23 years old and running a booming online business… How do you go from zero business knowledge to manufacturing a garment to marketing with zero dollars to converting into sales on Amazon?
Bosslady Tatiana Buree started her business, Luxx Health, at the age of 20. She iterated her product offering as she learned from the market and finally settled on waist trainers, a very niche product.
During our conversation, Tatiana talked about her motivation behind setting up the business, the challenges she faces as a seller on Amazon.com, and how to market in a crowded place – using no money. We discussed the power of social media like Instagram and YouTube, and also talked about practical business issues like the beauty of outsourcing. I loved Tatiana’s biggest learning: focus on adding value to the marketplace.
Read the Transcript
Rana Nawas: (00:00)
Hello ladies and gentlemen. My guest on today’s show is a unique young lady. Tatiana is the founder of Luxx health, is an experienced Amazon seller, an avid youtuber, and by the way is 23 years old. As she was passing through Dubai, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Tatiana to learn more about how this young entrepreneur has set up her own online business. So let’s get into it. Hello, Tatiana. Great to meet you. It was nice chatting to you on the phone. I’m glad to meet you in person.
Tatiana Buree: (00:38)
Yes, I’m so happy to be here. Thanks for having me.
Rana Nawas: (00:41)
So you’re 23 years old and you started your business when you were 20. Can you tell me more about the circumstances in your life at the time?
Tatiana Buree: (00:49)
So at the time, you know, 20 years old, I was working part time. I also was going to school university. So I was, you know, manipulating both of those paths and a lot of my time was spent either working or at school and I just didn’t have time for any social life or nothing else like that. And I was just tired of feeling tired all the time. I just didn’t have any more energy. I was, I didn’t have any fun and I wanted something different and I was looking at different career paths and really analyzing my options and seeing, you know, am I in line with my vision for my life and that’s kinda when I discovered an online business. So from there I looked at different ways that I could make money online and I tried different things but nothing really resonated with me. And that’s when I finally landed on discovering about selling products, physical products on Amazon.
Rana Nawas: (01:45)
When you started, did you expect the business to become a thriving sort of online business that it is today? Or was it a side hustle more for pocket money?
Tatiana Buree: (01:57)
Yeah. I mean, I don’t think that anyone who starts in online business expects it to grow so exponentially because a lot of people, they want to start something online just as a side hustle, just to make a couple extra thousand dollars a month maybe to replace their income right now. So whether that’s to spend more time with family or just to have more freedom with their life and that’s what I wanted. I wanted to be able to not have the job, I still want it to go to school but just have the income coming from my online business so that I didn’t have to be so attached to my job. So I wasn’t expecting to really grow a brand. I just wanted to have a product or two that could make me some money every month. But you know, as you grow you realize that there’s so much more opportunity than you could have fathomed and on Amazon, especially because it’s such a great marketplace and there’s 300 million customers on Amazon. It’s just so big and the opportunities are endless and once you start getting to know more people who are also in the same business as you, you realize that, hey, I gotta raise my standards and so what you initially anticipated of maybe you know, $2,000 a month becomes 5,000 and then 10,000 and it grows and it grows and it grows. And it’s not that you become money hungry, it’s just that there’s the opportunities there so you end up taking it.
Rana Nawas: (03:17)
I’d love to dive deeper into your business challenges, building a brand from scratch. But first maybe you could walk the listeners through your product. I had never heard of waist trainers until I met you. So could you tell us, the listeners and I, a bit more about that?
Tatiana Buree: (03:33)
Yeah, absolutely. So waist trainers are body garments, so it’s basically shaped wear for a woman. It goes from under bust down to above your hip bones and it’s kind of like, kind of like a corset. A lot of people, it looks like a corset but it is very different. Waist trainers are flexible. They’re made from nine flexi steel bones and corsets are made from steel bones so they’re not flexible and they don’t allow you to really move your body and really spend many hours in the garment and waist trainers are made for everyone for different purposes. You know, I have women who buy my waist trainers who are postpartum and they want to use it to help with bouncing back or they have diastasis recti and they want to help close those muscles, people with back pain. A lot of men with back pain. People who work in offices. Just various different reasons and purposes for the waist trainers. So it is a, you can use it for multiple reasons. It just depends on what your lifestyle is.
