In 2014, cancer and brain aneurysm survivor Luna Williams started creating what she calls “floral cleansing bundles” to support her healing process. Learn how selling in Amazon’s store opened Luna up to a wider audience and the tips she has for new business owners.
After a bout with cancer, followed by a brain aneurysm, Luna Williams felt disconnected from herself. While visiting a family member’s home near Napa Valley, she found herself drawn to its lush gardens. Soon after, Luna began collecting stems and trimmings from plants, herbs, and trees, and creating “smudge bundles” from them that could be burned as incense. When she shared her work on social media, the reaction was unexpectedly positive, leading to the creation of her company, Ethereal Zen Creations. “I wasn’t trying to make a business,” she said. “I just wanted to make beautiful things that people liked. I shared [my creations on social media], people liked them and it just grew. I’ve been doing this since like 2015.”
Now Luna works not only to heal herself, but she also handmakes and curates products—floral cleansing bundles, crystal candles, and crystals—that she says inspire healing and beauty.
Initially, Luna sold her creations primarily through her own website and social media. Then, Luna learned about Amazon Handmade, a program inspired by the Amazon’s desire to support artisans and makers around the world. She credits Amazon Handmade in large part for Ethereal Zen Creations’ success, saying, “I had nowhere for people to buy other than directly through me. And that was not exactly a very streamlined process, especially in the early days. I need people who aren’t just on my Instagram to be able to find me.”
Luna shared four tips that she says helped her grow her small business, and find success as a seller in Amazon’s store.
1. Be patient and believe in yourself
Luna advises new business owners to borrow a leaf from nature and keep the big picture in mind; “Go outside and watch a tree [grow]. It takes time,” she said, “In my case, it took years, and that’s okay. The idea of overnight success is not realistic. And those of us who are successful did not achieve it overnight. We spent a lot of time self-doubting, and a lot of time unsure if what we were doing would even be something that would create a career for us. But over time, as long as you stick true to it and provide something of value, it’s going to be okay.”
2. Start slow
Luna funded her whole business from the start. That meant she had to find ways to source the least expensive materials when creating her bundles and gift sets. “It didn’t matter if I had to first start driving an hour to where I knew roses were, and gather them, drive them home another hour, with bugs in the car,” she remembered. “I think a lot of people have high hopes that it’s going to be immediately successful. I would’ve probably been in a lot of trouble financially if I had thought that.”
She recalls her excitement when she started receiving enough orders to warrant a $500 wholesale order of packaging and boxes. “[The business] was very different looking than what it looks like now,” she said. “I was so excited that I had enough product and enough desire for people that I could spend $500. I had to buy the cheapest ribbon to go around my boxes. It’s important to remember that.” Learn how Amazon is helping small businesses thrive.
3. Take advantage of selling tools and programs
- Amazon Ads: Luna recommends that once your business is seeing steady growth, start exploring more impactful ways to get the word out to potential customers. “I truly believe that once you reach a certain level, and if you can afford it, [invest] in advertising,” she said. “I think it’s worth it.” Amazon sellers can help improve visibility of their products and boost brand awareness by advertising in search results and on product detail pages through Amazon Ads.
- Promotions and coupons: Luna loves having the ability to offer deals and promotions on her products, saying “I’m running a discount in the shop [right now]. It’s great to be able to run a sale.” You can use promotions or coupons to discount your products and help encourage customers to purchase your products.
Training tools: Luna encourages sellers to take advantage of trainings like webinars. She’s attended webinars on topics like Fulfillment by Amazon, and providing good customer service. “It’s appealing to me that Amazon will help… just because we have great [product] ideas does not always mean we know how to do customer service.”Did you know?Seller University provides free training from AmazonSeller U courses, videos, and webinars answer your questions about selling in the Amazon store with step-by-step explanations and strategies to grow your business. The catalog is updated regularly by a dedicated team of Amazon learning professionals. Find Seller University when you sign in to Seller Central (under “Learn”), or check out the Seller University YouTube channel.
4. Do what brings you happiness
Luna encourages artisans to be passionate about the items they create and sell in the Amazon Handmade store, adding “You can have perfect SEO, high-quality photos, and topnotch marketing but none of that will compare to the love and drive that people will see when they hear you speak about your products. Lastly, have fun and always do what brings you happiness and inspires creativity inside of you.”