$45K/Month Revolutionizing the Music Merchandise Industry – Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant
INTERVIEW VIDEO (Length – 01:10:35)
Sponsors & Partners
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant shares how he turned a humble beginning of a laptop in his living room into a booming online retailer for licensed heavy metal music merchandise, shipping thousands of items every month worldwide and boasting sales of 6-figures per week.
Dave Harrison, CEO of Heavy Metal Merchant, discusses his business, which sells licensed music merchandise in the heavy metal genre. Heavy Metal Merchant is a niche market seller that began selling products on eBay before bootstrapping the company with early earnings. The business primarily operates in Australia and ships worldwide, and everything they sell is officially licensed. They work with approximately 35 merchandisers and licenses, sometimes doing direct deals with smaller and underground bands. The company focuses on selling lightweight merchandise that is easy to ship, and they support musicians and artists by giving them a percentage of sales. The importance of having a targeted and loyal audience for successful sales is emphasized, with Harrison acknowledging the impact of AI on the industry, and the importance of having a reliable platform for the back-end operations of an e-commerce website. Finally, Harrison recommends that businesses should focus on being great rather than always chasing massive growth.
- 00:00:00 In this section, Dave Harrison describes his business, Heavy Metal Merchant, which specializes in selling licensed music merchandise in the heavy metal genre. He explains that they are a niche market seller, offering a wide variety of official merchandise products, such as vinyl records, t-shirts, and accessories. Harrison’s passion for heavy metal music and his experience as a musician and record collector motivated him to start the business in 2009. He saw the potential in the niche market, which targets die-hard fans of the genre who are passionate about collecting and wearing merchandise related to their favorite bands.
- 00:05:00 In this section, Dave Harrison, CEO of Heavy Metal Merchant, explains how he started his business by selling his record collection on marketplaces like eBay before bootstrapping his company using early earnings. Heavy Metal Merchant is a global business that primarily operates in Australia and ships worldwide and everything they sell is officially licensed. They focus on selling merchandise that is lightweight and easy to ship, and they support musicians and artists by giving them a percentage of sales from their products. They believe that licensed merchandise is good for artists as it helps them advertise and market their brand.
- 00:10:00 In this section, Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant discusses the process of working with artists and merchandisers to ensure the best official products that are approved by the artist for quality. He explains that they work with approximately 35 merchandisers and licenses, sometimes doing direct deals with smaller and underground bands. He also acknowledges that there is competition in the market with other outlets and online marketplaces. However, he believes that keeping prices competitive and finding exclusive products can help to retain a margin and ensure that bands are fairly paid while providing a good deal and experience to customers. Moreover, he notes that in retail, the 80-20 principle applies, with sales for smaller or less popular artists sporadic and Super Groups being ever-popular.
- 00:15:00 In this section, Dave Harrison talks about how being a niche seller and a specialist online merchant of music merchandise allows them to offer more obscure long-tail items and sub-genres that might not be found elsewhere. It helps them differentiate from general stores and sell more to the specialist market. They use generic keywords in their domain name and SEO strategy to help reach customers. They also have a strong presence on social media and build a follower base by creating a tribe around their brand. Building a targeted tribe can help create a loyal customer base and increase sales.
- 00:20:00 In this section, Dave Harrison discusses the importance of having a targeted and loyal audience for successful sales. He explains that social media algorithms and AI are now making it possible to create look-alike audiences based on those who have actually made a purchase, making it important to target the right tribe. While SEO is an important strategy for marketing music merchandise, it can also be a cowboy industry with many businesses getting ripped off by agencies who charge for things that can be very simple. As the internet evolves, the new evolution is coming in the form of AI and chat GPT, which uses AI to provide customers with an entirely different experience based on their individual interactions.
- 00:25:00 In this section, Dave Harrison discusses the impact of AI on the e-commerce industry, where AI-generated audiences and search results will make certain roles redundant, and businesses that don’t adapt will be left behind. He explains that AI can write its own code, generate content, and allow for faster, more efficient performance in different aspects of the industry. While this poses a challenge for businesses to keep up with the technology, Harrison believes that those who capitalize on AI at the beginning will have a significant advantage over their competitors as AI revolutionizes the industry.
- 00:30:00 In this section, Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant discusses the company’s direct deals with bands to create merchandise for them, especially for smaller bands with limited infrastructure. Harrison emphasized the advantages of outsourcing some of the band’s merchandise production and distribution processes and mentioned the complications that can arise when a band tries to do everything by themselves, including packing and shipping orders during tours. Harrison also noted that Heavy Metal Merchant works as an aggregator for long-tail items, allowing customers to consolidate their orders from multiple bands and save on shipping costs. For larger artists, Harrison explained that most of them have their own merchandising companies that work on a global scale and handle retailing merchandise for stores. Overall, Harrison sees a lot of changes coming in the music merchandise industry due to technology and encourages people to be aware of what’s around the corner.
- 00:35:00 In this section, the interviewer asks about Heavy Metal Merchant’s email list and if they collect preferences or demographics for fans who are interested in multiple bands. Dave Harrison explains that they do try to segregate their mailing list as it grows, especially since the heavy metal genre spans many decades and has many sub-genres. They use MailChimp to send out targeted emails based on fans’ interests and also use social media advertisements to suggest products to fans of a certain band. While the company could apply its formula to other sub-genres, Harrison notes that it may be more powerful to remain targeted and drilled down on their current niche.
- 00:40:00 In this section, Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant emphasizes the importance of making the main thing your main thing in business. He warns that chasing too many opportunities can lead to dilution and a lack of focus. Instead, he advises entrepreneurs to channel their energies into their main strengths and stay within their lane to make it as strong as possible. While marketing and sales skills are transferable across industries, passion and specialized knowledge are crucial for success. Harrison’s team includes a full-time Packer and shipper, as well as back-end support and virtual teams that can be scaled up or down. The Heavy Metal Merchant website is built on a platform called Maripos Commerce, with an on-the-ground team for technical support in Australia.
- 00:45:00 In this section, Dave Harrison, the founder of Heavy Metal Merchant, talks about the importance of having a reliable platform for the back-end operations of an e-commerce website. He explains that, as an Australian company, they need a solution that works seamlessly and promptly since they have a lot of merchandise with different product types, and a higher number of SKUs. Moreover, Heavy Metal Merchant controls its stock and merchandise, and they use this as a marketing strategy by ensuring that customers receive their orders promptly with no hassle, and their customer satisfaction is the priority. Ultimately, they differentiate themselves from competitors by offering customers a seamless and efficient service.
- 00:50:00 In this section, Dave Harrison talks about the importance of focusing on the back-end service for a successful business. He explains that many businesses tend to focus on getting new customers and invest heavily in front-end leads, but neglect the back-end service, which will lead to dissatisfied customers that may never come back. He emphasizes that controlling the shipping process and providing efficient after-sales service are crucial to achieving customer satisfaction. Additionally, Dave shares his experience of making mistakes that led to overspending on SEO and graphic design early on in the business, and not investing enough in systems and processes that would have been more beneficial. He advises entrepreneurs to seek advice from people doing the same thing rather than getting sucked in by online gurus.
- 00:55:00 In this section, Dave Harrison discusses the issue of inventory that doesn’t sell and what to do with it. He explains that early on, they learned to drop the price and get rid of items that weren’t selling, but they also have a lot of evergreen products in their category, which eliminates the need for liquidation. Harrison advises entrepreneurs to tread lightly on trendy bands because the shorter the window for making money is, the more likely they will have inventory that needs to be liquidated. He also suggests that entrepreneurs test a new category by not going in too hard initially, which will reduce the amount of inventory that needs to be liquidated in the worst-case scenario. Finally, Harrison recommends the book “Small Giants” by Bo Burlingham, which suggests that businesses should focus on being great rather than always chasing massive growth.
- 01:00:00 In this section, Dave Harrison, the founder of Heavy Metal Merchant, discusses the importance of offering unique merchandise to fans rather than generalist products, which allows for a more loyal following. He also mentions the usefulness of Canva, an Australian graphic design software company that has made social media marketing much simpler and streamlined. Additionally, he recommends Grammarly for proofreading e-commerce copy, and praises Warren Buffet’s principles and decades of wisdom when it comes to conducting oneself in business.
- 01:05:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the importance of wisdom over knowledge and mentors, citing Warren Buffett’s mentor Charlie Munger and Ray Dalio as examples of disrupters who changed the game in their industry. He emphasizes the value of listening to the wisdom and fundamentals of successful entrepreneurs, even if it’s not as flashy or polarizing as clickbait content. The speaker also shares his best business advice, which is to make the main thing your main thing and focus on it, avoiding distractions and managing time, energy, and resources effectively. He encourages heavy metal fans to visit and purchase products from their website, heavy metalmerchant.com.
- 01:10:00 In this section of the video, Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant encourages viewers to follow the company on Instagram and Facebook. He also mentions that they have a lot of happy customers and shoppers from Canada, and suggests that their merchandise makes great gifts for anyone in Canada. The interviewer thanks him for sharing his story and business advice, and wishes him all the best.
People & Resources Mentioned in the Episode
Book: Small Giants by Bo Burlingham
What You’ll Learn
Interview with Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant
|About the business
|The business model
|Mistakes made, lessons learned
|Rapid fire round
In this segment, the guest will answer a few questions quickly in one or two sentences.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant
- Book recommendation that you would make to entrepreneurs or business professionals (Response: Small Giants by Bo Burlingham)
- An innovative product or idea in the current e-commerce retail or tech landscape that you feel excited about (Response: Canva)
- A business or productivity tool that you would recommend (Response: Grammarly)
- A peer entrepreneur or business person whom you look up to or someone who inspires you (Response: Warren Buffet)
- Best business advice you ever received (Response: There’ll be a lot of things that you’ll get distracted by, but make the main thing, your main thing.)
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Hey, there’re entrepreneurs. My name is Sushant and welcome to Trep Talks. This is the show where I interview successful e-commerce entrepreneurs, business ex executives, and thought leaders, and ask them questions about their business story and also dive deep into some of the strategies and tactics that they have used to start and grow their businesses.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And today I’m really excited to welcome Dave Harrison to the show. Dave is the founder of Heavy Metal Merchant. Heavy Metal Merchant is an online retailer that specializes in licensed music merchandises, focusing on heavy metal music genre. And today I’m going to ask Dave a few questions about his entrepreneurial journey and some of the strategies and tactics that he has used to start and grow his business.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So thank you so much for joining me today at Trip, Dave, really appreciate
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: it. Thank you so much. It’s a pleasure. I look forward to having a, a good conversation. Yeah.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So your business is focused [00:01:00] on a very specific category and and niche. It’s a heavy metal, so you’re selling products and accessories related to heavy metal genre.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Can you describe a little bit, uh, your business, uh, anyone who, who, who, um, may not understand what, what your business is? Can you share a little bit about your business, what it’s, and what you’re studying?
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Sure. Yeah. We’re like a, what they call a, I guess a niche market seller. So we’re, we’re in the mu music category, but we’re not just the music category, like a, like a music store with the gener, like a generalist.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: We’re actually a specialist, so we specialize in the genre of music, of, uh, heavy metal music. So, and that’s a pretty wide, broad generation, multi-generational genre. But we sell all kinds of licensed official, uh, merchandise products, different categories, everything from. Like t-shirts, apparel, accessory items, uh, posters, uh, patches, all those kind of things.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Uh, even, uh, media products now cause vinyl’s [00:02:00] becoming popular again, vinyl records, all that kind of stuff, but it’s primarily focused in the niche of that genre of music. So that’s what we, what we do. And,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: uh, the reason you started this business was because you were a musician yourself, or like you were very interested in this, uh, heavy metal genre and that motivated you to do it.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Can you share a little bit about what really got you started, when did you start this business and what really motivated you to start this
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: business? Well, coming up now is 2023, so, uh, this is our 14th year. So we kicked off probably 2009, uh, full-time. And yeah, I had a, a background in, in like a musician playing in bands, uh, going all the way back to the nineties and late eighties.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: And we, we toured around. Um, done a lot of tours, played with a lot of big bands, done some recordings, top of the charts, all that kind of stuff. So I’ve always been around, uh, the, the genre, um, of that style of music and, and sort of been around music since I was like a teenager and old enough to get into venues.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: I’ve always been around [00:03:00] music and music people and all that kind of stuff. And I was also a, uh, a record collector. I used to collect records ever since I was a teenager, so I had a massive sort of fairly, I accumulated quite a few records. So, and what I did, I was in between jobs once I actually sold off my collection.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: And that’s kind of what started the, the, the business. It’s selling and online. And that was, and when we started 2009, things were just starting to, um, happen as far as things like vinyl records. It was quite, the timing was kind of right. Cause they call it, I think they call it the vinyl revolution. It all kicked off around, Sort of late two thousands and people started becoming interested in those kind of physical products again.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So that’s kinda how, how it all started and my background in the music and stuff like that. And I’ve always, especially with the genre we’re in, uh, merchandising has always really been, uh, a big thing in the metal music genre. It’s a very much a tribal kind of things. So people love to wear the band shirts and collect the merchandise and all that kind of stuff.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So, and [00:04:00] it’s, and it’s quite, quite nichey and I found online it’s, it’s, it’s good to be like a specialist cuz it’s really, it helps with your marketing and reaching a target audience than a tribe. It’s a lot more in commercial intent of the buyer. They know what you’re about. You’re not sort of all things to everyone, but everything to that particular particular market.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So with that, that, that background and the knowledge I had of the music and the, and the genre and that, it just kind of made sense. And when I first started selling online, I realized how effective it was in, in reaching that target audience and how hungry people were to buy things. You know, so in, in that niche.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Cause they’re very passionate, loyal fans. I mean, you’ve got other genres too, like whether may be jazz music or country music. These are not like your passive music, uh, listeners and fans either. These are dedicated, diehard or out the market. We target is the, not the general top 40 mass market consumer.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: It’s the, the diehard people who live them are passionate about music. So, and they tend to be really be what they call super fans. You know, they like to buy and collect and things like that. So [00:05:00] that’s very much the market that, uh, we, we’ve, we’ve targeted and it’s become very EF effective and just growing year on year kind of thing.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So. Cool.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So when you, when you sold your record collection, was it like, did you start off like selling it on eBay or something? Or did you Exactly.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: That. That was, that was a time when marketplace was just, was still a, a really, really a thing I guess in the early days, earlier days of, of that kind of e-commerce.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So, Uh, and in a way that was good. I mean, it’s be different times now cause it’s different, but back then there were like, people remember that places like eBay were like an auction format. So you’d actually sell it and you, and you’d, and you flip the, um, the merchandise within a timeframe of a week. And I mean, I mean that sometimes happens now with collectable items, but generally, generally these like marketplaces like Amazon and eBay are more like shopping portals, like a middle man shopping portal now I guess.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: But back then it was a good way of, um, this is before Discogs and other things like that. So that’s pretty much how it started. And that was what sort of generated the cash flow to [00:06:00] start the business. So the whole business was bootstrapped basically from retained early earnings. And um, that’s how we sort of started.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: And, and it kinda gave me a knowledge of, you know, the basic principles of selling online, making sure he’s got good photos or good descriptions, good titles, good keywords, and interacting with customers and shipping stuff out in timely manner. All those kind of things. Looking up the customer questions and.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: And seeing what sort of things are interested in buying as well. So it was a good, it was a little market test. So that’s kinda how it started, just from the very grassroots beginnings, you know.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And, and your website, like, is this is your primary channel, channel that you’re selling right now and is it like your website, is it an Australia specific or do you sell only in Australia, or is it kinda like a global thing?
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Yeah, we ship world, we ship worldwide. So at the very beginning, um, we wanted to focus on our own website. You know, obviously you don’t wanna put all your eggs in one basket and you know, like, you know, if you, people just rely on a marketplace. I [00:07:00] mean, you’re playing by their rules and it’s kind of like your, your business is built on rented grounds, you know, so our main channel is our.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: And it’s dot com. So it’s a heavy metal merchant.com is the actual domain. So there’s a global domain in Australia. The Australian centric websites are.com au, um, which we own, but we, but.com is our trade. So we do our business in the beginning with, from all over the world. So we ship all over the world.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: And we do have products, products that are sort of, we like to have products that are, are friendly to ship, you know, like they don’t, not easily breakable. They’re light and easy to ship and pack and you can send those around the world without the, the shipping sort of killing the deal too much, you know.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So yeah. So global thing is the heaven metal merchant.com is, but we do operate out of Australia and we can talk about that later if you like, but we do have like a, a team around the world that works with us. But, um, yeah, we’re primarily a Australian focused business. Uh, we do like to support the scene and musicians and artists here to give back to that as well.[00:08:00]
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So, so your business model is because it’s, uh, in a way licensing. So yes, they’re, they’re the bands and I’m assuming they’re the ones who are creating these, uh, shirts or all the different products that you’re selling from. They get certain, um, cut over a sale that you make
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: outta that work. That’s, that, that’s, that’s correct.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Everything we sell is official licensed merchandise. And obviously for to be around as long as we have, um, you know, you don’t wanna be selling pirated merchandise. Cause in Australia and, and many parts of the world, uh, intellectual copyright is a, um, You know, that’s a civil action lawsuit or whatever.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: It’s you, you, you’re basically stealing pop intellectual property thefts. So, uh, official license merchandise means, you know, all the artwork and everything’s owned by the artists. So they, they actually make money and it’s giving back. And, and especially these days when there’s not as much, you know, in the streaming world, I mean, there’s still physical product, but the physical product is more physical product.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: I mean, things like, you know, [00:09:00] CD vinyl and CDs and things like that. It’s not the hugest slice of the pie. A lot, a lot of people stream music, so a lot of income now for artists is from touring and, um, merchandise. Merchandise has become a bigger and bigger thing. So, uh, license merchandise means that they, yeah, they own it and they’ll, they’ll get a percentage of the sales.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: And obviously, uh, artists do sell merchandise at concerts and things as well, but also getting out to all the mom and pop shops and the retail outlets too. It’s good for artist cause it’s good for an artist. It’s, it’s a branding exercise for an artist as well. So, I mean, if you go back, right back to the early to the seventies when bands first started getting to merchandising, you’d have bands like bands like KISS and things like that, and they’d, they’d have their merchandise and branding everywhere to have your fans wearing your shirts.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: It’s advertising and marketing. Um, so yeah, official merchandise means everything we sell is officially licensed, and that’ll be, you know, through retail shelf, Phil. Um, people who license and manufacture [00:10:00] merchandise. We make merchandise ourselves and do exclusive things as well. So, yeah, it’s always working with the artists, the bands, and the merchandisers to make sure that we’re stocking the best official, uh, product that’s endorsed and approved by the artist as well.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So the quality’s high too, so, okay.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So, so you’re basically, you know, you’re working with every diff different artist individually. There is no like middle man there. Like there’s no distributor that, that. Has a collection of all these merchandise from different artists and you’re basically just purchasing from them.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: You’re basical.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Sometimes there are, depending on the artists and the deals that they make, so that, that can all depend. I mean, we’re with about working with about 35 different, um, merchandises and licenses. Some of them will do shelf fill for retail outlets. Some will do, uh, direct deals and we work with a lot of smaller and underground bands as well.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So we’ll do direct things with them as well. So it’s a combination of everything really. Yeah. These days, especially the, the really big artists, they tend [00:11:00] to use, uh, like merchandisers to get out to all the retail, like what they call a shelf fill program to get the merchandise out to all the mom and pop shops, even mainstream retail outlets, things like that.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: And what’s coming more, even more popular now is even fashion outlets are starting to. You know, band merchandise or the branding of the logos and design. There’s fashion items. So it’s a different market to what we do. But yeah, there’s companies that will do that as well, and they’re almost like a, a distributor, I guess, or a licenser of the product.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So yeah, there’s, there’s stock comes from here, there and everywhere depending on the deal, on the situation. Yeah.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: In terms of a competition, like is this, is a website like this, um, a unique website or are there other like similar website that do a similar kind of a thing, you know, or they compete directly with, with you rather than, uh, you know, or they’re focused on like heavy metal genre also, so you have like a direct competition, um, or is this kind of like, [00:12:00] you, you say that this is kind of the official, um, website.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: You know, hard, hard metal music genre and everybody knows you about your web, your website. And like, is there, is there some sort of like price competition in the market? Like if, if there’s a second website also, like are they selling this merchandise at a lower price and so you have a competition there or like how does
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: that work?
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Yeah, yeah. I sock it with anything in, in retail I guess there’s always competition and other people selling things and, and it’s similar to like eBay or Amazon is always like a price thing. So with anything online, especially if there’s a middleman marketplaces, the, the margins there will be raised and raise are thin.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So, and for us it’s always been about, cause there’s other outlets and people sell merchandise. And people can even buy merchandise to shows and stuff. But the wider range that we have that specialized in that niche, we get a lot of, uh, sort of, uh, cross sell with the products. So people will spend hundreds of dollars in one order, mix and match and pick, pick different items like what they call like an [00:13:00] online aggregator in that niche.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Mm-hmm. But yes, there, there is always online, there’s always that, uh, competition a aspect, unless you have like exclusive products starting exclusive to your store, you know? So, but for the generalized popular items, I mean everyone, if there’s other people that would sells, there are other, other outlets online or like any niche, there are sort of, there are our main operators within that niche.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: And our, our role is to be price competitive, um, still retain a margin, make sure the bands are getting paid, and just making a fair deal for the customer so when they shop, they’re getting a good all around deal and price and experience as well. I think that’s the main thing to stay competitive in the marketplace, you know?
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So yeah, that’s what we do.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: I mean, I’m, I’m assuming like, just, just similar to like different brands. I’m assuming that some music bands are more popular than other. Like, do you find that in your store, if you have, you know, 10,000 skews, do you find that 80% of your sales are coming from like, you know, [00:14:00] 10% of those bands or something because they’re, they’re the ones that people are really gravitating or they’re the one what’s really popular and then every like, smaller band or band that are not popular.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: It’s like every month in
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: a while. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Exactly. I mean, that’s, so I guess that would be similar to a lot of retail is what they call the long tail items. So it’s like the 80, you know, the old 80 20 principle, like, you know, like 80% of your sales comes from 20% of the stock kinda thing. And, and that’s true to an extent.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Um, so you, you obviously got, you’ve got what they, you call supergroups I guess that are always gonna be, um, and also want things that cross over into pop culture as well. So there’ll be things that cross right over the, whether it’s a movie tie in or something like that. So you have those, but also being a specialist seller, which means we can dive really deep into long tail items like, uh, ob obviously in the main sort of pop culture stores or retail outlets.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: There’s another point of difference too. Another retail outlets. They’ve only got x amount of limiters, shelf shelf space, so that I go deep [00:15:00] into long tail items. So for us being a, a niche seller online, a specialist seller, we could go deep into on, uh, into long tail items, which it means they can get more obscure stuff and sub-genres that are not as mainstream sort of popular, but with a place for it.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So, um, and that way, and that, and we find that we get a lot of sales from a lot of that stuff, but from the wide range, having a wide range of, of stuff. So you do have your popular items, but what happens is us having a wider range so they can get a lot of different long tail items that they might not find in other places.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So I think as a niche selling that way, you’re not always competing with the direct, um, stores cuz you’re not always selling the mainstream product all the time. So I think for a, a niche seller and a specialist, um, as compared to a generalist, you can get sort of dive deeper into that stuff, uh, as a gen.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Uh, and I think that’s a thing too. Like you’ve got in any different fields and professions, you’ve got like generalists and you’ve got specialists. You go, you go to a doctor and who, who gets paid more? The specialists or the [00:16:00] generalists, you know, like unless you’re Amazon or a mainstream or Walmart or whatever that competes with, sells everything.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Well, as a niche seller, you can differentiate at yourself by a specializing in a lot of sort of niche, uh, long tail specialist items. So when people land on your website, they’re like, oh wow, this is, this is for me, this is, that’s got everything stuff I can’t find. Or I can get this all in the same pla place.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So that, so you do have the 80 20 of course. But I think as a specialist niche, you can really dive into the long tail items and, and that can be your, your sort of, your strength, uh, I guess in, in some ways for that. Yeah, and also too for when we first started, it might not be, it might not be the same now, but I guess it was, was good for timing.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Like obviously we, we, we bootstrapped the company, so we started, uh, with our domain names.com as I mentioned before, but we had some of the keywords, heavy metal merchant.com, so some of our marketing was tied into our domain name and it’s really [00:17:00] helped with searches and everything. I dunno how much applicable it’s now, but just having a generic brand name and have to educate people to what, uh, what that brand name is, is like soon as, oh, have a metal merchant within two, you know, two seconds, five seconds, they can say, oh, I see what this is all about.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: It’s heavy metal music merchandise, so, and oh, that’s not for, that’s for me. So some of the branding and the keywords were linked in with the actual, um, domain name, which. For us, it’s a bit of marketing that comes for free kind of thing. So when you’re bootstrapping things, all these little things can help.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: And, and, and also we research those keywords too. And all, as you said, the 80 20 items, uh, you can, you know, when you research the keyword and, and the search volumes, the search volumes might not be that huge, but they add up over time and there are people looking for them. So, and it’s so that way it’s easy for you to stand out in the searches for more spec specified items rather than having to compete with the, the top 80, the top 20%, the make 80 of the percent mainstream sales.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Yes. Yeah.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So, so, so marketing for something [00:18:00] like this should be, should, I’m assuming it should be an interesting exercise because you are not educating the market because the market already is seeking for the product. They, I mean, they, they are the fans. So they’re, they already know that they’re looking for something.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: I guess your job is to be able to come up on the search results when they, when they search for that product or a similar keyword. So is it really a very SEO focused marketing or are you also going out and doing, you know, are you targeting like different Facebook groups that are like heavy metal focused or like, you know, different groups that, uh, you know, uh, I’m sure there are like music groups out there also, forums and things like that.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Are you also going out and
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: advertising? They, they short. They sure are. Yeah. So for us it was like, uh, it’s a combination of everything. I guess in the early days, your SEO can. You know, make sure you’re coming up with searches and the right people are finding you. [00:19:00] And obviously those kind of keywords are easier to, to market to and cheaper back then to sell to get those orders is rather go after the main ones.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So that’s, that’s the advantage there. But it’s also, yeah, very tribal aspect too. So there, there are like Facebook groups or social, not just Facebook. Back then it was more Facebook centric cause, but when we started 2009, it was like a golden time. We, we would have a Facebook page for example, and we could put up a post and you, you know, I dunno what the percentage was, but a very large percentage your post would reach that audience.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Now I think it’s like, what organic reaches like 3% or something? So a lot of that came for free. Oh, someone was starting now, it was gonna cost them a lot of money to reach those people, but back then it was just, it was new. So it was like, and we, we grew that to like, you know, 25, 30,000. A very sort of short space at time because the organic reach was so big back then and that created a tribe, a tribe around us.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: And it was a very targeted tribe. So the old aspect of having like, uh, what they call it, the 10,000 true fans is, you know, like that, that kind of thing. You [00:20:00] can build a business on that. I’ve seen people like popularity on Instagram. They might have a a million, but they’re giving away all their value.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: It’s not targeted. And they, and they sell what, 12 t-shirts or something? Cause their audience isn’t commercial intent. So having those true sort of tribal aspect and people that actually have purchased from us really interested in what we have to sell. It’s a very, and it works very well for the algorithms too.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: The algorithms, um, and the ai, especially the AI that’s now come in, um, making lookalike audiences based on, you know, like pay your PayPal or your gateways. You can make look lookalike audience based on people that have actually purchased from you. So, but more drilled down to that target. These are some of the strategies that we use as well as seo.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: A lot of seo you, you gotta realize is people are searching things about music, but they’re not always have, they always have a commercial intent for it. Yeah. So you just looking for some news about an artist or when they’re out, coming out or when the tours happening, or just general news or gossip or whatever.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So not [00:21:00] always, uh, commercial intent driven. So, um, when you have a tribe and a group marketing like that, we have a Facebook, social media, uh, direct, direct marketing as well, I guess with email. But we try to go, don’t go too hard on the email. I think these days people are subscriptions are so overdone, period to get sick of and it can actually turn customers off.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Same with, uh, other things too. Like when they land on our website, we, we’ve taken away any kind of pushy discounts, sign up to our new email, all those kind of things. We’re just taking that all off. Um, because people know now they’re just sick of that. It’s like too much of a subscription. Based stuff.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Just the, I think it’s, well, it’s fatigue. It’s a subscription based model. Fatigue. Yeah. And people can only have so much spamming their inbox or coming up, unless they really opt in for it and they go out the way, then off, we find that’s a better, that’s what far better than just, or they just sign up to get 10% discount, then they’ll just unsubscribe as soon as they’ve got the discount or whatever.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Yeah. But people search you out, like I say, it’s not about getting your name out there, it’s getting their name in your list, [00:22:00] but you want the quality, you want the quality there. And um, so that’s, that’s kind of how, there’s a different strategy we use, but SEO is one of them. But yeah, it’s obviously, and also another one is having repeat customers.