Rana Nawas: (04:34)
While you’d been a disappointed user of waist trainers, you had never made one. So how did you get into that How did you learn more about the manufacture of these trainers? How did you source your materials and how did you learn about fabrics?
Tatiana Buree: (04:50)
So before I even started to produce my own waist trainers, I had been a user, a repeat buyer on Amazon and I was purchasing in different waist trainers every single month. The thing is they were giving me results but they kept on breaking down and so I was spending a lot of money on the same product and I wasn’t happy. So that’s when I first initially discovered this product. Now, I had gone and I had research on different countries to source the product from and of course China right now is a great place to source from, especially for these types of products. So I went with China and I went on a website, you can go on different websites to find manufacturers. I personally went on Alibaba.com and I interviewed multiple suppliers and I got many, many, many samples and I basically found a supplier after a couple months or whatever it took that really had great communication skills because that’s very important when you are finding a supplier overseas, someone who was able to be flexible, someone who is able to allow me to change the product, tweak the product, enhance the product. Because some suppliers, they don’t let you do that, especially when you’re first starting out. So it’s very important to have a supplier that is willing to do that and I got the samples from them and as time went on, that’s when I started to improve the product. You know, when you’re first starting out, you get the samples, you watch product online, it’s not going to be the best and it doesn’t have to be because you learn from your market, you learn from the audience. So the customers give you feedback and that was the best thing for me because I learned that, you know, things that I thought might have improved the product really wasn’t that important to the customers and so they taught me what they wanted and they shared with me what they wanted and over time I was able to enhance the product. So now even up till now, every month I’m changing it and it’s evolving. It’s not a static product, it’s always constantly improving. The materials, the hooks, all of it. So that’s, I think that’s one of the most important parts of this type of business is that it does evolve quite quickly and if you’re not flexible, if you’re not willing to change, then you’re going to get left behind and this is also a great way to stand out and be unique.
Rana Nawas: (06:57)
You had already set up the company before you started selling waist trainers. Can you share with us some of the challenges you faced starting up and how you pivoted to address them?
Tatiana Buree: (07:09)
Yeah, so you know, I think that a lot of people think that, you know, starting an online business is so challenging and there are challenges, but I think one of the greatest challenges that people underestimate is the mind and your mind can play a lot of tricks on you and it’s just having a lot of limiting beliefs and you know, it sounds very basic, but I see a lot of people where they stop. They aren’t, they’re not able to continue. They’re not even able to start because they’re so scared and you know, for me, for many, many months I was limited by the thoughts that, oh, I’m too young and I don’t have enough money. It takes money to make money, but that’s not always the truth. And so I limited myself and my potential and once I realized that those limiting beliefs are really just an excuse, an excuse not to start for fear of failure, then I realized that it’s just ridiculous. But so many people have limiting beliefs, whether that it’s, oh, this isn’t for me, I’m not cut out for this. I don’t have the skills, I don’t have the talent, you know, I don’t have the language, I don’t have the social skills, whatever it is, these are the things that you have to overcome first. Now, other than that, of course there will be challenges when you’re first starting out. It’s a big learning curve. But that’s, that’s the whole point. You have to learn. You have to go with the flow. I didn’t know anything about an online business. I didn’t even have a computer at the time. So you really have to just say, okay, I don’t know this, but I’m going to find the answer, I’m going to figure it out myself and you can take courses or you can just learn online and you can find great mentors too.
Rana Nawas: (08:39)
So, Tatiana, in this journey, did you have any role models or do you have a cohort or how do you get your inspiration every day?
