B: Do you run a business? If so, what kind of business is it and what should investors know about it?
M: My name is Melanise, and I’m 28 years old. I am currently living in The Bahamas where I was born and raised. I always wanted to be self employed, and own a business. 2011, I graduated from college in the US with a Bachelor’s degree in Finance/Economics. I knew then I wanted to return home, and start the process of creating a business.
The e-commerce business intrigued me; therefore, I began selling on the Amazon.com platform in November 2013. I sell general merchandise: from grocery items and toys, to health and personal care products. I currently use Amazon FBA- Fulfillment By Amazon. I use their fulfilment services. I ship my inventory to their fulfilment warehouses throughout the US. Amazon in turn takes care all of the orders including shipping to the customer and customer services.
Most items have to be prepped to their requirements before shipping to their warehouse. Such as bubble wrapping the products so they can be safe during transit and poly bagging etc. Therefore, my business is structured where I place inventory orders and have them shipped to a prep company I hired. This prep company inspects, labels, and preps my inventory according to Amazon requirements. Who then ships them to Amazon on my behalf.
B: How come you ended up starting this business and why have you chosen this particularly niche?
M: After I graduated from College I knew I wanted to return home. However, there was not much job opportunities and I knew deep down I didn’t want to work for anyone. So I started searching on Google for different online business ideas.
I ended up finding a capture page for a course on starting an Amazon business and how you can make a million dollars selling on the Platform. Of course I thought it was to good to be true and I watched their 3 free videos and of course at the end their free videos, the price was way to high for me to buy the entire course!
But the business concept was intriguing. I ended up reading the comments and someone trolled the comments and added a link to another course and I clicked it. It took me to what I considered the ‘Holy Grail’ on Amazon education and it was a fraction of the price than the other course. I still had no money for that. So I went to my dad (who I’m living with) and told him about the business and the cost for me to learn about it. He then offered to pay for it. From that moment on I learned everything needed to know about the Amazon business. My Dad invested in me and believed in the business.
He gave me $500 to start in November 2013. I bought inventory that I knew would sell during the holiday times and I made 3x the profits and I was amazed. That holiday season I fell in love with the e-commerce business, and worked hard finding products to sell profitably. I started this business with the $500, and it grew steadily from there. I chose this business because it has endless possibilities. I knew I would be able to help my family, who at the time was growing through a tough time and I would be able to help my sister through college. Also, with Amazon you can grow your own brand and take advantage of the millions of customers Amazon has. I realized that if you are determined and hard working you can become successful at a young age. I also chose this business because I can be anywhere in the world and operate my business.
I wouldn’t have to be worried about the lack of jobs available or the poor economic position my country is going through. Of course the road to success is not easy but I have faith and I am determined to make it. One of my goals I would like to do is to start teaching other Bahamians on how to start their own e-commerce business especially during these hard economic times.
B: What do you hope to achieve with your loan and why did you choose Bitbond over a bank?
M: I would like to once again thank Bitbond for the opportunity to pitch my business and myself to the investors. If I am successful on being funded this will be second loan with Bitbond. My first Loan helped me tremendously. I was funded at the peak of Q4 (busy holiday shopping time, Christmas and Thanksgiving). The Loan came at a great time and I bought inventory right away and had my store filled with items that sold really well. I was able to grow my business 2x because of the loan infusion.
Because of how well the First loan helped my business I was able to make my payments before the monthly deadlines and I was able to pay off the loan 3 months early. I am so very grateful for the investors that choose to invest in me. Bitcoins value has also increased greatly over the past year so I am happy that my investors were able to see a a good profit from investing in me.
Over the last few months I have learned a lot and grew a lot. I have worked hard finding new suppliers, and staying clear of the mass competition Amazon can have. My goal however has not changed. I aim to sell products that are not overly saturated on Amazon, create new listings by bundling different products together (similar to creating gift sets) to give the customer more value, and a great experience with the products they buy. In order to continue growing my business, I need to expand my inventory base by diversifying with different products, and place frequent orders to keep cash flow going.
I would like to start placing wholesale orders for Halloween and some Christmas inventory. Some of the wholesale companies I will work with require early orders. These early orders will secure my inventory early in the event they are sold out during the peak shopping season. My business is steadily growing every month.
With the loan it would help me get to another level with my business. It will allow the business to run smoother and grow even more especially during these coming months; Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas where shopping on Amazon goes up incredibly and profits increase. Almost half of US online shoppers said that Amazon will be their main gift shopping destination.
I chose Bitbond the #unbank over a bank because there aren’t any banks in my country that would give me the opportunity. It’s unfortunate, but small business loans are rarely given to young entrepreneurs in my country. I started researching loans available on the Internet and started digging into articles about bitcoins. Then the Bitbond platform was the one that caught my attention. Bitbond provides opportunities to small businesses in particular e-commerce small businesses so I knew that this could be the place for me.
The professional look of the website and the professional verification process and also the fact that my peers can choose to invest in me and my business and other people can believe in my dreams and can profit from it, is amazing. Compared to the stuffy banking systems it was a breathe of fresh air. Bitbond also funded my first loan so it was only right to come back for my second loan!
B: What is your favorite feature on Bitbond? What features do you think are missing?
M: My favorite feature has to be the verification process, it was seamless and easy to use. Applying for the loan was exciting. Also, the community, I love the fact that the investors can ask you questions if they are not sure about something and it creates a dialogue between you and your potential investors. It gives me the chance to share my experiences and express my passion for my business.
B: What would you want potential investors to know about your loan?
M: I would like to thank those that have already invested. Thank you for believing in my business. To the potential Investors I would like you to know that I am a very hard worker. I am a young woman of integrity and treat my business as such.
I would like you to know that I take your investments very seriously and I will honor my commitment of paying my loan back on time every month. I hope that I convey that I am a trustworthy, honest and sincere person and you can rely on me with your investment.
I have paid my first Bitbond loan 3 months early and I will aim to do the same with this current loan. I have learned a lot through the years and I have researched a lot of potential inventory that is only waiting for me to buy. I am only hoping that you can see my business potential because I am ready to go full speed ahead! Thank you for your consideration and reading my interview.
B: What do you think the future holds for bitcoin? Is it the modern-day equivalent of the internet or will it fall flat on its face?
M: On my last interview I mentioned that I think the future is shinning bright on bitcoins. And that statement is still true! Looking at the history and trends of bitcoins it will only continue to go up in my opinion. I would have to agree that it is the modern- day equivalent of the Internet.
When I first heard of bitcoins a few years ago I was a little skeptical but as the years went by it has grown greatly and I believe it will only continue to grow. Since last year of being funded with my first loan, Bitcoins has grown to its all time high! I can’t wait to see what is next for bitcoins! Just look at the profits my investors made within the last few months from investing in my business!
B: As a business owner or an employee, does your place of work accept bitcoin? If not, what do are the chances of that changing?
M: Amazon doesn’t accept bitcoins directly on their website. However, there are websites where you can purchase digital Amazon gift cards with your bitcoins. I believe that Amazon is a ever changing and growing business and the chances of it accepting bitcoins in the future is possible.
Thank you very much for talking to us Melanise. It’s been excellent hearing about the growth of your Amazon store and the exciting times ahead for you. Investors who want to back Melanise can still invest in her small business loan for a limited amount of time.
Thanks for reading and see you on the platform.
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