:

They are high quality, but I try and price them so that

Cara Sayer:

they are competitively priced.

Cara Sayer:

I don't want to, you know, um, I don't want them to be stupidly expensive.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and, um, so I do try, like I say, I've still kept the

Cara Sayer:

initial product I started with.

Cara Sayer:

It's still £19.99.

Cara Sayer:

But that price that my cost of product is probably almost

Cara Sayer:

doubled, you know, since I started.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and, um, you know, I think it's really, really important

Cara Sayer:

that, you know, that, that there's a perceived value to that.

Cara Sayer:

You know?

Cara Sayer:

I mean, I still get people complaining, oh, it's too expensive.

Cara Sayer:

I'm like, right.

Cara Sayer:

Well, you try and go off and make a product like mine to the quality level

Cara Sayer:

and the safety standards that I do.

Cara Sayer:

And then you knock yourself out and try and do it for £19.99.

Cara Sayer:

You know?

Cara Sayer:

I mean, every, every company that's ever copied, me, I've been copied by Aldi Lidl.

Cara Sayer:

I've been copied by other people who, other prime manufacturers I've been copied

Cara Sayer:

by, you know, random Amazon sellers, you know, none of them ever produce

Cara Sayer:

a product that is the same quality.

Cara Sayer:

They're always cheaper and they're always nastier.

Cara Sayer:

And, you know, and, and I'm like, good because it just shows to me, it just

Cara Sayer:

proves to me that what I'm doing is right, which is I'm spending more because.

Cara Sayer:

I make less money on some of my products because of the fact I choose

Cara Sayer:

to invest in the pricing as a strategy to get people through the door.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and then I've got more expensive products and I, you

Cara Sayer:

know, and all the rest of it.

Cara Sayer:

And I've got some products that make more margin than others and all the rest of it.

Cara Sayer:

But, you know, fundamentally there is an element where I don't

Cara Sayer:

want my brand to be devalued.

Cara Sayer:

I don't want it being sold for 14 pounds.

Cara Sayer:

You know, somewhere when you know, I wouldn't sell it on

Cara Sayer:

my website for 14 pounds.

Cara Sayer:

So, you know, why on earth would it be sold somewhere else?

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, that makes sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I also believe that, you know, given sort of the amount of time and effort

Vicki Weinberg:

and everything that you've put into your products, I don't think anyone ever could

Vicki Weinberg:

compete with you on quality and price.

Cara Sayer:

Yeah.

Cara Sayer:

I've just spent six and a half thousand pounds on safety testing.

Cara Sayer:

I can't even really talk about because of the fact that it's not

Cara Sayer:

an official safety test, but it is a safety test that is really important.

Cara Sayer:

So I've actually just had the products tested for carbon,

Cara Sayer:

carbon monoxide, dioxide, re breathing, and also suffocation.

Cara Sayer:

Now there is actually no official tests for that, but I've worked with

Cara Sayer:

one of the world's leading independent laboratories and they do have that test

Cara Sayer:

that they use for other bigger brands.

Cara Sayer:

And I've managed to get hold of someone and I've managed to get my products

Cara Sayer:

tested that costs me six and a half thousand dollars or something, you know,

Cara Sayer:

and who's going to spend six and a half thousand dollars normally on a 20 pound

Cara Sayer:

product, like to test safety tests.

Cara Sayer:

But I can now say, well, I know it doesn't affect it.

Cara Sayer:

Won't do you can't rebreathe and I know you can't suffocate.

Cara Sayer:

So, you know, for me, that's my, my sanity, you know?

Cara Sayer:

Um, and my that's my sort of, you know, the why, why I sleep at night,

Cara Sayer:

because I know that might that and all the copies will have not had

Cara Sayer:

any of the tests that I've had, you know, that I've done and they won't

Cara Sayer:

be using the zip qualities I use.

Cara Sayer:

They don't use the only baby safe, certified poppers in the world, you know,

Cara Sayer:

all of these little details and what makes up the bigger picture, which is why, you

Cara Sayer:

know, even if you're not selling a product like mine, there are ways of making your

Cara Sayer:

product stand out from other people's by just doing something that shows that

Cara Sayer:

you care, you know, go that extra step.

Cara Sayer:

So for example, I bought a couple of t-shirts on Amazon, basically.

