$140K/Month – Building a Playing Card Decks Niche Ecommerce Business – Will Roya of Playing Card Decks

INTERVIEW VIDEO (Length – 40:20)


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Will Roya of PlayingCardDecks.com shares the story of creating a successful Playing Card Decks ecommerce business as a result of his background and passion for magic. Will emphasizes the importance of SEO, organic growth, carrying a wide selection of unique decks and building a strong brand as ingredients for his success. Will also shares his rationale for selling the business and the process of finding a buyer.

Episode Summary

Will Roya, the founder of playingcarddecks.com. Will shares his background in magic and how he started the business selling playing cards online. He discusses the competition in the market, their product offerings, and their strategies for attracting customers. Will also talks about the decision to sell the business and the process of finding a buyer. He shares his approach to running a business and his plans for starting a new venture. Will emphasizes the importance of SEO, organic growth, and building a strong brand. He also mentions his interest in AI technology and his new business, Puzzle Merchant. Overall, Will’s story showcases his journey as an entrepreneur and offers insights into the e-commerce industry.

  • 00:00:00 In this section, the host introduces Will Roya, the founder of playingcarddecks.com. Will shares his background in magic and how he got the idea to start the business. He started performing magic shows at a young age and later transitioned into selling magic tricks online. He noticed that playing cards sold well and decided to start selling them on his own website. Will also discusses his experience with e-commerce, mentioning that he had previous experience with eBay and Amazon. He talks about sourcing products from different suppliers and even producing his own line of decks. The host asks about the market demand for these products, and Will confirms that there is a niche market for playing cards.
  • 00:05:00 In this section, the interviewer asks about the competition in the playing card market and the products that were being sold. The interviewee explains that while low-quality playing cards can be found in dollar stores, their company offers high-quality cards printed by reputable manufacturers, as well as limited edition custom decks. They also highlight their advantage of having one of the largest selections of cards in the market. The interviewee mentions that they have been able to carve their slice of the market through their extensive selection, in-house fulfillment, a large blog with SEO, a loyalty program, and regular promotions. When asked about building their audience, the interviewee states that they were primarily focused on the business aspect and did not heavily rely on their skills as a magician to attract customers. As for the decision to sell the site, the interviewee mentions that it has been about five years since starting the business and is likely ready to explore new ventures.
  • 00:10:00 In this section, the speaker discusses their decision to sell their business and how they went about finding a buyer. They worked with a brokerage called Quiet Light, who helped them with the valuation and finding a buyer. The speaker also mentions that they read a book by the founder of the brokerage, which provided helpful insights into the selling process. They are satisfied with the sale, as it allows them to clear a certain amount of money, even after taxes. Additionally, the speaker mentions that they own a commercial building where the new owners are now paying them rent to operate. The speaker goes on to describe their team and operations, including a full-time shipping manager, freelancers for content creation and social media, and freelance artists for card designs. They also mention that they decided to sell because they believe their strong suit is in starting and growing a business, not managing a larger team.
  • 00:15:00 In this section, the business owner discusses his approach to running a business and the trade-off between keeping operations light and maximizing profit. He mentions that while they were operating efficiently and making good profits, he decided not to pursue significant growth because it would require expanding the staff and hurt profitability. When asked about starting a similar business today, he shares that he would follow a similar model but focus more on the Shopify store instead of Amazon. He plans to start on eBay, build an audience, and then utilize email marketing, text marketing, and eventually paid advertising to drive revenue. He also emphasizes the importance of SEO and organic growth. In terms of sourcing products for his new business, he mentions attending wholesale and toy shows and finding vendors through those channels.
  • 00:20:00 In this section, the speaker discusses a wholesale website called fair.com, which offers a variety of products, including playing cards and puzzles. The website allows users to purchase smaller quantities of items and provides a 60-day payment option. The speaker explains that they follow the map policy, which means selling products at the same price as others. Their strategy to compete is to have a wide range of products to attract a larger audience. When it comes to managing the risk of starting a new business, the speaker believes that investing in inventory is necessary but less expensive than ads or retail space. They have invested $4,000 into 300 different products and aim to have around 1,000 products by the end of the year. The speaker also shares that vendors can provide information about their best-selling items. The profit margin is typically 50%, and attending wholesale shows can lead to additional discounts or benefits. Although there is no guarantee of success, the speaker is not worried about money and is building the new business slowly at their own pace. They believe in putting in the necessary work and gradually phasing out their previous business.
  • 00:25:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the difference between the wholesale model and building your own brand in e-commerce. They mention that building their own brand with their own products from scratch is risky and cost-intensive. They also discuss the challenges of selling on Amazon and the higher return rate on the platform. The speaker emphasizes the importance of building awareness for your brand and the need to have multiple SKUs before suppliers will carry your product. The speaker also talks about their fulfillment process, mentioning that they always did fulfillment in-house and the importance of careful packaging for delicate items like playing cards. They conclude by noting the importance of trying different things as an entrepreneur and learning from past mistakes.
  • 00:30:00 In this section, Will Roya discusses the various strategies they tried to grow their business, including an affiliate program and merchandising, but found little success. However, they did find success in building a popular loyalty program and implementing the Afterpay program for buy now, pay later options. They also found success with texting as a marketing tool. Looking back, Roya mentions three missed opportunities for the new owners: starting Amazon FBA, running ads on their blog for revenue, and pursuing wholesale customers to sell their decks to. As for the future vision, Roya plans to grow the new business to a certain size and sell it in about five years, similar to their previous business. They also mention somewhat regretting starting another business during the pandemic, as it wasn’t given enough attention. Ultimately, they sold the business because they were ready to move on and not ready to take it to the next level.
  • 00:35:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the impact that a certain book had on him, which inspired him to start a new business. He also shares his interest in AI technology and his preference for keeping a written schedule and not relying too much on technology. The speaker mentions companies that he admires, such as BarkBox and Uline, as well as the advice of having more items to sell. He also explains how he transitioned from his career as a performer to focusing more on sales due to market changes. Finally, he mentions his new business, Puzzle Merchant, which will be launching soon.
  • 00:40:00 In this section, the host thanks the guest, Will Roya, for sharing his story and participating in the trip talks. The host wishes him success in his new venture and expresses gratitude for his contribution to the show.

