Seller Spotlight: Q&A with Colin Murdy Founder of Murdy Creative Co.

For as long as he can remember, Colin Murdy, founder of Murdy Creative Co., loved to make things. He was never able to draw or paint well, but he found artistic expression in creating functional art. He always loved performing in band, choir, and theater, but with so many other academic classes, he was only able to take one art class his senior year of high school.

When his brother went off to college, Colin began journaling. Then in an experimental art class he got the opportunity to select from a historic art form. He chose book binding. Book binding, like many art forms, has a secret underground of creators. Colin began to meet them and learn more about the practice. Eventually, a unique style and technique emerged. Using this newly found technique, Colin spent years working on creating a journal that he would want to use. Throughout the process Colin was his own worst critic. He wanted the journal to be perfect. His principles dictated that the books must be simple, beautiful, and durable. Leather was the logical medium for both its incredible properties unto itself, as well as its supreme cultural status.

Colin eventually developed his own signature idea, steel cable stitching. The durability, beauty, and unique style of this method, allowed him to create a book that would last for generations. This style can only be done by hand, and thus is very expensive to create. The Murdy No. 5 is his perfect journal. Colin’s friends and family suggested he build a whole line of items around the principles of simplicity, beauty, and durability, and thus the Murdy No. 1 came to be.

Hoping to share his journals with the world, Colin then began to sell them on Amazon Prime. But, when you use the best leather money can buy, the best money is required. With high leather costs, Colin struggled to get enough units to market. The delay in Amazon’s payouts as well as the large amount of money that is required to be kept in your account for weeks made it almost impossible to scale properly. Payability allows him to scale up by making those funds readily available. “I am still working to keep up with demand, but I take this as a sign that people agree with me. Quality is always worth it,” said Murdy.  

What do you like most about being an Amazon seller?

Forty-Four cents of every dollar spent in 2017 was spent on Amazon. The market is so large and well organized, that selling on Amazon can create incredible growth opportunities. Also, using their Prime program helps streamline my logistics costs and processes, making growth as simple and easy as sending them a bigger box of items.

What’s the biggest challenge you face or have faced when selling on Amazon?

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) while simple, can take up to 14 days for your full inventory to be available on the site. This, coupled with the slow weekly payouts means that the time from when I order raw materials from my supplier to getting the money in the bank from the sales of that inventory can be up to 50 days. This is crippling for a small business that relies on limited credit and lean inventory.

How do you plan to grow even more in 2018?

We have a series of exciting new products that will be launched. Our family of products look excellent together, and we are happy to provide complete solutions to both individuals and companies looking for a way to improve the way they appear to their clients.

Do you sell on other marketplaces?

Due to the limitations on customization on Amazon, we also sell on our website MurdyCreative.Co as well as Etsy. Some of our more prestigious Signature series items are only available on Etsy.

What advice do you have for sellers looking to grow their Amazon businesses?

The rule of Pi is universal. Everything takes 3.14 times more time than you think, at 3.14 times the expense, with 3.14 times more difficulty then it should. Building in margin to your inventory purchasing, marketing budgets, and sales forecasts will allow you to be more flexible. You have to listen and respond to the needs of the market.

How do you put your Payability money to work?

We have a problem keeping up with sales. This is a good problem, but a problem nevertheless. We have been able to shorten our inventory lead times significantly by using Payability to convert yesterday’s sales into today’s inventory purchasing.

What other Amazon seller tools or apps do you use?

Amazon Seller Central has a bit of a learning curve to it. The reports that are generated though, can be invaluable in identifying the relationships between your marketing and sales results.

Do you have any other tricks to maximize your money? (i.e. credit card points, cash back, etc.)?

The Payability card has been very helpful in gaining rewards as have point systems with other credit cards. The best way to maximize your money is to run a lean machine. My marketing professor said “Inventory on the shelf is money on the shelf,” so try to limit the excess inventory when you can. Also, treat every dollar spent on the business as if that dollar would have been spent on your dream vacation. This helps you really evaluate if you “need” to spend that money, or if you only want to spend it because you may have found some success.

What’s your biggest achievement so far as a seller?

Product quality. I am committed to using the best American cowhide leather. We evaluated many suppliers until I found the perfect one. Leather is so unique and different each time, so finding a supplier that can partner with me to ensure that our products are always a notch above any competitors was vital.

How has becoming an Amazon seller changed your life?

I was a recent college graduate, struggling to establish myself. When I was able to get started on Amazon, I now am able to control my destiny. That feeling of pride in my work and success is something that is life changing.

We have a blog post dedicated to the Seller Lifestyle. What’s a fun fact about your #SellerLifestyle?

When check your Amazon Seller app more frequently than your social media apps.

Life is good for Colin and his beautiful journals. To see what’s next for Colin and his unique leather binders, follow Murdy Creative Co. on Facebook and Instagram.

Victoria Sullivan
Victoria Sullivan is a Marketing Manager at Payability. She has over eight years of social media, copywriting and marketing experience. Prior to joining the Payability team, Victoria developed social media content and strategies for top technology brands such as Skype and Samsung. She holds a degree in Advertising from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. She can often be found in a yoga class or working on her fashion blog.

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