Meet Karen Chambers. Karen is a full-time mom and part-time entrepreneur. She imports products from China and other countries, and sells them on Etsy.com, eBay, Amazon.com, and her own websites for a nice profit.
In a recent interview, she said sometimes she crosses the “line” in her importing business, which means it requires more than part-time hours. But she added, “I love the extra money this business generates, and for the most part, it doesn’t infringe on my mommy duties.”
Karen is married and has three kids, two daughters are still at home, and her son is in fourth grade.
In 2010, Karen read about small importers and online resellers in The Wall Street Journal. She started researching the topic, joined forums, and even ordered information products, including Importing Fortunes.
Karen quickly learned the best approach would be to focus on high demand products, instead of trying to create a market. She was already heavily involved in scrapbooking, which is a type of social activity like quilting, where people get together and create memories with arts, crafts, photographs, and other supplies. Karen found out there were more than 4 million women involved in scrapbooking in the United States alone. It’s a billion-dollar market.
One scrapbooking item consistently near the top of the best seller list is a product called an envelope punch board.
An envelope punch board enables you make your own envelopes. You can create designer envelopes in dozens of colors, shapes, and sizes. It’s a premium tool for most scrapbookers and crafters.
Karen discovered envelope punch boards typically sold online for $25-$35 (and up). She was pleasantly surprised to find out there were importers willing to sell and ship them to her for around $10 each, if she purchased 25 or more.
In her words, Karen “bit the bullet” and ordered 25 envelope punch boards. She listed them for sale on several online shopping sites. She was stunned when all of the punch boards sold out in less than seven days. Her total profit on this transaction was about $290. From this point on Karen was hooked on the concept of importing products and selling them online.
However, Karen often warns new entrepreneurs about the importing and reselling business by saying, “The market for products and services is constantly changing. You need to be flexible, disciplined, and always be willing to learn new things if you want to be successful.”
Karen enjoys researching market trends, as well as monitoring high traffic shopping websites for product ideas.
But having a business in her home enables Karen to enjoy her family, keep up with household chores, and work a super flexible schedule.
As a reward for a profitable year in 2012, Karen treated her family to a skiing weekend in beautiful Calgary Alberta Canada for eight days.
If the idea of starting your own import/export business seems overwhelming or you just don’t know where to start, let Karen be a great example of someone who started small, importing a product that interested her, and now has created a great part-time business for herself.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can do this, too, check out our How to Import a Fortune from Right There at Home and Build a Million-Dollar Import/Export Business program, here.