222
9 min 2 sec

Man Buys 100 Animal Skulls from Bali; Turns $10,000 Into $60,000

Fascinated by Balinese culture, a San Francisco native starts an import business to help preserve traditional art.
Arts & Crafts Niche Ideas Product Reselling Unique Ideas

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What It's About

A San Francisco man ships a unique item from Bali to the U.S. so that others can enjoy their art and culture minus the the steep customs fee.

Business Model
Reselling
Skills Required
Power of Observation & Logistical
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

Upon his return from Bali and after a few Google searches, Michael found that the skulls were retailing for over $300 in the USA—a whole $220 more than he’d seen in Bali—and immediately he was struck with an idea for his next side hustle. He knew he couldn’t be the only traveler in the world who’d wanted to bring a skull back and been unable to, and if he could make a good profit helping people solve that problem, why not try and turn it into a business?

Fun Fact

Research in the Academy Of Management Journal reports a high correlation between time spent abroad and new, more creative, ideas (1). So maybe you should head on vacation for your next Side Hustle idea!

Notes from Chris

Episode 222

What if you could go to Bali or somewhere else in the world...and come back with something to sell? Well, in today's episode, Michael Sindicich goes on vacation to Bali in order to take a break from his stressful 70 hour San Francisco work weeks and find a little corner of the world where he could relax. And one night, taking a stroll amongst the Indonesian markets and boutiques, he happened upon a stall filled with Balinese carved skulls and instantly fell in love with their unique and intricate designs.

At $80 a piece, these high-quality skulls were a real bargain. But they came with a lot of their own problems. Because of their size and their delicateness you couldn’t just pop them into your suitcase and head home with them, and after doing some further research, he found people who had tried had been stopped at customs and had the items removed.

He knew he couldn’t be the only traveler in the world who’d wanted to bring a skull back and been unable to, and if he could make a good profit helping people solve that problem, why not try and turn it into a business?

Michael spent the next few weeks around his job trying to find a company or manufacturer in Bali to help him import the skulls.

He scoured the internet...but to no avail. He couldn’t find anyone to help him. So, in one last ditch effort, he turned to YouTube to watch videos of the artist carving the skulls. In the descriptions of one of the videos he found a blog, which led him to a company and using a little bit of LinkedIn 'know how' he found the owner of the company and sent him a message to propose a new partnership.

After a few messages back and forth, and agreeing to donate 5% of the profits to the family who carved the skulls to put their son through college, Michael ordered 100 hand carved skulls for $10,000 dollars—saving himself at least $200/each by buying them in the USA.

After just a few weeks of getting his first batch, Michael had made his first sale for $300 and sent the first 10% to the family via Paypal. Since that first sale Michael has gone on to make over $3,000 in sales of the skulls in one week and although there is still a little while to go until he recoups his first investment, he predicts that he’ll make around $60,000 in total over the next 12 months.

It looks like this side hustle has already got a good head start!


MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Bali Skulls: View some more of Michael's intricately carved Bali Skulls on his website!
  • Rapportive & ZoomInfo: Two of the industry leading tools that Michael used to try to find a company or manufacturer in Bali to help him import the skulls
SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Resources

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Quote of the Day
"Find a good product you can make margins on, assess the market need and want, find a reliable supplier and speak with them on video call, order small to start, and stay lean."
—Michael Sindicich #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau