Amazing at home: Hi Simon Booth, welcome to this new Volume of Seller Portraits; we are really glad to have you here. How are you doing?
Simon Booth: Yeah I’m very well! Thanks, guys for having me. Happy to be here.
Amazing at home: So let’s start by asking you a little about yourself. What does your background look like?
Simon Booth: Sure. So I used to be a market analyst for 10 years, before creating my brand “Kiddimoto” 18 years ago.
I was working in the heavy industry sector as a European team leader, covering large-cap businesses such as Caterpillar and John Deere.
Through my experience working with Hedge-fund managers trading from our US desk, I learned some essential business skills every entrepreneur should have: Stay focused, keep organized, and most importantly, delegate and trust your team.
Being also a fan of race motorcycles, I wanted to replicate the experience of had riding “real-world” motos and adapt it safely for younger kids on balance bikes. So during the last 18 years, I have spent time developing a range of products, building a brand, and making a solid customer base in over 40 countries
AAH: Wow that is really impressive man, well done. So what exactly led you to sell your products on the Amazon marketplaces then?
SB: Well we always have sold to resellers in the past and we have seen how well they were doing with our brand on the marketplaces, and of course Amazon too.
But in recent years, the costs and copycats have made it less attractive to resellers. As a result, their margins got slimmer and their competition got wider. So round about 2 years ago, we stopped selling to resellers completely and started our own venture on Amazon.
It has been a very steep learning curve for sure, but we’re happy to see some great developments now.
AAH: All right, I can tell this ride into pivoting has not been the smoothest one you ever had… But, what would you say was the most appealing factor going into your journey selling online?
SB: Well, of course, the huge sales potential for brands selling on Amazon is attractive but for us, it’s also been about controlling our IP while being more profitable growing a D2C channel, compared to diminishing volumes on the wholesale side, with much fewer margins.
AAH: That makes a lot of sense. And did you start selling straight away or did you prefer learning the ropes before the big jump?
SB: Sell sell sell. Learning as I go is the only way for me. I suspect that if you jump first into learning without selling, it’ll be difficult to know if you are ever ready to sell one day, … And especially considering the analysis paralysis that always ends up haunting sellers at some point.
AAH: Agreed, taking action is often a very effective way to get things started. Right – So I guess my next question is: What were the biggest challenges before getting started on the platform?
SB: Understanding the complexity of seller central was tough, and also getting in touch with Amazon Seller ‘Support’ very challenging. Being Patient to work the platform was not an easy thing to learn, haha I have to admit that.
AAH: When did you hear about Amazing At Home and Amy Wees for the first time?
SB: I think it was back when I was a guest on Seller Sessions, Danny McMillan’s podcast for Amazon sellers, Amy was also a guest along with Brandon Young.
During the podcast, I was very attentive to what Amy said regarding Listing Optimization. There was a lot of valuable information that I had not been exposed to previously and it made an awful lot of sense. So after the show, I contacted her personally and that’s how we met.
AAH: So cool you guys met on Seller Session, Danny’s got such a great show. All right, so has this relationship given you any hedge at all, any business improvement since?
SB: Having Amy on my side was a strong pillar that added to my business. It gave me clarity and helped me focus on the parts of my operations that really needed a lift, including sales and marketing on Amazon.
AAH: And later on, what part of the process has been the most challenging for you, and why?
SB: The most frustrating part of selling on Amazon is the constant change in the landscape.
Amazon’s TOS’ are a true nightmare to keep track of. They also could dramatically impact your business overnight, so that you have to keep track and that makes it very complex to run a smooth operation.
Right from the beginning, it’s not easy to operate the marketplace and that requires you to be on deck every day. So spoiler alert: It is by no way a plug n’ play platform.
AAH: What was your biggest win since you started, and what was the thing that satisfied you the most?
SB: My biggest win was hands down seeing my sales increase!
It’s incredible what a few changes can do in terms of sales. When your listing is fully optimized for instance, your images are amazing, your title is what it’s supposed to be, and your bullets are on point (no puns intended ), that becomes the most effective way to convert and increase sales.
Being an entrepreneur can sometimes be lonely;
So 1 of the most satisfying things I’ve experienced during my journey was being part of an E-commerce community. There is a relatively small group of solid individuals that support and encourage each other. That is really amazing!
AAH: What is your top goal with your Amazon biz now?
SB: To achieve optimal sales and profitability across Europe and the US by using a very efficient team and minimal resources.
Well, I would like to grow my business to the point where sales and profits are highly optimized across the European marketplaces as well as in the US. But also scale up my operations through building an efficient team.
AAH: If you were to start all over, what would you do differently?
SB: Yes, my mistake was probably to go the wholesale route when I started. Looking back, if I had taken control of my products and IP straight away, I wouldn’t have had to pivot that much, and avoided much stress.
AAH: How do you see Amazon FBA evolve in the next 2 to 5 five years?
SB: I see the platform growing even more over the next few years, continuing to expand on brands and broaden their product catalog.
I also expect the complexity to continue as Amazon tightens up on regulatory demands, such as testing, insurance, tax, accounting, and so on, and so forth…
There are basically always going to be more hoops to jump and more areas to master for Amazon sellers, unfortunately.
AAH: Is There Anything advice you would like to give To New Sellers Coming on the platform?
Simon Booth: Just do it!
However, make sure you’re focusing on building a brand straight away. Also do not rely entirely on search volumes to choose what products to sell.
Don’t try and cut corners, you’ll regret it all the time. Just play by the rules and be patient.
I would very strongly recommend it to anyone expanding to other platforms and marketplaces. Not only will it grow your sales but most importantly, for not having all your eggs in the Amazon basket.
If your account is suspended or hijacked or there’s an issue, your business can be at risk.
Amazing at Home: thanks a lot for sharing, wishing all the best for your future achievements
Simon Booth: It was a pleasure