In this episode we talk with Oberlo co-founder Tomas Slimas. Before launching Oberlo, Tomas was a dropshipper and ecommerce entrepreneur himself, trying – and often failing – to make money online. He eventually got it figured out and generated $3 million in revenue on a single store in a single year. Tomas sold that business and then doubled down on dropshipping, founding Oberlo in the hopes that anyone could do what he had just done – build a successful online business without ever holding inventory.
We talk with Tomas about how dropshipping has evolved since he started back in 2014, the traits he has seen again and again in successful dropshippers, and some of the less glamorous elements of his founder story. Tomas also gets into how growing up in Lithuania might have given him a scrappy streak that some of his American founder counterparts might not have grown up with.
Tomas hits on...
Why he got into entrepreneurship: "So when I started out, I didn't have many options. So my options were to go work at a restaurant or a cafeteria – and there was nothing wrong working there, but it just didn't really excite me as an opportunity. So if I had options at the time of working at great companies around the world or even the big corporations or small corporations, or whatever, I didn't have any objections to taking that job. So, it wasn't a philosophical kind of decision not to work for anyone. It was just like if I had better options. I thought at the time that the best option I have is to start something of my own."
The mentality of dropshippers: "And I think what many dropshippers have in common is that they are trying to make it work. So they're really hungry for success and they're looking for ways of how they could succeed, and how could they grow bigger and make more money or have an ability to travel the world or have an ability to work from home or whatever their dream is. So I think we all have that in common. And I had it too and yeah, I was really trying to make it and then I was just stumbled upon dropshipping and dropshipping worked out for me."
What makes dropshipping unique: "Dropshipping really strips away all the details and it really just focuses on how could you take a product and sell it for a higher price and make money out of that. So there is not so much romance in like packing of the products yourself and shipping it to your customer with a 'Thank you' note or doing all kinds of that stuff. So, I think dropshipping really helps you focus on what is essentially arbitrage or of selling products at a higher price than you get. And that is really common. That's what Walmart does. So it's not something like special, but it just really helps you focus on that."