Gabe Mueller, freelance trombonist and owner of Ivy and Ash, comes to us today for an episode about her first year and a half in business! Episode 89 of the Product Powerhouse Podcast is about the behind the scenes of her first year and a half in business, and why she loves wholesale and retail!
In this episode of the Product Powerhouse Podcast, Gabe is sharing the importance of researching your market and actionable steps you can take right now to start your business if you’re new and considering owning one.
Some of the talking points Gabe and I go over in this episode include:
This episode really feels like a girls’ chat and you’re a fly on the wall as we chat about everything from wholesale to market research, and Gabe’s new launch releasing today. So be sure to tune in to all the episodes to receive tons of practical tips on growing your product shop and to hear even more about the points outlined above.
Thank you for listening!
If you enjoyed this episode, take a screenshot of the episode to post in your stories and tag me! And don’t forget to subscribe, rate and review the podcast and tell me your key takeaways!
Learn more about Product Powerhouse and Erin at https://productpowerhouse.co/podcast/
CONNECT WITH GABE:
CONNECT WITH ERIN ALEXANDER:
The following is an unedited transcript of the audio.
Gabe Miller 00:00
giving suggestions on how it can be displayed in a boutique, giving specifics about the size of it. Like if you're doing candles like what's the diameter of the candle, help them envision how that's going to fit on the shelves in their store. So I think that's been something that's been helpful using different keywords that apply to boutique owners, what kinds of things are they going to be searching for unfair? What kind of keywords are they going to be putting in? When are they going to be buying certain products or styles, and it's very different from your own retail game. So if you're doing both, you have to sort of have two different mindsets with it.
Erin Alexander 00:38
You're listening to product powerhouse, a podcast to inspire and empower you while you build a powerful product based business that fuels your passion and feeds your family. I'm your host, Aaron Alexander, I run an E commerce web design agency that helps shop owners build, grow and scale. This podcast is all about actionable strategies specifically for your product based business. So friends, grab an iced coffee and let's chat because DIY in your business doesn't mean you have to do it alone. Hi, friends welcome to another episode of the product powerhouse podcast. I am so excited for today's guest. This episode was so much fun to record that I like we literally talked for an hour and I'm like we better stop because no one's gonna want to listen if we keep going. But I felt like I could have talked to her all day long. Today's guest is a wonderful entrepreneur Gabe Miller, who I met on Instagram, like almost a year and a half two years ago when she first started her business and today she is talking about everything that's happened in her business so far and celebrating the launch of a new of her new brand and I'm really excited for you to get a peek behind the scenes of everything Gabe has done. Let me read you her official bio. Gabe Miller is the owner and founder of ivy and ash a woman owned small business that offers an eclectic selection of modern hip nail wraps. Gabe grew up surrounded by music and has built her career as a freelance trombonist over the past 15 plus years. When the pandemic hit, she suddenly found herself with a lot more free time and took it as a sign to start a new venture. After a lot of research in both nail wraps and how to start and run a product based business IV Nash was born. Cape has recently launched a revamp of her brand with a new focus on her company's core value. to embolden and celebrate ambitious women with IV and ash Gabes strives to be a strong female presence in the world of entrepreneurship, and to create stunning nail art that empowers women to feel like the boss they are. Gosh, I just love that. First of all, I'm wearing Gabes nail wraps. as I record this, I love them. They are so fun, so be sure to head over to shop IV Nash calm after you listen to this episode, check out her nail art. Sit down and get coffee because this episode is a really good one. Hi, Gabe, thank you so much for being on the product powerhouse podcast. How are you today?
Gabe Miller 02:58
I'm great. Thanks, Aaron. How are you?
Erin Alexander 03:00
I am doing fantastic. I'm so excited to talk to you. I'm even wearing your your product on my fingers, which is really fun. That's awesome. I love buying stuff from people who have been on the podcast, it's a little bit of a problem. But sure I love buying stuff too. So
Erin Alexander 03:16
you should see my desk it is full of small business products. Anyways, I am so excited to talk to you about your business IV and ash. So let's just jump in. Why don't you tell our audience about yourself and what you do?
