Becoming a small business owner can seem overwhelming, but when it comes getting started, some of the best advice you can get is to “just go for it.” In Episode 5 of “Hi, I’m an Amazon seller,” we hear from three sellers who each created their own business and products, and learned a lot along the way.
Sherri Yukel, Big Dot of Happiness
Sherri got the idea for Big Dot of Happiness when she asked her husband, “Honey, can I buy a pair of black shoes?” When he questioned why she needed another pair of black shoes, Sherri got creative. Instead of buying the shoes, Sherri took $700 cash and her midwestern work ethic and turned her passion for creating extra-special things for the people around her into a party business… literally. For over two decades, Big Dot of Happiness has created party favors and decorations for nearly every occasion.
Les Gray, Max-Hamilton Group
Lesley (Les) Gray has over 20 years of professional experience in manufacturing, leadership development, and global operations spanning across automotive, electronics, and apparel industries. Les founded Max-Hamilton Group in 2019 as a startup company whose vision is to provide alternative solutions for single use plastics. Their brand, Bionex, offers biodegradable products like sugar cane straws.
Jason Jobson, Christophe Pourny Studio
Jason spent 20 years working with luxury fashion brands before joining Christophe Pourny Studio in 2010. With a strong passion for luxury goods, Jason set out to create a line of high-end wood and leather care products with Christophe himself. Now, they have a line of over 25 different products and handcrafted home gifts.
00:09 – [Sherri] My advice is to just go for it. Amazon actually has one of the easiest [places] to launch. Their technology’s fantastic. From consumer interaction, technology, loading your products. You’re actually gonna wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
00:29 – [Les] Make sure you have great A+ content. Be able to attract your customer in, give all the benefits about your product versus your competitor product. The next would be the brand analytics. That is understanding your data, realizing where your strong points are with your product and your advertising versus your competitors, so that you can position yourself to gain more sales and more conversion and also improve your impressions.
01:06 – [Jason] I think the Amazon store front is really important, super important to your business because it’s the first thing people see. Doing great photos is the, it’s the minimum, but also it’s the ultimate because you have to have great images or I don’t know how people can connect with your product.
01:33 – [Les] With Amazon, the customers are already in [there], so it has been able to give us that global brand awareness that we probably would not have had trying to use other ecommerce [solutions].
01:49 – [Sherri] So for us, it’s just been a great partnership to partner with Amazon because it allows us to kind of win with the customer in speed and convenience, and it allows us to be the brand we want to be to them.
02:00 – [Jason] For some brands, there’s hesitancy, of course, that are smaller brands and more sort of handmade brands that are sold in maybe more upscale boutiques. But we knew that since Amazon was launching Handmade and that there was this emphasis on the smaller batch makers, I really trusted that [Amazon] would promote it in that way and that those customers who would gravitate towards all natural, handmade, small batch items would find us.
02:35 – [Jason] The place where my office is, is surrounded by gardening gardens here in the courtyards and it’s corny, but our products are all natural. And when I have customers tell me that they use specially our Teak Tonic right now is a best seller this time of year for garden furniture that goes out in the gardens. People love the smell of it and experience of using it, and they ask me all the time, “What is that magic smell?” And when they walk in my store, everybody says, “What smells so good in here?” And I love that every day.
03:04 – [Les] I had a customer that went to our social media page and provided a picture at a restaurant that they were eating at, that the restaurant was carrying our straws. So, having that customer provide that feedback to us to show that he’s in this with us as a partnership. To help improve the environment, really put a smile on my face.
03:29 – [Sherri] You know, recently something that’s made me smile is our last child is going to be a senior in high school. We have four children. We’re like, wow, I’ve never really thought our whole evolution of our whole life has been part of this brand. And I don’t know, it just really makes me smile to think back, the evolution and how it just started out as a little hobby. And then 23 years later, it’s a much bigger, different, amazing thing. And then hopefully we’ve had impacts on people’s lives in the same way, basically it’s had on my personal life.