Tatiana Buree: (08:48)
I think that’s a great question. It’s really, really important on this journey to surround yourself with people who do inspire and you. Sometimes it can be hard because there’s not a lot of people who have an online business and especially locally. So what I did is I went to events where there were people who were all on the same journey as me. Everyone was taking the same course and there were keynote speakers that were women and that they were sharing this amazing journey that they were on and doing so well and in the journey of their lives and that really inspired me because prior to that point I had only seen quite a few men who were prospering with this business and there weren’t really a lot of references for me to see and to be inspired by and although, you know, it’s great. Any story amazing, when you can really relate to someone, that’s when you really put yourself in their shoes and you think, hey, this is possible for me to. And I think that’s also why, you know, I on my channel, a lot of people relate to me because there are a lot of young people who are interested in this online business and it’s good to have those references as well, so it’s just really important to always be finding new role models or mentors and having them in your life and just really looking up to them on a daily basis so you can always stay motivated and excited about this.
Rana Nawas: (10:06)
Tatiana, you sell on your own website and also on amazon.com. Now I’m a frequent amazon.com customer and it’s a fabulous experience for a buyer. But tell me what it’s like for a seller.
Tatiana Buree: (10:19)
Yeah, so I mean everyone wants to be an amazon.com customer because there’s so many products that you can choose from and Amazon makes it very easy for you to buy from them. You know, they have the two day shipping and one click buy now. So as I said, Amazon has 300 million customers right now on just amazon.com, which is just one marketplace. 44 percent of people go to Amazon to do their research before they buy product, which is a huge number. So there’s so many opportunities and that’s the beauty of Amazon, you know. The great thing is that Amazon wants to share it with us. They want to share it with people who are willing to sell products and why not take advantage of that. So that’s what I saw as an opportunity and a lot of people do too and so by selling on Amazon, you have access to a lot of people and if you were to try and sell on your own website or on a different ecommerce platform, it is going to be a lot more challenging to get those customers to see your products. So that is a huge advantage. Now of course, there are still a few disadvantages of selling on Amazon, but in comparison to the advantages, they’re very minuscule. They’re nothing. But one thing that is a challenge is that Amazon is growing exponentially. They are huge and sometimes they can’t even handle their own growth. So oftentimes I find that their customer service to the sellers, it’s not great, you know, for the buyers it’s great, but to the seller’s not so much. So for me, I found that dealing with returns or having to contact customer service, you know, sometimes I could spend hours on the phone and it was taking a lot of time. So you do have to learn how to deal with that and the best way to deal with that is just to really follow Amazon’s policies. You know, Amazon has a lot of policies and take the time to read them, make sure that when you’re creating your product, it’s something that’s not restricted. You don’t have ingredients that are restricted. Just follow the procedure and then you shouldn’t encounter any problems down the line and as far as the customer service goes, you kind of just have to deal with that as it goes along and eventually you can take your business off of Amazon. Sell it on your own website, which I recommend because it’s good to not have all your eggs in one basket, diversify yourself and I think that’s where a lot of opportunities as well because Amazon, although they have a huge client base and they have a lot of customers and you’re able to sell to those customers, those are Amazon’s customers. They’re not your customers. So Amazon doesn’t give you access to their emails, they don’t give you access to their phone numbers, nothing like that. So if you do want to contact your customers, if you do want to follow up with them, ask them how they’re doing. If they like your product, you know, ask for feedback, whatever it may be, you don’t really have that option. So that’s what another reason why it can be good to sell on your own website or another platform after you’ve started your brand on Amazon because that way you can actually collect a lot more information and you can just develop a better and closer relationship with those customers and your customer service can be as amazing as you want to make it, right? So you’re not tied down to what Amazon can provide for you.
Rana Nawas: (13:26)
So as a seller, you have some customer service challenges with amazon. Can you tell us more about the review process as a seller? How do reviews impact you? How closely do you track them?
