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How to make wholesale work - with Sasha Gupta, Cheeky Zebra
Episode 8926th November 2021 • Bring Your Product Idea to Life • Vicki Weinberg
00:00:00 00:46:01

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Sasha Gupta of Cheeky Zebra, designs and sells fun and cheeky greeting cards for real life.

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Today on the podcast I'm talking to Sasha Gupta of Cheeky Zebra. Sasha designs and sells fun and cheeky greeting cards for real life. It was such a fun conversation. Sasha shares why she quit law to start selling cards, how she creates them, despite having very little design experience, and her varied experiences of wholesaling her cards.  I absolutely love how open Sasha is. She also talks a lot about her family and the role that they play in her business.

Listen in to hear Sasha share:

  • An introduction to herself and her business (01:07)
  • Why she quit a job in law (01:38)
  • How she taught herself to create cards despite having very little design experience (03:38)
  • How she prints her cards (5:25)
  • What the key things were which helped Cheeky Zebra to grow to be so successful (9:30)
  • How Pinterest has worked for her (11:18)
  • Her success on social media (14:30)
  • How her family, and grandparents are involved in the business (15:08)
  • How she comes up with ideas for her cards (18:13)
  • Keeping track of a range of a thousand plus products (19:26)
  • Her experiences with wholesale (21:51)
  • The importance of tunnel vision and keeping going when you start out (36:17)
  • Her number one piece of advice for other product creators (38:45)

USEFUL RESOURCES:

Cheeky Zebra Website

Cheeky Zebra Instagram

Cheeky Zebra Pinterest

Cheeky Zebra Facebook

Small Business Collaborative Website

Bring Your Product Ideas To Life Podcast Episode - Wholesale For Small Businesses

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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'm talking to Sasha Gupta from Cheeky Zebra.

Vicki Weinberg:

It was such a fun conversation.

Vicki Weinberg:

Sasha shares why she quit law to start selling cards, how she

Vicki Weinberg:

creates them, despite having very little design experience and her

Vicki Weinberg:

varied, um, sometimes quite amusing experiences of wholesaling her cards.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, she talks about how she was doing that initially.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, what's changed and you know, now she's doing by her own

Vicki Weinberg:

admission really, really well.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, and I think you'll be really interested to hear about her journey.

Vicki Weinberg:

I absolutely love how open Sasha is.

Vicki Weinberg:

She also talks a lot about her family and the role that they play in her business.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think you'll really love this conversation.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I'd now like to introduce you to Sasha.

Vicki Weinberg:

So hi, Sasha.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you so much for being here.

Sasha Gupta:

Thank you for having me.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, I'm so excited to talk to you.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, can we please start by you giving an introduction to yourself,

Vicki Weinberg:

your business and what you sell.

Sasha Gupta:

Yes.

Sasha Gupta:

Hi so I'm Sasha.

Sasha Gupta:

Our business is called at Cheeky Zebra.

Sasha Gupta:

I say our business it is pretty much my business, but it's

Sasha Gupta:

become like a family business.

Sasha Gupta:

And by that, I mean, my nan helps me pack cards for free.

Sasha Gupta:

So we sell fun and cheeky greeting cards for real life

Vicki Weinberg:

perfect.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

And we'll talk a little bit more, a bit later about the role your family plays

Vicki Weinberg:

because I follow your Instagram story.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I know your Nan is a huge part of your business.

Vicki Weinberg:

Well, we definitely, definitely we'll talk about that.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, but let's start right at the beginning, Sasha, and talk about how

Vicki Weinberg:

and why you started Cheeky Zebra.

Vicki Weinberg:

Cause I know that I did see that you quit law to get started.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I'm just really fascinated in the backstory if you don't mind sharing.

Sasha Gupta:

No, of course.

Sasha Gupta:

It's funny you say that literally every time I get into a taxi, so

Sasha Gupta:

I'm Indian for anyone listening.

Sasha Gupta:

And literally every time I get into a taxi, I normally

Sasha Gupta:

have an Indian Taxi driver.

Sasha Gupta:

And the first thing they say is like, what do you do?

Sasha Gupta:

And I'll be like, oh, I've got a greeting card business.

Sasha Gupta:

And they'll be like, oh cool.

Sasha Gupta:

And then we'll get talking.

Sasha Gupta:

And they'll end up telling me about their kid and be like,

Sasha Gupta:

so what did you do at uni?

Sasha Gupta:

And I'm like, oh, I did law.

Sasha Gupta:

And then they'll be like what have you done with it?

Sasha Gupta:

So, yeah, I, um, I studied law at uni and then I went on to do

Sasha Gupta:

some corporate jobs in London, and then I actually started doing law.

Sasha Gupta:

I came back home and I did law.

Sasha Gupta:

Uh, I think I worked at a law firm for a couple of years.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, and I started doing Cheeky Zebra at the start on the side because.

Sasha Gupta:

You know, when you just know something's not for you.

Sasha Gupta:

And I just always wanted to do something more creative.

Sasha Gupta:

And like, when I was younger, I'd always, wanted my own business?

Sasha Gupta:

I remember I used to tell everyone I was going to have a fish and chips shop.

Sasha Gupta:

I was so proud of myself that I was going to do fish and chips.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, and then I actually, the truth is I saw a Facebook ad for

Sasha Gupta:

another card company and they were doing like funny greeting cards.

Sasha Gupta:

And I literally just remember thinking, oh, I can do that.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, and then that was literally it like, um, I think.

Sasha Gupta:

I had also gone through a break at the time.

Sasha Gupta:

So I just decided that I was going to start doing breakup cards.

Sasha Gupta:

My first little range was like a bunch of break up cards.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, and so I did this also while I was doing law, um, on the side.

Sasha Gupta:

And then eventually I decided like, I can't do this anymore.

Sasha Gupta:

So I quit law and I gave myself a year to give it a really good shot.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, and now it's four years later, I think.

Sasha Gupta:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, wow.

Sasha Gupta:

Yeah, I think that's right.

Sasha Gupta:

You know, your brain's like trying to do the math in your head, but yes,

Sasha Gupta:

I fingers crossed it's been alright.

Vicki Weinberg:

So how did you teach yourself to design and print cards?

Vicki Weinberg:

Because I know that you do them all yourself, um, and

Vicki Weinberg:

I can't make it out Sasha.

Vicki Weinberg:

Do you hand draw them or do you draw them online?

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, how, how do you do it and how did you learn how to do that?

Sasha Gupta:

Yeah, that's a really good question.

Sasha Gupta:

So, um, I taught my, I say I taught myself how to use Photoshop, but I find

Sasha Gupta:

that anybody who could properly use Photoshop and sees me play around with

Sasha Gupta:

it, finds it really triggering because I'm playing not doing it properly.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, but I used to, when I was actually in law or any corporate

Sasha Gupta:

job I've had, I used to, whenever I was on the phone, I'd open up paint.

Sasha Gupta:

You know, one, um, and I would just draw like endless pictures.

Sasha Gupta:

Like I'll be on a really serious call and I'd just be like,

Sasha Gupta:

kinda in rainbows and cakes.

Sasha Gupta:

So like, um, I've always enjoyed kind of drawing the stuff.

Sasha Gupta:

So what I do at the moment is a lot of my cards you would notice

Sasha Gupta:

are kind of text-based, that's purely because of I'm not a graphic

Sasha Gupta:

designer, but, um, and if there are illustrations, there'll be really simple.

Sasha Gupta:

And I what I tend to I used to just draw them on a sketch pad,

Sasha Gupta:

take a picture and scan it into Photoshop and then color it in.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, but then now sometimes I'll buy images.

Sasha Gupta:

And then what I've also done recently, because I wanted

Sasha Gupta:

it to do cards with people.

Sasha Gupta:

And I can't do people.

Sasha Gupta:

And then I found like this way on Photoshop, where you can kind

Sasha Gupta:

of take an image and then you can kind of distort it and like make

Sasha Gupta:

it more of an illustration style.

Sasha Gupta:

And then I can like go over it a bit and change it a little bit.

Sasha Gupta:

So yeah, I've managed to kind of get around.

Sasha Gupta:

That way, but I definitely wouldn't say that I'm a graphic designer by any means.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, but that's like clever that you found that way to do it.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I also love the reference to paint because that's so like 19, I dunno, 2000.

Sasha Gupta:

I feel like kids now won't know what paint is.

Vicki Weinberg:

No, I don't think they will either, but I really

Vicki Weinberg:

appreciated that reference because I used to love paint as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

Wow.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, so that's really cool.

Vicki Weinberg:

Okay.

Vicki Weinberg:

So you had this design, so how did you learn how to like, cause I know

Vicki Weinberg:

you do your own printing don't you youdon't like outsource your printing.

Sasha Gupta:

So that was a massive learning curve.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, so when we first started our cards, like when I say first started,

Sasha Gupta:

I mean, like I'd sell them to like people I knew and I got a piece of

Sasha Gupta:

A4 card and I just fold it in half.

Sasha Gupta:

I didn't realize that you shouldn't be folding card in half yourself.

Sasha Gupta:

That crease line is a mess.

Sasha Gupta:

I'd like, I don't know if anyone's ever tried this, but

Sasha Gupta:

you won't get a pretty crease.

Sasha Gupta:

So I, um, I then learned like, oh, I need precreased cardstock okay.

Sasha Gupta:

That was fine.

Sasha Gupta:

And then it was.

Sasha Gupta:

A nightmare, trying to figure out what printer.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, so I just did loads and loads of research, um, and

Sasha Gupta:

just loads of trial and error.

Sasha Gupta:

Like for a period, we had like textured card and that would print awfully,

Sasha Gupta:

or it was too thin or it was too.

Sasha Gupta:

So I think it took me about six months and a lot of wasted money because every

Sasha Gupta:

time I thought I found the right stock.

Sasha Gupta:

I did this really stupid thing where I was like, that's the right one.

Sasha Gupta:

I should bulk buy it.

Sasha Gupta:

And it's like, well, no idiot.

Sasha Gupta:

You should test it, but you spend all this money on stock.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, so yeah, it was just a lot of trial and error and we

Sasha Gupta:

still like have issues now.

Sasha Gupta:

Like last Valentine's day, we did go on like desktop printers and we had

Sasha Gupta:

a thousand orders a day and it was a nightmare because they couldn't cope.

Sasha Gupta:

So each time we kind of level up, it's another case of.

Sasha Gupta:

Figuring out what the next best solution is if that makes sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, that does, do you have to find, do you

Vicki Weinberg:

have more than one printer now?

Vicki Weinberg:

I know that's a really bad question,

Sasha Gupta:

but now we've got three printers.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, so if, when we're really busy, it's a lot easier.

Sasha Gupta:

And like my granddad, he gets up when it's like, Valentine's

Sasha Gupta:

day, he chooses to do this.

Sasha Gupta:

I do not force it he insists, he bans me from being near the printer.

Sasha Gupta:

Cause he thinks I'm bad luck and he'll start at like six in the morning

Sasha Gupta:

and he would like get his three printers going and it will have them

Sasha Gupta:

kind of like all printed by say 10.

Sasha Gupta:

So it's just like four hours of him just like standing at the printers.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, wow.

Sasha Gupta:

Yeah.

Sasha Gupta:

It's intense.

Sasha Gupta:

He gets really angry.

Sasha Gupta:

If you get near him, he doesn't want my help.

Sasha Gupta:

He's like, get out like.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, that's commitment.

Vicki Weinberg:

And you print your cards on demand don't you, which I

Vicki Weinberg:

think is really, really smart.

Vicki Weinberg:

And have you always done that or did you just like used to print

Vicki Weinberg:

off cards and hope they'd sell?

Sasha Gupta:

Uh, so originally I use a company called I think I'm shouting

Sasha Gupta:

them out because they're really good.

Sasha Gupta:

They're called, um, The Imaging Centre and like, I know a lot of

Sasha Gupta:

people get their stuff printed, but.

Sasha Gupta:

So what we did that at first, but I found it really hard for that reason.

Sasha Gupta:

I didn't know what was going to sell.

Sasha Gupta:

I have over a thousand designs, so I literally don't know what's going to sell

Sasha Gupta:

until I put them on platforms like Etsy, Amazon, and the ones that take off will

Sasha Gupta:

take off or I'll do them on Facebook ads.

Sasha Gupta:

And again, just don't know till we test.

Sasha Gupta:

So once I decided to print in-house, it just made it easy because it means

Sasha Gupta:

that we could offer so many designs.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, and it just doesn't matter to the customer.

Sasha Gupta:

They get more choice.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, and we're not limited as to like what we can give them because

Sasha Gupta:

then we're not holding stock.

Sasha Gupta:

So if I know it's Valentine's day, for instance, and we're

Sasha Gupta:

going to run a Facebook ads, which I hope go well this year.

Sasha Gupta:

And if we know like what our traditional bestsellers are beforehand, we might

Sasha Gupta:

print a couple of thousand, just so cause we know they're going to go

Sasha Gupta:

but, I've learned the lesson now, if I just won't print it, unless I'm

Sasha Gupta:

like a hundred percent sure, whatever.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, that makes sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

And it's also nice as well, but I know that you can print messages

Vicki Weinberg:

inside the cards as well as it's like, I guess that's another benefit

Vicki Weinberg:

of printing them for the customer is that you can put what they want in it.

Vicki Weinberg:

And that's really nice as well.

Sasha Gupta:

Yeah.

Sasha Gupta:

It allows us to, occasionally we don't do it too often because it

Sasha Gupta:

does take so much time, but like a couple of the designs that we can

Sasha Gupta:

change the name on the front as well.

Sasha Gupta:

But even like figuring out this is so silly, but even figuring

Sasha Gupta:

out like how to print a message inside a card was so difficult.

Sasha Gupta:

Like I kept flipping the paper the wrong way, and then like

Sasha Gupta:

having to like teach my granddad.

Sasha Gupta:

No, we flip it.

Sasha Gupta:

This, it was like, it was such a minefield, but like eventually we kind of

Sasha Gupta:

got our heads around it and I would say operations are quite like quite slick now.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

It sounds like you've made massive progress since you just first started

Vicki Weinberg:

out like selling cards to your friends.

Vicki Weinberg:

So how do you, how have you, do you think apart from like all the trial

Vicki Weinberg:

and error that you've done, what else have you done that you think has

Vicki Weinberg:

helped you grow to where you are now?

Sasha Gupta:

Uh, a few things to be really like that the truth is hire

Sasha Gupta:

a really good Facebook ad manager.

Sasha Gupta:

Like I'd be lying if I said that that wasn't the biggest

Sasha Gupta:

thing that grew our business.

Sasha Gupta:

I think, um, I hired Carly Stringer does our Facebook ads and like, I only

Sasha Gupta:

hired her to prove that they didn't work just to tick it off my list of

Sasha Gupta:

like things that don't work for us.

Sasha Gupta:

And we did every day cards with her and we lost money, like quite a lot of money.

Sasha Gupta:

And then we did.

Sasha Gupta:

Father's day campaign.

Sasha Gupta:

And I think we made like 17 grand in revenue for three weeks, which was

Sasha Gupta:

huge considering like, ah, our average item is £3.95, like that's a lot.

Sasha Gupta:

And that's when I was like.

Sasha Gupta:

Oh, wow.

Sasha Gupta:

So basically Facebook ads is something I continually invest and try it

Sasha Gupta:

and that's been like huge for us.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, so that was probably one of our biggest growth things.

Sasha Gupta:

But then the other things have been like, um, social media.

Sasha Gupta:

So definitely showing my face on Instagram.

Sasha Gupta:

Cause a few years ago I was terrified of showing my face.

Sasha Gupta:

And if anyone sees my Instagram, now you won't believe it because

Sasha Gupta:

what I do is show my face and let's be, but, um, I found that kind of

Sasha Gupta:

showing more of the personality and the people behind the brand.

Sasha Gupta:

It can be a bit, well, for me, it was quite scary, but actually that's been

Sasha Gupta:

really helpful because people like to buy from people and they actually are

Sasha Gupta:

interested in like your story and stuff.