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Once you’ve got someone in, especially in our niche, the lifetime value of the customer, you know, like, um, you could be selling to them and their family and their friends. And also too, like, uh, the packing stuff you have in your packet, in your parcels that go out. It can be marketing to them. All that stuff is all marketing.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: The way you communicate to them with your links and all that, it’s gonna all be, it’s all marketing as well. And. They that the best customers can do a, a post or tag you, and then they’re marketing your products as well. So without getting, you know, seo, I think sometimes these days can be a little bit of a, it’s almost like a cowboy industry where there’s people there, um, agencies that are just, or just they just sign up businesses and I think they just rip them off, but they ripped them off with, cause people do not understand how SEO kinda works and how simple it all’s, but they make it more complex than what it is.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: And they charge people, [00:23:00] like, they get people once again on an account or contract, like especially corporate. And they’ll, I notice like, I don’t know. I don’t know what they actually do. A lot of ’em actually do that much. I mean, you’ve got programs like s e m Rush and stuff like that. I, it’s, and they’re not that hard to use.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: It’s not that difficult. I think, yeah, there’s, there’s a lot of this. There’s a few, especially in the e-commerce, there’s a few like spery ripoff things and mistakes people can spend their money on where they don’t need to, you know, like, yeah, yeah,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: yeah. It’s, um, it’s, it’s such an interesting topic because, uh, you know, as the internet evolves, you know, at the beginning of the internet, it was easy.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Uh, I think anytime a new platform comes or a new technology comes, it’s, it’s easy, right? And yes, everybody, everybody goes and, you know, then there’s a lot of competition. It becomes harder and harder. And now I think the next evolution, um, I don’t know how familiar you with the whole chat g coming in and
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: like
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Yeah.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: The artificial intelligence and,
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: [00:24:00] and the ai Yep. Did, yeah. When, when a customer lands on your website, it’s a, everyone gets a different experience based on the ai.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: It’s kind of like, I think, um, you know, right now with the whole chat ging, it’s like right now if you’re trying to find something, you have to search on Google and then you get hundred thousands of reverse and you have to go on different websites and trying to find like what you’re looking for with GT because it’s ai.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, It’s basically, you just have to ask the que, it’s kind of like an oracle, right? So you ask the question and, and it’ll give you the answer so you don’t have to click on different sites and things like that. So yeah, it’ll be very, it’ll be very interesting to see how that changes the whole, you know, search engine ecosystem.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Is Google going to be around, or, you know, how, how,
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: I guess that’s technology changes. Ai, AI is just looking, the technology where they’ve got an AI is just gonna be a [00:25:00] game changer and really gonna change so many industries and almost make a lot of industries redundant. Cause I mean, AI can generate content.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: It’s gonna be able to generate copy, it’s gonna, it’s even gonna be able to create music like, well it does already, but you’ll be able to, all that kind of stuff. So now I guess they’re using AI just to create the best search possible. And, and as you say, like it’s an old, it’s been around for a while. In the beginning it, it is not a, not quite a saturated, but now it’s so saturated.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: I guess you wanna serve up the best possible, uh, result. To the person searching and so they’re gonna use AI technology. We have you been using a bit, some, a bit bit older, but similar, like, you know, you have like the, the Facebook pixel or something like that where you use the pixel and the pixels, um, generate an AI generated audience based on a customer that might have gone through your checkout so that your ads will show on AI generated lookalike.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Um, or people can do it, I guess with their mailing list as well. If someone’s opted into their mailing list, they can [00:26:00] generate AI generated, um, advertising based on, so you, your, your, you’re basically, your ads are appearing. So I guess that’s the opposite almost. This is like the search version of that. Um, based on their past browsing history and everything and their buying patterns and all the data that they have, I guess you’re saying it’s gonna be a game changers.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Everything constantly changes. It’s up to you. Keep up with it. But certain things are definitely, AI’s gonna make it redundant. It’s gonna make things redundant. Like you no longer necessary. Like, I mean, people who don’t think that they’re just, they’re just gonna be, they’re gonna be left behind, I think know.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: I think the five years, like I think online retail will look very different in the next five years. I think it’s going to be different.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Um, look, even if you go back, I mean, when we first started it was more based around marketplaces than, um, you know, eBay and then Amazon come along and, I mean, Amazon’s just laid off, I can’t remember, but a massive amount of staff like, um, and it’s almost like that’s like a, like, like the middle man wedged in between [00:27:00] e-commerce, you know what I mean?
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Like, it’s, it’s not the, um, they’re taking a percentage of every sale sold. So for us, for example, more money can go to the artists and everything else if there’s not a middleman ticket clip of marketplace in the middle. And they’re always constantly changing their rules and their policies and everything else.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: And the way they search. Like, for example, eBay for example. I mean, I guess that’s, that’s been around decades now, but I mean, it’s actually got fees on top of fees. So, you know, for someone to get on top of a search, they have to pay a promoted listing fee. So not only are paying a final value fee, you’re paying a fee on top of a fee just for a search.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So with this AI technology, you’re saying potentially makes that almost redundant, people can find the most relevant item for them curated by using the most, uh, UpToDate data and accurate data on what they’re looking for. So, exactly. Yeah. Be some interesting times. People really need to be, be up on that.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: All of that. What’s happening, how the internet, the world, Kelly, I remember one tech, I was listening your [00:28:00] podcast just the other day, and they were talking about AI and, and the people in that space, they said how the internet changed the world. Then AI was, is gonna change it mult multiple, multiple times more.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: And this will, the technology’s there and AI can even write its own code. So it means like, What the internet, how the internet changed the world. This will change the world, but faster. Like the internet took, you know, a few years to get traction. But this, this won’t, like they were saying, cause the technology can write its own code, generate things, copy everything else, and they’ll be able to do, they say, we’ll be able to do things faster and more efficiently than humans can.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So it’s gonna be interesting times. I mean, as a marketer on seller, you gotta really, how you can use this to your advantage or what’s gonna be relevant to you, what isn’t relevant to you, what’s gonna make, what part of your business is gonna be redundant, I guess You get, it’s, it’s, I guess it’s exciting times.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: If whatever your attitude is, I guess we have to be excited for it, you know? So not intimidating. I think.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: I think, I think, yeah. I think it’ll be a huge first mover advantage. Like the pe [00:29:00] the, the, the people in the companies who get in with, in with that at the beginning, um, they will get a huge advantage.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: You know, they’ll be ahead of the curve and I think. Anybody who does not, uh, catch up quickly. I think there, I think it may, it may become more and more difficult if it’s just like, you know, Google was the, the search engine that that capitalized the, you know, the whole search engine business. And they, they became really big.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And I think it’s going be the same kinda a thing. The the businesses, the companies that, uh, capitalized on AI at the beginning, they’re, they’re gonna have a huge advantage.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: I think that’s what you call the first, the first mover advantage, the first, the first mover advantage or the ones that can actually, uh, use it to their best advantage, uh, you know, was up with, with e-commerce, a lot of, for us was a lot of timing as well.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: It was good timing. People just started shop online. New generations come in and they’re just got the first generation of internet natives, things like that. And, and the way, how easy it was with social media was just sort of becoming a thing. And it was [00:30:00] lot easy to organic reach and a lot cheaper and everything else.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So the people who took advantage of that, You know, build up their audience and carved out their, their place probably a lot cheaper than easier than they, they can now. You know? So, and then, so this, these kind of things will, are constantly happening. So, um, people can sort of jump on that are and aware of what’s around the corner, but I guess we don’t really know until it’s there for a while.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: The overall impacts and the amount of change. Looking back, you see the amount of change it’s, it’s gonna make, you know, like, but I think, yeah, it’s gonna be probably a lot fast. It’s probably gonna happen fast. Cause I think technology’s there now and it’s like almost like, uh, compounding exponential technology that’ll just make other things quicker.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: And it’s, it’s has that effect, you know, as you get more technology. Yeah, yeah.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Yeah. It’s, it’s gonna be very interesting times. Um, do you work with bands directly, like in some sort of like a referral relationship? Because I’m assuming that, you know, The customers [00:31:00] who are very passionate about a certain band or something, they’re visiting that website or you know, uh, if you have some sort of a referral link through there.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And you, you, you have, and I dunno if you could clear some.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Yeah, we do. We actually have, we do have some bands that we do. We do actually do their band stores for them, stuff like that. Um, because that, that’s another thing too, like bands, um, especially if they’re smaller bands, they don’t have a big organization such, um, they might have their managers, whatever.