A baby brand grows up to sell online with Amazon

"It's a great place to start a business."
Susan Petersen
Chairwomen & Chief Brand Officer, Freshly Picked

An unexpected ecommerce business

Susan Petersen wasn’t looking to start a business. In 2009, her son was born and she wanted to make him the perfect pair of shoes. She put a photo of the resulting soft-soled moccasins up on her blog, and people immediately started asking where to buy them.

Freshly Picked was born.

Things took off from there. After growing her direct-to-consumer brand for a couple years, Susan appeared on ABC’s "Shark Tank," scoring a deal in the process. While that deal ultimately fell through, the exposure didn’t hurt. Susan’s business continued to accelerate.

In 2015, she began selling in department stores and enjoying some social media shout-outs from high-profile celebrity fans. The momentum kept building, with Freshly Picked striking a deal to feature Disney, Marvel, Harry Potter, and Star Wars characters on dozens of products.

Now 10 years into an impressive growth story, Freshly Picked hasn’t lost that initial sense of community. Many of the moccasins are still made right down the road from their HQ in Lehi, Utah. This allows them to work on smaller minimums, getting new products to customers nimbly and efficiently.

Deciding to sell online with Amazon

As the company considered new sales channels in 2019, the conversation naturally turned to one of the major online selling sites, Amazon. Susan was apprehensive at first: “It’s big, and it’s fast.” She wanted to make sure they could grow the channel and preserve their story.

She considered the people frequently shopping Amazon. “They want the experience that Amazon’s giving them. So it felt like, ‘Hey, this is something that we need to test the waters with,’” she says. Susan opted to test the online seller out by dipping her toe in with a third-party provider. It didn’t take long to see the possibilities of using Amazon to sell online and she decided to build an online store.

She still recognized the uncertainty of jumping into new sites for selling. “Every time you enter a new sales channel you’re concerned. Will this cannibalize what we’ve already built, or will it allow us to access new customers? There’s always that risk there,” says Susan. The risk soon turned to reward. “In fact, we’ve been able to grow ourselves in other channels I think because of Amazon.”
They want the experience Amazon's giving them.
Susan PetersenChairwomen & Chief Brand Officer, Freshly Picked

Creating an ecommerce storefront with Amazon

After seeing months of increased sales, Susan hired an in-house sales manager to focus on the Amazon channel. First up: create a customized storefront to mimic the Freshly Picked ecommerce experience using Amazon Stores, then drive traffic with pay-per-click Sponsored Brands ads.

The soft-soled baby moccasins from Freshly Picked represent a very specific moment in parents’ lives, becoming a keepsake after their child grows out of them. This is the brand’s essence: personal, important, and worth saving. For Susan, losing control over her brand story was not an option.

Using Amazon Stores to build a Freshly Picked brand experience minimized those fears. Says Susan: “We found that the tools, the features, everything that we can do within the branded storefront can mimic what we’re doing on our website.” The company showcased their newest products with simple, vivid color choices and used lifestyle shoots to help customers envision themselves enjoying each product, keeping their mission front and center.

Freshly Picked also found success with Amazon’s pay-per-click offerings. Sponsored Brands ads offered shoppers visibility into the Freshly Picked brand and product portfolio. Sponsored Product ads helped them reach high-intent shoppers actively searching related products.

Leaning on Amazon for the logistics also helped. Not worrying about distribution and customer support means more time for creativity and staying up on fashion trends. With Fulfillment by Amazon, sellers store their products in fulfillment centers, and Amazon handles the packing, shipping, and customer service. This time-saver has been pivotal in scaling the business, leaving more time for product development and customer acquisition.
We found that the tools, the features, everything that we can do within the branded storefront can mimic what we’re doing on our website.

Navigating one of the largest sites for selling

As Freshly Picked grew their Amazon channel, they could count on regular chats with Amazon account reps for guidance, growth recommendations, and to resolve issues as they learned to navigate the new sales channel. Says Susan: “Just having that open channel of communication, and having someone who we know is going to answer the phone—it’s been vital to the success.” Together they built out a calendar of events that would be good fits for Freshly Picked, helping cut out the guesswork.

From the get-go, Susan knew she needed a plan for Prime Day. She settled on using Amazon influencers to drive more traffic to their Amazon storefront. It worked. “We saw a 30% uptick in our sales,” says Susan.

Running a Deal of the Day also exceeded expectations. The company saw results well beyond the initial goal of moving excess inventory. Susan sees the inherent benefits: “I think in the future we’ll continue to look at those deals and look at those opportunities to make sure that we’re maximizing that channel.”
Just having that open channel of communication, and having someone who we know is going to answer the phone—it’s been vital to the success.

Creating a legacy

Susan started Freshly Picked with one pair of moccasins, stitched with love for her son. Today, that passion’s still in every shoe, even as the brand grows into a household name. And Susan’s no longer afraid of Amazon: “Anyone with the right idea and the right amount of hustle, if [they’re] willing to work hard for it, can succeed on Amazon. It’s a great place to start a business.”
LOCATION
Lehi, Utah, USA
INDUSTRY
Fashion, Baby
AMAZON LAUNCH
2019

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