Sasha Gupta:

That's really helped us.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, and also Pinterest, weirdly, um, I did, uh, I spent at the start

Sasha Gupta:

a lot of time pinning and a lot of time, like setting up a scheduler.

Sasha Gupta:

And actually that brought us in a lot of organic traffic that we

Sasha Gupta:

weren't getting from anywhere else.

Sasha Gupta:

So that's been really helpful.

Sasha Gupta:

So I'd say those are the three things that's definitely helped us.

Vicki Weinberg:

Well, that's so interesting.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

And do you know you're the first person I think I've spoken to, who's mentioned

Vicki Weinberg:

Pinterest, which I find really useful.

Vicki Weinberg:

Is that still working for you now?

Vicki Weinberg:

Do you still get traffic for your pins?

Sasha Gupta:

Yes, I do.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, I've been actually it's on my list right above me here.

Sasha Gupta:

It says Pinterest in capital letters because, I have

Sasha Gupta:

like, not scheduled for ages.

Sasha Gupta:

And then, but even though I have not scheduled for ages, I would

Sasha Gupta:

say we get 300 000 views to Pinterest our Pinterest account.

Sasha Gupta:

And from that I get uh, a good few sales a month from Pinterest organically,

Sasha Gupta:

still, even though I'm not pinning.

Sasha Gupta:

So like when they go viral, they kind of stay in the atmosphere somewhere and it

Sasha Gupta:

keeps bringing us traffic and sales back.

Sasha Gupta:

So it's been so helpful.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, I would say that I get the most benefit from it though, when

Sasha Gupta:

I've got a scheduler running.

Sasha Gupta:

So I use tailwind and when I've got pins like scheduled in the

Sasha Gupta:

background, then, then it definitely helps our sales, especially for

Sasha Gupta:

when things are a bit quieter.

Sasha Gupta:

It's nice that you've got something kind of working for you

Sasha Gupta:

without having to think about.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, that makes sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

I guess it does.

Vicki Weinberg:

I guess Pinterest is, I know it's a search engine, but I guess it's

Vicki Weinberg:

also kind of social media and I think it is true, isn't it?

Vicki Weinberg:

That the more consistent you are, the more views you get and the higher you

Vicki Weinberg:

rank in the algorithm for them and all of that, I suppose it probably the same.

Sasha Gupta:

Yeah, I think so.

Sasha Gupta:

I think the way I would see as a search engine and not as a social media,

Sasha Gupta:

particularly, I know some people use it as branding, like as a name, but

Sasha Gupta:

I, my most controversial Pinterest tip that helped us the most was I pin

Sasha Gupta:

competitor products which I know a lot of people would probably not do.

Sasha Gupta:

I think it's counter-intuitive, but actually I found that really helpful

Sasha Gupta:

because it teaches Pinterest to associate your products with the same stuff.

Sasha Gupta:

So it teaches Pinterest that like say this is a funny birthday

Sasha Gupta:

card that does really well.

Sasha Gupta:

You can pin that one.

Sasha Gupta:

And then you pin your own.

Sasha Gupta:

Pinterest was like, oh, this board's already full of like, other funny

Sasha Gupta:

birthday cards so Sasha's pin must be a funny birthday card too.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, and I've actually found, like having that approach to it

Sasha Gupta:

has been like the biggest game changer for, us for Pinterest.

Sasha Gupta:

I definitely helped raised our traffic.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

That is so interesting.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think, yeah, that sounds like a scary one to try, but I'm so pleased

Vicki Weinberg:

that's worked for you and I think though that in a way they, we

Vicki Weinberg:

shouldn't all be scared of competition because it's always going to be there.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I guess acknowledging that yes, there are other people that sell

Vicki Weinberg:

funny birthday cards, for example.

Vicki Weinberg:

I mean, people know that anyway, so yeah, it does make sense.

Sasha Gupta:

I probably am getting other people, having traffic to

Sasha Gupta:

their sites too from pinning them.

Sasha Gupta:

But every time we pin, it's almost like you get more authority for your own pins.

Sasha Gupta:

So it's sort of, I just don't think about it, but I don't know if

Sasha Gupta:

it's obviously different if like, you know, we have so many cards.

Sasha Gupta:

I think it's maybe, I don't know if the same strategy would work for

Sasha Gupta:

other products, but I definitely think it's something that people

Sasha Gupta:

shouldn't be afraid to try.

Vicki Weinberg:

That was really interesting.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I've never spoken to anyone.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think I'm feeling like I need to get a Pinterest person on at some point.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

I've heard that pinterest can be great for products, but you're

Vicki Weinberg:

the first person I've spoken to.

Vicki Weinberg:

Who's gone.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, actually it has worked.

Vicki Weinberg:

So that's really interesting.

Sasha Gupta:

Yeah definitely I want to talk to a Pinterest person.

Sasha Gupta:

I'm always quite scared that I'll tell them what I do and they'll be

Sasha Gupta:

like, that's not what you should be doing, but it is what's worked for us.

Sasha Gupta:

So practice or not.

Sasha Gupta:

If it's worked for us, I'm kind of like, you can't really

Sasha Gupta:

tell me that it hasn't worked.

Vicki Weinberg:

And coming back to your social media, which I will link

Vicki Weinberg:

to your Instagram and in the show notes for this episode, actually Sasha.

Vicki Weinberg:

Cause I really, I love your stories.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, and I found you I can't remember if you found me or I found

Vicki Weinberg:

you, but we found each other on Instagram and I love watching you.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think your story is so funny and so engaging and yeah, I'm definitely

Vicki Weinberg:

not gonna buy cards anywhere else.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, you've convinced me that you are, that, you know, the

Vicki Weinberg:

world's best card company.

Sasha Gupta:

Literally, I've learned that if you say something

Sasha Gupta:

enough then it just becomes true.

Sasha Gupta:

It's fine.

Vicki Weinberg:

One thing I loved seeing in your, in your well, your stories and in

Vicki Weinberg:

your social media in general is like the role your family plays in your business.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think it's so sweet.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think your Nan is so funny.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, do you want to talk about sort of how your family involved?

Vicki Weinberg:

I mean, you've mentioned your granddad's a bit and your Nan.

Sasha Gupta:

Yeah, I think so.

Sasha Gupta:

I am really lucky.

Sasha Gupta:

I have like a very supportive family.

Sasha Gupta:

Cause I know like sometimes when you're starting a business

Sasha Gupta:

can be really difficult.

Sasha Gupta:

I'm not saying that it was easy for me to explain to my granddad.

Sasha Gupta:

Who's like a quite strict Indian man or who was at one point to be like,

Sasha Gupta:

Hey, I'm quitting law to sell cards like that wasn't the easiest thing.

Sasha Gupta:

But, um, basically what happened is when I said I was going to take a

Sasha Gupta:

year to give it a full, basically my granddad actually said to me, he

Sasha Gupta:

pulled me aside and was like, you're obviously not happy doing this law thing.

Sasha Gupta:

You seem to like this card thing it's actually seems to be making

Sasha Gupta:

you some money, so you can do it.

Sasha Gupta:

So I always say, I gave myself a year, but the truth is my granddad

Sasha Gupta:

was like, you have one year and if you don't sort it out, you have to

Sasha Gupta:

go get yourself a job, basically.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, and so what happened was with my family involvement is like, so first

Sasha Gupta:

I think my grandparents were like, this is like, my gran's always been

Sasha Gupta:

really sweet, sweet, and supportive, but I think they were like, this is

Sasha Gupta:

this cute thing that's Sasha's doing.

Sasha Gupta:

And then when the Facebook ads happened and we suddenly started getting like

Sasha Gupta:

300 orders a day for father's day, I think everyone was a bit like, oh, okay.

Sasha Gupta:

This might be a real thing.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, and then from there.

Sasha Gupta:

They just, because I needed the help, they, everybody chipped in.

Sasha Gupta:

So like my auntie, um, my grandparents, like everyone, like

Sasha Gupta:

chipped in and then as it's grown.

Sasha Gupta:

My grandparents actually have a travel agent and they don't have a lot to do.

Sasha Gupta:

They just sort of keep it open for something to do almost.

Sasha Gupta:

So now it's like this weird thing where it's become.

Sasha Gupta:

Something that they enjoy doing for something to do.

Sasha Gupta:

So it sort of gives them purpose, but I never want to say it like that.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, and it's become more of a family business.

Sasha Gupta:

Like now my gran helps pack the cards.

Sasha Gupta:

My granddad prints the cards, um, and they do it alongside their own

Sasha Gupta:

job and they very much love it.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, and it's funny because they have their travel agents downstairs

Sasha Gupta:

and like they'll have customers.

Sasha Gupta:

And my gran will say to them customers like one minute,

Sasha Gupta:

I'll come to you in a minute.

Sasha Gupta:

I'm just packing this order that.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's so funny.

Sasha Gupta:

And so, yeah, no, it's, it's really fun.

Sasha Gupta:

And like, we're really, I'm really close to them.

Sasha Gupta:

So like, it's nice for me to also be able to spend that much time with my nan.

Sasha Gupta:

We do the cards together.

Sasha Gupta:

It's quite fun.

Sasha Gupta:

And like putting on my social media, I really enjoy, but I'm

Sasha Gupta:

also like very mindful that she's like the queen of the show.

Sasha Gupta:

So if she doesn't want to do it, then I'm not going to like

Sasha Gupta:

shove a camera in her face.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, she is hilarious and she is a Savage.

Sasha Gupta:

She like pretendes to be so sweet and it drives me insane,

Sasha Gupta:

but this woman bullies me.

Sasha Gupta:

She's like 70 and she's.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, but it's funny as well as some of the cards are quite rude.

Sasha Gupta:

And I used to think like she wouldn't understand them, but I caught

Sasha Gupta:

her one day laughing to herself at one of the really rude ones.

Sasha Gupta:

And that for me was like a really turning point in my life.

Sasha Gupta:

And I was just like I'm not, I'm not going to discuss that with her.

Vicki Weinberg:

Did you just assume it all went over her head?

Sasha Gupta:

Genuinely, I think I asked her cause on my Instagram,

Sasha Gupta:

every so often I'll do a chat with her, we'll film a chat together.

Sasha Gupta:

And I asked her, I was like, what do you think of like these rude cards?

Sasha Gupta:

Do you understand them?

Sasha Gupta:

She was like, I wasn't born yesterday.

Sasha Gupta:

I was like, well, okay.

Vicki Weinberg:

Where do you get inspiration for your cards, by the way?

Sasha Gupta:

Uh, just life.

Sasha Gupta:

Like, I think I'm one of those people where a lot of the things in the

Sasha Gupta:

cards of things that I would, that I would say in there very much in

Sasha Gupta:

my voice, if that even makes sense.

Sasha Gupta:

Or like sometimes like my friends will like have an idea or message me about,

Sasha Gupta:

what about, have you thought about something like this, but generally like,

Sasha Gupta:

they're just, I'm quite like, um, I give compliments in quite a sassy way.

Sasha Gupta:

Like they're very backhanded, but it's just like who I am as a person.

Sasha Gupta:

So I think a lot of it just comes from like, just how I would speak

Sasha Gupta:

normally, if that makes sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, that does make sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I guess I can see as well from some of your newer cards that like

Vicki Weinberg:

yours take like cultural things, you know, things that are going on.

Vicki Weinberg:

Like, um, I'm trying to think of an example.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I've seen your Squid Games cards, for example, cause that's

Vicki Weinberg:

kind of a thing that's happening.

Sasha Gupta:

That's definitely been newer.

Sasha Gupta:

That's been since I wanted to try something different and I

Sasha Gupta:

never thought I could do the pop culture cards on the count of

Sasha Gupta:

like, not being able to draw thing.

Sasha Gupta:

But since I found like these Lyft app thing that kind of helps you

Sasha Gupta:

turn it like a photo to a drawing style, I was like, oh, I'm in.

Sasha Gupta:

And so since then, it's been really fun to be able to play around with.

Sasha Gupta:

More of like topical pop culture type cards.

Sasha Gupta:

That's been really fun.

Vicki Weinberg:

And do you have cards that come in and out of the range or

Vicki Weinberg:

like once they're there, are they there forever because you were mentioning

Vicki Weinberg:

early, you've got over a thousand cards and that's a lot to keep track.

Sasha Gupta:

It is a lot of spreadsheets a lot, but, um, no, I think this is

Sasha Gupta:

a difficulty and I actually want your opinion on this because if you go to our

Sasha Gupta:

website, like, I, I sometimes think the ranges can be a bit big, but now I feel

Sasha Gupta:

like separated them out into mini ones.

Sasha Gupta:

It's not too bad, but I always have this view of like, if it's one

Sasha Gupta:

person's perfect card and they've bought it, I don't want to get rid of.

Sasha Gupta:

Because even if it just works for one person, at least they've managed to

Sasha Gupta:

get that card that fully significantly matches their situation, even if it's

Sasha Gupta:

quite niche, if that makes sense.

Sasha Gupta:

But if like I have, so I tend not to, if there's some, cards that are like

Sasha Gupta:

really out of date that I will get rid of them because it's like, if the

Sasha Gupta:

joke's a bit dead, like I've got a card.

Sasha Gupta:

That's like Netflix, you're the chill to my Netflix.

Sasha Gupta:

And I feel like that was kind of a thing years and years ago, but less so now.

Sasha Gupta:

So I think maybe a couple of years from now that might make the cut, but

Sasha Gupta:

generally, um, I would say they're quite evergreen and obviously these topical

Sasha Gupta:

ones that we've just spoken about, like for Squid Games and stuff, that's

Sasha Gupta:

different they all have an expiry date, but otherwise I kind of think like if

Sasha Gupta:

they work, then I'll just keep them up.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, I would say, say, I think as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think the main thing is when you've got a massive range is just, like you

Vicki Weinberg:

said, they need to be easy to find.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think as long as people can find the card that they want, and they're

Vicki Weinberg:

not just like scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, then I think it's fine.

Vicki Weinberg:

But as you said on your site, the cards are really well organized.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think people would know where to go.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I mean, let's face it as well there are card shops probably have an even

Vicki Weinberg:

bigger range of cards, but it's just like, it just comes down to how you

Vicki Weinberg:

categorize them and break them down.

Sasha Gupta:

I think having your own website is magic for that, because

Sasha Gupta:

actually I can have an unlimited amount of cards provided there, like packaged

Sasha Gupta:

in the right way because I still look at cards and I'm like, oh, actually my

Sasha Gupta:

home range is missing a bit more sass or like I could do with a few more

Sasha Gupta:

funnier birthday I mean a baby cards.

Sasha Gupta:

So I think I'll always.

Sasha Gupta:

Loads of cards, but when we did wholesale, that was tricky because I

Sasha Gupta:

realized then that shops don't care.

Sasha Gupta:

They don't want to like go through a thousand products.

Sasha Gupta:

So I did just have to like massively cut it down.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, but I just went with the bestsellers for each category.

Sasha Gupta:

So it didn't feel too painful.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's actually, that's a nice segue.

Vicki Weinberg:

Actually.

Vicki Weinberg:

Let's actually talk a little bit about wholesale, cause I know that's

Vicki Weinberg:

something, um, that you've had quite a journey on, shall we say?

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, and I know it's something you started and then stopped and then

Vicki Weinberg:

have just recently picked up again.

Vicki Weinberg:

So do you want to talk about home wholesale and sort of where you

Vicki Weinberg:

started and where you are now and what's happened in between and I

Vicki Weinberg:

might interrupt and ask the questions.

Sasha Gupta:

Of course, please do so.

Sasha Gupta:

I've always been skeptical of like trade shows and stuff.

Sasha Gupta:

Cause I just thought, why am I going to spend two grand

Sasha Gupta:

for no one to buy my cards?

Sasha Gupta:

That was like very much my attitude probably wasn't right.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, I've been since working with Therese, the wholesale collaborative,

Sasha Gupta:

no what's she called Small

Vicki Weinberg:

Business Collaborative.

Vicki Weinberg:

She was actually, um, I'm just going to mention on a podcast episode

Vicki Weinberg:

recently, which I'm also going to link to in the show notes, because I think

Vicki Weinberg:

you'll, don't mind me saying Sasha.

Vicki Weinberg:

she's amazing when it comes to wholesale, she knows everything.

Vicki Weinberg:

She's got some great advice.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I'll link through to that.

Vicki Weinberg:

Cause I think that's really relevant.

Sasha Gupta:

Yeah.

Sasha Gupta:

She completely changed my life wholesale wise.

Sasha Gupta:

So before I worked with Therese, I cold called.

Sasha Gupta:

This is funny.

Sasha Gupta:

Sometimes don't you find not knowing is great because it makes you just

Sasha Gupta:

take action, becauseI didn't know anything about how it all works.

Sasha Gupta:

I just caught a shop and I was like, hi, I've got really good cards.

Sasha Gupta:

And then turns out they were a national store and they had 50

Sasha Gupta:

stores didn't realize, um, and they were like come to our place.

Sasha Gupta:

So I went to the place and I had some of the toughest conversations

Sasha Gupta:

with I, and they were like, obviously everything will be barcoded.

Sasha Gupta:

I was like, obviously didn't even know how you get a barcode.

Sasha Gupta:

Okay.

Sasha Gupta:

And I was like, sure, of course it'll be barcoded.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, and then they gave me a price that I needed to get to

Sasha Gupta:

and their price was outrageous.

Sasha Gupta:

And I was so excited to have got the order because I think

Sasha Gupta:

they would have liked 7,000.

Sasha Gupta:

I took the price and I think, I can't remember it, but I made pennies a card.

Sasha Gupta:

It wasn't worth it.

Sasha Gupta:

I think for the amount of cards they ordered, it wasn't worth it.

Sasha Gupta:

Like, I think I might've made a couple of grand in total, but the

Sasha Gupta:

amount of labor and stuff, that was it, just, my family became a sweat

Sasha Gupta:

shop and we got these cards out.

Sasha Gupta:

So like ever since then, I was like, um, it was so funny because to the

Sasha Gupta:

outside world, it looked so successful.

Sasha Gupta:

Like everyone started seeing my cards, like in these shops everywhere,

Sasha Gupta:

but for, from a bottom line perspective, it just wasn't worth it..

Vicki Weinberg:

And presumably you had to print all those cards, put them in

Vicki Weinberg:

envelopes packaged them up, put them in boxes, send them to these stores.

Sasha Gupta:

It was awful Like we had.

Sasha Gupta:

Uh, the first order was about, I think, 7,000.

Sasha Gupta:

We were handpacking.

Sasha Gupta:

And also we don't just put them in envelopes because when they're going

Sasha Gupta:

to stores, you have to put them in cello wraps and our house is full when

Sasha Gupta:

you, I don't know if anyone's ever had to do this, but when you seal a

Sasha Gupta:

cello wrap, you've got these little flimsy bits that come off the end and

Sasha Gupta:

you can never get them off your hands.

Sasha Gupta:

And like, I think weeks after the order, I was still finding them like in cupboards,

Sasha Gupta:

like just these little package bits.

Sasha Gupta:

So it completely like took over my entire house.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, And yeah, so it was, it was one of those things where it looked

Sasha Gupta:

really shiny on the outside, but actually just wasn't worth it.

Sasha Gupta:

So I was really cynical about wholesale.

Sasha Gupta:

Then I started working with Therese and she was kind of.

Sasha Gupta:

Made me see that it is possible to make it work profitably.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, and it was interesting because selling to a normal people's fine.

Sasha Gupta:

I obviously I'm proud of my cards.

Sasha Gupta:

I think they're great, but it made me realize I had a

Sasha Gupta:

lot of insecurity in myself.

Sasha Gupta:

You know, when you're trying to sell to a shop, I started to think

Sasha Gupta:

like, oh, oh, are cards even funny?

Sasha Gupta:

Are they as good as other people's cards?

Sasha Gupta:

And then Therese kind of said to me, like, Sasha, you sold 50,000 cards to people.

Sasha Gupta:

Like online.

Sasha Gupta:

So why is this different?

Sasha Gupta:

Like, it will be fine.

Sasha Gupta:

And I think it's really interesting, but once you get over, like the mindset

Sasha Gupta:

stuff, um, touch wood, I think it's going to be really helpful because say so at

Sasha Gupta:

the moment, I think we're hoping, I think the target is to hopefully get to like

Sasha Gupta:

10 customers by the end of this year.

Sasha Gupta:

Like regulars and it's not too far off.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, but imagine I can grow that to 50 by like this time next year

Sasha Gupta:

or a hundred this time, next year.

Sasha Gupta:

And you realize like, it would take so much pressure off,

Sasha Gupta:

like your income a little bit.

Sasha Gupta:

So yeah, that's been a bit of a journey for me

Vicki Weinberg:

and it'll put you in front of more people obviously as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, it all sounds good.

Vicki Weinberg:

Have you, what have you learned about sort of like the process side of things?

Vicki Weinberg:

So, cause I'm, I'm guessing, so if you do end up with 10 regular customers,

Vicki Weinberg:

have you thought about what you might need to do differently in order to

Vicki Weinberg:

actually fulfill those orders as well as fulfilling your everyday

Vicki Weinberg:

orders you get through your website?

Vicki Weinberg:

Cause it sounds like that could be, want to say a big jump.

Vicki Weinberg:

I hope, you know, how, how, I mean that, I mean, in terms of the number

Vicki Weinberg:

of cards you're having to produce on like a daily, weekly, monthly

Vicki Weinberg:

basis, that could be a huge jump.

Vicki Weinberg:

So have you thought about that at all?

Sasha Gupta:

Um, not yet, because I think I'm a little bit like deal with

Sasha Gupta:

it when it comes to at the moment.

Sasha Gupta:

It's not too crazy because you to do a hundred cards, isn't too time consuming

Sasha Gupta:

for us to manage, but I've had to put in separate processes to be like priority

Sasha Gupta:

each day is to get today's orders done then it's the wholesale order

Sasha Gupta:

afterwards, if you know what I mean?

Sasha Gupta:

Because, um, so if we think of them as two separate things, and then

Sasha Gupta:

I've got a system in place now, so like I kind of, I do need to make

Sasha Gupta:

our invoicing system a lot smoother.

Sasha Gupta:

Cause it takes me a long time to manually copy in each line

Sasha Gupta:

of what everyone's orders.

Sasha Gupta:

So there's definitely things that need to be.

Sasha Gupta:

Fixed within that.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, but also weirdly where I do have a system is more for the selling

Sasha Gupta:

thanks to Therese than anywhere else.

Sasha Gupta:

So now I use Trello and I have like a board that tells me like

Sasha Gupta:

all of the leads and like they're all into different columns.

Sasha Gupta:

So like this week is like contact.

Sasha Gupta:

So one section is like, have contacted that after I've

Sasha Gupta:

contacted to the first week.

Sasha Gupta:

I put them in section two, which is like send a sample pack

Sasha Gupta:

as, so it gives me a really.

Sasha Gupta:

clear view what's really cool is what she's done is for my existing customers.

Sasha Gupta:

I have like columns, like months.

Sasha Gupta:

So when do each month, I know when the last ordered, so say somebody last

Sasha Gupta:

ordered in November that I set a reminder on Trello to email them in January for

Sasha Gupta:

Valentine's day, or if they last ordered in like August, I'd have a note in October

Sasha Gupta:

to say, Hey, how are the cards going?

Sasha Gupta:

By the way, we've got these new shiny Christmas lines.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, and so actually I found that having a system for selling.

Sasha Gupta:

One of the biggest, because you don't have time to second guess yourself

Sasha Gupta:

when it's like already systemized.

Sasha Gupta:

Does that make sense?

Sasha Gupta:

You can't talk yourself out of like approaching somebody if it's in

Sasha Gupta:

your diary to approach them about.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, that makes sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

And it sounds like, so first of all, it sounds like you weren't too

Vicki Weinberg:

worried about contacting people.

Vicki Weinberg:

You were saying you were just picking up the phone and not really know what

Vicki Weinberg:

you were doing, but after you'd had some sort of, I don't want to say that.

Vicki Weinberg:

I don't know if they were bad experiences, but let's say challenging experiences.

Vicki Weinberg:

You can tell me if they were bad.

Vicki Weinberg:

I don't know.

Sasha Gupta:

Oh they were awful.

Vicki Weinberg:

Did that change how you felt about picking up

Vicki Weinberg:

the phone and talk to people?

Sasha Gupta:

Definitely, definitely.

Sasha Gupta:

Like I said, one person the chat was doing really well.

Sasha Gupta:

Then I told him that I'd need him to pay pro forma invoice

Sasha Gupta:

instead of 30 daycredit terms.

Sasha Gupta:

And he swore at me and hung up and I was like, oh, okay.

Sasha Gupta:

So that one was pretty shit.

Sasha Gupta:

Then I had, um, yeah, not making people out of the monsters.

Sasha Gupta:

I'm really not like most people are lovely, but after doing, I imagine

Sasha Gupta:

when you're calling and calling and calling like, you know, you've had like

Sasha Gupta:

30 phone calls in a day and they will no, one's really been that interested.

Sasha Gupta:

It, it does make you feel a way, but I think I had to like, realize,

Sasha Gupta:

like, it doesn't matter, like there's like however many shops in the

Sasha Gupta:

UK, even if I can get 2% of them.

Sasha Gupta:

Then I would be happy, like I would making loads of money.

Sasha Gupta:

And so I had to realize that I almost started telling myself that

Sasha Gupta:

every person that said no, I'm just closer to the person that said yeah.

Sasha Gupta:

And almost just like not well, so I don't know if this is true for you.

Sasha Gupta:

I know you had your own business but like trying not to see

Sasha Gupta:

it as a reflection of you.

Sasha Gupta:

So people said no to the business.

Sasha Gupta:

I'm like, they said no to me.

Sasha Gupta:

And it's like, well,

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, I think that's a really good attitude thinking like every

Vicki Weinberg:

no is getting close to a yes, because, and I really resonate with what you said

Vicki Weinberg:

about taking it personally, because when it's your products and you've designed

Vicki Weinberg:

them and you've put like your heart and your soul and your time and your

Vicki Weinberg:

money and everything else into them, it does feel like they're rejecting you.

Vicki Weinberg:

So if they say, no, I don't want your, your things.

Vicki Weinberg:

It does feel like you got like.

Vicki Weinberg:

This is, you know, the saying no to me, but then not, of course, you

Vicki Weinberg:

know, it might just be that they've already got their own stocks of cards

Vicki Weinberg:

or whatever the product is that it is really hard not to take it personally.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, and yeah, and, and not to take, but for me, anyway, I remember feeling like

Vicki Weinberg:

when I was getting nos for anything, I just used to feel like, oh, they don't

Vicki Weinberg:

like me, but it's nothing to do with you.

Vicki Weinberg:

And like, I think once you get sort of your ego out of

Vicki Weinberg:

the way, it really does help.

Sasha Gupta:

It's weird because it's like, obviously in that situation,

Sasha Gupta:

you're upset because you're.

Sasha Gupta:

Your ego, if anything is diminished, it's not like you're being

Sasha Gupta:

arrogant, but it is the case.

Sasha Gupta:

It's still, you need to just get your ego out of the way in the sense of, it's

Sasha Gupta:

not about us, but like I found that hard.

Sasha Gupta:

I didn't necessarily have but even like friends, like when I was like,

Sasha Gupta:

oh, they're just, they don't love like they're not super interested in my

Sasha Gupta:

business or they don't love my cards.

Sasha Gupta:

I felt really like sad.

Sasha Gupta:

And then I realized like my friends are dentist.

Sasha Gupta:

I don't call her and be like, how was picking teeth today?

Sasha Gupta:

Like, I don't do that.

Sasha Gupta:

I've never done that.

Sasha Gupta:

So why just because I've started my own business.

Sasha Gupta:

Do I expect that same level of thing.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, so I have to deal with it with that.

Sasha Gupta:

And then I had to deal with my ego with wholesale tier and just be like,

Sasha Gupta:

you know, you're just not going to be everyone's cup of tea in the same

Sasha Gupta:

way that I don't like everything, but that doesn't mean I hate people.

Vicki Weinberg:

Does that make sense?

Vicki Weinberg:

For me is I really don't like it when people don't respect what you

Vicki Weinberg:

do, because it's your own thing.

Vicki Weinberg:

And they kind of think you've got like a, I'm saying little in air quotes.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think you've got like a little business or a hobby and they don't take it as

Vicki Weinberg:

seriously as if you were employed and you could be doing exactly the same thing.

Vicki Weinberg:

But if you worked for Clintons, they take you really seriously.

Vicki Weinberg:

But because it's your own thing, they're like, oh yeah, Your little hobby or

Vicki Weinberg:

your little side business or whatever.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's what I find quite offensive.

Vicki Weinberg:

Other than that is fine.

Sasha Gupta:

I get that a lot.

Vicki Weinberg:

Do you?

Sasha Gupta:

No, no.

Sasha Gupta:

I think I can understand what caused, why that would like not

Sasha Gupta:

be okay because they are just dismissing your kind of livelihood.

Sasha Gupta:

But like, I definitely get a lot of that but I don't know.

Sasha Gupta:

There's something a bit like unhinged about me, but whenever someone's like

Sasha Gupta:

that with me, I just sort of enjoy it.

Sasha Gupta:

I just kind of like save it in a bank of my head of just like motivation.

Sasha Gupta:

And I'm just kind of like, yeah, that's fine.

Sasha Gupta:

That's really good.

Vicki Weinberg:

Possibly it says you've got more self confidence than I do.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think to be honest, it hasn't happened to me for a long time, but when it did,

Vicki Weinberg:

I used to take severe offense to it.

Vicki Weinberg:

So yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

Maybe emotionally.

Sasha Gupta:

I mean, I've had a lot of therapy as well

Sasha Gupta:

although

Vicki Weinberg:

I'm really pleased that that doesn't get you that because

Vicki Weinberg:

I feel like it's really like having your own business is hard anyway.

Vicki Weinberg:

And when like everyone around, you isn't, even if they're not being

Vicki Weinberg:

dismissive, if they're not being fully supportive, it can be hard.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I'm really glad that you don't have those feelings about.

Sasha Gupta:

Did you ever have people have like quite intrusive questions

Sasha Gupta:

that they wouldn't ask you, if you didn't have your own business,

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah like how much you earning.

Sasha Gupta:

And I was like, when I was working in law, you never

Sasha Gupta:

once asked me how much I earn, but today you're going to be at lunch.

Sasha Gupta:

It'd be like, how much money have you made this month?

Sasha Gupta:

How much money have you made bitch?

Sasha Gupta:

Do you know what I mean?

Sasha Gupta:

It just felt a little bit like, excuse me.

Sasha Gupta:

I just wonder if that was the same for you.

Sasha Gupta:

Like just this thing of when you start a small business, people just

Sasha Gupta:

suddenly think that the other it's a weird, like perception shift in

Sasha Gupta:

terms of questions that you got.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, I know what you mean.

Vicki Weinberg:

And like the generous part of me that it does feel like some, I think part of

Vicki Weinberg:

it is genuine curiosity because I think, I think there are lots more people who

Vicki Weinberg:

would like to have their own business to do their own thing than actually do.

Vicki Weinberg:

And so there's a part of me that thinks that some of these questions

Vicki Weinberg:

are like, they're going, I wonder if I could do that, but would I make

Vicki Weinberg:

enough money to cover my mortgage?

Vicki Weinberg:

You know, you know, like I think part of it is I think part of it might be

Vicki Weinberg:

that, I mean, some of it, it, I think it kind of depends on who's asking you

Vicki Weinberg:

know who's asking and where they're coming from, but I do I think a lot

Vicki Weinberg:

of people that I speak to, I think are more, I think are coming from a place

Vicki Weinberg:

of oh I would quite like to do that.

Vicki Weinberg:

And they're just trying to suss it out, trying to think,

Vicki Weinberg:

okay, is she making a living?

Vicki Weinberg:

And you know what I mean?

Vicki Weinberg:

And I kind of get that?

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, because I think that is such a scary thing to do.