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So having shirts printed up, we’ve actually made, you know, merchandise directly for bands for their tours, things like that when they go out there, or just doing their Australian web store so the customers can, uh, have someone on the ground here. So they get their merchandise sort of at a better price and quicker cuz they’re on the ground here rather than shipping all over the world a, a as well.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So we’ve done things like that too, and links from their website onto ours. Uh, so yeah, we, we actually do that, do that as well. Uh, the thing with the, and also too, when bands tour and that unless they’ve got an infrastructure. And don’t have other merchandising company packing and shipping items every day is, is quite labor intensive and [00:32:00] it takes a lot of attention to detail.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: The band’s got a lot of things, especially when they’re on the road, that a lot of things have to take care of and do with the business. The companys picking, uh, shipping and packing orders and product drops. Yeah. That, that, that’ll be, they’ll take up their whole existence. I know bands who tried that, they did a they and they end up with 10,000 packages they have to ship out and, and it’s like when we get time to rehearse, we don’t get time to play.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: When got time to work our day jobs or whatever else we have to do, write songs. And it’s like, so it, having that, uh, facility where they can outsource some of that stuff and, and I think it’s all also about making sure they get a fair deal as well because, um, you know, like you, you, they, you can outsource, it leverages their time and also too they can get a good, nice margin as well.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So, which is, which is I think, the way to go really, because, and also too with, um, customers, With us. Cause we have so many long tail items. They like to like the aggregator. They could, when they’ve put an order in, it might be for 10 different things, 10 different bands, and then get it all in one place.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: It’s aggregated. Whereas if they go toto to a normal band, it might only be one artist and that’s it. Whereas [00:33:00] when you got, uh, like the true fans, they, they like to swap all kinds of bands. So, um, that way they can consolidate their orders, have it all in one, is one package with all different bands and, and they can save their shipping costs as well.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So, um, yeah, so that’s kind, that’s kind of, uh, that’s what we do is that we do do direct deals as well, like that depending on the situations. Obviously the larger bands, I mean, larger artists have their own merchandising companies, separate companies that will do global merchandising. Cause it’s, you know, it’s a big thing doing light and, and work and, and working out licensing opportunities in all kinds of categories and manufacturers and, um, pop culture and getting a product placement in pop culture and in all the main retail stores.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Just so you, the brand. Or the artist brand is ubiquitous, you know, depending what the artist wants. So there, there are big companies, once you said like the 80 20, the twenties will use like these big merchandising companies and they’ll have like shelf, shelf fill programs for, for, um, for retail stores, you know, so it’s just another avenue of their [00:34:00] merchandising.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So, and, and also cheering merchandise. They, they might look after tiering merchandise as well, which on a bigger level takes quite a bit of infrastructure and knowledge and knowhow to make sure there’s enough when there’s, you know, tens of thousands of people every night making sure the merchandise is rolling and not stocking out and everything else.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So, yeah. So depending on, it all depends on the level of where, where things are at, but we would do those as well. And it makes sense sometimes to do that too, you know, so we, we sometimes had to, artists go, they’re touring Australia or they’re touring, um, um, Japan or something like that, and they want some special.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Items or some accessory items done up so they can have more stuff to sell in the merch stands. So cool. Ship ’em right out in the air, straight to the, to the promoters and stuff. And we also just sometimes do X tour stock as well. So sometimes a promoter might be stuck with a whole bunch of tour stock that might not have sold so perfect for our customers.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: You know, like a XT tour stock. They can get things like that. They might not have picked that up at the show, or that might be some part of the world where we didn’t have access to that, stuff like that. So yeah, [00:35:00] we can work directly those ways as well.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: I’m curious, like, um, when you have, uh, I think you mentioned that you, you do have like email list and, and the program around that.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Even though you said you, you don’t try to blast a lot of emails. I’m curious, like do you, do you collect, do you collect some sort of a preference in, in, in that, where. Um, a person, a fan who is interested in let’s say three different bands, you know, they’re, they’re like super fans of those three different bands, you somehow ask them, you know, which are their bands, like, so that you can have more targeted emails.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: I mean, the idea that I’m getting is, let’s say, let’s say a person is interested in band A and now band A is touring and they’re, they’re about to come to Australia or, you know, whatever country that they’re in. I think that would make a very good, um, email to automatically, uh, or some [00:36:00] find, find a way to, to send out an email to only those, uh, customers or only those fans saying, Hey, this band is now touring, you know?
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Exactly. Yeah. As a, as, as a super fan, you know, you may want to buy these t-shirts or, you know, whatever, or, you know, you may, you would wanna go watch, watch their shirt, something like that.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Yeah, that’s right. Um, what you call the segregation of your mailing list. Um, a as it grows, you know, depending on, because obviously with, um, The genre were in, and it’s probably similar to jazz or country, whatever, it, it spans many decades.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: You know, it spans many decades. I’m going back to like late sixties, early seventies. So you’ve got multi-generational, um, artists and you’ve got, and the, and the, obviously the genre has, has got lots of subgenres within it. So someone who buys one product is, is what be trying to do totally different to another one.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Someone who buys something that’s more 80 centric might not be some extreme metal thing as well. So to segregate that out can help. But, uh, it’s very similar to what I think you’re saying. How, if you look at Spotify for example, you, [00:37:00] someone does a play on Spotify and it has, you look up an artist and you’ll say like, fans also like, so on Spotify, you’ll see like that’s what those people who listen to this artist also listen to this artist.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: And that’s very much the same kind of segregation I guess they can do. We use. Malechi, that’s what we use, stuff like that and look alike. But yeah, and we do it every now and then, but generally, yeah. But, um, that’s, I mean that’s also too, like someone’s touring, you know, they purchase that, um, some articles or merchandise of that artists and they’re touring and the Yeah, that’s definitely, and also too, with, um, your social media advertising, you can, you can do that as well.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Cause um, you can, what if they do like that band, um, or artist, the social media, um, campaign manager ads will also say they also like this. It comes up with the suggestions. So you can obviously target them that way as well. So if they do like this artist, then, you know, if you go into the meta manager and say Facebook or [00:38:00] Instagram, it, it’ll also come up with suggestions based on.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: What they’ve liked. So that’s a way of targeting as well, if they’re doing tours and things like that. So, so, so yeah, so you can do it with email and you can do it with the social media strategy as well. So, but I guess that’s the same with any business as sells these products. They’re buying certain products of a certain category, then you can do that as well.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Or interests, whether it’s hobby category or sports categories or anything like that, I guess. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Do you, do you ever think that now you have kind of mastered in a way, or, you know, you’re more familiar with this specific music niche, you know, hard metal. Do you think, given that now you understand the business model and how to work with dance and the marketing and everything else, do you ever think about, you know, taking the, the, the whole idea, just creating like a second.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Kind of a website around a different genre or, you know, jazz or something like that. Or is that difficult because you’re not interested in that [00:39:00] music genre or you’re not familiar with all the bands and, and things like this, so it’ll be difficult to do that. Yeah, I mean, I mean just like business, kinda like a copy paste thing.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Like, you know, one nation, how to run the equip. You just create multiple websites around multiple
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: niches. Yeah, I know what you mean. Like I, I thought about that. Like you, cause cause you’ve got a formula, you know how it works and how all the systems and everything work. You could really, you could easily translate that into another sort of sub sub genre, whether it be, you know, you pun punk rock merchant or horror merchant or you know, it could be jazz or country.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: You know what I mean? You could do the same thing. Exactly. Uh, but I’ve thought about that. But the thing is, um, also too with, with, with the genre warrior and it’s very big. It’s very, compared to some other genres, it’s very. Merchandise centric as well. But obviously pop culture, you could do that thing and that’s why I see, I see, I see general scores, but I think sometimes they could be more powerful if they just targeted and drill down a little bit more into their niche.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Cause you’re going more accurate in your marketing and everything else. But [00:40:00] I think that the main thing to answer your question there, the main thing is you only have so much, much time and energies to put into certain things. So I know what’s that book, does that make you make the main thing your main thing, so mm-hmm Rather, rather than I say the manager tries to chase two rabbits, catches, catches nun kind of thing.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So it’s like, see other, you always win in business. I think a lot of people when they start business or get the business or say entrepreneur, they’ll see lots of opportunities. Like there, there’ll be lots of opportunities. You could say, ah, we could do that or we could do this, but it might be a bit outside your realm or your lane.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Uh, and, and it sometimes it can dilute and start taking more attention away from your main thing that’s actually your strength. So I guess there’s two. Two ways of looking at it. You know, for, for, for me it’s like channeling, channeling that, making the main thing your main think. And there’s so many opportunities within the lane that we’re in.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: I’d rather just keep putting the focus and the energy and the attention onto, into that lane to make that as strong and as good as it can be. Uh, uh, rather than sort of doing the same thing, but [00:41:00] taking my attentions away, diluting that so much where I’m not putting the main focus on the main, making the main thing, the main thing, you know?