Gabe Miller 03:29
Well, originally, and really at my core, I would say I am a freelance trombonist. And you're probably wondering, what. So that's really what my life was doing what I was doing with my life, teaching private lessons and like just freelancing playing different types of music on my trombone, and then the pandemic hit. And a lot of that changed. Obviously, I wasn't playing anymore, and even teaching lessons transitioned over to zoom which was a lot different. So I found myself with a lot of like, free time on my hands, which I am not one who likes to have a lot of free time. I usually like to keep pretty busy. Also fun fact, my wedding was scheduled for March 28 2020. And I was like super in you know, wedding planning. I designed all of my like wedding stationery and everything. And so I was really in that mindset. And so when the pandemic hit, I like open an Etsy shop and like, started selling some change the dates or like postponement like templates. That was exciting because that those became very popular at that point in time. And so my mind sort of went in this other direction of I'm definitely an entrepreneur at heart and so I wanted to just find a different way to make money and and sell something. So I kind of dove into the product based business model, and I thought it was going to be through the slide Like stationary stuff? Um, that was fine. Like I enjoyed it. But somehow I, I'm not exactly sure. I don't remember how I found nail wraps. I mean, I've used nail wraps a lot before, I sort of stopped using them, because the ones I knew about were MLM companies, which I'm not really a fan of those businesses are of that business model. And so I randomly found, like, some nail wraps popped up on Etsy one day, and I was like, Oh, who's making these? And and how are they making them? So I tried them out. And I liked them. And I really started to look into like, Okay, how is this person making these nail wraps? You know, because it's on Etsy. So how are they making them and I just could not find, I couldn't figure it out after like, some pretty deep googling. Then one day, one day, I noticed on that shop, it mentioned that to their manufacturer partner was in China, which made me mad at first because I was like, this is what, this is not what that's supposed to be. But then I was like, well, shoot, how is she selling that? Like, what, then I just was, like, if she's doing it, I can do it too, you know. So I, then I went down a different that gave me more information that I needed to, that helped me figure out sort of hard to get into all that, which is really kind of crazy. Because not everyone just thinks like, Oh, I'm gonna talk to a manufacturer in China, you know, start selling this product and build a business off of it. But I did. So
Erin Alexander 06:28
that was my next question, because that is a very brave move, like to go into the manufacturing process. Did you have a lot of upfront costs? Like, was it a big risk for you? Was it scary?
Gabe Miller 06:39
I think the reason that I did it is because it really was not that big of an upfront upfront costs. Luckily, there are the ways that I do it. Now it definitely is, like I'm making my own designs, and I have custom packaging and all this stuff. So it's more of an upfront cost. But really, to start into, it wasn't, I was able to just use a little bit of my own money to make it happen. But also I sort of took the risk, like knowing what I was purchasing my product for from a manufacturer. And knowing what I could probably sell it for, like I knew that, that I probably at least was going to cover what my initial investment was, I'm really don't mind risk. So it was worth it for me to try something new. And leading up to that, too. I've been doing just a lot of different research, like trying to read different blog posts on just different selling product based business. things. You know, I started doing Yeah, yeah, during the doing some research on all that. So
Erin Alexander 07:45
I have an upcoming episode about that. Because a lot of people ask me, like, how can I get started selling something, if I don't make something or if I don't, you know, have money up front. And there are a lot of different ways, you can start a business for very small investments. And just with that confidence that you had, knowing that it's going to turn into something as long as you put in the effort to market, it'll happen. Yeah, that's really exciting.
Gabe Miller 08:10
I think an important thing is to know that there's a market for what you want to sell. With nail wraps. I knew there was a market because a lot of people are already buying them. I could see these other people selling them and seeing see how successful they were being with it. Like I said, I'm pretty entrepreneurial. So I have just that mindset anyway, and knew that, that I would be able to make it work. But there yeah, there's a lot of ways to start selling a product that you're not making that does take a lot of investment. So if you're going down any path, really make sure that the product you want to sell is actually something that people want to buy.
Erin Alexander 08:50
Oh, that's such a good tip. That's one of the reasons why I actually transitioned into Shopify, because I was a web designer and a graphic designer for years, but it was like, I know that there's a market for people who need help with Shopify. Yeah. And it was it was purely a business standpoint, but it was a business decision that I knew I could be passionate about. Yeah. And so I think that that's what helps make a strong business in the for the first piece. And I love what you said about having a product that you know people will buy. I think a lot of people start businesses, especially handmade businesses, where they're like, Oh, my friend said that they could they would buy these if I sold them, but they've never charged their friends. They've never asked for money in from anyone else. And then it gets it gets hard because they think well, they said they would buy them but they didn't.
Gabe Miller 09:37
Yeah, you know, one of the things that I very intentionally did not do, which I don't, I don't see this as recommendations from anyone. Usually everyone I listened to recommends the opposite. But I very, very intentionally did not try to market my business to my friends and family at all. Part of that was because I didn't want to come off as I'm being salesy, too. My friends and family, I think there's a bad stigma around that. But, you know, I think I was pretty clear also on who I wanted to be selling this to. And it wasn't my friends and family per se. And I think that has helped because I didn't get that like feedback that may or may not be helpful or like, Oh, that's so cute, you know, they're gonna be nice and want to support you. And they're not always going to be honest in if like, oh, maybe that's not what people want to buy.
Erin Alexander 10:29
Yes, um, as someone who has gone down the MLM route, you know, when I was younger, and I didn't even really know what I was doing. Yeah, I had a lot of friends and family who got stuck with my product. Yeah, my product. I actually sold it at a yard sale for like 10 bucks, but it was like hundreds of dollars for this stuff. Yeah, yeah, I think that's really cool. I mean, you haven't even been in business that long now. So it's been like a year and a half or two years coming out? Yeah, about that. Yeah, that's really exciting. So your business is going through some changes? Do you want to tell us about that?
Gabe Miller 11:01
Sure. I've been in the process of rebranding for several months now. I think this came about, you know, when I originally started, I had an idea of what I thought was kind of trendy and popular and had a general idea of who I wanted to be selling to. And my brand was a little more on the boho side. But as I just got into it more and really thought more about who I wanted to be serving and like what kind of woman is going to be that I really want to be connecting with, it became clear that it was definitely a different type of person. So I wanted to change my brand, change my brand voice change all that to match that better. And I think it was just really a process of just niching down even more, and really getting clear on who my ideal person was. Which has been really exciting to do that. I feel really, yeah, excited about who I'm going to be talking to, like, I really resonate with that person. And I don't see that nail wraps is are really easy to get like girly, and you know, cutesy and all of that. And my brand, its new direction is just a different direction than that. It's more like badass woman who's you know, early to mid 30s, or just a little younger, maybe and is like, you know, really hustling and working up living their best life and just they're a badass, you know?
Erin Alexander 12:28
I feel like you're describing me. Yeah.
Gabe Miller 12:31
Yeah, so I worked with Shana to do a, like she made a new logo for me. And just the, like branding guidelines in general, and colors and everything like that. And every time I've showed this, like my new look to some people, they've been like, Oh, that looks great. So I'm really excited for that to roll out. Yeah, the process that I went through with her also just really helped clarify who my person is, and just how I'm going to talk to them and what they're like what they are doing in their life and how they relate to them. So that was really cool to go through that process.
Erin Alexander 13:11
Yeah, I just want to say for the listeners, so Shana is a brand designer who she is my business bestie. And real life best friend, we share an office. And so I've gotten to see you kind of behind the scenes of Gabes rebrand, and it's been really fantastic. And then gave give me a sneak peek of the new website. I think it was really cool. From my perspective, it's just like a fly on the wall to see you go through this process with Shana because we talk sorry. And like, kind of see your brand evolve into this more of a reflection of who you are. Because you and I have had these conversations like on Instagram, where we talked about Yeah, you can actually buy nail wraps at Target or Walmart. So what makes your special because there definitely is something special about your brand. When I ordered nail wraps, I order them from your brand and not from Walmart. So I mean, it's really crucial to like go through that process and like have it come out and brands evolve, as business owners evolve. And it's really, really special to see that behind the scenes. you're launching your new website. And um, so as of recording this this day, this goes live, it'll be live. So anybody listening, you can go check out Dave's new website.
Gabe Miller 14:21
It's sharp IV and ash calm.
Erin Alexander 14:23
Yes. And we will have the link in the show notes, of course. But I just wanted to say how cool it has been to see you going through this process and seeing your brand evolve and it's gonna be really awesome when it's fun. Thank you. I will be celebrating with my coffee will cheer yay, cheers. If you were talking to a new business owner who wanted to start their business, what kind of advice would you give them for getting started?
Gabe Miller 14:48
I think in the grand scheme of things, I still feel relatively new but I also have gone through coming up on till like a little over a year and a half of going through this and there's a lot that I've learned I would say the number one thing that I always live by, like my motto in life is to fail fast and fail often. And I know that sounds horrible. But what happens there, when you kind of do that you try things, and you're not afraid to try things. And failure is not a bad thing. failure means Okay, that didn't work. Now, what can we do to make that work? Or this little smidgen of it didn't work? How can we tweak that to make it even better. So when you fail, often, you are continually tweaking and making things better. And just like I hate the word pivot, but you're just like making micro pivots to get to where you really need to be. Just start, whatever you want to do, just start doing it. And don't be afraid to fail. And don't be afraid to fail quickly, so that you are not like going down the wrong path for too long. And don't be afraid to fail often, so that you continually get better. Kind of, like I said earlier, make sure that what you have to offer is what people actually want. So don't be afraid to get feedback from your customers feedback from if you have a group of like this besties, or whatever, you know, get feedback from them. That's also something that I think is incredibly helpful is to surround yourself with at least one person, but hopefully more than one person that sort of understands what you're going through. So I have a little pod, and we chat on Instagram, literally all day, every day. And at this point, it's not all business. But a lot of times it is and it's so helpful to have those people to just bounce ideas off of, or, you know, talk to like, oh my gosh, my stuff is stuck in Alaska in customs, and what am I going to do? Or which is my current problem? You know, how should I go about this? You know, I got this feedback from a customer, how should I reply to them, or just like literally everything, and they're there to help you and guide you, and also there to cheer you on and support you. So I would say find yourself a good group of business besties Absolutely agree on that one. Yeah. And find ones that aren't going to be like your friends and family who are just nice, you know, find ones who aren't afraid to really tell it to you, and guide you? Well,
Erin Alexander 17:18
I have a few real life friends who have they're starting to want to start their own company. And I'm like, Bring it on. I've been doing this for five years, I've been helping people start businesses for five years. Let's talk about it. Yeah, whoa, calm down.
Gabe Miller 17:32
You know, I would say another thing, too, that really helped me dive into as much research as you can. There are a lot of podcasts, this podcast in particular, that are so helpful in getting you started. If you are new to all of this. There's a lot to learn. And it can be super overwhelming. So just start learning, figure out the basics of marketing, figure out the basics of packaging a product and make it you know how to ship things, you know, logistics, figure out your systems of tracking and all of that. There are so many resources on the internet to just help you learn about different aspects, you will never run out of things to learn. Yeah, it's so true. That's one of the things that is overwhelming as a small business owner is you're wearing so many hats that like a large corporation, those people have individual people to wear individual hats, you have to know a little bit of everything, which is really hard to do. So the more you can learn about things I would say the better.
Erin Alexander 18:35
Yeah, I was just thinking about that. Actually, on the drive down to the office. I just went through this personal health crisis where my business had to shut down because I wear all of the hats even though I have a team and they were fantastic. Like people kept my podcasts running. My assistant kept support clients, like the ones were helping run ads and things like that, for they were fantastic. But there are so much that I had to just shut down because I physically could not do the things. And I was thinking about how different that is for small business owners compared to like, when I worked at Staples, for example, if the manager was out, we could still run the store without him for weeks. It is a big job that we are doing as small business owners, especially like women, business owners who are supporting their family and like they're bringing in the income and like it is a real business. It is not just like this tiny little hobby where we make a few bucks a month. We're badass is like to claim that more like I was thinking I was so driving down. I was like, man, you're amazing, Aaron. Yeah, absolutely. I've got a lot more confidence since going through my health crisis. That's
Gabe Miller 19:42
great. That's wonderful. I think that a lot that that small business owners are super undervalued and underappreciated, because I don't think people really stopped to think about, like everything that one person has to do. Even if you're just like knitting a scarf and you're knitting One scarf a week, there's still so much that you have to keep track of and know how to do to just even make that happen. So as you do more, and you grow, like, It's ridiculous how much you have to do. So it really is.
Erin Alexander 20:15
And it's amazing. There's one thing we were going to talk about, and that was fair, you've been using fair to wholesale your products also, as a way of, of selling your products along with your retail website. So do you want to talk about fair, how did you get started on there?
Gabe Miller 20:31
Sure. Yeah, well, with fair, you have to apply to be on it. It's a wholesale website. And my experience so far has been pretty fantastic. A lot of people are trying to get onto it. And I think once you do, it can be really successful for you if you understand sort of how to work the system with it and and make it work for you. So one thing that's tricky about wholesale is you are selling your product, wholesale and not retail. And so typically, what that's going to mean is you are selling it at 50% of what you would sell at wholesale. So for example, if you are selling that knitted scarf, normally for $40, you would wholesale it for $20. Which, if you think about that, that might make a lot of people be like, Wow, that's crazy, like I'm not making any money. And so the first thing that you really have to make sure of is that your pricing can support wholesale. And not every product can like not every product really has the margins to be able to wholesale and also retail because I mean, especially handmade stuff, because you're calculating your hours of labor to do it. And just you're not using machines and all this, you know, lots of manufacturing to bring costs down. And so it can be harder to bring costs down so that you're making enough wholesale, but then also that it's not so much when then it retails that people won't buy it. I feel fortunate that I have really great margins with my product that wholesaling was kind of a no brainer for me, then that's a whole different ballgame. Because you have to think about where the retailer's at like where what the, you know, put yourself in that boutiques shoes, and say, Okay, what kinds of things are they going to be searching for unfair? What kind of keywords are they going to be putting in, when are they going to be buying certain products or styles. And it's very different from your own retail game. So if you're doing both, you have to sort of have two different mindsets with it. Because a lot of times boutiques are going to be buying a season or two ahead of time. So but like you're not going to be selling your winter stuff, like you're not going to launch that in November, because that's way too late for boutiques and everything. The other thing with Wholesale is you have to be prepared to sell in bulk, that's sort of what makes up for selling it at a wholesale price is you're selling a lot more. So in theory, it should still balance out, you're just making a lot more or you're manufacturing a lot more of your product. So you have to make sure that you can handle that. My first jaunt was fair, I was a little overwhelmed at first because I started getting orders, and I wasn't used to having the package, you know, 100 nail wraps. I was used to selling them by the time you know. So that was a little bit of a learning curve. But then it's cool like to sort of try to notice trends on there. And for me the success of iPad with fair one, I think I like I said earlier, I've sort of put my mind in the mind of a boutique owner and worked on my product listings, so that they include details that boutique might want and not what just as somebody on your website might want. So like, I include things like oh, this is a great point of purchase sale like it fits nicely. So I you know, put something about that or it's a what's impulse buy, you know, using words like that, giving suggestions on how it can be displayed in a boutique, giving specifics about the size of it, like if you're doing candles, like what's the diameter of the candle, help them envision how that's going to fit on the shelves in their store. So I think that's been something that's been helpful using different keywords that apply to be boutique owners. And then also, from what I can tell the fair algorithm likes when you add new products, so I'll sort of see this. I got started I had a bunch of orders and then it trickled off and then I added a few new products and I got more orders and then they started to trickle off. And so I noticed that pattern and then the same thing would also happen if I ran a sale. Like unfair you don't have to do like a 20% off sale because you don't have that much room. So even like a 5% sale. is attractive. So I tried to like alternate between adding new products and running a sale. Because those kind of help. Once I see the sales sort of level off, if I do that, you know, a sale or add new products, then they bump back up, which has been a cool pattern to see and to kind of test that and see if it works. And it's worked for me, which has been great.