Cara Sayer:

Same t-shirt pretty much just slightly different patterns.

Cara Sayer:

And one seller sent it to me.

Cara Sayer:

It was all crumpled up and it was just in a plastic bag and the other one had

Cara Sayer:

actually wrapped it up in a tissue paper.

Cara Sayer:

You know, like you get in a shop with a little sticker on it,

Cara Sayer:

like little branded sticker, well guess which one I'm going to get?

Cara Sayer:

They were the same price, but somebody had basically just said, oh, here.

Cara Sayer:

Um, I'm going to like sell you a cheapest.

Cara Sayer:

T-shirt shove it in a plastic bag and send it to you.

Cara Sayer:

And one of thought, well, actually, I'm going to make it look quite nice.

Cara Sayer:

So it was a bit of an experience opening it, it shows someone's cared, you know?

Cara Sayer:

So even little tiny touches like that, you know, packaging is something particularly

Cara Sayer:

that, um, you know, it costs extra.

Cara Sayer:

Yes.

Cara Sayer:

But like if you're only ever looking at your margins, you're not really looking

Cara Sayer:

at your business in the right way.

Cara Sayer:

In my opinion, if you want to create some kind of quality brand, if you're

Cara Sayer:

just selling down and dirty cheap for the cheapest price, do what you like.

Cara Sayer:

But if you're trying to build something that has a little bit more

Cara Sayer:

longevity, then think about ways in which you can make yourself stand out.

Cara Sayer:

And some of those ways are, you know, could be donating to

Cara Sayer:

charity with every purchase.

Cara Sayer:

It could be, uh, you know, making it wrapped up nicely.

Cara Sayer:

It could, you know, so it's making it packaged.

Cara Sayer:

So it's a ready to go gift, you know, all those sorts of things.

Cara Sayer:

People do notice.

Vicki Weinberg:

They do.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I think there's a lot to be said for being thoughtful and what I really like

Vicki Weinberg:

as well Cara, what I'm really taking from this conversation is despite the fact

Vicki Weinberg:

that you've been doing this for well over 10 years now, you're still refining and

Vicki Weinberg:

improving because you know, you don't need to be doing these extra tests.

Vicki Weinberg:

You probably don't need to be fiddling with your website.

Vicki Weinberg:

well not fiddling.

Vicki Weinberg:

You know, I thought, you know, the best way, you know what I mean, though,

Vicki Weinberg:

all these things that you're doing.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, I just think it's really nice that despite you being established

Vicki Weinberg:

very established, you're still always looking to improve and improve.

Vicki Weinberg:

You're not just the products but an experience as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I just think that's really admirable.

Cara Sayer:

And the other thing I would also say, which is reassuring

Cara Sayer:

to people that are starting up, do you don't have to do it all straight away.

Cara Sayer:

So for example, in my previous life, I was in marketing PR, et cetera.

Cara Sayer:

And I used to do some consulting, which was one of the things I did

Cara Sayer:

for the person who never paid me.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and or she did pay me eventually.

Cara Sayer:

Um, but anyway, one of the first things I would always walk into

Cara Sayer:

any business, whether it's a B2B or B2C, I would say, are you doing

Cara Sayer:

a newsletter to your customers?

Cara Sayer:

You know, cause honestly that's a really good way of like communicating

Cara Sayer:

and upselling other products and giving discounts and encouraging people to buy.

Cara Sayer:

Anyway, over the last sort of 11 years, I've probably done in total about 20

Cara Sayer:

newsletters to customers, but you know what, my business has still continued.

Cara Sayer:

Um, I haven't had a lovely post-purchase email follow up, uh,

Cara Sayer:

in the last sort of 11, 12 years.

Cara Sayer:

I've, I've sort of flitted in and out of Facebook ads, you know?

Cara Sayer:

Um, I, yeah, so I think the thing is, is that what I would say to people is

Cara Sayer:

focus on one thing, do it, well, then move on to the next thing, because if

Cara Sayer:

you try and do all of it at the same time, You know, or even focused on two

Cara Sayer:

or three things, or if you've got a team of people, you know, but don't try and do

Cara Sayer:

everything and don't worry if you can't do everything because if you start doing well

Cara Sayer:

and you're not doing all those things, imagine how well you could be doing.

