How did the idea for Creative Brands and selling on Amazon come up?
The idea for Creative Brands was born when I was a third-year student in London. I was disappointed with the work as an apprentice in London corporations and I decided that I had to find a different career path. In the previous years, I gained experience with Amazon, while helping my parents’ friend in managing their seller account on the platform. I decided to use these abilities for my own needs.
With the growing personalization trend, the world of commerce started to demand the abilities to adjust the products to customers’ needs. The goal of Creative Brands was just that – to focus on innovative products, which will let the consumers customize the products to their ideas.
At the beginning, I thought this activity will let me make additional income in my spare time when I graduate. From all of the existing platforms I knew Amazon best, so naturally, I took my first steps there. However, the closer the graduation date was, the more I realized how dynamically this channel developed. The moment when I decided to go all-in and focus entirely on the business development on Amazon came when I realized I could live off of that.
How do you choose the products you want to sell?
We have a 3-staged process of implementing products on Amazon and broader e-commerce. The first stage is to estimate the demand for the products that suit our brand. In the second stage, we deliberate how to escalate the value of our proposition for the customers, whether it is by lowering the price, increasing the quantity or creating a completely new function in the product. The third stage is to find the manufacturer who can fabricate such a product with a minimum ROI of 100% of the cost of the product manufacturing. We repeat the process until we find a product that meets all of the criteria.
What was the biggest challenge when selling on Amazon?
Patience. The biggest challenge is to understand how Amazon operates, how to communicate with their teams effectively, and how to secure a proper stock to maintain the optimal level in products rank in Amazon search, minimizing the marketing costs at the same time. The process for one SKU might take from 6 to 9 months before we find the optimal stock level, i.e. we do not run out of commodities in the next 30 days, but also we do not overstock for 60 days, which will cause high storage fees.
Why did you decide on the Pan FBA model? How did you arrive at such a decision?
We started with the FBM model (direct shipment), however, on one rainy London day I realized the superiority of FBA over FBM. My co-worker, even though he did not manage to avoid the morning downpour, did not seem worried. Before leaving work, he ordered an umbrella with Amazon Prime label and he got it by 4 p.m. It could be said that the FBA model, let the deliveries be handled in real-time, which is impossible in the FBM model without a very organized and well-invested logistics.
Now, imagine that this is London, England. Pan-Euro had just enabled such deliveries in the 5 most prosperous economies in Europe for the wealthiest customers in large cities. It allowed for building a scale, so FBA was an obvious choice. Preparing for Pan-Euro FBA took a year, but it was definitely worth the effort.
What kinds of companies should get interested in selling on Amazon?
Practically, all kinds. Only the companies selling luxurious goods should consider the idea – but, from the perspective of Western consumers, there are no such companies in Poland. Of course, to some companies this option will be more appealing than to others due to the size of the market and the type of a product, but believe me, Amazon is ‘the everything store’ – you can buy everything there from toilet paper to a fridge.
What income do you achieve and how many products do you offer?
We closed 2019 with an 8-digit turnover in PLN. This year, we expect this figure to double, despite the epidemic and the coming recession – this epidemic actually accelerated our sales. We currently offer over 300 SKUs. By the end of the year, we want to expand our range with another 100 SKUs.
What three tips would you give Polish companies which want to start selling on Amazon?
Let me give you 4 pieces of advice.
Investment. The stories from 2012 when you could list a product with a photo taken by Nokia 3310 and earn millions are over. When introducing a product on Amazon, we often have to take into account that each SKU in the first 3-6 months brings us losses.
Patience. Preparing and scaling the business on Amazon must be well-thought-out – the strategies of promotion, price list, photos, descriptions. I do not deny that operating on Amazon comes with a lot of frustration (our bargaining power with Amazon is zero), but the profits are more than compensating.
Professionalism. Amazon sets the standards higher and higher – both those regarding the sellers and the products sold. We must focus on the quality of the product and the fast time of delivery. Avoid shortcuts and the temptation to cut costs that ultimately lead to negative customer experience. Let us remember that for Amazon ‘the customer always comes first’.
The legitimacy of the business. Make sure that the product complies with all the regulations on Amazon and in the country where you want to sell it. Additionally, you need to ensure that VAT is properly settled. If we do not pay the appropriate taxes, Amazon may block our seller’s account at the request of the local authority.
What are your plans for brand development?
We are going to extend the portfolio of our products and we plan on developing the range for each existing brand and introduce new brands under Creative Brands. We are also in the middle of developing sales on other marketplaces and creating our store.
What other marketplaces do you think Amazon will open? Will Poland be among them?
Right now, everything indicates that Amazon will appear in Poland in the first quarter of 2021. I assumed it would be the end of 2020, but due to the COVID-19 situation, 2021 seems to be a more realistic date. In addition to the Polish marketplace, there are solid grounds to believe that Amazon will start operating in Sweden and Russia within the next two years.
What resources (books, podcasts, courses) would you recommend to companies that want to start selling on Amazon?
Read, try, read, try, and go on and on. There is no one best source of knowledge about Amazon – every blog, film, news impacts how well we operate on the platform. It is difficult to learn Amazon only by listening and reading theory. Practical knowledge and learning from your mistakes are what count.
One should also be sceptical about “Make a million in a few months” kinds of courses because unfortunately, it is impossible on Amazon without investment, lots of patience and at least a dozen or even several dozen products. Additionally, one should differentiate between revenue and income – marketing is expensive on Amazon.
I strongly believe that Amazon Bootcamp course we have created will be a good starting point for Polish sellers. Because we have consciously resigned from the promotion promising easy earnings, I hope that people who are serious about business will be interested in it. I also hope to get some feedback from our trainees so that we can further refine this already extensive program.
Wojciech Buchacz, the founder of the Myeverydayhome.com LTD company, selling Creative Brand on Amazon. The chief expert on Amazon in SellerSwitch agency, which specializes in supporting companies in starting and scaling sales on Amazon.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/creativedeco – Creative Brands storefront on Amazon
https://sellerswitch.com/amazon-bootcamp – webpage with information about „Amazon Bootcamp” course.