Erin Alexander 25:22
That's really cool. And then your successes Fair has really helped your like your business revenue as a whole, right? Because that's what I think a lot of business owners are wanting when they're wanting to get on fair, they're wanting to try wholesale, they're trying to like maybe use that as a way to create more of a baseline income instead of always earning for that sale. And like in the retail side of things. So I think it's really cool, how much you've learned and how you've used incorporate it into your business. And I think it's key how you talked about the difference of what people are looking for on fair as opposed to what they're looking for in retail, that is critical, because the people who are shopping for their own boutique or their own shop are not, you know, looking for quick, easy nails, right? Like there's something very specific. And that's the biggest differentiator. And one of the things that when I'm building someone's website, we have to like we kind of have a struggle I'm like, because if you're wanting to have it attract wholesale customers and retail customers, we're talking about two different branches. And that is difficult. But using an extra platform, like fair is fantastic. And you can send your traffic over there because shop owners, boutique owners when they're looking for products, and they're researching on their on your website, they can take that link and go over to fair where they probably already have an account, which is really cool. And for boutique owners. On the other end of it. If you're wanting to carry a product like games or anyone else's, you can link that to your Shopify store. And it is so easy. Yeah, well, and the nice thing too, like so fair, obviously takes a commission on your sales, but they don't do a commission if it's a direct order. So
Gabe Miller 26:58
if somebody was on your Shopify website and saw your link over to fair and like, did the order more direct like that, then there's no commission, which is really nice. So that's something to sort of try and balance out how many boutiques Can you reach out to? Can you attract on your own and get them to buy directly through you, as opposed to they're just browsing fare, and then they find you? Most of my sales are through their browsing through? And they find me and it's fine, because I like I said, I have good margins. So that's built into everything. And Fine, take, you know, take your commission, because you did that work for me. That's absolutely okay. You know, I did nothing and look at all the sales I got. That's nice.
Erin Alexander 27:42
This is reminding me of when I was an assistant for a local jewelry company. And we were like doing wholesale research and man was done. That was not fun for me. She should have been happier. Yeah, it wasn't as popular then. I mean, it's been around for a few years, but it's really, I've seen a lot more people talking about it and using it. And I've been integrating it a lot more in the last year, I would say. And I think it's really exciting. It's a nice platform to help product makers or product creators get in front of more people and build brand recognition. And you know, what, if someone picks up your product at a shop, and then you know, they might, they're gonna have your product into their, in their hands, and they're gonna see your website, and they might turn into a retail customer that way? Or maybe not, but they're still wearing your product.
Gabe Miller 28:26
Yeah, definitely something that you kind of have to accept as a business owner, you have to accept the cost of doing business, there are going to be fees or things or whatever. And so, yes, it sucks, that fair takes a chunk of your sales, but in theory that you can just sort of count that as like a marketing cost. Because you're getting your product into so many different boutiques, you're getting you're reaching audiences and eyes that you yourself, it will be impossible for you to do. So that is just sort of a cost of doing business and your marketing, you know, think of it more as marketing dollars. Now, hopefully those people at least a percentage of them will like your product, you hope that they do buy it from the boutique, because you want to continue that like partnership there. But also they might you know, just go look at your website.
Erin Alexander 29:15
That reminds me one of my biggest pet peeves is when people complain about credit card fees for running their business. Oh, yeah. I'm like, it's a cost of doing business. What do you expect, right? Yeah, it's just I'm just like, it drives me crazy.
Gabe Miller 29:29
Yeah, yeah, it's fine. It is what it is. Thank you credit card companies for making it so easy for people to buy my product. Yes. Thank you credit
Erin Alexander 29:36
card companies. Yes. Yeah. I appreciate it. Also, I've seen people lately complaining about how PayPal and Venmo are going to be required to deliver 299 This
Gabe Miller 29:46
made me laugh. I saw a lot of people complaining about that. And I'm just like people this is not a new law. It's not new. Yes, you should already be reporting that income. So yes,
Erin Alexander 29:57
I have to pay taxes monthly because of the revenue my business generates for my state. And I used to think, oh, I have to pay, you know, a couple $100 in revenue. And I'm like, Thanks, Aaron for making so much money that you have to pay taxes.
Gabe Miller 30:10
Yeah, you know, that reminds me of when I was younger. I remember getting to a point where I stopped hating paying bills, because I was like, I'm at a point now where I am not stressing about paying bills. And that's a good thing. Like, yeah, I don't mind paying these bills, because it means that I can afford to pay these bills.
