“Hi, I’m an Amazon seller” (episode 2)

How many Amazon sellers do you know? In the second episode of the “Hi, I’m an Amazon seller” series, we asked three Amazon sellers why they decided to sell in the Amazon store, their top tips on how to be successful selling with Amazon, and what’s recently brought a smile to their faces.

Nicole O’Brien, Owner and Designer, Unique Pl8z

Former military spouse Nicole O’Brien started Unique Pl8z, after a gift she created using license plates became a sensation in her community. Based in Rhode Island, Unique Pl8z designs and creates handcrafted pieces to commemorate memories from customers’ favorite travels and adventures. The company is on a mission to empower and encourage U.S. Veterans and Military spouses through employment, and they hope to foster a sense of fun, adventure, and wanderlust with every piece of license plate art they create.

Kevin Gatlin, CEO, Playtime Edventures

A visit to see a friend’s child in the hospital sparked the idea for Playtime Edventures, a company Kevin Gatlin founded in North Carolina. Playtime Edventures magically transforms a kid’s bed into an educational adventure⁠—aka an “edventure”⁠—through interactive bedsheets, pillows, and slumber bags that feature over 50 fun games, shapes, colors, and fun facts. Kevin believes that every kid should have positive experiences, even when going through challenging times, and that kids deserve fun bedding that provides an opportunity to explore, play, and sleep well—no matter their circumstances.

Rod Johnson, Co-founder, BLK & Bold Specialty Beverages

Rod Johnson and his business partner Pernell Cezar call themselves “overenthusiastic coffee consumers” who went on to launch BLK & Bold, a black-owned, nationally distributed coffee and tea brand, based in Des Moines, Iowa. BLK & Bold pledges 5% of its profits to initiatives aligned with sustaining youth programming, enhancing workforce development, and eradicating youth homelessness⁠. This is coffee that’s making a difference.

Video transcript:

00:10 – [Gatlin] The advice that I would offer new sellers, is to learn as much as you can. Really try to jump in and network and try to build a network of individuals who are already on Amazon.

00:28 – [O’Brien] Everything doesn’t have to be perfect right out of the gate. Just start. Don’t let fear hold you back. It can be scary. There’s so much to learn. But just start and then you can figure everything out as you go.

00:44 – [Johnson] Become very familiar with your numbers. You should know your business in and out and understand what goals you’re hoping to accomplish by way of having your products sold on Amazon.

00:59 – [Gatlin] I really tried to learn the terminology, the navigation, and put it into steps. You know, what do I need to focus on first? I need to make sure that my content, my bullet points are right. And the verbiage and how they communicate to potential buyers is what they want to see in a product like mine.

01:27 – [O’Brien] I’m so intrigued by Amazon. The process, the people. How they reach such an amazing worldwide audience, I definitely wanted to take advantage and be a part of that.

01:39 – [Johnson] Amazon had to be a part of the equation. I don’t think that we would have found as much success as we’ve had without it.

01:47 – [Gatlin] The BBA program, the Black Business Accelerator program with Amazon. They reached out to us and they really held our hand and helped us to scale very fast on Amazon. So we were able to get our images and listings and really tell our story on Amazon. And really that’s really what saved our company.

02:12 – [Johnson] They mean everything to us. We started this business as overenthusiastic consumers, and the fact that we now have the ability to provide that same type of joy that we got before starting the business to thousands of customers across America is something that brings us great joy and great solace nowadays.

02:34 – [O’Brien] I’ve had customers follow me through all my moves within the military around the world. They’re so supportive to lift me up when things when I don’t think things are going the way that I want them to.

02:46 – [Gatlin] You know, there’s been times where, you know, we didn’t know and we didn’t know if we’d be able to continue. But when you look at some of the pictures and you see the smiles, you know, on the on the other end, it really gives you the energy to continue to push, drive and do what you do.

03:09 – [O’Brien] This is completely honest. It was a TikTok that I just saw, Shaquille O’Neal, I love Shaquille O’Neal. And he did an interview saying how he spent $1,000,000 in 30-seconds and that just made me smile. Made me laugh. And I hope I can do that someday.

03:27 – [Gatlin] The nonprofit that we have, our Playtime Therapy Sheets Foundation. And what our foundation does is we provide bed sheets to hospitals in more rural areas, to organizations that necessarily don’t have the funds to purchase our bed sheets. But I’m really excited because we sent some to two hospitals in Canada and a hospital in Kenya.

03:51 – [Gatlin] And listening and speaking with the nurse over in Kenya, the one thing that is priceless is bedding. So I am really, really excited for those sheets to make it and hear the feedback that we get. And hopefully we can continue to send our bed sheets to hospitals across not only the U.S., but across the world.

04:12 – [Johnson] Watching my daughter learn. She’ll be two in July. And yesterday, in fact was FaceTiming with my mom, her grandmother, and was showing her how well my daughter knew her letters. And, you know, we’ll go through all 26 letters of the alphabet and she does it without making any mistakes. I love being a dad. And that’s something that it makes me emotional, but it makes me smile nonetheless.

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