People & Resources Mentioned in the Episode

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Notepad

Book: How to Get Rich: One of the World’s Greatest Entrepreneurs Shares His Secrets by Felix Dennis

What You’ll Learn

[00:00:08] Introduction to Trep Talks and guest Will Roya
[00:00:52] Will’s background and the start of Playing Card Decks
[00:01:26] Transitioning from magic to e-commerce
[00:02:26] Starting an e-commerce business and going full-time with it
[00:03:00] Product strategy: Reselling and producing own decks
[00:04:00] Market validation and competition in the playing card niche
[00:06:00] Building an audience and attracting customers
[00:07:00] Overcoming competition and staying unique in the market
[00:08:00] The decision to sell Playing Card Decks
[00:10:00] Selling the business through a brokerage (Quiet Light)
[00:11:00] Brokerage fees and taxes in the business sale process
[00:12:51] The Business Location and Inventory
[00:13:25] Team and Operations
[00:14:20] Reasons for Selling the Business
[00:15:00] Balancing Operational Efficiency and Growth
[00:16:00] Starting a New Business in Today’s Market
[00:17:19] Marketing Strategies for the New Business
[00:18:53] Tips for Finding a New Product Niche
[00:20:00] Managing Inventory and Risks
[00:21:39] Sourcing and White Labeling
[00:23:11] Risks and Benefits of Starting a New Venture
[00:25:27] Developing Own Products
[00:26:00] Risks of Building Own Brand
[00:26:31] Selling on Amazon
[00:27:00] Domestic vs. International Markets
[00:27:59] In-house Fulfillment
[00:29:00] Lessons from Previous Business
[00:30:00] Missed Opportunities
[00:32:00] Future Vision for New Business
[00:34:07] Rapid Fire Segment

Interview with Will Roya of Playing Card Decks

Rapid Fire

In this segment, the guest will answer a few questions quickly in one or two sentences.

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks

  1. Book recommendation that you would make to entrepreneurs or business professionals (Response: How to Get Rich: One of the World’s Greatest Entrepreneurs Shares His Secrets by Felix Dennis)
  2. An innovative product or idea in the current e-commerce retail or tech landscape that you feel excited about (Response: Artificial Intelligence)
  3. A business or productivity tool that you would recommend (Response: Notepad, Keep a written schedule)
  4. Another startup or business that you think is currently doing great things: (Response: BarkBox)
  5. A peer entrepreneur or businessperson whom you look up to or someone who inspires you (Response:)
  6. Best business advice you ever received (Response: The more you have, the more you’ll sell. So, you need to have more items. More items give you more excuses, and with more options, you’ll be able to sell more.)

Interview Transcript

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Hey there, entrepreneurs. My name is Sushant and welcome to Trep Talks. This is the show where I interview successful e-commerce entrepreneurs, business 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 businesses.

And today I’m really excited to. Welcome Will Roya to the show. Will Roya is the founder of playing Card Decks.com. And he is actually sold this business earlier, uh, this year. And we’re going talk a little bit more about, uh, that and also his new venture. Uh, playing card decks.com sells a wide range of playing card decks through their e-commerce store.

And today I’m going to ask Will a few questions about his entrepreneur journey and some of the strategies and tactic that he has used to start and grow his business. [00:01:00] So Will, thank you so much for joining me today at Trep Talk. Really, really appreciate your time.

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: Yeah,

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: thank you for having me. So, you know, as we were just chatting a little bit, you mentioned, um, you had a background in, in magic, like you were a magician yourself and you used to do magic tricks and things like that.

So can you share a little bit about your kind of backstory and how you got the idea to start this, uh, business?

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: Um, yeah. Well I started performing, uh, professional magic shows when I was 16. Um, I did through all throughout high school, college. I moved to Las Vegas, uh, as soon as I graduated from college.

Uh, 1999. Started doing shows here in Las Vegas, also on cruise ships and resorts. And, um, during the recession around 2008, I got into doing, um, selling, selling my magic tricks, uh, special events and wholesale and stuff like that. Um, I also started doing stuff online, [00:02:00] eBay, Amazon, and, uh, I noticed, uh, playing cards sold really well.

So I decided in 2017, I finished up my obligations that I had booked and uh, I watched the plan card, site plan card x.com, and I went full-time with that on 2018. Uh, grew it, we really grew during the pandemic as well and sold it at the beginning of this year.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So does that mean that when you decided to start this business, you actually stopped?

The performance or the performing part of it. And what was the reason, like, did you let lose the passion?

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: I just wanna, I just wanna devote myself full-time to one thing to really focus on it. Okay.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And uh, so you did not really have the background for like an e-commerce business. Can you share a little bit about, um, how you got into e-commerce?

Did you get help from other people or were you kinda the sole owner operator

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: doing everything yourself? Um, In the past, I’ve [00:03:00] done different websites, mostly with some help. Um, I’ve been doing eBay for a long time. I’ve been doing Amazon on my own as well. Um, not, not a lot of stuff, um, just experimenting with different things.

And, um, with the, um, you know, I, I’m Shopify, I was able to pretty much put the whole site together by myself, so, you know, with different apps and plugins and stuff like that.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And, and so the product that you started selling, um, They, they seem like, you know, I mean bicycle for example, I see bicycle brand blank CARSs.

So it seems like you were mostly reselling, uh, items from other

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: bus, uh, other brands. Yes.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, what was the strategy?

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: Uh, yeah, so we had, um, I had a few different suppliers, um, um, a couple of big suppliers and a lot of smaller suppliers that we’re able to get decks from. And then I also started producing our own decks as well.

And I, I started funding those on [00:04:00] Kickstarter, so we had our own line of decks too.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Yeah. So whenever someone starts a business, I mean, one component of any entrepreneur or any new business is, you know, knowing that there’s a market for the products that you’re trying to sell, of course coming, because you were coming from the same background, and I think you were selling the items on eBay and things like that.

Mm-hmm. You probably knew that these products sell and there’s a market for it. Was that. Was having or, or was, was selling these items at a smaller scale gave you kind of the confidence and the validation that yes, I can create my own site and put it, put this and I can make a full-time living outta this.

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: Yeah, pretty much. Yeah. Um, yeah, the selling, uh, I think it got up to around 10,000 a month on eBay and that was kind of like proof of concept. So,

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: so is there, is there, I mean, do, would you call this kind of a niche market or this is uh Oh yeah,

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: for sure. I would say the riches are in the niches. Okay.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Uh, [00:05:00] but, but the other thing also is like, you know, if I go to my like local dollar store, like I can, I can easily find plane cars, right?

Like for a couple of bucks or two or three bucks, I would say. Um, what, what were all the products that you were selling besides the card? And what about the competition? I mean, for something like this, Can someone say that, you know, these kind of products are available pretty much everywhere? Mm-hmm. Does not, not create a competition, like a really high competition and how, you know, how would someone find your site and why, why, why would even some someone bother

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: buying from you?

Um, okay. So for the, like the cards you find, like in the dollar store, mostly those are like low quality playing cards. They’re not like printed by the United States Playing Card company or another. Um, Quality manufacturer. And also a lot of the decks that we sell are limited edition, custom one time prints.

Um, so, um, once they’re gone, they’re gone. [00:06:00] Um, the other thing is, uh, how we were able to carve our slice of the market is we have one of the biggest selections. So, um, at any given time, we have over 2000 different decks of cards. All in stock, all on site. So, um, kind of our, our selection is one of our biggest competitive advantages.

Okay. Um, also we’re able to sh we do our, um, all the fulfillment in-house. Uh, we have a very large blog, lots of articles, hundreds of articles, so a lot of people find us through that, through sel then, uh, loyalty program. Always adding new products to get people coming back. Pretty much.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And since you started this business, like did you find that, you know, as e-commerce has become easier and easier to like, you know, the barrier of entry, as you said, with Shopify and all the other apps and the whole ecosystem of e-commerce that has been created, do you find that more and more [00:07:00] such, um, sites came up, uh, or.

Did you, you know, you, you still had kind of your, uh, value proposition and, and the kinda collectors, uh, kinda cards, um, that kept you different from any of the other competitions in the market?

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: Yeah, I think just our, our selection and just getting our product out there, um, kind of, uh, helped us from like new upstart competitors.

So we had gained a pretty good reputation. Um, also we did, um, We do weekly newsletters, emails every week. Um, almost never miss them, so, okay. And, uh, and, and then we try and do, uh, promotions too a lot. So some, some kind of special. Okay. And

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: you mentioned that you did start, uh, do a Kickstarter as well, so I’m assuming, I’m assuming that, uh, While you [00:08:00] were doing your performance magics and, and things, and, and still selling on eBay, um, you were somehow building an audience so that when you created this site, um, it helped you in any way, or was it like, uh, when you launched it was completely

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: from scratch?

Um, no, not really. It was kind of from scratch. I could, I had some emails from the eBay sales. And then it was mostly like going into, um, like forums and stuff and like stuff like that let people know I was out there. So

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: one of the approach that I’ve seen for a variety of different founders who start like, you know, these niche businesses, um, is that they.

Create the audience first. So for example, you know, you have this, uh, the skill of, you know, being a magician or being able to be the show person, you know, be able to perform magic and basically attract people to, to view that. Did you ever try to use that, like as creating YouTube videos or, uh, putting [00:09:00] videos out on other platforms so that you, you know, number one, you attract people to your magic, you know, the performance of magic.

Um, and then of course, you know, you have this website and offering and mm-hmm. So, so you’re basically building the audience, uh, through your own personality, your own magic, magic skills, but then you have the product to sell. Did you take that approach or you were like completely a business person selling

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: cards?

Yeah, I was, um, basically strictly business for the most part. You know, I do some Facebook videos and stuff like that, um, but I wanted the feature. Of the website, the business to be the product. That’s what I wanted the focus to be. Okay.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And of course, you decided to sell your site now. Um mm-hmm. What was the reason behind that?

And, uh, and of course I, that I would like to talk more about, you know, your new ventures

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: and things like that. Um, yeah. It had been about [00:10:00] five years, so we did, uh, really well during the pandemic. Um, and I was just, I’m getting a little bit bored with it, and I’m just, I was just, I’m ready for something new.

So I’m, I still love the plan cards and I’ve been helping the owners pretty much 20 hours a week for the last six months, and I’ll probably still help ’em in some minor capacity going forward, like content or creative stuff like that. So one of the big reasons was I didn’t have to sell it, so I thought it was a good time to sell it.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Okay. Um, no, that’s, that’s a, that’s a good thing. Um, how did I. Many times, or sometimes in the past when I’ve spoken to, to founders, you know, they were kind of the buyer of these sites. So we had discussed how they went about, you know, some of the criteria and things like that of finding a, a good business to buy and e-commerce business, especially, uh, from a seller’s perspective.

Can you share a little bit about when you

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: decided to, hi Lucas. Sorry, my dog. [00:11:00]

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: When you decided to sell, like what was the consideration for you and how did you find a buyer? I mean, how did you put a price on your business and did you list your site somewhere or did you find the buyer through like your network and so forth?

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: So I went through a brokerage, which is called a Quiet Light, and they were able to help me come up with the evaluation and everything, and they pretty much helped me find a buyer. So, And the founder of that company actually put out a book that, um, I read that was really helpful to kind of learn the process before I started the process.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, sorry, what, uh, did you say the name of the company or, uh,

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: quiet Light. Quiet Light. Quiet

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Light. Quiet light. Okay. Okay. I’m going to check that out. I didn’t, I didn’t know that there was such, uh, companies out there. Yeah. So, uh, so I’m assuming like they, they took like a certain percentage of the sale, uh, as part of the.

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: Yeah, pretty much right around 10, 10% is pretty standard. Oh, wow. Yeah, it’s quite a [00:12:00] big chunk. And then you, uh, figure, you know, 30% or so to taxes, so. Wow. Yeah.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Well, that’s like 40%

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: right there. Yeah. Yeah. It, it comes out though a lot, so. Okay.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So are you, are you satisfied at the end of it? Like

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: do you find Yeah, there is a certain, uh, yeah, because there is a certain number that I want to clear.

So, um, and then when I pay the taxes, uh, I closed at the beginning of this year, so at least I’m investing what I estimate I have to pay in taxes for a whole year. So, so at least I can get a little bit of it back. Okay.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, before I get into, you know, I

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: also, um, I also own the commercial building, so they’re paying me rent the, the new owners to operate outta that same building.


Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Uh, which is the commercial building would be the warehouse or is it

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: like an office? Yeah, the, it’s like a warehouse office space.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Okay. Okay. So you have a [00:13:00] lot of, I’m assuming a lot of inventory there then. Yeah. And kind of your, your fulfillment operation run from

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: there. Yeah.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Okay. Um, can you talk about a little bit, you know, when you were running the business off the, or just the operations of the business?

Um, What, you know, how many, what, what was your, what did your team look like? What was the marketing like? How did you fulfill the orders

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: and things like that. So, um, I had, uh, one full-time in-house shipping manager who did the shipping and everything, and then one part-time helper who would help with shipping and other miscellaneous tasks.

Um, I would be in most days, Uh, to help out, like with incoming orders or if there was a lot of ORs that day. Cause we always wanted to get everything shipped out as fast as possible. Um, I had a content person who wrote most of the articles for the site, the blog articles. I had a Facebook [00:14:00] advertising manager.

I had, uh, someone who did social posts, and these are all freelancers. Um, and I’m trying to think what else. And then, uh, several freelance artists who would design the deck of cards. So, I mean, I, and I would do, I would do all the marketing and put the product on the website and stuff like that. Okay.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: I mean, it’s still pretty decent operation.

I mean, you were doing like a pretty decent amount of. Um, seems like a big market in this, uh, it’s still a niche category, but, uh mm-hmm. There’s a lot of demand

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: for, for this. Um, and one of the other things, like, one of the reasons I’ve decided to sell, cause I knew there was ways to grow the business, but, um, I think, I think my strong suit is more in starting a business and growing it to a certain amount.

Like I don’t want to be, have to manage too many people. It’s just not, not my skillset or something I want to do. So that was one of the other reasons I was ready to move on from the business as well. [00:15:00]

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Okay. So you, uh, your goal as a business owner is to, to keep a business, uh, pretty light, uh, or, you know, uh, operationally, uh, speaking and, and you are satisfied with that.

I mean, you’re not, uh, but, but at the same time, the, the other side of that is that, um, The kind of profit or the kind of revenue that can come from growing a business really, you know, big you mm-hmm. You know, you’re kind of losing out on that, so you’re, but you don’t mind

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: that, right? Well, uh, we did really good profit wise, um, just because we are operating, um, pretty, pretty slimly on in terms of staff and stuff.

Um, but once you hit like a certain revenue threshold, it’s like you will have to hire. You have to hire for that growth, which will hurt your profit. So it just wasn’t, I wasn’t ready to go to that like next growth stage. Okay. [00:16:00]

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So of course, I mean now you have kind of the lessons of building and starting and growing this business.

Mm-hmm. And. I want to ask the questions from two perspective. You know, the one thing that I want to ask is if you were starting the same business today mm-hmm. You know, given that you know how the market has changed or how, maybe you have more competitors and so forth. Mm-hmm. Um, how would you start the same business today?

And, and of course I, I definitely want to, you are in the process of starting another business. I, I wanna ask what lessons you’re kinda taking from this business into the next

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: one. Um, I think I would start it, um, like, uh, the new business I’m working on is, is pretty much the same model, so I’m starting it pretty similarly.

Um, the only thing I’m doing differently is I’m not doing anything on Amazon to start, so I’m gonna mostly try to focus on the Shopify store, which I did playing Cardex.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And you think [00:17:00] you can still kind of make a, um, Get your share of the market, like what kind of marketing? Um, can you talk a little bit about, you know, what marketing you think will work now in, in today’s environment to really drive for, for your, for

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: this business?

Um, yeah. I’m basically gonna try this, try the same strategy that I did before, which is, you know, start on eBay, try to grow audience there, test switch products, sell well, um, you know, email marketing, text marketing. And then, uh, eventually some paid advertising. Um, focused lot on SEL as well. Um, cuz that’s much lower cost and try to run ads all the time.

So, so basically monthly, mostly slow organic growth. So basically

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: you, just, like any experienced entrepreneur would do, you would first test out the new market that, that you’re getting into through eBay. Right? You

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: wouldn’t just, [00:18:00]

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: you know, start a website and start selling.

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: Yeah, well, I’m, um, I’m in the process of building both the eBay store and the website at the same time, um, because I know the products that I’m getting, um, some of them just like, just like a certain line does millions of dollars on Amazon a year, so I know there’s a market for it, so.

Okay. So, and it’s in, uh, it’s in, it’s in the puzzle niche. It’s basically like jigsaw puzzles, games, stuff like that. Okay.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So how, uh, and that was, I guess, was not completely related to magic. Uh, how did you come to learn about this new market, or what advice would you give to any new entrepreneur who’s thinking about starting a business, uh, a new business, uh, of, you know, figuring out a new product idea or, you know, which market or niche to get into?

Is there, like, do you have some sort of a template that you’re using or, you know,

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: any tips? No, I would say, you know, do something that you have somewhat interest in. Um, [00:19:00] something that you can source, preferably multiple vendors. Um, I like, um, besides the playing Cardex, we also started a tarot website too.

The, um, called uh, taro merchant.com, and that’s another site we did on the side. Um, so yeah, it really, it can almost be anything really. So obviously some things have a bigger market than others, but if it’s not as big of a market, maybe it has less competition,

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: so, So when you talk about sourcing, are you, are these kind of products, are you thinking mostly around going to a, an Asian market?

Because that’s where you can get these items at a lower cost. And can you share a little bit about how, what is your process of source

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: sourcing these? Yeah. So, um, for, for my sourcing for the new business puzzles, I’m going to wholesale shows and toy shows and finding vendors that way. Um, Also, there’s a great website now that, [00:20:00] um, you can go to, um, I think you do have to have an exist existing store to qualify, but anyone can look at it.

It’s called fair.com. Yeah. And it’s, it’s an incredible wholesale site.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So, so fair.com, isn’t that more of like, uh, these, uh, New brands that people are creating that may not be kind of mainstream, but still have like quality products, uh, that you can purchase. And

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: yeah, I’ve noticed a lot of, lot of different stuff on there.

So, cuz um, they had playing cards on there, I found puzzles on there. So yeah, there’s a lot of stuff on there. And they allow

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: you to buy, uh, I guess, uh, smaller quantities though, you don’t have to buy thousands of

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: items to no lot, lot of them it’s, uh, minimum order a hundred bucks or 200 bucks, and then once you’re on it for a little while, they even give you 60 days to pay.

So, um,

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: if you’re doing this, you know, the fair model of wholesaling, um mm-hmm. [00:21:00] Is it kinda, uh, white label. Because if you’re buying the same product from, uh, you know, this wholesaler and they’re selling the same item at a different website mm-hmm. Um, how do you compete with that? Uh, do they allow you some flexibility in terms of pricing your items, or, or is it kinda white label?