Erin Alexander 30:30
Yes. We've, I don't know why my daughter suddenly into kind of this idea of like, we have to pay for things. She recently asked me like, What would you do if we had to move out of our house mom, and I was like, Mom would go work at McDonald's. Like, we would never have to move out of our house. Like that is not an option, right? Like his mom would do whatever it takes. And it makes me like, so grateful that like, that's the kind of person I am. I would not settle for anything less. And she will never know anything other than that. Right? Yeah. It's funny how we grow up and things change. Yeah, yeah. Okay, I have one more question for you. Before we jump off, I love to ask, What's something you had to learn? Maybe it's something you're learning now or something, you had to learn the hard way or something that is like, it didn't go perfectly, because we all know that business is not rosy. So what is something that you've had to learn throughout your business that's gotten you this far, or like something you're learning currently, that is taking you to the next level,
Gabe Miller 31:24
I have two things, especially when I was starting off was really getting a handle on inventory, that's really hard. Knowing how much to buy how much you need, both, like you need enough, but not too much, you know, early on, I struggled with both of that where I thought I had enough and I would sell out of a style really quickly. And then it was really hard for me to get more of that style in the right amount of time. Or like I ordered way too much of like a holiday design. And then that didn't sell so much. You know, like that was really tricky to really balance that I feel better about it now, but it's still always a struggle, like you know, it's just sort of like how much do I make or buy or whatever I would say the really big one though, is definitely along lines of like taxes you know, one thing that luckily going into my going into EIV and ash I had already been self employed doing music and everything so I had a pretty good understanding of like self employment taxes and all of that. But you know, when the tax bill comes in, you're like, wow, I have to pay you all of this money. How you know, that's really really hard. If you're not prepared for it. This was my first year to be honest that I'm going into tax season feeling very prepared, which is awesome and I've been self employed for like seven or eight years. So that's nuts that this is finally the first year that I feel really great about it. But it's such a relief like understanding you sold this product for $10 does not mean that now you have $10 and being very disciplined to put those different monies in their different spots so that when you have to pay taxes or you have to buy more inventory or you have to do this or that you have that money and you can do that without worrying about it
Erin Alexander 33:27
Yeah, I think that's a great I have always felt the same way like put the money aside for the taxes because I don't want to be surprised later and then once I once I registered my LLC It was what my the state was like nevermind you can pay us more regularly. So those are great tips. Do you follow any kind of system or like for your doing your taxes? Do you like follow profit first? I know that's a common one. Yeah,
Gabe Miller 33:51
that was that was a huge game changer for me last year on my little part of biz besties we, we attempted to book club. We only read one book, but the good thing is that book was probably first and that was a huge game changer. I don't follow it to a tee nor do I think that you really have to I think you've got to make it work for yourself. But that is absolutely why I am feeling very prepared this
Erin Alexander 34:17
tax season. Yeah, I do the same thing. I had to make it my own because I my brain cannot keep track of five different bank accounts. I already have three and that's too many. I love like take these concepts and make them your own but it is a great idea. And I even have for me one of my one of my like little tricks was to rename I can like give my bank accounts nicknames my savings accounts. So I put like tax savings and then I put the percentage that I want earlier every month so mine says tax savings 25% or something? I don't know. Yeah. So that when I'm like taking deposits and putting them in there. I know how much I don't have to look it up every time that's smart. Yeah, that's that's a really those are really great tips, taxes. are big on inventory is a big one. Yeah. Especially when you're manufacturing something because it's gonna take a little while to get
Gabe Miller 35:05
back. Yeah, it does. Yeah, planning that out is really, really important. You know, I think going back to the taxes thing, too, I was really diligent about using QuickBooks this year as well, which has been incredibly helpful to I am not shy about numbers or anything i My mind is very numbers and budgeting it understands and loves all that stuff, luckily, but having everything being very consistent, and on top of categorizing things, and all of that in QuickBooks has been great.
Erin Alexander 35:37
So yeah, I get a lot of flack from my father in law for how much I pay my bookkeeper. He's like, you could do that in an hour every month. And I'm like, but I don't have to. Yeah. Yeah. Her what she got,
Gabe Miller 35:51
right. That's one thing that I'm embracing this year, as, as my life has just gotten a little more crazy over the past five months, I am embracing buying back my time. I used to think Nyan really like it's such a like, Frou Frou kind of phrase like Oh, I'm gonna buy back my time. It's like, what all the Guru's say. And it's like, but it's legit, like, am I capable of posting on social media? Absolutely. Do I feel so relieved, but I just hired somebody to completely take care of my social media? Absolutely. And it's just so nice. And you'd be surprised at how affordable some of these little things can be? And how absolutely worth it is.
