Licensing, managing B2B resellers, product creation, and the power of outsourcing with Craig Wolfe of Celebriducks (episode 127)

Craig Wolfe is the President at Celebriducks – the world’s number 1 rubber duck manufacturer!

They launched in 1997 and have now sold millions and millions of ducks!. Selling via wholesale and direct to consumer on their website.

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celebriducks podcast
About the business

  • eCommerce Business Structure – Online Only
  • Product Range Scale – niche
  • USA – based, selling globally. Both B2B and B2C.
  • Product is a mix of licensed merchandise and Craig’s own designs
  • Platforms: Volusion, & WordPress

Getting Started

Craig had a successful business publishing artwork from television commercials. He would take the characters from commercials that people loved and make them into artwork on animation cels. Then one day at a party, a slightly inebriated friend had the idea of making rubber ducks that look like celebrities.

Craig had the time and money to do it, so he got hold of the licensing director for Betty Boop and told her that he wanted to make a rubber duck of Betty. She said to send them the duck and they’d figure it out, so he made one and sent it to her. He received a reply back that they thought the Betty Boop duck was very cute and wanted to talk to him.

After starting with Betty, ducks got going. The internet was growing around that same time and websites were becoming a big deal, so Craig created the website for CelebriDucks.

Amazon has been their biggest seller. He originally opened CelebriDucks up to all Amazon sellers, but when they began undercutting each other by pennies, he changed the business model to have only one Amazon seller in the US. Other companies could still sell the ducks on their own websites or on Amazon in other countries, but he wanted to be able to control the look of the brand and not spend his days playing whack-a-mole with misbehaving sellers.

Now CelebriDucks is the top custom rubber duck maker in the world.

Listen to learn how Craig bulletproofed his niche.

The Team

Technically, Craig is the only employee of CelebriDucks. He runs the company out of his home and outsources everything. Craig contends that if he had a laptop and a phone, he could run the business from a beach in Hawaii.

Listen to learn why communication and outsourcing is important to his business model, and how it saves him money.

Most Awesome Thing Right Now

He’s not brave, but when Craig is inspired and feels passionate about something, he’s fearless. If he’s inspired, he’ll make it work.

He doesn’t know everything, but he does know how to find people who are smarter than he is to fill the gaps for him.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

Listen to learn how to make the point of entry into your niche almost impossible for your would-be competitors.

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Social Media

Listen to find out why engaging with your social media audience is so important

Tool Top Tip

  • Calling people on the telephone.

Start Up Top Tip

Focus like a laser on your niche. Know what you stand for and what makes you unique. Make sure you have a good idea, and make sure you have a trusted friend and network. Bulletproof your niche, and move quickly to lock it up.

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