Tatiana Buree: (13:39)
Oh, absolutely. So reviews are essential if you’re an Amazon seller and every Amazon seller, we all strive to get five star reviews, of course. We want our products to be great. We want people to enjoy our products and they do affect your ranking on Amazon. So if you have, you know, three stars, two started reviews, well, your listing is going to get pushed down because Amazon wants to have all the best products on the first page, second page, third page. So if you’re getting negative reviews consistently, well you got to reevaluate your product and you got to figure out, okay, what is it about your product that’s attracting these negative reviews? And it’s really important to do that on a daily or weekly basis because anytime you have a negative review, it’s, there is a reason for it, you know, and it’s always important to analyze that. So for me personally on Amazon, of course you’re going to get some negative reviews, some people just want to leave negative reviews and it, you know, quite frankly, when you have the product and you enjoy it, you don’t really think to leave a positive review. It’s usually when you have a disappointment a the product that you go out of your way to leave that comment, right? So getting those positive reviews can be quite a struggle because most people just don’t think to go and leave them. But if you can really just emphasize to your audience that we really appreciate that you’re, you know, your feedback and we would love to have your reviews. Amazon is very strict about the wording that you can send to your customers. You need to be very careful not to impose any type of, insinuate in any way that you want their review. It has to come very naturally. So you do have to be a little bit crafty with the way that you request that. So it’s, it is important and I mean there’s not really much that you can do to constantly ask for reviews, but the reviews that you do get, it’s important to analyze them and make sure that, okay, if I’m getting a lot of four star reviews, well what is it? Why am I not getting that five stars? And I think that’s kind of the beauty of it. A lot of people think that their views are just good for your ranking, but the reviews really are good to make sure that you can constantly improve your product and once you do that, then you’re going to start getting naturally those five star reviews and your product will rank better.
Rana Nawas: (15:56)
Great. Thank you. So we’ve spoken a lot about Amazon and selling on Amazon and the reviews. What about selling on your own website? How’s that experience and do you get those reviews?
Tatiana Buree: (16:07)
Yeah, absolutely. So since I started selling on my own website, I really started to use social media a lot more at that time and with using social media, I was able to, you know, request those reviews and get feedback and also a lot of people were sharing their pictures with me. So my product is a physical product that you wear and a lot of people do want to share their before and after photos, their success, they want to share them wearing the product and so by them sharing that with me, I was able to put those photos with their permission on my website and that really helps with social proof and social proof is huge when you’re selling a product, because for any online product, when you’re doing online shopping, you’re kind of taking a bargain. Since you can’t physically hold the product, you can’t touch it, you can’t really see it in person. So it is a little bit challenging to shop online. But once you see that other people are happy with the product, you see that there’s a lot of positive reviews and you see that there’s a lot of great photos of real people using your product, there’s a lot more social proof and you feel more comfortable to make that purchase. So for me, selling them on the website, really it helped with that, but most importantly it helped with my customer service. So it really helped me because I was able to now take hold of the customer service prior to that it was in the hands of Amazon. So now I was able to hire people who really believe in my brand and love the product and they really just have great hearts and they just want to help people. So by enhancing the customer service, the whole process of buying from me is just enhanced with the customer.
Rana Nawas: (17:41)
You mentioned social media, Tatiana. How did you, how much do you use social media and is it just to collect these pictures that you’re talking about or do use it as part of your marketing strategy in building your brand?
Tatiana Buree: (17:53)
Yes, social media is huge and a lot of people, they don’t really see the value in it, they just see it as something to waste time. But really if you’re a business, you really need to utilize social media. Social media is right now, it’s everything and it’s free marketing for you. You can pay of course to put ads on social media, but if you’re just getting started, I mean social media is a great way to market to people and to reach quite a large range of audience of your audience. I know a lot of businesses that literally started with an instagram account and they’ve got thousands of followers and they’ve grown their business very, very amazingly. They’ve done really, really well just from using instagram and so for me, I use social media. Yes, I collect images, but I also am able to share with people my thoughts, my reviews, my opinions. I’m able to share with people, to show them the products. I use youtube a lot. Youtube is really the number one way that I grew my business because when you’re on youtube you have a personality and it’s not just a company, you know, there’s a lot of companies but people now they want to see the people behind the company and for me, I was able to attach a personality to my brand which was myself. I use myself. You can use someone, you can hire someone or you can have a friend do it, but I use it myself and so people were able to relate to me. They liked my videos, it started to grow and now people trust me because I’ve got lots of videos out there and share different content with them, but I share a lot of the things I share on my youtube is just sharing my product, showing them how it looks, showing them the materials, giving them advice and suggestions and people really appreciate that because sometimes when you buy a product, you know, you want to learn more about it. You want to know how to use it and you have all these questions but you don’t. You can’t contact the company and ask them for all this advice. So that’s why the youtube has been a great, great tool for growing the business.
