This week I had the pleasure to sit down and ask Amy L. Herberger some questions regarding her Merch By Amazon Business.
Amy is a veteran Merch By Amazon seller currently sitting at Tier 100,000 with over 50,000 sales.
Amy runs the “Girl Boss” Facebook group with a few other powerhouse Merch sellers, that has women only in it. Sorry fellas you can’t join it, I already tried and got denied.
Amy rocked the interview, and I am excited to share it with you today. Not only has she had huge success with her own Merch By Amazon business, she has also helped hundreds, if not thousands of others succeed on Merch By Amazon.
Question #1: When and what made you get started on Merch By Amazon?
I started Merch in October 2015 after Chris Green mentioned it several times.I honestly only signed up because Chris mentioned it. I added it to my to do list as something to do on the side, but I didn’t see an immediate urgency with it.
Over the next month, Chris’s posts became more frequent and I could sense the urgency, so I took his Udemy course and started to play around with ideas and the platform.
I didn’t launch my first shirt until November 2015. I made $9 that month and was impressed. My first shrt is still live and still sells on occasion.
Question #2: What is your background before now? Were you into Marketing, other print on demand sites, anything revolving around sales?
I previously worked in Mortgage Banking since the late 90’s. I was part of a mass layoff in 2011 and took my 9 year old part time ebay business and turned it into a full time gig.
Sold mostly clothing but eventually added other items to offset slower times of the year -- so basically, I made sure that I carried a wide array of products so that when one niche slowed down in say, October, I had another product popular enough to pick up the slack.
I also sold vintage items on etsy and MF on Amazon with a little bit of FBA mixed in, but not much.
I had minimal graphic design experience, such as using picmonkey to create marketing materials for my store and did some similar work to avoid outsourcing to the marketing department when I was still working for the bank.
Question #3: When did you first start taking the platform serious, and realized that it was much more powerful than you previously thought?
Daniel Caudill's podcast in January 2016 was my a-ha moment. I was listening to it while I made dinner and said, ok, he’s pulling 10K a month. I can do that. So I did.
After hearing Daniel, I realized that this platform had serious earning potential, so I started to learn everything that I could about designing and selling t-shirts.
Youtube, googling articles, reviewing actual t-shirt websites and a lot of random practice on layouts, color schemes and font pairings were also a focus.
It was a lot of trial and error and having no idea what I was doing most of the time as there were no tools or apps or any “gurus”
There were a few mastermind groups with FBA and Ebay people who I knew or knew of but no one knew for sure what they were doing.
We winged it and fell on our faces quite a bit. Got back up and tried again until we figured out what worked well for us.
I was an art major in high school and this was my way to finally tap into my creativity again and it was awesome to be able to do that ...and to get paid for it
In any event, I closed out the year with my first 10k payout.
And I was hooked.
Question #4: What is the deal with Girl Boss and why was it started?
Megan K Ball started a stay at home parent post in Chris’s group. Shauna Zimmerman, Amy Alicia Springer and I were chatting (didn’t really know each other at the time) and Shauna made a comment about how there should be an all girl group.
So, I created girl boss a few moments after that. I was somewhat visible in the community and had achieved a fair level of success so we ran with it and started by sharing our merch stories, tips and techniques, motivating each other and building each other up.
Doing well in this business is more than just luck or great designs or perfect titles. You need to have things within your life balanced. Even when that seems impossible.
A goal of mine has been to help boost the confidence in many of our members. To acknowledge that yes, we know life isn’t perfect but let's see what we can do to lift YOU up nonetheless which will help other things fall into place.
The all girl vibe is pretty cool actually, and I think it allows female content creators the chance to just grow and learn and know that you have an entire group of women from around the globe, from every walk of life, every level of success having your back.
The members are genuinely happy for each other -- it's actually still a little mind blowing that we have achieved this camaraderie within the group that I haven’t seen elsewhere.
Most of us will probably never meet, but the merch community as a whole,is on a different level.I have grown fond of many people and I feel a huge responsibility to continue to grow the group and help these women see their full potential -- and then help them exceed it.
Question #5: What is your biggest tip to a beginner on Merch By Amazon?
Biggest tip for a beginner, besides understanding the terms of service is to go into this with no expectations and to limit the amount of noise that they are exposed to.
At this point, I don’t even know how many groups exist. Pick a few, absorb what you can and realize that this merch game is not a one size fits all. What works for me, probably won’t work for you and vice versa. See what you can apply and add your own instinct to the tips offered within the community.
That this is slow and steady.
That you need to find your own motivation to keep pushing through and to just keep testing and trying and I PROMISE, eventually, you will crack the code for what works well for you.
Question #6: How long do you spend on research for one niche?
I have a central core of niches that I know like the back of my hand and do exceptionally well in. Most likely, BECAUSE I know them so well and because I understand the audience.
I was intune with those niches before merch even launched.
I DID have to learn more about those niches when it came down to providing products for the customer base in those areas.And to be quite honest, I still take the time to check and see what's hot on google every now and then in these nIches to ensure that I am on my “A game” and not missing any potential opportunities.
If I don’t know anything about a niche at all, but know that I need to incorporate it into my portfolio, I won't go too deep immediately as far as design saturation goes, and will secure a little bit more than necessary information to understand the needs and wants of a particular customer segment.
I am a big fan of google for research...images, articles, blog posts and hitting twitter to check slang and trends so i can cater my listing keywords to them and capture the essence of the subject matter in my design.
Facebook groups and pages dedicated to a certain niche-- like nursing for example, is also another BIG source of knowledge that you can tap into for free.
Question #7: What is the biggest issue you regularly encounter with new Merch By Amazon sellers?
Many think that they are not good at POD when their sales fail to meet the their expectations and some give up before they even really get started.
I tell my girls often ...any expectations that you have in this game… Kill Them. Now.
You can make yourself crazy thinking that you “should have” sold 50 shirts this week.
Or that you “should have” made $1,000 by now.
Failing to meet those expectations can make many give up, or slack off, become discouraged or lose their momentum before they even get started.
Learn and grow and just become a little better than you were the day the before.
Understand that the top Merch sellers were EXACTLY where you are now and it took a LOT of time and hustle to get to where they are today.
And you will get there, too.
Don’t compare your journey to someone else’s. Use it to motivate you, but your story will differ, as it should.
The new people who I see eventually destroy merch are the ones who stay focused on their own business and are constantly learning as much as they can. Who seek constructive criticism and compete against themselves..
They are the ones who realize that there are ups and downs with every business and that you need to adapt and roll with it and make that work FOR you.
Take it one day at a time and learn something new everyday.
Question #8: What new product would you like to see come to the platform?
I sell a lot of onesies for babies and Raglans for women on etsy so I would like to see those added.
Question #9: Last & Final Question, what is it like to be tier 100,000?
When I woke up and saw my dashboard read 100K, I thought that it was a mistake and I really didn’t believe it.
Merch had been in and out of my account recently as I had an issue that required some assistance from their team. I assumed that someone accidentally tiered me up, and waited for it to revert back to 10K.
It was later that I learned that it was not a mistake and that I was bumped because I had sold over 50,000 shirts. I look at this tier as a privilege and a responsibility. I also hope that it keeps other people motivated to see that this is possible for ANYONE.
Thank you so much Amy for taking the time out of your Girl Boss leading day. We truly appreciate you answering these questions. You have inspired so many in the Merch community, and I can’t wait to see you at tier 200,000.
Want to Join Girl Boss? Click Here
Fellas, you can’t join the group, but make sure to like the Girl Boss Facebook page: