For the majority of my college experience, I didn't know what my true passion was until I studied abroad in Australia. I made it my mission to discover myself and experience everything. I eventually found my love for architecture and industrial design. I decided to start a design blog called Leibal (www.leibal.com) soon thereafter.
After a few months, the blog was receiving a lot of attention, and I was getting emails requesting information on where to buy the designs I was posting. Most of these designs were from countries outside of the United States, therefore it was hard for most people to track down where to buy. I would always refer the customer over to another website or retail store, never thinking that I could be selling the product myself. After a few months of doing this, I finally decided to start my own online retail store (http://store.leibal.com), and stocked the products that received the most attention from my blog.
It was difficult to get the first few manufacturers to sell me their products, but once I had a legitimate and functioning e-commerce website up and running, I was able to slowly grow my product offerings. I eventually grew the store to a few hundred SKUs.
After running the online store for a year, I began to see a pattern in which 90% of my revenue was coming from only 10% of the products. I decided to focus solely on those products, and reached out to the CEOs of the manufacturers asking if they had a distributor in the United States. There was a total of three manufacturers that I wanted to work with, and none of them had distribution. Their offices were located in China, Japan, and Korea, and I planned all of the meetings within the same week. After buying the plane tickets, I hired translators and lawyers, drafted the exclusivity contracts, and became the exclusive North American distributors of all three companies within 10 days.
Don't wait to take action. A plan without execution is worse than execution without a plan.
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