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: Yeah, you kind of have to follow the, the map policy. You know, the minimum allow price. Um, so you’re selling it pretty much for the same price. Everyone else is selling it for. So my whole strategy is just to have as many different products as possible to attract a wider audience. So, okay, so

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: to create a new business that you’re creating right now, of course to have those, you know, the inventory that you’re, uh, going to have, um, you have to have some, you have to.

Put some investment towards the inventory rate. So can you share a little bit? Yeah, I mean, that, that’s, that’s a personal investment and that also represents some risk. How do you manage that risk as [00:22:00] a, as a new,

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: uh, business owner? Um, yeah, I think that’s a minimum part. I think if you’re gonna start doing ads or have to get it like a retail space, that would be much more expensive because at least with the products that you’re buying, you, you own them and you can always sell them down the line sometime.

Um, so like when I was starting building this new business, I’ve been vested probably like, um, Probably $4,000 into 300 different types of products so far. So, and I’m hoping to probably get up to around a thousand different products by the end of the year. So I just look at that as an investment to start it.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And, and with this fair model, um, do, do the wholesalers, are you able to ask them, you know, kind of a sales history of the items that they’re selling so that you can, you have some data to understand if it’s kind of a selling item or it’s, you know, just a non-ell Yeah,

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: every vendor’s different, but you can just ask him, Hey, what’s your best seller?

Stuff like that. So, [00:23:00] Okay.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: That’s very nice. And, and the, they give you a good, uh, um, margin on these items? Yeah,

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: it’s usually, um, you know, 50%. Okay.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: That’s pretty nice. That’s

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: pretty decent. But, um, if you go to like, the toy shows and, and uh, the wholesale shows, usually if you buy it, place a order at the show, they’ll give you an additional discount or a free freight or something like that, so.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Okay. Um, So as you’re starting this new business, um, what do you think is the, I mean, of course you have to put the sweat equity, right? Mm-hmm. You know, without, without hard work, no business is going work. But what do you think is the, are the biggest

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: risks for you?

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And do you ever think is, you know, You put, put in all the hard work, I mean all the experience that you have, you have done your due diligence in terms of mm-hmm.

Finding the best selling item, having the [00:24:00] highest possible profit, uh, mar margins and so forth. Um, but there’s never a guarantee of success. So how do you see risk versus benefit in terms of starting this new venture? And, uh, do you ever lose sleep over it or, or, you know, you’re like, no. I’m, I’m doing what I’m supposed to do and I know that

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: this is gonna work.

Yeah. At a certain point. Yeah. Uhfor fortunate. I’m in a financial position where I don’t really need to worry about money right now. Um, so my whole thing is building the new business slowly and at my own, my own pace. So if I can only put in two hours a day, cause I’m still working part-time for, uh, the business I sold.

That’s fine. Um, and eventually as I phase out of playing cardex.com, then I’ll have more time to put into new business. Um, but I think for any entrepreneur who has the job, who’s starting something, you really need to work, put in those nights and weekends [00:25:00] and wait till that business is grossing at least 10,000 a month and you’re making at least 25% profit before you even think about, you know, doing it full-time.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So what is the difference between, so the model that you are choosing, uh, is kinda, uh, you know, um, you’re buying wholesale and then selling direct to consumer. So basically your value add is kinda the, the marketing aspect of it, right?

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: Yeah. I also plan to develop some of our own products as well. Okay.

Like our own puzzles and stuff like that.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And do you think that’s a better model because, uh, Of course there are a lot of e-commerce businesses, which are kind of like, you know, their own brand and mm-hmm. They’re able to control their cost and, uh, you know, they, they build the brand and, and, you know, there’s probably a bigger upside there.


Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: Um, how do you, that that’s very, uh, cost intensive though. If you’re gonna build your own [00:26:00] brand with your own products from scratch, that’s, I think, very risky, you know? So, so I’m, I’m kind of doing a hybrid model, so Okay. Wholesaling and creating products as well. So,

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: yeah, because a new brand, even if the product is known, I guess you have to get, uh, uh, you have to build awareness for your brand.

And that’s like you’re

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: doing everything from scratch, right? And you have to build up several skills skews before other suppliers will even look at carrying your product. Definitely.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, With your previous business and even the new business. Um, I know you mentioned you were selling on eBay, Amazon, some of these marketplaces.

Mm-hmm. Um, and with the new business, you said you don’t want to sell on Amazon. What, was there a reason, uh, for

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: that? Um, no, because I think it’s just because, um, the consumer on Amazon shops by price more than anything else. And if you’re not the lowest price, you’re not even gonna get the buy box. Um, unless you’re, Brand [00:27:00] gated, anyone can change your listing.

So there’s just lots of issues. There’s a much higher return rate on Amazon. So, um, I would, I would, um, wanna do Amazon. If it was, um, I was doing fbm, um, I would consider fba, uh, if we had a, a brand gated for our own produced products, I think that would be better. Okay.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And your primary markets, uh, did you sell globally?