Rana Nawas: (19:48)
Right. So you use youtube videos and instagram, do you spend any money on marketing or is this all basically for free?
Tatiana Buree: (19:57)
Yeah, so up until this point, I’ve grown my business from zero to where it is with $0 spent in marketing. So I don’t pay for any ads or anything. I just used the social media. I know that if I did spend money on ads, my business would grow. I would have a lot more sales, but at this point in time, I don’t really feel like that’s the path that I want to go. I can, but I don’t think I’m ready for it. I’m not ready for all that attention. But the social media is amazing because you really don’t have to invest money. You know, you can create a free instagram, free pinterest, free Youtube Channel, and zero investment in money, just constantly post value. If you add value to people, they will follow you and they will unintentionally, they will buy your products.
Rana Nawas: (20:48)
And do you have to post videos or instagram frequently, daily, or how often is that?
Tatiana Buree: (20:56)
Yeah, you do. So you do need to make sure that you’re posting frequently. People don’t want to follow accounts that don’t post frequently. So you don’t have to, if you don’t have time to do it yourself, you can always outsource that task, you know. You can hire someone overseas or in your area that you can pay, who will run your social media accounts for you, which I think is a smart thing to do because that can be very time consuming and it is such an important thing to do. So making sure to outsource that if you don’t have the time to do yourself but never disregard that. It’s very important.
Rana Nawas: (21:28)
Well, I’m glad you touched on outsourcing. Let’s talk a bit about that. How much do you use it? When did you start using it? I understand you don’t have any staff, so you outsource everything that needs to be done. Is that right?
Tatiana Buree: (21:40)
Yeah. So I actually, I started outsourcing about a year ago and I wish I had done it sooner because I always thought that, you know, I don’t want to spend a lot of money to hire people and it costs a lot of money for all these things, but that was, you know, that’s a limiting belief. That’s not true. So you can go on websites like upwork.com and you can hire people who are overseas who really specialize in these things. They’re very talented, they have a lot of online skills and so you can hire them for the things that consume your time the most. So if you look at your day and you see that you’re spending two hours answering emails, two hours creating social media content, and the rest of your day, you’re focusing on actually growing your business. Well, that’s four hours of time that you can outsource to someone else because these are tasks that aren’t very unique. These are tasks that can be learned and it’s really important to make sure that you get someone else to do that. So, that’s what I did and now I can say that it’s been such a blessing. If I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have been able to allocate so much time to actually growing my business. I would’ve just been stuck on maintaining the business.
Rana Nawas: (22:44)
Great, okay. Well, I have just one last question, Tatiana. What piece of advice do you wish someone had given you when you started out three years ago at the age of 20.
Tatiana Buree: (22:55)
I wish that someone had taught me, not just the techniques of selling a product, but really grasping the fact that it’s about adding value. When you focus on just adding value to the marketplace, whether that’s with information content, whether that’s with physical products, whatever it may be, then the business comes to you and I think that’s such an important thing to remember because anyone can sell something, but when you’re truly trying to add value, whether that, you know, whether that is with a physical product, you’re trying to enhance someone’s life and one way or another, people will buy from you and your business will grow much faster.
Rana Nawas: (23:35)
Just add value. I love that. Thank you so much. Again, really appreciate you coming in today and taking the time to be with us and maybe you could just tell our listeners where they can find you, Tatiana.
Tatiana Buree: (23:45)
Yeah, absolutely. So the best place to find me is on youtube. You can find me at at LuxxHealth, so that’s LuxxHealth and I’m also on instagram and you can find me on facebook and if you want to learn more about our products, our website is www.LuxxHealth.com.
Rana Nawas: (24:05)
Well thank you again for coming, Tatiana. I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. You can check out show notes and more episodes at rananawas.com/win or search When Women Win on Itunes, spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. I’d also love to hear your feedback and ideas for who I should bring on the show. You can find me on instagram @rananawas. Thanks and have a great day.