Tuesday, June 16, 2020

What's Your Perfect Product? | Neil & Karen Gwartzman, Private Label University

Neil & Karen Gwartzman, owners of Private Label University
In 1983, Neil Gwartzman dove into the private labeling industry when he joined his father’s brick-and-mortar manufacturing and importing company. After learning the business from the ground up, he committed himself to distill everything he and his father knew into a step-by-step system that could be used to easily and consistently identify, source and private label products for any company in any industry.

Private labeling -- also called “white labeling” or “product branding” -- involves finding an existing physical product that your clients are shopping for and then putting your brand on it. Some high-profile examples include Rachel Ray, George Foreman and Martha Stewart, who have leveraged private label products to build their brands and make extra millions.

Neil taught the system to Karen in 2004, when she was a dental hygienist looking for ways to make extra money. Revenue from her new private label business quickly eclipsed her salary, making it an easy decision to quit the dental industry. She joined Neil in his mission to help entrepreneurs and business owners leverage private label products to scale their companies and increase brand recognition. This is when Private Label University was born.

“What products do is complement and bring loyalty to those customers to keep coming back into their business. It also can act as an accessory to help the client move to the next level,” Karen said. “It's bringing in an extra revenue stream.” The Gwartzmans provide direction in determining what the perfect product is for a business. The idea is to build a brand that is cohesive with business and complement it with a product.

One of the most challenging things for service-based businesses is to stand out. The Gwartzmans have found that adding a product to a business can set your business apart. Your clients trust you and they trust products that you recommend, so when you have a private product they can purchase and use on your recommendation it's a win-win.

This isn't a new idea, private labeling products has been happening for decades. Karen and Neil believe their system has simplified the process so that anyone could do it. “Years ago it was a secret. You were not allowed to share what you were doing,” Karen said. They both felt drawn to share the secrets and help business owners create products on their own. In doing this they have had some blowback in their industry, but they continued to feel drawn to help others. “Why should there be a monopoly of stores or companies that have access to this information? We need to be sharing it,” Karen said.

The Gwartzmans travel to China annually for the Canton Fair and take any students who are interested along with them to learn about the business and experience the products first hand. Since the April fair was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the trip is now planned for October. Attending the product fair is not necessary. It can be done remotely, but takes more time. Investments in creating a product can range in cost, but starting small and proving sales is usually the starting point. “Building the relationships correctly with suppliers is important,” Karen said.

Neil knew from a young age that this was the work he wanted to do. He enjoyed seeing products from all over the world and helping the family business. They both recommend learning from mentors as you are looking to follow your passions. “Mentors -- years ago we didn't understand what a mentor was. I should have listened, that mentoring would have gotten me to a faster position to doing what I wanted to do,” Karen said.

When adding a product to an existing business they feel that the risk is low. “We aren't saying give up what you do, just complement it or add to it. Add a revenue source,” Karen said, “You should be able to make money every single day.”


For more information on creating a private label product yourself go to https://privatelabeluniversity.com/.