Were you selling mostly in North

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: America? Uh, 90% domestic, 10% international. Okay.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Can you share a little bit about your fulfillment, um, process of fulfillment and shipping? Um, mm-hmm. Did you do everything? I know you mentioned you had a shipping manager and so forth. Mm-hmm. Uh, so it seems like you were fulfillment, I mean, you had enough volume to justify having your own, um, shipping processes when you were smaller.

[00:28:00] Um, did you, did you do something, did you still fulfill in-house or were you like

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: getting Yeah, we always did fulfillment in-house. So I would do it. I, I, I almost always had at least someone part-time helping. So,

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: and is there, um, is there a risk associated with going with like a third party

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: fulfillment company?

Um, I don’t know. Um, since I’ve never gone down that route. Um, I know there’s good ones and there’s bad ones, so you have to do your due diligence. Um, the thing with playing cards, what we were selling. Is, it’s uh, a very delicate item. So you have to be very careful with it, inspect it before you ship it, make sure you ship it the right way.

Um, that’s one of the reasons why we gain loyal customers, cuz the way we package and ship stuff. So, you know, a three PL wouldn’t, wouldn’t work for us. So, um, because, um, maybe logistically, but if we wanted to provide the service that we wanna provide, it couldn’t have been done. So,[00:29:00]


Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Every entrepreneur’s journey, there’s always, you know, failures, mistakes made, lessons learned. Um, can you share, like given that you’re coming, coming outta business, um mm-hmm. When you look at your last business on a holistic level, you know, everything that you did to start your business growth, um, what, what?

What do you think were some of the big mistakes made, or, you know, what do you now think, looking back as, you know, that you could have done something differently, that would’ve maybe brought in extra revenue or mm-hmm. Maybe have saved some cost or maybe a mistake that you may made, um, which could have killed your business, or something like that.

Can you share like some of the big lessons outta your mm-hmm. Previous

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: business, uh, experience? Um, well, I tried lots of things and I think any entrepreneur should too, [00:30:00] um, but not try to do too many at one time. Like, um, we tried an affiliate program that didn’t really work for us. We tried, uh, merchandising some different things that didn’t work for us.

Um, things that did work for us is we built a loyalty program that was very popular. Um, uh, after delaying it for a year or so, we did. Um, the Afterpay program, uh, where people could buy now, pay later. That was pretty successful. Um, texting, um, got into that. That was, that worked out really well. Um, and, um, yeah, so I think, um, not really any big mistakes or regrets.

I don’t think so. Um, I think the things that I would do if I was still running the company, Would be, I would start Amazon fba. Um, I’d run ads on our blog for revenue and I would do, uh, [00:31:00] pursue whole wholesale customers to sell our decks too. So those are three opportunities I didn’t take advantage of. But those are kind of for the new owners to take advantage of.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So, ads on blog, which means that your blogs were getting probably a decent amount

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: of traffic. Yeah, lots of traffic.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Okay. Wow. Very interesting. Um, and what is the benefit of fba? Because that would, uh, that would help take some of the, the cost of post fulfillment, customer

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: service and so forth. Yeah. And that then that would just be for our own self-produced x.

So we actually, um, and we actually developed a case that we could put ’em in to prevent any damage from them shipping and transit, no matter how, how they were packed. So it would just be for like a couple dozen deck.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Okay. Um, now I’m going to [00:32:00] move on to, uh, well, before I go to the rapid fire section. Um, Do you have a future vision for your business?

I know for the new business, I know you’ve mentioned that you like to keep things to, you know, you, you, you want, you like starting a business and growing to a certain extent, but then mm-hmm. You know, uh, what is your future vision for the new, uh, new

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: business that you? Um, it’s gonna be pretty much the same as my last business.

Um, hopefully grow it to a certain size and sell it in like five years.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Wow. So it’s kind of like a repeatable process. Yeah. Um, do, do you not think about starting then two

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: business? What’s that starting? Yeah. Um, because I did, I did kind of start a second business while I was doing the plane card decks and that was a TA card decks.

And that is something I, I somewhat regret. Um, cuz I wanted a way to grow revenue and I thought, oh, I’ll just start another. [00:33:00] Website and, um, it just, it, I wasn’t able to devote the time to it, and right when I launched it was kind of during the pandemic and we were just so busy with just the playing cards, but I’d already built it up and stuff, so.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Okay. Was was one of the reasons, I mean, you, you mentioned previously also that, you know, you sold the business when, when you didn’t, like, you were not looking like, you know, When, when, when the business was still in good condition, uh, you know, coming outta the pandemic, like what was, was one of the reasons that you sold the business was because you still had the sales coming in, but you were kind of, uh, uh, concerned that maybe post pandemic, uh, the sales numbers are going to go down

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: and, uh, uh, I don’t think it would go down.

I just think, um, I just, I think, um, there’s room for definitely growth. Um, but um, I was just ready to move on and I’m [00:34:00] not ready to take it to the next level. So, okay,

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: so now we’re gonna move on to our, but if a sale,

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: but, but with that being said, if the sale didn’t happen, I, I would be happy to run it for the next three years, five years, whatever.

So For sure.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, I’m going to now move on to our rapid fire segment in this segment. Mm-hmm. I’m gonna ask you a few quick questions and you have to answer them maybe in, uh, one or one or two words, or a sentence or so. Ok. So the first one is one book recommendation for entrepreneurs or business professionals.

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: And why I would say, um, one I read recently, which was kind of eye-opening, is, um, how To Get Rich by Felix Dennis. And it was just, um, insightful the process. One guy took. I’m asking a fortune and, and if you’d want to even do that and, and the philosophy behind it. And I thought that was a pretty interesting read.


Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: that book, I, I actually have that book. [00:35:00] Mm-hmm. I, I always keep it by my side because, you know, I really like, uh, the information that’s in there is very, very, uh, practical, I guess from his perspective. Um, and Felix Dennis was also, I mean, he had run this

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: empire for, uh, the, the magazine

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: empire. Right.

And he was kinda a. Himself. So he definitely had a certain facility with words. So, uh, I think one of the reasons that book, that book is also so impactful is by, you know, just the way it is written. I think the, the, the words themselves are kinda, uh, powerful. Powerful. Also

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: in that book. That’s one of the reasons too, I decided to start another business.

Um, because, uh, he’s, he talks about, uh, why, why make other people rich when you can make yourself rich. Cause I was thinking, I do advising and consulting, but I decided, you know what? I wouldn’t be happy with that. I’d rather just start a new business. Maybe make no money for two years and then, but eventually have another payout.[00:36:00]


Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: uh, an innovative product or idea in the current e-commerce retail or tech landscape that you feel

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: excited about? Um, I think AI’s interesting, but I think it has a long way to go, but it’s fun to fool around with.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Definitely. It’s, uh, it’s coming in. Yeah, nobody knows what it’s going to look like.

Um, a business or productivity tool or software that you would recommend or a productivity tip?

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: Um, I, I like to be old school. I keep a written schedule. Um, I just find it easier for me. I have a, uh, I usually have an extra notepad too. What, like, what I have to get done that day. Um, so my thing is don’t rely on technology too much.

So I always try to keep my email box empty as well.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: That’s good. Good advice. Um, a startup or business in e-commerce, retail or tech, uh, that you think is currently doing great things? So, another startup or business? [00:37:00]

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: Um, um, a couple of the companies that I admire, there’s one company called, uh, BarkBox that delivers, uh, dog treats every month.

It’s a subs subscription business. And, um, they’ve run their company really well. I’ve had to do some customer service with them when I had an issue and they take care of it. Um, I also really admire the company Uline, the shipping supplies. I’ve been dealing with them for years to get my shipping supplies.

I’m really impressed how they run, uh, such a large organization, so well. So

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: yeah, I’ve, I’ve done a business with the Uline also, and they’re, they have a great e-commerce presence also. Mm-hmm. Um, A peer entrepreneur or business person whom you look up to or someone who inspires you?

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: Um, I gotta be honest. I don’t do a lot of networking, so I, well, I won’t really know how to answer that one.


Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, and final question, best business advice you ever received or you would give to another entrepreneur?

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: The more you have, [00:38:00] the more

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: you’ll sell. The more you have, the more you’ll sell. So, which says that you need to have more items. More excuse and, and does, you’ll sell more?

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: Is that or some, or some kind of combination.

Okay. Alright.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, and I’ll, I’ll ask you one final question, which I’m still kind wondering. So you started your career as, as a performer, and at a certain point you kind of said goodbye to that area of your mm-hmm. Uh, career. What was the reason for that? What, uh, what did you decide?

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: How do you decide?

Understand my, uh, my first daughter. Was born my first child around 2008. Um, or actually it was, uh, 2007 and remember that recession in 2008? Yeah. So I took like six months off from entertaining, and then when I got back into it, there just wasn’t the, the budget, the market for it as much. So that’s when I got more into sales, um, and started doing more selling then.[00:39:00]

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: But do you still have the passion? Like do you still do some magic tricks on in your

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: personal title? No. No. No. It was more of a, it was more of a business for me. I enjoyed it, but it was, it was more of a business.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Okay. That’s, that’s very interesting. Yeah. Well, will those, those were all the questions that I had.

I really enjoyed speaking with you. Very different perspective, uh, today. Cause, you know, you are just coming out of a new business, old business and starting a new business. So, um, some, some great insights, uh, there for sure. Uh, so yeah, really, really appreciate, uh, you joining me today. Would you like to share like, The URL of your new

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: business?

Yeah, so the new business is gonna be called, um, puzzle Merchant. Um, the website’s not up yet, but you can find a puzzle merchant on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, but there’s not a lot there right now, so. All right. Puzzle merchant.com. But I should have the site launched, um, towards, um, the end of, uh, third quarter.

[00:40:00] Awesome.

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Well, Will thank you again for joining me today at Trep Talks, and I wish you all the very best in your new, new venture. Hopefully it’ll be as successful and more,

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: uh, as your

Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: last venture. So, uh, thank you again for sharing your story and joining me today at Trep Talks.

Will Roya of Playing Card Decks: Thank you.


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