Gloria Kaiser, founder and owner of Fancy Books, an online book store, turned her hobby into a business and a dream of owning a book store becomes a reality. She tells me how and why she did it. It is always wonderful when a dream comes to fruition.
W&F: When and why did you start Fancy Books?
Ms. Kaiser: About four years ago, I became ill, and my doctor recommended that I not return to work. So I started searching for something that I could do out of my home. One day while searching on the internet I came across an ad seeking to hire a person to scout for books for this company to sell on Amazon. It was a light bulb moment. I had a collection of books already and I could go scouting for books to sell over Amazon for myself. So I nervously listed a few books. The next day I received an email that read “Sold Ship Now” I had sold my first book. The rest is history.
I still get excited when I see an email informing me of a sale. Since affiliates charge commissions that eat into the profit, I decided to create my own website and sell from there. Also, I had already a customer list acquired through my affiliate, so I sent out newsletters with general interest articles and showed books pertaining to the articles and subjects that appeared in my newsletters.
W&F: What information do you offer in your newsletter?
Ms. Kaiser: My newsletter addresses needs and concerns that all of us have whether we enjoy reading or not. For instance, I did a newsletter on Breast Cancer Awareness and offered information on breast cancer and experiences of woman who have or are living with this disease. I offered three books on the subject of Breast Cancer.
All book lovers have their favorite authors. I profile authors, so readers can learn what’s going on in the authors’ personal life and what projects they are working on. Past newsletters have featured Bebe Moore Campbell, Michael Connelly and others. It is sometimes difficult to talk to authors because they are busy with book signings and promotions. However, once I do get in contact with them they are thrilled to be presented in my newsletter.
W&F: How long have you been in business?
Ms. Kaiser: I started with Amazon in 2004. The following year I started working on my own website. I have been in the bookselling business for 3 years now. I have been online with my own bookstore website for two years.
W&F: That’s wonderful. You sell used and almost new books in a manner similar to eBay merchants, yet it is different because you offer home and living articles. I even saw a recipe that looks delicious. How did you come about with this idea?
Ms. Kaiser: Well, again I need to distinguish myself from the “Big Boys”. To attract customers, I wanted to cover other interests and concerns that readers have, and direct them to publications that address their interests.
W&F: What advice can you offer other entrepreneurs?
Ms. Kaiser: Do not hesitate to ask for help. Women run their households primarily by themselves and are always there to help others, but when we need help, we don’t ask for it. No one who is successful did it alone. When the winner of an Oscar on the Academy Awards show makes an acceptance speech, no one ever says, “I have me and only me to thank for my success.” They thank, and give credit to a long list of individuals for their success.
There are so many free resources available to women. A person may have to set aside a little time to find the resource, but it is worth the effort. Start with your Local chamber of commerce; it can be a haven for women entrepreneurs.
Network, Network and Network. The only way people are going to know about your business is if you talk about it. All cities have groups that you can join for little or no money, where you can meet and associate with other entrepreneurs. Take time to browse the message boards such as WomanOwned and others, for information. Post to these boards with your company name as part of your signature.
W&F: Speaking of signatures, what is the URL to your web site?
Ms. Kaiser: The URL to my website is http://www.fancybooks.com. Come on by and browse.
W&F: Gloria Kaiser, thank you so much for sharing inspiring your story with us. I wish you continued success.
See Her Love of Books Changed Her Destiny