Cara Sayer:

If you actually then started focusing and putting a bit of energy and that

Cara Sayer:

could be next year or the year after it, doesn't all have to be now.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's brilliant advice.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I think that is really reassuring.

Vicki Weinberg:

So the other side of what I was saying about how you're still doing

Vicki Weinberg:

these things now, it's nice to know that some of these things you weren't

Vicki Weinberg:

doing, it's not like you've always been doing a lot of these things.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think that is really good.

Cara Sayer:

Yeah.

Cara Sayer:

I mean, I've grown.

Cara Sayer:

I mean, this year we've done 48% increase year on year in

Cara Sayer:

the U S and in the UK and the.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and, um, and then on my website, I'm at 134%, I think it is.

Cara Sayer:

And in the U S I'm up again.

Cara Sayer:

I can't remember what percentages off the top of my head, but that's

Cara Sayer:

really quite significant growth.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and that is growth that's taken and that's obviously

Cara Sayer:

taking into consideration.

Cara Sayer:

We've had COVID.

Cara Sayer:

I mean, you know, COVID knocked me a croppa briefly, but you see again, I

Cara Sayer:

think because I was such an established brand by that point, although yes, it

Cara Sayer:

wasn't great for anyone and no, I didn't make as much money low, like in 2020

Cara Sayer:

as I did in 2019, I still kept going.

Cara Sayer:

I mean, at one point I was sitting there with a pet, a piece of paper

Cara Sayer:

and a pencil working out if I sold two units of this and three units of

Cara Sayer:

that in this country and that country, like, could I keep the business going?

Cara Sayer:

Could I pay my team, blah, blah, blah.

Cara Sayer:

And then actually all just kicked off again.

Cara Sayer:

And it all just carried on and it was fine.

Cara Sayer:

And I did well last year.

Cara Sayer:

Um, but you know, but, but the thing is, is that, you know, you've got to

Cara Sayer:

always be flexible, you know, I mean, if COVID is taught us nothing, it's

Cara Sayer:

taught us like how things change.

Cara Sayer:

I've always been a massive fan of FBA, but when it hit, I suddenly had to

Cara Sayer:

do FBM because I did FBM using MFN, which is the manufacturer fulfilled.

Cara Sayer:

Now, did it do it using the, um, uh, what's it called?

Cara Sayer:

Multi-channel fulfillment.

Cara Sayer:

Uh, when I got Amazon to fulfill my orders on Amazon, because you

Cara Sayer:

know, which is really stressful because actually I couldn't do it now

Cara Sayer:

because Amazon doesn't give you the shipping details before they shipped.

Cara Sayer:

So, whereas now they want you to put the shipping details in.

Cara Sayer:

So what we would, I was sitting there doing was I'm typing in

Cara Sayer:

like all these customer details into Amazon to ship the product.

Cara Sayer:

Then as soon as they've shipped it, then I'm getting the tracking

Cara Sayer:

details, putting it into Amazon, to, you know, to pass onto the customer.

Cara Sayer:

Honestly.

Cara Sayer:

I mean, you know, but all of these things, you've just got to.

Cara Sayer:

Learn how to do, and it actually has also opened me up to doing

Cara Sayer:

more FBM because it's good because again, not everyone has prime.

Cara Sayer:

Um, and actually, you know, you can, you can, and sometimes you go out of

Cara Sayer:

stock, so it's good to have backup and you know, all of those things.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, definitely.

Vicki Weinberg:

And for anyone who doesn't know this FBM is when you fulfill your own orders on

Vicki Weinberg:

Amazon and like you I recommend you do both as well, because as you say, if you

Vicki Weinberg:

go out of stock, it's just all, you know, your stock takes ages to get unloaded,

Vicki Weinberg:

but it gets to Amazon, as it can in the run up to Christmas is a good to have.

Vicki Weinberg:

I'm aware of I've kept you for quite a long time now, Cara.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I have one final question if that's okay.

Vicki Weinberg:

Which is what would your number one piece of advice be for someone looking

Vicki Weinberg:

to start a products business right now?

Cara Sayer:

Oh, don't do it!

Cara Sayer:

Um, I think I would say.

Cara Sayer:

Just make sure you're really clear on your USP, which is your unique selling point.

Cara Sayer:

And like I say, that isn't necessarily the Unix unique selling point of the product.

Cara Sayer:

It could be the unique selling point of the customer service experience.

