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Richard Lazazzera and setting up an e-Commerce business

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Richard Lazazzera is an entrepreneur and business owner, and the founder of A Better Lemonade Stand.

Over the years he has grown into an expert on all things eCommerce and his site provides lots of useful information for anyone looking to set up their first store. We caught up with him to find out more about his projects and interest in the eCommerce world.

Firstly, thank you for doing this interview! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?

I’m Richard Lazazzera, founder of A Better Lemonade Stand. An ecommerce blog that provides some of the most practical advice to help new ecommerce entrepreneurs figure out what to sell online, how to get their business up and running, and how to market their new business. All the information and advice I write about comes from real-world experience and knowledge. I try to keep the information as practical as possible and exclude all the fluff.

When did you first become interested in eCommerce and what was it in particular that drew you into the eCommerce sector?

I became fascinated with ecommerce four years ago when a good friend and his wife began an ecommerce business selling hair extensions, called Luxy. Their business exploded in popularity almost instantly and the best part was how they found a way to have it completely automated.

Watching their business grow was an incredible experience, even from the sidelines. It opened my eyes to what can truly be possible online, even if it was an anomaly. Reading case studies is one thing, actually knowing someone that has done it personally is a whole other thing.

Luxy is now one of Shopify’s top grossing online stores and they have over 1.5 million YouTube subscribers.

Have you ever been involved in any eCommerce disasters? And what have you taken away from these experiences?

I wouldn’t call it a disaster but my first business was a wash. I actually didn’t know what to sell online but I wanted to start an online business badly, at the very least to learn more. After months of searching for the “perfect” product, I ended up just randomly choosing a product and ordering $5,000 in inventory. I knew from the beginning it wasn’t a great idea, but I also had other motives, which was to learn more about manufacturing, importing, and fulfilment.

I ended up selling enough product to break even, then sold the business along with the remaining inventory. Most importantly though, I did learn a lot about the process of sourcing, manufacturing, importing, customs clearance, and fulfilment which was a vital foundation to all the projects that came after.

I originally started my blog to organize my thoughts on ecommerce, mostly for myself. However people started finding it, talking about it, and wanting more.

Why did you decide to document your latest eCommerce startup steps on A Better Lemonade Stand? Do you think there is a lack of help for eCommerce start-ups?

I wanted to document my latest ecommerce business, Finch Goods Co.  because I felt like there was too much high-level talk about what you should, or could do in theory. I believed it could be really helpful and inspiring to other ecommerce entrepreneurs to see the process from start to finish.

I find that most of the time, people really just aren’t sure where to start, and what comes next. I believe my process could act as a roadmap for others.

I have received incredible feedback and support for #TheGreatBuild project, so it proven that’s what people were looking for.

Have you been surprised by the level of engagement you have received on the website? What is it about it that you think makes it resonate with internet entrepreneurs?

I have. I originally started my blog to organize my thoughts on ecommerce, mostly for myself. However people started finding it, talking about it, and wanting more. My blog has taken on a life of its own and it’s great I have a community of equally passionate ecommerce entrepreneurs to share my experiences with.

I think it resonates with people because they are tired of the lies, the bold headlines, and the scammy 90’s marketing techniques many other people in the ecommerce blogging field are using. “I’ll show you how to make $10,000 per day!” It’s all garbage and it’s all lies, misconceptions, or stretches of the truth to sell an overpriced informational product.

How did you find working with web developers and designers on Finch Goods Co.? Are there any tips you would give to eCommerce entrepreneurs looking to engage with web designers?

Great question. I am fairly well connected in the tech and startup community in Toronto and have designers, developers, photographers and videographers at my disposal, many times for free. I originally brought on a web designer and videographers to help with the project. My audience on A Better Lemonade Stand were expecting a lot from me and I wanted to deliver this grand and beautiful website. However, I ended up changing my mind shortly after. I realized authenticity was more important and most of all, I wanted everyone to be able to relate to #TheGreatBuild. How could they relate if I was utilizing tens of thousands of dollars worth of professional video work, photography and design.

It didn’t feel right so I scrapped all the professionals and decided I was going to do everything myself. I already knew Photoshop fairly well and I have a DSLR camera. Shopify and their premium templates really make it as easy as possible to create something that looks great without the need to necessarily hire a designer or developer. Of course, if you have the extra budget a designer can really help to polish things. But currently everything you see on Finch Goods Co. was done myself with no outside help.

However, as I grow and I outgrow my current website (and my design capability) I do plan to utilize the services of professionals like web designers and photographers.

It really boils down to just starting, especially if it's a relatively low risk investment.

Is Finch Goods Co. at a place where you are happy with it? Is it how you envisaged it would be when you embarked on this project?

Not exactly. I’m definitely a perfectionist and when you’re a perfectionist, nothing ever seems to be perfect. It was actually really hard for me to launch my site because it’s not where I want it to be in terms of design and my curated collection of products. In addition, when I first started, my intentions were to mostly sell higher end, bold, colorful mens’ socks and some lifestyle accessory products but that has already started shifting to selling more lifestyle accessories and less socks.

Your guide covers a lot of areas, but what single piece of advice would you give to anyone looking at eCommerce for the first time?

Don’t overthink things. I talk to people all the time that are afraid to start or frozen on their project because they can’t think of a good name, or find a great domain, or don’t know how/if they should register the business, or how to do accounting etc.

It really boils down to just starting, especially if it’s a relatively low risk investment.

What does the future hold for you, and where do you see A Better Lemonade Stand and Finch Goods Co. going in the future?

Things at A Better Lemonade Stand are starting to get really exciting. My audience is growing significantly and I’m being contacted about new opportunities everyday. I’m just started working on a video podcast series I am hoping to launch in the next 2 months and plan to start offering membership areas of A Better Lemonade Stand that will contain even more details information and guides as well as a ecommerce support community.

As for Finch Goods Co. it’s still so new I don’t know exactly where its headed yet. I’m fairly certain that in a year or two, it will look and be very different from what it is now. I am inspired by member sites for goods like Huckberry and TrunkClub. I ultimately wan’t to figure out my own unique business model for Finch Goods Co. that will set it apart from all others. Time will tell.

Nublue work closely in the eCommerce sector, both in hosting and designing eCommerce sites! Contact us to find out more.

Stefan

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