Living Free in Tennessee and More

Hey y’all, I know its been a while! God blessed us with an amazing new opportunity, and we’ve been pouring a lot of time and energy into that. One of the things that Discount Mylar Bags has taught us over the years is how to ship things. Since we started, we’ve shipped out over a million packages. Through a combination of providence and coincidence, we are now leveraging that skill set and shipping packages for a great local board game company. That includes their day to day shipments as well as their sometimes $2,000,000 Kickstarters.

Over the years, we’ve always believed in diversification as a form of prepping, because we’ve slowly been pushed off of Amazon by our lack of ‘Amazon Knowledge’. And nowadays, Amazon Knowledge is way more important than actually having a quality product. That’s why my wife and I live frugally, and her most common shopping trip is to Goodwill (This was also true in 2005, long before starting our businesses) . Our focus is our family and serving our community. We’ve opened a game store, started several online businesses dealing with collectibles or gaming accessories, and constantly look out for untapped value in the marketplace. (I found another amazing product, a patent coming off its 20 years, that I hope we’ll be offering before the end of the year!)

So what’s the problem with Amazon, you may ask? Well, the main thing is that the best products can very easily be overshadowed by slick-looking, well marketed products. A few years back, Amazon had to start protecting Name Brand items such as Revlon, Norelco, or Samsung, because no-name white-labelers were just better at marketing than even long-running, ultra-quality name brands, and the good products would be buried 10 pages back. You may remember those days. Nowadays, you’ll usually find a Name Brand on page 1, but you’ll still also find 900 knockoffs from Alibaba also with tens of thousands of positive reviews.

I constantly tell my friends who have their own businesses, or want to start one, that the product you are selling isn’t that important to whether your business is successful or not. Success in many fields today is about whether you can market yourself and your product successfully. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been only modestly successful at my marketing efforts. Whether its our local game store or drive-in, an ecommerce store, a podcast, a blog, or a board game, having a great product is only the very first step in having a successful business. BUT…and this is the crux…if you learn how to drive eyeballs and sales, you can make ANY product successful. Just take a look online and you’ll see the proof of this every day.

My anecdotal story to go with this: for about 2 years I tried 5 different electric razors off of Amazon. This was back in 2016 or so, a few years before the absolute wave of knock-off brands. All 5 razors sucked. I got so fed up because I couldn’t find a decent razor on Amazon, even though every one I bought had thousands of positive reviews. Finally, I went to my local Walgreens and bought a bright-yellow Norelco, the only one they had. 7 years later, and that’s still the one I’m using. Sometimes the name brands got their brand name because they were just good, and reliable. I bought a 15 year old hose off of eBay, because the new generation of stretchy hoses I kept getting from Amazon are just terrible.

This is the place where we’ve found ourselves. My company has the highest rated absorbers and strongest bags (and that’s not just advertising, that’s tested), and we’re back on page 20 behind products that are measurably worse in every way. Many of our competitors have given away thousands of products in exchange for 5 star reviews so it looks like they are much better products than they are, and that’s just something I’m not going to participate in. Now, we’re not folks to dwell on things, so we still do the best we can via our website (Discount Mylar Bags), but the writing is on the wall at least when it comes to the retail market which is dominated by Amazon. We’re doing OK on the wholesale side, selling to companies who use our products to package everything from jerky and horse supplements to freeze-dried foods and archival documents, but even that is a long way from the Halcyon days of COVID when we tripled our staff and moved an insane amount of product (ironically, it was that year of sales that triggered all the computer programs to tell people to start selling prepper supplies).

That was a pretty long intro to say this: if you want the best, highest-rated Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers, you won’t find them on Amazon without digging down to page 20. Take a look at this chart (click it to see a larger version):

Now, if you’ve spent some time on Amazon, you’ll recognize most or all of these brands. One of these brands, whose absorbers don’t even absorb their rated capacity of 300cc, has thousands of 5 star reviews, and most of their products are rated 4.5 stars or above overall. The highest rated product (ours), which beats the number 2 brand by almost 35%, can barely be found. That’s the world we’re living in now. Yes, this chart shows what you think it does: our 300cc absorbers tested at 1103cc actual absorption, or nearly 400% their rated capacity. I’m convinced that one of the companies testing under 300cc actual absorption has been selling the wrong sized absorbers, FOR THREE YEARS. And they still have thousands of great reviews. Of course, they’ll never admit that, and they rabidly attack folks on Youtube who suggest that their products are terrible (which they are).

That’s the thing, many of these companies have no idea what Mylar bags or oxygen absorbers are or what they do…they found them via a computer program that told them ‘these things sell good on Amazon, you should buy a bunch and make a listing’. Many of them are simply choosing the least expensive bags and absorbers they can find, relabeling it with their name, and marketing the crap out of it. And sadly, it works. The next chart is for Mylar Bags. Same story, ours are better by a long way. I’ve got MOCON permeation testing (OTR and MVTR) in the works, and I fully expect those results to be consistent as well.

But this is my commitment: I’ll keep showing the charts and information, and hope that a few make the choice to buy Just Better Bags. We’ve been here 13 years, which is 7 years longer than any other company on these lists except Harvest Right, and 10 years longer than several. I hope we’ll be here 13 more and one of my daughters takes it over and runs it better than I do.

So that’s that, but what about the name of this post? Living Free in Tennessee is the name of my friend Nicole’s podcast and media empire! She has a 800+ episode podcast, roasts her own coffee, and has an amazing homestead. Her and a friend company are putting on an awesome event this weekend (the Self Reliance Festival, Oct 14-15, Camden, TN), and that’s where we’ll be!

Thanks y’all, I love you, and am very grateful for the crazy awesome life y’all have helped make possible!

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10 2023

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