Do you want to monetize your brand? Do you want to engage your audience through real, non-digital means? Are you ready to become the InfluentrepreneurTM (Influencer + Entrepreneur) you were always meant to be?
Today, more and more influencers use private labelling – selling pre-made products under your own branding – to earn revenue and provide followers with a high-quality product that they can trust, because it’s yours!
As an influencer, you already have an online audience. And if you currently promote products on your page, then you also have a solid base of people who rely on your product recommendations. With this, becoming a CEO is as easy as:
- Pick a good product
- Apply your logo and brand
- Choose a shipping provider
- Sell your products online
There are many success stories from influencers turned CEOs, like our adorable canine friend Humphrey and his owner’s brand, Spotted by Humphrey. And companies like inKLOUT exist to help influencers design and market their own products.
But if you’re among the brave souls that want to tackle this journey yourself, this how-to guide will break down each of the three steps (especially the complicated logistics-side of things) to get you on your way to becoming CEO of your own e-commerce brand.
4 Steps to Become an Influencer + Entrepreneur
The private labelling business is very straightforward. You pick a product from a manufacturer, you brand the product, you sell the product, and you get the product to the customer’s doorstep.
You may have heard the term Dropshipping before, but this simply means that the manufacturer handles the final step for you and ships the product to your customers. We’ll get into this later on in Step 3…
So let’s get into the four steps to start your very own e-commerce private label business.
Step 1: Pick a Good Product
The most important thing to do when starting a private label business is to ask yourself the important questions, like:
- Why do people follow you?
- What is your passion or niche?
- What are your peers selling?
Answers to these questions will help you pick a product that is relevant to your personal image and content.
The search begins. Depending on your theme or category, whether it’s fashion, beauty, wellness, etc., you want to search for trending products in your personal domain, or products that you personally use and believe in.
Avoid over-saturated items. You want to stay ahead of trends, not lag behind them. Whatever product you choose, make sure that there isn’t too much competition. Typically, products that have a smaller amount of reviews (<1,000) on Amazon or on the private label manufacturer website are good candidates, as long as they are high quality.
Pick Your Manufacturer. Search on sites like Thomasnet, Alibaba, AliExpress or Google. Simply type “*your product* private label” and see the list of results. Be sure to ask about cost of goods, shipping cost, and turnaround time for any order.
Here is a list of Private Label manufacturers based on category. And as mentioned earlier, companies like inKLOUT can help you design or select a product for your brand.
Note: Most manufacturers do only use cashier’s check or a money wire for payment.
Step 2: Apply Your Logo and Brand
Your company now needs a name, a logo, a product label, and a slogan. This is your opportunity to tell your story, so have some fun with it.
It’s important to select a name that resonates with your brand and with your audience. It’s equally important to make sure the name you choose isn’t already taken, because you will want to be able to trademark your name for a site domain and social media.
Shopify has a Business Name Generator that you can use to search for and create your perfect business name.
When you think of logos, what comes to mind? The Nike Swoosh? The McDonald’s Golden Arches? Right from the start, these companies knew that a thoughtful logo has a huge impact on your audience.
If you already have a great idea for your logo, sketch it out! Then, if you aren’t already a master at Photoshop, consider using a Graphic Designer to create a digital copy of your logo. We also recommend using a professional because you will need multiple image sizes for product labels, social media, website, and more.
Graphic Designers can also help you brainstorm ideas for a logo if you don’t already have one. Sites like 99designs, Fiverr, and Upwork have loads of freelance Graphic Designers that can help you create your logo.
Typically, the private labelling manufacturer creates the product label for you, once they have your company logo and name. Given the manufacturer, you can customize the labelling as much or as little as you’d like, so be sure to ask about the manufacturer’s capabilities during your search.
“Just Do It.”– Nike
“I’m Lovin’ It.” — McDonald’s
“We Throw in Extra Parts to Mess With You” — Ikea (not really)
Your slogan is your one sentence summary of your company and your brand. It should be something to grab your audience’s attention and showcase your company.
Step 3: Choose a Shipping Provider
In the most simple terms, you have three options when it comes to shipping.
The manufacturer sends you the product directly, and you store it in your home … or a warehouse, storage locker or shed. From there, you pack the product in a box/package and use USPS, FedEx or another delivery service to send it to the customer. This is called in-house fulfillment, because you do it entirely by yourself, most likely in your house.
This is the cheapest option, with just an upfront investment for a $200 label printer, but also the most time-consuming and the most difficult to guarantee quality service. Not to mention, you are responsible for handling product returns.
Keep in mind you are competing with brands that offer 2-day shipping and free returns. And when you start to sell a lot of products, you may find it hard to grow your business while spending all your time putting your products in boxes and taking trips to the post office.
A company will store the product in their large network of warehouses and will ship the products on your behalf. For a set per-item fee, an eCommerce fulfillment company like ShipHero can help you deliver within two days, help you handle returns, and help you manage inventory.
Fulfillment-by-Amazon (FBA) is a popular example of outsourced fulfillment because you send your product to their warehouse, and for a per-item fee, Amazon will deliver your products.
The factory/wholesaler will also pack and ship it directly to your customer, bypassing you entirely. This allows business owners to take a hands-off approach to the operation of their business, and customer satisfaction lies entirely in the hands of the manufacturer.
As a cheap and convenient option, dropshipping also results in lower profit margins, longer shipping times, and less control over your business. But CEOs that want to have a more hands-off approach will choose dropshipping for the minimum involvement required.
Step 4: Sell Your Product Online
With a fully-branded product and a shipping method in place, all that’s left to do is sell.
Whether you want to spread your products to everyone or keep it exclusive is up to you and your brand. You can sign up for Instagram Shopping to post a New Catalog of your products, or you can connect to your website. Instagram allows integrations with Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento and WooCommerce.
Besides your social media channels, you can sell on platforms like Shopify and Amazon to reach a large audience, but Shopify lets you design your own website and gives you more control to build your brand.
There you have it!
The four steps to becoming brand owner and CEO of your very own eCommerce private label company. ShipHero created this influencer how-to guide to help you on your entrepreneurial journey, because ShipHero’s mission is to help businesses deliver their eCommerce.
We’ve shipped over $5 billion orders to date. Each day, more and more businesses are signing up with ShipHero to receive 2-day shipping, return handling and the eco-friendly shipping option with priority ground shipping.