Stories Connect, Stories Sell.
I was recently sold on one.. I received an email last week and I don’t think I’ve ever said yes to a business altering decision so fast in my life. We were previously against this, we had no intention of moving our business in this direction..but his story convinced us to immediately.
The email came from a man named Warren. He wanted to dropship our products from an ecommerce site that he was building. He is 79 years old and no longer wants to work with his hands. He’s been working hard his entire life and is going to start working online now. I respected this greatly. It’s never too late to start.
He told us that he approached a couple of other suppliers of various items and they all said..NO! They only sell wholesale to brick and mortar stores. Honestly, this was our approach prior to reading his email. Unless you also owned a brick and mortar we did not let people sell our products online. We wanted control over our online presence and to manage our brand.
His story changed this. It changed me. Physical labor was no longer something that Warren wanted to earn a living doing. He enjoys building, making things by hand, but he wanted to leave it for a hobby, not a business. He’d rather not go to the post office each and everyday, he would prefer not to hold or ship any inventory. Dropshipping made complete sense for him and we agreed that it does in his situation, completely.
But Should We Let Other People Sell Our Products Online?
The story went on. Warren was a retired Major in the U.S Army. I myself served in the U.S Navy. I told him that while on active duty I served in Okinawa, Japan. It turns out that Warren is Okinawan but was raised in Hawaii. If you’re not a military history buff you may not be aware that Okinawa was caught in a very tough position in World War II. The Japanese didn’t consider Okinawans to be Japanese, they even spoke different languages — but the island became a very strategic location in the war. Trapping the Okinawans between two giant military forces.
Japan and the U.S collided on this island for 82 days between April and June of 1945. 200,000+ people lost their lives on this tiny island which measures just 67 miles from tip to tip. Many of these were locals that were horrifically caught in the middle of it all.
More than 1,300 ships surrounded the tiny island. It was one of the hardest fought battles in history and something all Okinawans will surely never forget.
We shared a common bond over this small island in the south pacific. I found the stories we were sharing together quite fascinating and I looked forward to opening each email. Most people do not share their lives so openly when discussing business. Our stories are what make us — they mold us into who we are. We should be sharing them.
I told Warren about my life after active duty. Feeling a bit out of place after my time in Japan I joined the U.S Navy reserves and told them to send me anywhere.. I wanted to be apart of something again. I ended up serving in Kuwait and then I took a job up north in Iraq and then another over in Afghanistan. All in all I spent nearly 6 years in that environment. 6 years that made me who I am and it is what drives me in my business today.
I told Warren how much I was enjoying our discussion and that how my Grandfather (before his recent passing) used to share his stories with me all the time. He would share them with everyone and everyone loved him for it.
He was a USMC Infantryman and a Purple Heart recipient from the Korean war. He served under Chesty Puller and once while they were stationed in Pearl Chesty sent my Grandfather and two other Marines to the Brig for 3 days of bread and water! He was tough but fair and my Grandfather respected him for it.
I told Warren about this and he openly shared his combat stories with me. From a toddler who was caught in the bombings of Pearl Harbour to an Advisor in Vietnam where he was awarded a Silver Star — I was speaking to a person, a Hero, that I would not only do my best to help in ecommerce but follow into combat if he requested me to!
What a life..what a story he so openly shared with me. I was sold. There’s no going back to our old way of business if people like Warren would like to earn a living by introducing people to our products. It is an absolute privilege to help them do so.
So I searched the Internet Looking For Ways To Make Dropshipping Work
But how should we handle payments and product information?
With a little help from our friend, Google
We came across a platform called Modalyst. It’s a fashion meeting place which allows dropshippers and retailers to find suppliers and it handles the payment infrastructure. After a bit of research and review reading we went ahead and signed up for the platform. We needed a platform that would be easy for dropshippers / retailers to utlize and it appears to be just what we were after.
The application process was quick and easy and shortly after I applied an email arrived with further instructions. One line stuck out at me. The account manager, Lillian requested a favor (in her words). She wanted me to reply to her email and tell her why I signed up. Most people ignore these requests — I don’t. I told her. I told her the story of my new friend Warren and how I was looking to help him get started in ecommerce. How I was previously against dropshipping but his story changed my mind and that it was time to expand my thinking and allow others to share the story of corature as well.
Lillian loved it! She said if you don’t mind I’m going to feature your brand on our home page to help you get started and start connecting with retailers on our platform. Wow! We don’t mind at all! We’re now featured infront of 21,000 retailers on the front page of Modalyst. Before the feature we were picked up by 22 stores on the platform already (within a few short days!) so this can rapidly turn into a big deal for our small business.
Needless to say we’re very happy we decided to venture down this path
It all started with a story. It started because we wanted to help someone when they opened up and shared with us who they really were and why they want to do business with us. The human factor. It’s time to start sharing your story with the world and not be afraid of what people think. Warren didn’t care when he shared his story. His story resonated with us, it resonated with me — as did my Granfathers when I was a kid. His stories drove me to follow in his footsteps and serve. Not that it was his intention.. stories simply make an impact. Now that I am out of the Military and away from it all I do my best to continue my service through corature by supporting various causes. Service before self..always. We’re in the business of helping people and opening up our product line to dropshippers is simply one more way for us to accomplish this mission.
Today would have been my Grandfather’s birthday so I am dedicating this story to him. Happy Birthday, Marine!
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