Vicki Weinberg:

And.

Vicki Weinberg:

Uh, when I started my business before that I hadn't, I'd already left my corporate

Vicki Weinberg:

career and I've been doing something else.

Vicki Weinberg:

It didn't, it wasn't a, as much of a big leap, but say you're like working

Vicki Weinberg:

a full-time corporate job as you were.

Vicki Weinberg:

And you're thinking of leaving that, that slightly.

Sasha Gupta:

Yeah, it's really scary.

Sasha Gupta:

I mean, like I moved back home as well, which helped like, yeah, I can't

Sasha Gupta:

deny, like I can't pretend that it isn't scary and I think you're right,

Sasha Gupta:

actually maybe I'm being a bit cynical.

Sasha Gupta:

Well, no, some people would just being nosy, but I agree that like

Sasha Gupta:

there's those that want to ask those questions from that perspective.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

Cause it is so scary to do isn't it?

Sasha Gupta:

Yeah.

Sasha Gupta:

It's scary.

Sasha Gupta:

I don't think as well, that it's a case of it doesn't work because obviously

Sasha Gupta:

sometimes it doesn't always work, but, you know, there were times for

Sasha Gupta:

me where things have gone horribly wrong, but I think if you're consistent

Sasha Gupta:

enough and you keep at it for long enough, I don't know anyone where it

Sasha Gupta:

hasn't, they haven't figured it out.

Sasha Gupta:

Whether they've had to pivot a lot or not, like if they might've

Sasha Gupta:

had to change a lot of things.

Sasha Gupta:

But I think if you're willing to change and learn, I think

Sasha Gupta:

you can kind of figure out.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, I think I see what you mean.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think that's right.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think that, like you said, even if it is a big, you know, even if it's

Vicki Weinberg:

a big pivot, like a complete 180, I think that, yeah, if you keep, I think

Vicki Weinberg:

there's a lot of sense of consistency.

Vicki Weinberg:

Isn't there.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, And I was talking to a friend recent, he starts up a completely

Vicki Weinberg:

different business and she's a few months in and we'll say, no,

Vicki Weinberg:

she hasn't made a lot of money.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I was saying, well, if you keep going, I truly, truly believe you will.

Vicki Weinberg:

But the main thing is you just have to keep going.

Vicki Weinberg:

And it's, I think it's getting through that hard, early stage

Vicki Weinberg:

where you're not quite sure.

Vicki Weinberg:

What's working.

Vicki Weinberg:

And that's what I think that's when, I mean, we also make mistakes now, but I

Vicki Weinberg:

think that early bit where you're making mistake after mistake, potentially.

Vicki Weinberg:

I know noteveryone does.

Vicki Weinberg:

I did mistake after mistake.

Vicki Weinberg:

It's that's a bit where it's like, am I cut out for this?

Vicki Weinberg:

Should I be doing it?

Vicki Weinberg:

And I think if you can get through that, Then I think you, you

Vicki Weinberg:

know, you do stand a much better chance, but I read the statistic.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think a lot of businesses do, um, stop fairly early on.

Vicki Weinberg:

And with some of them, I do feel like, and obviously everyone has their own reasons,

Vicki Weinberg:

but I do think with some of them, if people sort of kept going, you never know,

Vicki Weinberg:

do you, what might be around the corner?

Vicki Weinberg:

Where if you give it another six months and not everyone

Vicki Weinberg:

can can for various reasons.

Vicki Weinberg:

But, um, I do think for lots of us and almost everyone I've spoken

Vicki Weinberg:

to the beginning been really, really tough for different reasons.

Sasha Gupta:

Yeah, no, I completely agree.

Sasha Gupta:

I think, I think back to the, when I first started, I quit law.

Sasha Gupta:

I thought we had that kind of year to go.

Sasha Gupta:

Those first three to four months were awful.

Sasha Gupta:

Like, because nothing was fully kicking off to where it needed to be.

Sasha Gupta:

And I had, like, I was working at my grandparents' office.

Sasha Gupta:

I work upstairs and like they were watching over me and they could see,

Sasha Gupta:

you know, now orders were coming in.

Sasha Gupta:

And like, that felt really scary.

Sasha Gupta:

And I remember that time, it was really hard.

Sasha Gupta:

I kind of had.

Sasha Gupta:

I have tunnel vision and almost not care about the results and just keep

Sasha Gupta:

putting in the consistent action.

Sasha Gupta:

I'm just focused on the action and not let my fear of the results kind

Sasha Gupta:

of cloud me if that makes sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, that does make sense because I think everything takes

Vicki Weinberg:

much longer than you think it does.

Vicki Weinberg:

And you see people on Instagram and you feel like they've come out of nowhere but

Vicki Weinberg:

they haven't have they they've probably been plugging away for years and you only.

Vicki Weinberg:

You know, you've only just noticed them.

Vicki Weinberg:

It's not that they've been an overnight success.

Vicki Weinberg:

I don't think there's such a thing.

Sasha Gupta:

I don't think so.

Sasha Gupta:

I think it can definitely look that way.

Sasha Gupta:

I'm sure people look at our card shop actually, because I remember when I was

Sasha Gupta:

first starting, so I look at loads of people card shop and be like on they've

Sasha Gupta:

just instantly come out of nowhere and they're huge and I'm sure, like we're

Sasha Gupta:

not huge at all, but I think people might think like, oh, they seem to

Sasha Gupta:

be doing like making more sales, like overnight and it's yeah, it's just not.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

And that's why I love having these conversations because I think it's

Vicki Weinberg:

really good for people to hear that, you know, yes, you're, you know, doing well

Vicki Weinberg:

now, but actually there have been those hard times, you know, in the outset.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I think that's really important for people to hear that because sometimes it

Vicki Weinberg:

can get, especially on Instagram, it can look like everyone's do better than you.

Vicki Weinberg:

Everyone's further ahead than you.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, and not everyone shares the hard stuff.

Sasha Gupta:

Yeah, and to be fair, they're not going to, but I think I'm

Sasha Gupta:

really glad that you do stuff like this.

Sasha Gupta:

Cause I listened to things like this, just to remind me that same thing.

Sasha Gupta:

And then I have to think about my own life.

Sasha Gupta:

Like I love my gran to death and I love my family business and I

Sasha Gupta:

love that we worked together, but sometimes it's infuriating at times.

Sasha Gupta:

Like things will go wrong and like, you know, but that's just part of it.

Sasha Gupta:

Isn't it.

Sasha Gupta:

And it's both.

Sasha Gupta:

Do you think it's easy to forget that when you kind of think only you have

Sasha Gupta:

the hard stuff and then when you're looking at other people's businesses.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

You're really good about being honest about things like that,

Vicki Weinberg:

actually, which I think is great.

Sasha Gupta:

Yeah.

Sasha Gupta:

I have to be careful sometimes.

Sasha Gupta:

So I'm like, there's only so honest I can be in for like somebody, like my

Sasha Gupta:

grandparents like my gran will hit me.

Sasha Gupta:

So like I have to try and find these like weird balances between like what's.

Sasha Gupta:

Okay.

Sasha Gupta:

What's not.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, that must be like a fine.

Vicki Weinberg:

Very fine line.

Sasha Gupta:

Yeah.

Sasha Gupta:

I do sometimes think I veer a little close to the edge.

Vicki Weinberg:

So one final question, Sasha, if you don't mind, which is

Vicki Weinberg:

what would your number one piece of advice be for someone else who wanted

Vicki Weinberg:

to sort of start up their own business, particularly one selling products?

Vicki Weinberg:

What would you say?

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, that'd be something you'd want people to take away from this.

Sasha Gupta:

I want it to be useful.

Sasha Gupta:

So I'm thinking I'll be honest, practically for me, is it before Facebook

Sasha Gupta:

ads kicked off about the best thing that I did for my business and it won't be

Sasha Gupta:

the same for everybody, but as I felt, I felt I sold on third party channels.

Sasha Gupta:

So to start with, um, putting yourself on whatever's right for

Sasha Gupta:

you, whether it be Amazon cos I know you do a lot with that or Etsy or

Sasha Gupta:

eBay, I sold on all three of those.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, and that was probably the best thing I did because it allowed me to

Sasha Gupta:

get money in fairly quickly with low effort and get kind of low costs and

Sasha Gupta:

get an immediate answer as to like, does anybody want this which designs do well?

Sasha Gupta:

So I think before you, cause like doing all your other marketing takes a lot of

Sasha Gupta:

time to build, so wherever you can kind of bring revenue in kind of straight

Sasha Gupta:

away, I think you should definitely do.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, that's really good advice.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I think that makes sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

I did the same initially I started off, I thought we were asked back

Vicki Weinberg:

before I started off selling on Amazon.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, because like you say those, those marketplaces, whatever ones they

Vicki Weinberg:

might be for your products, there's customers there, because the hardest

Vicki Weinberg:

thing initially is getting customers to come to you wherever that's your

Vicki Weinberg:

social media, whether that's your website, um, they don't know you.

Vicki Weinberg:

They've never heard of you.

Vicki Weinberg:

It's much, much harder to get traffic to your site.

Vicki Weinberg:

Isn't it than it is to get traffic initially.

Sasha Gupta:

And like, you should still a hundred percent, I would say, do your

Sasha Gupta:

social media, but your social media is going to be frustrating in my experience,

Sasha Gupta:

at least at the start, it's a slow build and it's going to be frustrating.

Sasha Gupta:

So I would definitely make sure that you're getting increments where,

Sasha Gupta:

where you can, and then still working on your social media, because at,

Sasha Gupta:

at least as that building it's.

Sasha Gupta:

You're still getting money.

Sasha Gupta:

And also the customers that are coming to you from you, the platforms, you know,

Sasha Gupta:

it's the basic stuff like giving them a thank you note that kind of references

Sasha Gupta:

either your social media or your main website, and then bringing them over.

Sasha Gupta:

But if you didn't, if I think back and I didn't have any of that kind

Sasha Gupta:

of third-party benefit of traffic and it was just me doing my social

Sasha Gupta:

media from scratch, I would definitely find that quite disheartening.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, I think you're right.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I suppose at the same about website as well, I still think

Vicki Weinberg:

if you start selling on Etsy, for example, have a website anyway.

Vicki Weinberg:

Even if it's quite basic, you might not have everything on there.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, just have your own place as well, because while you're making

Vicki Weinberg:

your sales on, let's say Etsy, you can be building up your website.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's something you can do it in the background.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, yeah, you definitely don't need to have it all from day one.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, but like you say, you need to be getting some money from somewhere.

Vicki Weinberg:

So yeah, I think that's fantastic advice.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, and I guess the other thing is just kind of, it's

Sasha Gupta:

like, I'm sure that you'll have people that talk about this a lot better.

Sasha Gupta:

Like I am, and I'm sure you've made this cause it sounds like both of us, at

Sasha Gupta:

least we didn't have the most confidence, like what we're doing at the start.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, cause like also your own insecurity, et cetera.

Sasha Gupta:

But the biggest piece of advice I'd give you is just like tunnel

Sasha Gupta:

vision and just keep going almost like turn off the part of you.

Sasha Gupta:

That's like, cause you don't really have time to explore the part of your.

Sasha Gupta:

What if it fails, like you just, don't, it's a waste of your time,

Sasha Gupta:

that entire thought process.

Sasha Gupta:

And so just try and have as much tunnel vision as possible, and just

Sasha Gupta:

keep focusing on the next task and the next task and the next task.

Sasha Gupta:

And then like momentum will start to like build.

Sasha Gupta:

I promise you it will build it feels like it wont but it will.

Sasha Gupta:

Yeah, well,

Vicki Weinberg:

that's fantastic advice.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I'll also, if you don't mind, I'm just gonna add one thing to that and say

Vicki Weinberg:

with that tunnel vision, try not to pay too much attention to what other people

Vicki Weinberg:

are doing, because if you're constantly comparing yourself, I think that nothing

Vicki Weinberg:

can drain your confidence, that looking at competitor on Instagram or whatever that.

Vicki Weinberg:

But, you know what I mean?

Vicki Weinberg:

However well you're doing, if you start comparing yourself

Vicki Weinberg:

to other people, I don't think you're ever going to win that one.

Sasha Gupta:

It can happen to me now.

Sasha Gupta:

I'll see like, oh, the card shops are even okay.

Sasha Gupta:

I'm a bit ridiculous.

Sasha Gupta:

I'll see Moonpig and then I'll get really upset.

Sasha Gupta:

It's like, well, they're Moonpig Sasha calm down but like, yeah, I just, I don't

Sasha Gupta:

think it's a healthy, a healthy space.

Sasha Gupta:

Like, I don't think it's beneficial

Vicki Weinberg:

yeah, I don't, I don't know either.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I think, and also I think my hope for you Sasha I would say as well,

Vicki Weinberg:

and I'm sure you, like, you do know this, but for you, I think what you

Vicki Weinberg:

can offer that Moonpig can't is great.

Vicki Weinberg:

Cause they're like fake.

Vicki Weinberg:

You mean what you do is pretty much the same.

Vicki Weinberg:

You offer really good cards and you can offer the personalization and everything,

Vicki Weinberg:

but what's special about you is that your card and that your personality

Vicki Weinberg:

and there's like a face behind it.

Vicki Weinberg:

And we see you and we see your nan and they can't do that and don't do that.

Vicki Weinberg:

So yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's what I'd say to anyone.

Vicki Weinberg:

Who's sort of comparing themselves to bigger companies, as well as it you've

Vicki Weinberg:

got something that they can't have.

Vicki Weinberg:

They're too big for that now, do you know what I mean?

Sasha Gupta:

Yeah, completely.

Sasha Gupta:

I'm really glad you said that actually, because somebody else

Sasha Gupta:

had that's when I started out.

Sasha Gupta:

Cause I was like, no, I don't want to show my face.

Sasha Gupta:

it's like unprofessional.

Sasha Gupta:

Like, and then somebody said to me, like, think about why you buy from people.

Sasha Gupta:

And actually, when you think about it, chances are you do like buying

Sasha Gupta:

from a business, you a small business where you knew the face and

Sasha Gupta:

you're like, I like what they do.

Sasha Gupta:

And so then you realize like, oh, well the people will feel the same way about you.

Sasha Gupta:

So if you think about how, what you like to buy, why you like to buy from

Sasha Gupta:

places that might help you like, realize like, oh, actually that is a thing.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I also realize saying this to you.

Vicki Weinberg:

I'm a little bit of a hypocrite, cause I'm really scared of to

Vicki Weinberg:

put my face out there as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I'm just probably reminded me that I need to start doing it as well.

Sasha Gupta:

I actually really enjoy your content.

Sasha Gupta:

You did.

Sasha Gupta:

Um, what did you do?

Sasha Gupta:

Was it like you did quizzes as well where, you could tell from

Sasha Gupta:

like the branded the bottle and we had to work out what brand it was.

Sasha Gupta:

Was it like something, but I also think it is worth saying that if

Sasha Gupta:

you don't want to show your face.

Sasha Gupta:

You can still build a brand online without doing it.

Sasha Gupta:

If you're so against it, like there are ways to do it.

Sasha Gupta:

Like you've had some really good, I really enjoyed that.

Sasha Gupta:

And it showed me that I learn about what you did, but you

Sasha Gupta:

weren't showing your face.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

I'll thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

But I'm still going to try and show my face.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, thank you so much for talking to me.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you so much.

Vicki Weinberg:

Everything you've shared.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, I'm going to link free to everything that you do in the show

Vicki Weinberg:

notes, so people can come and find you and find your cards and yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you so much.

Sasha Gupta:

No seriously thank you I've had a great time.

Vicki Weinberg:

Okay.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you so much for listening all the way 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, you can find

Vicki Weinberg:

me at www.Vickiweinberg.com.

Vicki Weinberg:

There you'll find links to all of my social channels.

Vicki Weinberg:

You'll find lots more information.

Vicki Weinberg:

Well, one of the past podcasts, episodes, and lots of free resources too.

Vicki Weinberg:

So again, that's Vicki weinberg.com.

Vicki Weinberg:

Take care, have a good week and see you next time.