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So, but I think anyone who’s sort of stuck, they’re gonna see lots of opportunities come up. It will be viable business entities they can use with the skills. But I think after, like you’re saying with the skills you have in marketing and selling and reaching an audience, connecting with an audience about to sell, sell things, I think those skills, like marketing and sales is one of the skills that’s translatable across every industry.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Like, you can go to university and get a specialized degree in something, but it doesn’t, some, some things you learn, it’s not gonna translate across industries, but you learn marketing and sales. Doesn’t matter where, what, where you work, it’s gonna be translatable across all industries. So those skills that you learn or the people you talk to in podcasts, the skills they’ve learned, building their business, reaching, connecting with their audience and how to sell to them, um, can be translatable across just any, it’s gonna be valuable skill to so many industries.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Uh, but the thing is obviously [00:42:00] your passion and your knowledge, specialized knowledge making your main thing. That’s another thing too, is you can use, use those marketing skills, but tied in with your passion and your specialist knowledge is where the real strength flies. I think at a lot of times, occasions, without getting too distracted and going off into a lot of different tangents, which could be viable, but, but that might take away from the main thing and the energies you are focusing in on what you’re doing.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Definitely.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Uh, what does your team look like
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: right now? Um, at the moment now? Well, we’ve obviously got, uh, on the ground here. Um, we, we, we’ve got, I’ve got a full-time packer and shipper and everything else, and then we’ve got like, um, uh, I look after the day-to-day overall business side of things and, you know, dealing with suppliers and every, everyone else and bands and all, all the, all those kind of things.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: And then we’ve got like, um, a team, that, backend team that looks after our, our website platform. Cause we don’t run like a, um, a Shopify thing. We’ve got, uh, a, [00:43:00] a plat platform. We’ve, we’ve got, um, on the ground support, tech support in Australia, so we can call him anytime anything happens. So we’ve got that team that looks after that.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Then I’ve got a virtual team that will do, um, like, you know, data entry jobs and all those kind of, uh, things as well. And we can sort scale that up and scale that down as we need kind of thing as we get new products coming in and that make sure the data entry is up to date, uh, and things like that. And also, and all, and other things too, like, you know, the graphics and stuff like that.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: We, we often outsource and use all those websites out there, whether it be fiber or. Um, job search websites, stuff like that. Just, you know, just for one-off jobs and things like that. We find that’s very handy as well, you know, so you basically can scale up or scale down as you need. And I think that’s good for a lot of people.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: If they’ve got any sort of specific jobs, I’ll find people that they can use time and time again to do certain things. Um, graphics or social media and stuff like that, um, where they can outsource that and that’s what we do, you know, we’ll use those, those platforms too. So, and also we have, we’ll use a, [00:44:00] you know, everything like a Dropbox, so everything, everyone can relate and share the files cuz not everyone’s in Australia that work for us.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So, so that way they can share things and have the, have their jobs in those tasks and automate the training as well. So the training I’ve got, they’ve got videos they can use and all that kind stuff. So
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Is your website built on WordPress or WooCommerce or, uh, different platform?
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: No, no. We, we used, we had, we’ve had a couple when we first started.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Cause obviously when we first started, the technology just gotten so much better. Um, with things and options. We use one called, um, it’s called, it used to be called, um, Nito, but now it’s called um, Mari Post Commerce. Uh, okay. Platform. That’s, that’s what we use. Uh, it’s a fairly popular one in Australia, but they’ve got an underground team here, so we could call ’em any, anytime.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Cause you know, obviously when you run e-commerce, as people will realize, it’s always technical issues that will happen. Things will go down, things don’t go through. Or if you’re selling on mul multiple channels like we do sometimes, um, things don’t sync properly, all that kind of stuff. So, uh, we’ve got the, the crew there that we can call [00:45:00] anytime on the ground.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: We had a platform before, but we couldn’t really do that. Cause you know, some of the ones platforms are all more plugin based, so every plugins you’ve gotta contact a different person or whatever else. And especially being in Australia, like Winnie stuff, that’s gonna happen, you know, if someone buys, for example, which is one example, say someone buys a, an automated gift certificate and all of a sudden they contact say, oh, it hasn’t come through.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: I haven’t got it. What’s happening? Well, I can’t work out what’s happened then I, I can get someone to sort, sort it out straight away, get ’em on the phone and speak to the, on the ground team here. And that’s what we find, you know, rather than have to contact a separate app plugging company, what’s happened, they’ve only got a chat bot line or whatever.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: It’s a bit harder for us to do that. So for us it’s very, you know, make sure the customer’s getting looked after and having that on the ground team support really helps, helps us. And that’s what we use. It’s called Mariose Commerce. But I mean, there’s so many different solutions now and I think they’re all probably pretty good depending on, and so some people have a lot for us, we have a lot of different skews and some people don’t have, they might have a lot smaller product raise, but a higher volume of small amount of [00:46:00] products.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So different solution could be better for them, you know, whether it be Shopify for a smaller one or a big more of a co, um, you know, like a big, uh, you know, business oriented, uh, program where you got a lot of skews and stuff like that where you need more support, more things that could go wrong and all that kind of stuff.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: You know, enterprise level
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: stuff. So that’s very interesting. I mean, if, if you have a large number of skills, like do you have a large warehouse? I mean, that must, this must be a a It does. Yeah.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Yeah. We have, we do have a storage. That’s the thing. That’s the thing. We have like their storage and, and, but with our product types, uh, for us it’s always like, um, we get a scale of like the product types.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: I call ’em check boxes. So checkbox would be like, is it, is it an easy, easily shipped mail order item? Which means does it have, so is is it gonna break? Is another one, uh, does it have consistency of packaging? Does it take up a lot of space to store? Does it, does it, you know, um, uh, is it gonna be a high amount of returns?
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: [00:47:00] So, so, so the, obviously the gold standard product would be something. We sell something like a patch or a piece of jewelry that’s very small to store, very little chance of breaking it. Very cheap, very um, cheap to ship, um, consistency of packaging that will, that’ll tick every check box. Then you might have a shirt and you think, okay, sure, you might have a higher, higher rate of returns, cuz there’s more variance in sizes.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So you might get more returns on those kind of items, but they’re not gonna break, you know, and then you might have collectible items, which, okay, it’s a, it’s a odd shaped size. It’s gonna slow down the packaging. So, so yeah, with us, we try to have items that we can have mostly in the, to tick all those check boxes so we can, it doesn’t take up a huge amount of storage space as well.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: But we do have, you know, obviously we’ve got storage, uh, warehouse that we use. Pick and pack or basically pick our orders and we pack them, but pick them as officially as fast as possible. Cause we like to get our orders out within hours of the actual orders being purchased. So, um, that’s [00:48:00] another thing too, is differentiating from some of the competition where it is just a little bit, I don’t know, there’s not as efficiency of service there, you know, like so you can, we can do that.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: And also too, I think some people use fulfillment by Amazon, places like that. Fba we actually control our, all our stock and merchandise ourselves. But, um, but you can, there’s are other options. I guess you got FBA and things like that. Can people, we can use and I think they’re starting to build Australia a little bit, but, um, I dunno how much traction has really gained in comparison to say America yet.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So I
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: mean there’s fba but then there are like third party logistics company also, which, where you can outsource your fulfillment I guess. Um, I guess. You only do that if you realize, I guess, that it’s, uh, cost saving for you in certain way.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Like Exactly. And what, and the more middle man and the people get in the middle of the more margins arose, erode.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: And I’ve, I’ve heard, you know, you hear sometimes hear historic horror stories when people do, they outsource their, um, fulfillment and, [00:49:00] and is it because of nightmare? And all of a sudden things are gonna go wrong. So you gotta be very careful with that kinda stuff too. You know what I mean? So people get Yeah.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: All things, all kinds of things can go wrong. That’s what I call the, like the backend side of the business is really important, is how well you manage that, uh, customers. And to me that’s all comes into marketing too. Cause when someone orders it, they get shipped straight away, they get their item and they get their questions answered in a timely manner.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: And it’s a really quick, efficient, easy, no hassle purchase. Then that’s, that’s marketing in itself. Cause Wow. Why do I need to go anywhere else? Like I can, or, and another thing too is like, safe an audit. It’s, it’s rare to happen, but sometimes an order might go wrong. It might get the wrong item, doesn’t fit properly or anything like that.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: How you deal with that. That’s marketing Like, it’s basically like if you’s that, cool, not a problem. We’re here to help you. As long as you’re happy is our only concern, so we’ll make sure this is done right for you. We’re expressing the correct item to you today. Don’t worry about it and keep that one, whatever.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Then you’ve got a rating fan, they go on, go onto social media and say, dude, this the best place to ever what? And that and that’s, it’s like the best [00:50:00] marketing you can have sometimes. Yeah. Yeah. So it’s all about SEO and strategy and all that kinda thing too. Like the lifespan of your customers and their friends can be your customers too.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: And I think the way you handle those customers on the back end, that’s some of the most important stuff ever. But people would always focus on the front end all the time about getting, what’s the cost of getting you customers, keep your SEO and hiring these firms and all these magic gurus and everything else.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: But it’s like, but you’re not, you haven’t got the backend sort. You’re not looking out what’s the point of getting these front end leads in when the backend service is so, Yeah, they’re not never gonna come back. You know what I mean? So you just be burning money left and right, so Yeah. Yeah, yeah. That’s when we control our own shipping packet to make sure that we’ve got hundred percent control on that, so gets done to the highest level that we can do.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Yeah. Yeah. That’s, that’s definitely very important. Now, in every business’s entrepreneur’s journey, there’s always mistakes made, lessons learned, um, failures. Um, yeah. For, for the number of years that you’ve been running your business, [00:51:00] can you think about like one or two big mistakes, or
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: I’m sorry, or failures that you have
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: gone through your, your.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: What have
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: you. Yeah, sure. Yeah. I think depends on the way you look at it. I know, I know. There’s that saying, that’s what’s that quote, um, saying that there’s no, no failures only, um, learning experiences or something like that. So if you look at it like a failure, it’s a failure. But it could be, you know, it could be good learning experience as well.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: You know? Cause that’s how you learn, right? Like, uh, well I guess it’s failure if you do it twice, if you’re repeat the same thing twice. But something that, you know, like basically there’s. Failure. I guess that’s just, that’s just the judgment really, cuz it’s like you’ll get a result, you do something and you’ll get a result and it’s got either gonna be the result you think you expect or better than you expect or not what you expected at all.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So that’s why I kind look at it, but oh yeah, there’s, there’s different things like, yeah, as once I said earlier on, you kind of get bit bamboozled. Like anyone who starts to sort of website or anything else starts getting traction. [00:52:00] You’re gonna get a million emails from a million gurus, first page, Google, uh, they, they, they’re doing this or they can do, do all your social media, all this kind of magic kind of fix 10 extra business, this and that, all, all this kind of stuff.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: And it’s like you can waste so much money or really expensive graphic designers overthinking things. So some of the mistakes I’ve made is probably spending more money than I had to on certain things, um, that I. We’re quite simple jobs. And, and also too, um, another thing too, on the opposite end is not to be too foolish, foolishly frugal either, because sometimes, sometimes systems and processes you can invest in.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Um, like our e-commerce pack from, for example, we cost us more money, but it’s made us a lot more efficient and better and scale up and things like that, um, can hurt you as well. So it’s, the biggest mistakes I had was probably like on both ends, spending money on things that overspending on things probably lot of do that probably didn’t need to and not spending enough on other [00:53:00] things where it would’ve been a lot more beneficial.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Like, and also to you trying different product lines, certain product lines hit it. Sometimes you take a chance or something doesn’t quite work, um, and sometimes do, but you just move on and go into the next one. Not everything can be hidden outta the park every single time and it’s just constantly learning and finding new opportunities.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: But, The longer you, you’re around, I think the more opportunities you seem to come, come to us, like, uh, yeah, people contact us all the time with different ideas and things to sell and everything else. So more customers and stuff like that. So it’s all really good. But yeah, I think I, we wasted money in the beginning.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: I spent, I spent too much money probably on a seo, SEO organization until till I got some tools myself and I realize, oh, they’re just basically just ripping you off a lot of times. Or they just get, or you get two people are really knowledgeable in the firm and they’ll, there’ll be just some lackies that they’re hiring that really don’t really know what they’re doing, but they’re just, you’re just, you’re not a priority account or whatever it is.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So there’s a lot of things like that. That’s a, that’s there’s a lot of, um, regulation probably means needs to be made in that, in those areas, you know? [00:54:00] Um, and also too, another thing I think people mistake, they, they can get sucked in by too many gurus on the online rather than, um, not sort of mixing with people that are do already doing what they’re doing.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Like, so you’ll show example, you speaking to people that are actually doing it could have certain level of success in it. So you can follow, you know, it might be totally different niche, but you are around like-minded people that are doing the same thing. Not someone who’s just charging you because they’re making their living teaching someone how to do it, like with some magic system.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: But there’s no magic system. It’s basically you’re learning and doing things. There’s no magic system while you lie on the beach with your laptop getting million dollars while they, while they’re driving their Ferrari kind of thing. That’s they’re making money by selling sping your products or, or has you go a perfect example.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: You go on um, YouTube and you’ll see something. This is about how much money I made, how much money I made on eBay. And all they’re showing you is their gross turnover. They’re not showing you profit. As soon as you see that it’s a red flag, it’s a guru. It’s not, [00:55:00] they’re not legitimate. Anyone who’s running a business knows it’s what you keep.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: It’s not what you’re turning over. You could be selling fridges and used cars at a loss doesn’t mean you’re making any money. So that’s not what you made. It’s just what you turned over. And these are mistakes earlier on. You sort of see through all these sort of things and you might go down that rabbit hole for a while and, um, But yeah, you learn as you, as you’re going, you know?
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So, but as I said, they’re all learning experiences, but hopefully they don’t cost you too much and they, and they, and they can still bounce back and make it back and keep soldiering on kind of thing, you know? So yeah, that’s just, just some food thought from what’s actually out there and what people starting might encounter when they, when they’re sort of researching things about e-commerce, you know?
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: yeah, definitely. Um, what do you do, like, before I move on the rapid fire segment, what do you do with the inventory that doesn’t sell? Cause I’m assuming, like, you know, if, if something doesn’t sell, especially in a very niche market, it be very difficult to get rid of it. Like what do you do? You do with
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Well, that’s the thing.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Yeah. A lot of stuff that you either liquidated out, but [00:56:00] thankfully the, we. Very early on, we, we had a thing we sort of learned, uh, with a few that we hadn’t sold. So we sort of just dropped the price and got rid of it. But we have a lot of evergreen product in our category, you know, like, uh, there was a saying, some guy that’d been around 35 years that we used to deal with, he was actually supply with us years ago, and he said his success was down.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: He said Tread, tread lightly on trendy bands. So that’s what we kind of did. The more trendy, it’s more hips hip. It is the shorter your window’s gonna be. So it’s like, you know, you have like a boy band and, um, and the same merchandising company might do, you know, might do, they’ve got a three year window when they’re making that’s money and then it’s all liquidated off.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: And then you might have a Motorhead or an Iron Maiden or whatever, whether you’re gonna have Judas Priest or whatever. It’s gonna be 40 or 50 years of merchandising. So for us, there’s a lot of, um, evergreen stuff. So thankfully we don’t have to, there’s not a lot of liquidation. Stuff. And, and obviously too, another thing too for us is that, you know, you [00:57:00] try, when you’re testing a new category or something new, you, you don’t go in super hard.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: You don’t go all in at the same time. So you test, oh, that’s worked really well. Get a bit more, oh that’s worked really well to get, and then you ramp up that way. So we’re not stuck with huge amounts of, uh, inventory or massive print runs where we have to get liquidated. So yeah, definitely we’ve got better that as time goes on.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: But you do have those, but normally you just drop the price, liquidate them, and the worst case scenario give has bonus free items for customers. But, but most of that product is really good that we stock and it’s, it’s in demand to what people like and, and are really into. So I think the more people, whatever niche they’re in, the more understanding of the market they have, the better, the less they’re gonna have of that.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: You know, cuz they’ll be stocking really good stuff that’s ev like hopefully evergreen. Or if it’s cyclical in a, in a, in a sort of seasonal, then they’ve got a system where they can either liquidate it or. Do something to get rid of it, cut their losses and move on kinda thing. Yeah,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: definitely. So now I’m gonna move on our [00:58:00] rapid segment.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: In this segment I’m gonna ask you a few quick questions maybe or sentence, so, sure. Yeah. First is recommendation for entrepreneurs
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: and why. Okay. Was I think it says a lot, there’s a lot of classic ones, but one of the one that I’ve just read recently and it’s I think is recent release, it’s called Small Giants and I think the, the author is Globe Burlington.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: And why that one I think is interesting, um, basically in a snapshot it’s about not always be chasing big, but be cha be, be chase, chasing good. Like you can have like global reach by being. Small is a new big kind of thing. And that was like changing the mindset. So you haven’t got a big, there’s a lot of massive, massive companies that are almost like a corporate cancer and they’re doing bad things for the environment, bad things for the planet, everything else, but they’re just big, big, big, big, big and huge.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: And they’re just like these huge machines and, uh, other things suffer because of that. And this small giants is about being small but giant [00:59:00] in being so good. And I thought that’s a different, so the refreshing mind, mind shift, mindset, um, about building a business, especially in the e-commerce space where it’s a lot of solar entrepreneurs or small teams, it’s about focusing on being great rather than being really huge, especially when you’re in niche.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Being great is how well and, and overall impact on the planet, the environment, your customers and everything else. And making that your main focus rather on always having a massive growth focus. So small giants, I think it’s interesting con, interesting concept and a new shift and um, maybe moving forward that’s kind of, you have a lot more smaller giants and massive big corporations.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Uh,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Yeah. I mean that’s, that’s what I find a lot of the times when I talk to entrepreneurs, e-commerce entrepreneurs, like, and that’s, that’s what has happened I think in the last seven to 10 years, is these entrepreneurs have created businesses around like either one product, a specific product or a specific category, and really, really created a product or category like that’s different or is [01:00:00] incrementally better than anything else that’s available in the market.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And that’s, that’s where they can create like a small, uh, small, small group of fans around that product. And, you know, uh, so yeah, that’s, I mean that’s, that’s what what I’ve been seeing more and more, uh, these
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: for sure. And I think there’s probably a lot more space for them than say, you know, how many, how many spaces we’ve got for Amazon or Walmart or whatever, you know what I mean?
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So it’s like, yeah, this is where you fall between, you can be, you can do specialize and be more specialist and do it better than a big generalist. That’s probably Exactly. And that’s why I think that with the title like that Small Giants, it’s kinda like it changes your mindset. I mean, some people, some, and then there are other books too.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: There’s another one, like, it’s like Built to Sell. Some people wanna scale it up as masses as possible and then cash it out as well as a different strategy. But this is a strategy like probably more relevant to an e-commerce entrepreneur, which is about focus on being great rather than being big. You know, like, so that was a, that’s a different title anyway, comes to my mind.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: It’s a fairly recent release too, I think. So, [01:01:00] uh,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: an innovative product or idea in the current e-commerce retail or tech landscape that you feel excited about?
