Welcome to my first blog post!
In this post, I am going to talk about how I managed to make my first money as a 16 year old using Storenvy and dropshipping goods. Back in 2013, I didn’t even know about the term dropshipping, how to do marketing or whatsoever. I was just a teen with a lot of free time and curiosity to learn.
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How I started my dropshipping journey
As I previously said, I had a lot of time in my hands back in time. I lived in a small village where the bus would come only twice a day during the weekday and once per weekend – I am not kidding.
I was casually scrolling through Tumblr, when I noticed that one girl created a cute shop selling her second-hand clothes. The platform caught my eye and it was something I had never seen before, what you all may know today as Storenvy. I took a quick look through the platform and to my surprise I had recognized some pieces of clothing that I had previously seen on Ebay or Aliexpress. Only that it was two to three times more expensive.
Back in these days, Storenvy got no profit from your sales and you could also have your own storefront in their domain for free. Having an infinite of time ahead of me, I created my first shop called Euphoria Shop.
I listed a few products with a markup of $1-2, waited a couple of days and then there it was – my first sale. It’s was the Totoro tank top you see on the left. To my greater surprise, the product went completely viral. I raised my markup to around $7 per t-shirt and people were still buying like crazy.
And then, what happened?
I eventually made it to approximately 3,000 sales when Storenvy announced that they would change to another payment type that was not supported by my country. At that time, I was very caught up with university and then it was my exchange abroad. So I didn’t have the energy or the motivation to create a respective Shopify shop.
When they finally announced again that I can use Paypal, I tried relaunching the store but frankly, It didn’t feel the same way any more. There are also many downsides that come with dropshipping. To name a few, I was feeling very uncomfortable reselling products when people could buy themselves. I know, it’s called marketing but most of the times, people buying from me were younger unaware teens. Many times I would receive the kinds of emails like ” My kid ordered this product some days ago…”. At that time, my suppliers were all over the place ; Aliexpress, Taobao, some other agents. I would feel guilty when people would not be as satisfied with the quality and being the seller – I was 100% responsible for it. I was really struggling to find a bigger vision and money should never be one If you want to succeed.
The Storenvy shops that made it
About at least half of the kawaii online shops including Spreepicky and Syndrome, they all started from Storenvy. They didn’t have warehouses then, it all started from the comfort of their own home and some dropshipping. To this day, I think most of these shops are still dropshipping all of their products. They have the advantage of being located in China so they could package the products with their branded packaging.
Why am I saying this? You could always find most of these products on Aliexpress or Taobao (the Chinese equivalent) and then find some agent to ship them to you for like half price. You can also use their example to get some inspiration to create your own kawaii shop. I am not saying it’s going to be easy and sure they have established some really big fan bases. If you are here, I assume you are interested in kawaii/korean culture and perhaps you know more than the average person. If there’s enough interest about learning how to create and run your online shop, I will write more in the future.
How much profit do these shops actually make?
Dropshipping can be really profitable for as long as people are unaware that they can possibly buy directly from other sources. Most people running kawaii shops are paying for the basic account on Shopify which amounts to $29 per month. Of course time spent to run this business needs to be compensated, but I feel like somewhere down the line, sellers got on their high horses and have been charging an unjustifiable amount of money. Let’s see a couple of examples to understand what I mean. The following are taken from some real shops (whose names I won’t disclose).
Seller 1 – the kawaii plushie shop
A really cute dinosaur that is trending on their website, is being sold for $26.90 (original price is said to be $42.90) plus $6.90 shipping, a total of $33.80.
Le’ts say you want to buy the exact same plushie on Aliexpress. The same exact plush would cost you about $13. That’s about $20 profit per product sold – a gross margin of roughly 61%.
Seller 2 – The most popular kawaii shop
Let’s take another look on another loved kawaii shop. I don’t really spend that much time browsing, rather than clicking on some random categories, finding this “cute” power bank on sale for only $45.99 (original price $55.99)
*drums rolls* Hello identical power bank from Aliexpress for…. $21.95. Yep, that’s right. The most popular kawaii shop that is selling hundreds of products daily gets as much as 50% revenue.
Seller 3 – The most popular kawaii shop
Last item for comparison, and I am done making my point. Again I did not spend longer than half a minute to find this product. Sells for $46.90, can buy for $16.40. Have you done the maths yet?
Kawaii Bucketlist - My new journey
My vision is to create a kawaii community around this blog. I would love to share with you any kawaii finds, teach you how to shop for cheap online and share stories or news around kawaii culture.
I am planning to update this blog at least a few times per week and will be sharing any news on Instagram and my Facebook page. My blog monetization will be completely through affiliate marketing, which means I will get a small commission from products that I choose to post. Paid posts will not be allowed so we can create an environment of transparency and honesty.