First of all, this is my experience and my experience only. I cannot speak for others in the business nor do I want pretend that I am somehow above or below them. In fact I know several people who are in the supplement business and they are genuinely good people who like to help other individuals accomplish their goals.
Why I started selling supplements
I started selling supplements online for 2 reasons:
1. I found that I was already answering a lot of questions on which supplements to take from various people while discussing their particular situation. I have bought all sorts of supplements and found that I had decent first hand knowledge on a variety of brands and was able to draw from experience while giving my opinion.
I also like to research a lot, and I would sometimes go in with the person asking me for help to visit a supplement store and help them pick out their purchase.
2. I found supplements to be so expensive, that I assumed there was a lot of mark up and therefore room for profit.
So without saying any names on manufacturers or wholesalers, I signed up with a couple of them and started an online shop. The same people who always came to me for advice before were now my clients, along with friends and family.
“I didn’t want to push what was basically 2 cups of coffee labeled as a fat burner on people, even if it brought the most profit in.”
Why I stopped selling supplements
Once I was on the inside, I was met with several harsh realities.
1. There are definitely profits to be made, but it’s mostly by the manufacturers and wholesalers themselves. The guys who end up retailing the products have slim margins. Online, the margins are sometimes less than a dollar if you want to be competitive. Customers today expect low to free shipping costs and no taxes online. This means that the shipping can and will eat up your profits real quick.
2. The stuff that DOES make you money are the same stuff that I either never found to be effective or I couldn’t sell in good conscience for other reasons. My clients were my friends and family after all, so I felt responsible to only sell stuff that works. I won’t say the names of the products I am talking about, but you can spot them if you look for labels that have a bunch of techno babble and over the top promises on the box. Energy drinks or shots that are full of sugar and caffeine, or fat burners that are again mostly caffeine or focus on reducing water weight.
I found myself in a bad position because the products I found to be good, like vitamins, amino acids, protein, and creatine, had really low margins. I didn’t want to push what was basically 2 cups of coffee labeled as a fat burner on people, even if it brought the most profit in. So after a couple of months, I shut down shop.
I can’t say I was completely disappointed, I wanted to try it out and got experience it first hand. I definitely lost more money than I cared to lose, but I rationalize it as that being the cost for me sleeping well at night. So while there are supplement shop owners that are out there struggling between good intentions and pushing profit makers to meet overhead costs, that’s a juggling act I couldn’t do.
Now that I am out of it, I do my shopping in person at Max Fitness in Salinas Ca. When they don’t have the product I want, I go online to Amazon. I have found that online, Amazon competes very well in price point with BodyBuilding.com. I have found other places in Salinas and online not to be worth doing business with in regards to supplements. Again, just my opinion, and based solely on my experience.