Welcome to the first-ever edition of Brand Report. Each month, we'll break down our monthly revenue so you can see what's working and what's not.
We'll give you aggregated numbers across the eight brands we either own or have significant equity in. In our exclusive Secret Sauce Brand Report, you'll get our numbers broken down brand by brand. We'll also give you a 60-minute class each month detailing one particular thing we're working on right now in our brands that you can use to start and grow your own business. Get the Secret Sauce for your brand.
Revenue for January 2022
Our revenue for January 2022 was $628,481, which was nearly a 15% drop from December's revenue of $730,857. This is not surprising, given the holiday lull. January is also the most magical time of the year as it's the month of returns and refunds!
Two of my brands, Offroading Gear and BTG Gear, had a dismal January due to the fact we are out of stock of roughly 60% of our SKUs. These are both very fair-weather seasonal brands and stock outages late into the winter are somewhat planned to avoid being overstocked in the expensive November and December months when demand for our items is low anyways. While almost all of our spring shipments are now on the water or about to be on the water, given the shipping delays, there's a significant chance the stock outage could be pushed into March, April, or even later, which would be disastrous for 2022's P&L.
IceWraps (one of Mike's brands) had revenue grow nearly 40% over last January due in large part to the fact that January 2021 was one of its worst months in a long time due to an ASIN suspension because of a competitor attack at the time.
Mike and I continued to spend a significant part of our time working with our new Portland-based employee for Knitting.com and working on our initial catalog of products, with the goal of getting them launched in time for the holidays in 2022. Check out the full Knitting.com update for more details.
What We Worked on This Month
Here are some of the things we worked on during January:
- New Employee Onboarding. We welcomed our first full-time, US-based employee for Knitting.com on her first day on the job (more details in next month's Knitting.com update).
- EOS Framework. We worked on our Traction EOS framework for Knitting.com, setting our vision, unique position, and 1/3/5 year goals.
- Moving all of our content sites over to WPEngine. I have a dedicated server with Bluehost that I've run most of my content sites on for many years. It's cheap ($40/month) and works well enough, but it's also slow and vulnerable. After a couple of our content sites got hacked, I finally switched all of our higher traffic sites over to WPengine, which is more expensive but faster and more secure.
Two Things that Worked for Our Brands in January
Here are a couple of things that worked for us in January:
- Refund Manager software switch. We switched a couple of our brands from Seller Locker to GETIDA for seller reimbursements. We pay a smaller fee to GETIDA (roughly 20% vs. 25%) and it integrates with Amazon.ca, which Seller Locker doesn't (at least at the time of writing). GETIDA also has an easier setup for submitting packing lists, proofs of purchases, etc.
- Increasing LOCs with our banks. One of our term loans is expiring soon with the BDC (Canada's version of the SBA, more or less) so I took that opportunity to request bigger LOCs at our banks for the first time in years. The result was nearly a tripling of lending and a lower interest rate. Pro-tip from someone with a commercial banker wife: don't ever let the bank try and convince you to get a term loan over a Line of Credit for your ecommerce company. Most ecommerce companies have ‘bumpy' cash flow needs, i.e., you're cash rich some of the year and cash poor some of the year, and you don't want to be paying thousands in interest for a term loan when you don't need it.
Two Fails for Our Brands in January
Here are a couple of things that didn't work for our brands in January.
- Setting up ads in Mexico to try them out and forgetting to check on them. We set up ads for our NARF listings in Mexico for a couple of our brands late in the fall. I advocate everyone to do this who is using NARF as you can get some extremely cheap and well-performing ads. However, don't forget to check on these ads to see how they're performing. I forgot to do this and only remembered 4 months later. Some of the ad campaigns were sucking cash with terrible performance and should have been turned off long ago.
- Giving up on PPC Software for some of our brands (at least for the time being). For 3 of our brands, we're giving up on PPC and heading back to manual gruntwork and spreadsheets. We've tried many pieces of PPC software out there. We've tried Sellics, Helium 10, and PPC Scope. Each piece of software has let us down in some way and, most importantly, our ACoS has always headed in the wrong direction 6 to 12 months after we used them. We're going to keep using Sellics for the remainder of our subscription plans for some of our brands, but for the rest, we're going to run with good ole' manual management for the rest of the year and evaluate performance at year end.