Cara Sayer:

It could be the unique selling point of how you deliver it and package it.

Cara Sayer:

It could be the unique service, unique selling point of the fact that, you

Cara Sayer:

know, you sell a tea brand and you donate to, um, you know, elephant

Cara Sayer:

sanctuaries in India, you know, whatever it might be, but find something.

Cara Sayer:

Um, so I'd say there's that one find something unique.

Cara Sayer:

And the other thing I would say is.

Cara Sayer:

At the Amazon world is full of a lot of people.

Cara Sayer:

It's quite funny.

Cara Sayer:

Whenever I go to Amazon events, because it's full of people who are

Cara Sayer:

selling like, you know, seven, eight figures or whatever, and they, and

Cara Sayer:

if you say to them, what do you do?

Cara Sayer:

They're like, oh, I'm in the baby category.

Cara Sayer:

Or I'm in the pets category.

Cara Sayer:

And I'm like, oh no, I do SnoozeShade.

Cara Sayer:

And they're like, what?

Cara Sayer:

Sorry.

Cara Sayer:

You know, because it's all very secretive and no one likes to share what they do.

Cara Sayer:

And I'm not, I don't care because I'm a real, I consider myself a brand.

Cara Sayer:

I just happened to use Amazon as a sales channel.

Cara Sayer:

Um, but I would say that, you know, one of my top tips is if you're not

Cara Sayer:

afraid of putting your face out there.

Cara Sayer:

It adds a bit of personality to your listings on Amazon and, and to your

Cara Sayer:

website, make it about the real you, or, you know, give the gift customers

Cara Sayer:

a story because they liked stories.

Cara Sayer:

They like to be given a reason why they should support you

Cara Sayer:

over some other faceless entity.

Cara Sayer:

And, you know, if you go to any of my listings and you're welcome

Cara Sayer:

to, they're not, I do them all.

Cara Sayer:

They're not particularly brilliantly done, but again, it doesn't have to be perfect.

Cara Sayer:

Just has to work.

Cara Sayer:

And, you know, you'll see this pictures of me on there, pictures of my daughter.

Cara Sayer:

Um, I talk about the fact that's invented by a mom, you know,

Cara Sayer:

because that is actually part a very important part of the story.

Cara Sayer:

And Amazon, particularly and the internet is quite faceless personality, less place.

Cara Sayer:

So the more you can do to make people actually care about why they should buy

Cara Sayer:

from you the better, I think really.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you so much that I completely agree with you.

Vicki Weinberg:

What I'm working on with clients on Amazon.

Vicki Weinberg:

listings, one thing that I'm always trying to do is put a bit of personality into

Vicki Weinberg:

it, because as you say, there were so many, you know, you'll get 20 listings

Vicki Weinberg:

for the same thing, but the ones that stand out to me as a customer are the

Vicki Weinberg:

ones that are a bit different or whether that's because it's got someone's face

Vicki Weinberg:

on it or whatever it's because the language they use, um, yeah, there's

Vicki Weinberg:

something a lot more appealing when you realize this isn't the same t-shirt

Vicki Weinberg:

as the other 20 or whatever it is.

Cara Sayer:

Exactly.

Vicki Weinberg:

Well, thank you so much for your time and for

Vicki Weinberg:

everything you've shared today, I've loved talking to you, I think.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

You've, you've given us a lot, um, thank you.

Cara Sayer:

I want you all go away and make notes and then tell

Cara Sayer:

me you've done lots of things.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you so much.

Cara Sayer:

Pleasure.

Cara Sayer:

Thank you for having me.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you so much for listening all the way

Vicki Weinberg:

to the end of this episode.

Vicki Weinberg:

If you enjoyed it, please do leave me a review that really helps

Vicki Weinberg:

other people to find this podcast.

Vicki Weinberg:

Make sure you subscribe so you don't miss any future episodes and

Vicki Weinberg:

do tell your friends about it too.

Vicki Weinberg:

If you think that they also might enjoy it, can find me at vickiweinberg.com.

Vicki Weinberg:

There you'll find link to all of my social channels.

Vicki Weinberg:

You'll find lots of more information all of the past podcast, episodes

Vicki Weinberg:

and lots of free resources too.

Vicki Weinberg:

So again, that's vickiweinberg.com.

Vicki Weinberg:

Take care, have a good week and see you next.

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