I’ll never forget the night I sat on my living room floor counting the proceeds from my very first day in business. $2,500. Not too shabby for my first attempt. It was downright exhilarating.
A few weeks earlier I had made the last-minute decision to jump on a plane bound for Ecuador. Right from the moment I stepped off the plane, everything about the country appealed to me. Spectacular scenery, healthy, delicious food, interesting culture, friendly locals, and, the kicker…fabulous shopping at fabulous prices.
And that was why I was there—to shop.
The Ecuadorian artisans produced goods that blew my expectations out of the water, including original watercolors, elegant scarves, wraps, and ponchos, embroidered linens, and exquisite handcrafted leather handbags, shawls, and jackets.
I was going to need another suitcase.
My hotel room soon resembled a Macy’s stockroom as I brought in load after load of wonderful finds. I did buy that second suitcase (it was hand-made, leather and quite the looker!) and headed back to North Carolina with my new stuff.
Next, I invited eight or 10 people to my home to check out my merchandise…and sold nearly everything I had bought in one go. I don’t know which part was more fun… shopping for the goods or counting the money! Either way, I was hooked.
I continued making trips back and forth to Ecuador to explore, shop, and bring my treasures back to share with folks at home. Each trip brought new adventures and fun, and each time I was able to pay for my trip and put money in the bank.
At first, I hosted small shows in my home. But word spread, and my business began to really take off. I began participating in some local shows and quickly learned that it wasn’t just my friends who loved the unique finds I was bringing home. The lines at my booths were three people deep, and I was clearing $3,000-$5,000 or more per show.
Because I still had two kids at home, I intentionally kept my business small-scale. But the profit potential was unlimited.
After years of profiting while shopping, traveling, and having grand adventures, I knew the ropes and started helping other people to set up the same business for themselves.
The people I help to get set up in this line of “work” are always amazed by how much they can make and how little they have to “sell.” The products sell themselves. The key is just getting the goods in front of people. People love the fact that they’re getting gorgeous, unique finds that aren’t mass-produced and that they are helping to support the artisans of Ecuador.
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