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Uh, not super new, but, um, one of, I think it’s Canva. You know, the Canva? Yeah. Uh, we can basically all the stuff he used to do in Photoshop grid product.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Yeah. Polluted and technical. We can just do it now and in the free version is great. Yeah. Um, so I think that’s so useful to anyone who wants to do social media marketing, the computer banners, graphics, it’s just, I think it’s very useful and has made things so much simpler and streamlined. And I guess I have to also announce, mention that because the, the, the lady who started it lives just down the road, the road from where I live, so she’s Australian, so she’s, I think it was valid.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: I dunno, many billions of dollars, but, but yeah. But I think it’s actually so useful. So, so many people in the tech space or best in business space creating graphic, it’s so quick and simple and intuitive to use before it was so convoluted. So yeah, can, that’s one that comes to mind. I mean, there’s [01:02:00] quite a few, but yeah, I think that’s very
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: useful.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: I think it, it’s a great product. Uh, a business or productivity tool or software that you would recommend or a productivity tip.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Okay. Yeah. Productivity, well, sort of productivity. Uh, is that one? Uh, gravelly. I use Grammarly like for um, uh, making sure that I’m not my spelling, especially the copy and the content, anything we’re putting out, it’s all be spelled checked properly and grammatically correct.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Uh, rather than have a proof proofreader. So for productivity and making sure that our copy that’s going out is properly proofread, I think. Yeah. Um, Grammarly, that’s another one I use, um, as well. So I think that’s useful for anyone in e-commerce cuz you’re writing a lot of [01:03:00] copy communicating with customers and you wanna make sure everything’s grammatically correct and spell checked and everything else.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Not more than just spell check has actually got correct grammar and other suggestions and everything else pumping out really good quality. Yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s one so comes to the top of my mind that the ones that actually use anyway. Yeah.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: A peer entrepreneur or business person whom you look up to or someone who inspires you?
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Oh, I guess there’s so many and there’s a lot of gurus out there as well. But I dunno, I guess I, I’ll go old school, I’ll go, I’ll go, well I’ll go someone like Warren Buffet I guess. Cause one, he is been around a long time. He, he is very principle based. He doesn’t, he doesn’t, he’s kind of got humility cuz he doesn’t go into things he doesn’t understand.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: And even, even when everyone around him is telling him he’s outta touch, but sometimes he sticks to the fundamentals. He knows it’s successful. Uh, he’s also not, um, he’s not, he’s not, um, ostentatious with his wealth or anything like that. And his plans to give a lot back. I think [01:04:00] he’s giving everything away before he passes on.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: He’s, he’s, he’s shifting it all out or his wealth he’s giving away. So I think he’s very, he doesn’t, he’s not flashy. He come across as guru wish, but he some, if you really look into the advice. He gives, it’s very based on fundamentals, common sense, and decades and decades and decades worth of wisdom and being in business and surviving and success that I think that you can’t, I dunno, anyone compare to that really.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: It’s, um, it may seem old and outdated, whatever, antiquated, but fundamentals. Fundamentals that he talks about and his principles, uh, uh, still sound no matter what, what you do, you know? I mean, and the way he conducts himself, he’s not, he’s not doing the usual sping thing in front of what you expect a very wealthy person to be.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So it’s like, and he is not driven by that either. So I think that there’s certain things I think that people could learn from there. And decades and decades and decades worth of wisdom. I think people, people have, you can have [01:05:00] knowledge, but then you’ve got, you can have knowledge and, but then you can have wisdom.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: And wisdom only comes through time and decades. Yeah. And that is a big difference. Applying knowledge and then applying wisdom, two different things. So I think, yeah, that’s one. Definitely and boring. Boring. But yeah, it’s, it’s been around, you know, I could go with somebody, oh, 10 x is this and that. They’re flashy, they talk big, whatever.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: But well, you’ve got 50, 60, 70 years worth of wisdom here. I, I don’t think you can compare that, you know what I mean? So yeah, that’s what I’ll look at.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: I would, I would, I would just add to Warren Buffet plus Charlie Munger, his, uh, oh.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Charlie. Charlie, Charlie Munger and also the other guy, um, Ray Delio speaks very highly.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Ray Delio. Yeah. Vanguard speaks very highly from him. He’s another guy. He was a disruptor and he disrupted the whole industry that probably needed to be disrupted cause it was full of like, you know, crooks and people lawn in their pockets and just taking advantage of mom’s A Destiny. Ray Delio came in and changed the, changed the game.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: And I think Warren Buffet, I think he says [01:06:00] that they should build a, build a statue after that guy for what he did. So I guess that’s three right there. But yeah, that, but I believe that, um, the guy, Charlie Monga was, uh, Buffett’s mentor. So if you look back, oh, boy’s partner, was it, that was, they’re
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: partners.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: They’re partners with Char. Yeah, Charlie Munger is also very smart guy. He’s also funny. So, yeah. Uh, the, the, the, the good thing with Charlie Munger, he’s also very, think it’s like five years old, but really, really sharp. Still really, really sharp.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Funny who, yeah. So I guess I, I guess those two go together.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Cause you wouldn’t have one without the other. They’re, they’re like the Berkshire Hathaway team. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. So yeah, I guess it sees Manila and boring next to eCommerce, but the fundamentals, they talk about the fundamentals of any success in business and in life. I think so. Um, yeah, it’s just not, I guess a lot of people don’t really listen to it because it’s not really, it’s not, um, YouTube kind of, or um, clickbait or polarizing kind of stuff.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: They talk, [01:07:00] so it doesn’t gain the kind of traction you have with an internet market. It does a lot of polarizing stuff, like, we need to get into Bitcoin now and this is the future and everything else. All those kind of polarizing things. It, you know? But I think when you really look at the wisdom and the fundamentals, it’s pretty hard to go wrong with that.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: You know? Like, cause it’s proven, it’s time tested. Yeah. Yeah.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Definitely. Final, final question. Um, best business advice you ever received or you would give to other entrepreneurs? Oh
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: wow. Yeah. Yeah. I think that, for me, the best one I had was just keeping the main, I had a, a, when I, when I had a, had a day job I was working in, and the guy who ran the company, he said, he said to me that there’ll be a lot of things that you’ll get, get distracted by, but make the main thing, your main thing.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: And I think that was one for me. It’s like, uh, focusing on what I’m doing for now and making sure I make, I’m doing that as best as I can without getting too distracted about and delving into too many things. So I think, yeah, that, that was my best piece of advice for me. Cuz as you come along, you’re gonna get distracted.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Don’t get too distracted, something’s working. Keep focused. Do more of that. You know, like Yeah, yeah, yeah,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: [01:08:00] yeah. And, and that, uh, that comes up again and again. When I talked to, so I’ve spoken with a few Shark Tank entrepreneurs Oh, wow. Yeah. Who, who, who work with like, these entrepreneurs like Mark Cuban and some of those entrepreneurs.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Oh wow. Yeah. And, and that, and that has this advice has come up again and again is like, where I’ve asked, you know, what is the best, best advice Mark Cuban has given you? Or something. And, and they’re like, it’s really about focus. You know, it’s not, they’re, they’re, they’re like, don’t, don’t worry about other things.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Don’t worry about diversification. Just focus on the product that you have and make it, make it, uh, just take the, the, all the advantage out of that. And, and so, yeah, I think, I think that’s, that’s a great advice. It’s,
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: that’s just something that I just discovered. Just it’s become, cause it’s, you gotta manage your focus in your energy.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: As well as your time and there’s only so much time you’ve got to manage that focus and energy. So, and if, if one of these side things you you’re getting into doesn’t quite, takes more time and energy cuz it’s failing or not gonna quite as what you [01:09:00] thought it’s gonna take it, take it away from your main thing, especially when you’ve got competitors and things like that.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: So yeah, that was the best boss for me and I’m sure there’s lots of different ones, but it’s interesting that you say that when you’ve spoken to these other ones, they said something similar, so let’s, yeah. Yeah,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: I think it’s definitely a great advice. Um, I think there’s only limited time and effort and resources everybody has.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Being an entrepreneur is not easy and so rather than, uh, diluting that time and effort and resource of, you know, having a focus and, and really making the best outta something is, yeah, it’s a great advice. For sure. Well, Dave. Thank you so much for your time today. Those were all the questions that I had really appreciated speaking with you.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, any heavy metal fans who are looking to buy purchase products from you, what is the best way to, to buy, uh, products and get in touch with you if they
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: need to? Yeah, yeah. Well, basically through our, our main website, um, heavy metal merchant.com is what I need to do. Everything’s on there. It’s our eCommerce store, [01:10:00] heavy metal merchant.com.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: And we also have, uh, Instagram and Facebook as well. So hit us up on there. Heavy metal merchant will be our username on there, so we’ll see you in the store. Great gift buying for anyone out there in Canada that wants to buy presents, we do have a lot of, uh, customers, happy customers and shoppers from Canada as well, so Awesome.
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: Be happy.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Yeah, all. Well, thank you Dave. Really appreciate again for you for sharing your story, for, um, sharing your business lessons. Thank again, joining
Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant: much.
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