eCommerce Fuel

New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

You can buy anything online, but that doesn't mean every niche is a profitable one. Today we spoke to three different pioneering niche merchants from our community to talk about their seemingly impossible niches and how they've managed to turn them into full-time enterprises. Subscribe:  iTunes | Stitcher (With your hosts Andrew Youderian and Laura Serino of, Chris Bosdal of, Josh Manley of, and Will Samuels of The Full Transcript Will: I was worried about putting myself out there. You know, being the nappy guy. I actually have that on my business card for Every Nappy. It says, "Will, nappy guru." And that's fine. I think you can just sort of own it. Laura: Dried meal worms. It's a niche within a niche within a very popular niche online, the pet industry. Chris Bosdal is the owner of where he sells dried mealworms. Here's Chris. Meal Worms as a Viable Niche Chris: I started to grow these meal worms myself in our garage basically. And we quickly ended up with more than we could possibly use. So at that point in time, I kind of realized, hey, you know, this could be a business. These things grow pretty darn fast and we were spending hundreds of dollars on them, and now we have hundreds of dollars' worth of worms. So let's try to sell them to some people. Laura: Tasty Worms originally went after animal rehabbers for potential clients, but they quickly found out that despite having the need, they didn't have the money to purchase from them. Dried meal worms aren't cheap. A 10-pound bag costs around $90, so around the same per pound price you'd pay for a really good steak. Chris: We didn't really know who the customers would be, I guess is the problem. So yeah, we started up an eCommerce site with a product called Drupal and we started buying some Google AdWords and yeah, we quickly learned that that was also bad. We were basically, you know, paying money to not get any customers. Laura: eBay helped them find customers. They started to build their base simply by slipping in paper into orders that reminded them to visit their website instead of just their eBay store. Chris: I remember saying that when we got started, if we could make one sale per day, I would be happy, right? Because, you know, it's an extra $5 or $10 in my pocket or what have you, right, that $150 a month, I'd be happy with that. Now if we got one sale a day, it would be a complete disaster. Laura: After two years, Chris was able to quit his full-time job to work on the business. Chris: The problem with insects, even if they're dead, they have or had eggs. And insect eggs are notoriously hard to destroy. So there's always that possibility that there's something alive in there, you know. And sometimes you'll even find that with like if you purchase flour, or wheat bran, or oatmeal at the store, sometimes it will develop moths or beetles. And that's the same type of problems that we could run into. So yes and no. They're not considered alive but they are, you know, you can't just ship them to any old country you feel like. You Really Can Find Anything on Amazon Laura: There are definitely restrictions when you're dealing with selling insects online. For instance, their model can only ship to the US, but not overseas where customs are strict. One place they can ship to, an Amazon warehouse. Chris: I would say that they restrict dried insects less than they restrict chocolate. Laura: Their original commitment to welfare and rehabilitation for animals sets them apart from other sites in their niche. Setting Themselves Apart From Other Sites Chris: What makes us stand out is that first of all, we offer discounts to anybody who's like an AZA accredited member. That's the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. If you're a licensed animal rehabber,

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