Erin Alexander 36:34
Absolutely, yeah, I have someone in my business. Because for me, we're usually like, we update product listings. And some of my clients have hundreds of products, and that is mind numbingly boring for me. And I am ADHD. So I'm like, here, they're everywhere. I can't do that. And she does it for me. And I'm like, Please never leave me I will do everything. Yeah. It's really incredible. It's really an incredible feeling as a business owner, to get to that point where you like feel okay, paying someone to do things that you're perfectly fine, like you're perfectly capable of doing. But also knowing that you're supporting someone else, by paying them like you're helping support their family and their lifestyle and their entrepreneurial dreams. For me, that's a big deal, because that's why I do what I do. Yeah. And I think that's just absolutely incredible.
Gabe Miller 37:22
Yeah, this is funny, and sorry if I'm spoiling things on Shane is and the things but one of the questions in her questionnaire that you have to like, really fill out was something like, what would you if you were selling your business? Like, what would you tell the person buying it or whatever, or I don't like the way it was phrased, my answer was like, okay, but like, I actually do want to sell, like, that's what I want, I want to be able to sell it and walk away. Like, get to that point, you know, where it's just like, I am so much just the big boss of things that everybody else is doing everything that I just said, like, here you go, give me a check, and everything else is yours. And it's already running itself. So
Erin Alexander 38:10
yeah, that's exciting. I think that's really cool. I've had a podcast guest, I'm gonna have to have her back. But Grace Hayden, she used to own the Bali market. And they sold, she sold Turkish towels. And she sold her company last year, she just sold it. And I'm like, that's so cool. I'm gonna have to have her on to talk about the selling process. But
Gabe Miller 38:29
that is something that really started to come into my mind over the past month or two of like, okay, I think this might actually be what I want to do is to grow, I've been asked to a certain point, to then just be able to sell it. That's really cool.
Erin Alexander 38:43
And you can sell it on the Shopify marketplace. Oh, I didn't know that they have this website, or they have this part of Shopify, where you can list your business for sale. I believe that's how graceful hers? I'm not entirely sure. But I have looked at it. Like, what if I bought a new business? Yeah, yeah, there's so many possibilities for business owners. So I think it's, I mean,
Gabe Miller 39:01
talk about if you're talking about friends who are wanting to get into a new business, like that's if you have money to invest, like, that's a way to get in by one that's already going.
Erin Alexander 39:11
Yeah, we actually were talking to some friends who wanted to buy a local business, but it really wasn't profitable and they decided not to buy it and I was so relieved because yeah, you want to buy something that is profitable. And you can see the growth with and business owners who are building a business like that right now for that potential. Like there's so many options out there. Yeah. Gabe, this has been fantastic. I feel like we could talk for like six more hours but I'm sure probably won't listen to it that long. So we will go ahead and say goodbye, sadly. But let's remind everyone where they can find you online to buy your product see your new brand that's launching today, or it's already launched if you're listening to this
Gabe Miller 39:52
so you can find my website at shopivyandash.com. My name has an ampersand in it but like the internet That doesn't like the ampersand. So no ampersand in any of these. You can find me on Instagram, @ivyandashnailwraps. Same with Facebook. And I'm also on Pinterest. I think it's just ivyandashnailwraps, something like that. Okay,
Erin Alexander 40:15
yeah. Awesome. We will have links for those in the show notes. So if you one check these nail wraps out, they're fantastic. I put some on this week and I loved them and I will be buying more. Go check out Gabe's new brand. It's beautiful. It's bold. It's for strong, powerful women. And that's exactly the type of woman that was listening to this podcast. Yes. So if you're tired of having like nails that you picked out, like they're perfect for you. Anyways, thank you so much for being on the show gape. I am so excited to see where your business goes over this next year. Congratulations on all the success you've had so far.
Gabe Miller 40:51
Thank you so much, Erin. It was a pleasure talking with you today.
Comments will be approved before showing up.