How Amazon Launchpad gave a US brand incubator the chance to go global

This article is republished here from Startup Daily

  • LA-based brand incubator Beach House Group has built the men’s skincare range Marlowe, using an online retail strategy.
  • It’s part of the new Amazon Launchpad store in Australia.
  • Co-founder Ido Leffler says they love reading the customer reviews and knowing how much the brands matter to people. 

The Beach House Group is the very model of a modern retail business.

Formed by a quartet of consumer product experts, Lance Kalish, Ido Leffler, PJ Brice and Shaun Neff, in Los Angeles in 2014, the company has developed a thriving brand incubator, spanning men’s skincare, oral care, luggage, playhouse kits, and the children’s stationery brand Yoobi, which donates school supplies to kids in need with every purchase.

Together they have a combined 60-years of experience in the industry and while brick and mortar has been at the core of Beach House Group’s model, online retail is now an increasing part of that success, with Amazon Launchpad, the new store for startups and consumer brands, helping propel their growth, especially through the men’s skincare brand Marlowe.

Kalish told Startup Daily that the company’s breakthrough moment came when they landed a contract to create exclusive beauty brands for one of the leading retailers in the USA.

“We launched four brands in their 1,800 stores nationally within 12 months with great success,” he said.

“This really helped us establish our infrastructure and start to develop a world-class platform from which we would develop our consumer product brands.”

The co-founder said that over the last two years, the incubator had invested significantly to grow its online retailing capabilities and the results have been dramatic.

“Online retail used to represent less than 5% of our total sales in 2018, and this year will represent almost 20% of our total Beach House Group sales,” Kalish said.

“We still believe that brick and mortar retail is important but the growth of online retailing in both direct e-commerce and online marketplaces has changed the traditional thinking around launch strategies for brands.”

The Beach House Group co-founders: PJ Brice, Shaun Neff, Lance Kalish & Ido Leffler.

A case in point is Marlowe, a socially conscious, high-quality men’s skincare range.

The brand’s promise is clear in a space that can be crowded and full of spin.

Marlowe is “for the no-nonsense man, the one who doesn’t try too hard. He is who he is and isn’t fooled by the bells and whistles or gimmicky tricks” or intimidated by grooming products.

Kalish said Marlowe has a brilliant formula and story, and the Beach House team concluded that getting reviews online was the best way to build brand loyalty.

“Once someone tries Marlowe they are a customer for life, so we decided to focus on growing the brand on Amazon USA to give us time to learn more about the brand and what the customers wanted,” he explained.

“After a couple of months we started to see huge traction, and the feedback and learnings we were getting back from selling on Amazon in real-time were invaluable to the decisions we needed to make to grow the brand quickly again.

“When we learned about Amazon Launchpad, we immediately took the opportunity to apply for the program knowing how the additional benefits and focus could even further enhance the success we were having with this brand and other brands of ours we had started to bring to Amazon.”

Yoobi helps kids with their education by providing stationary to students who don’t have it, donating items to schools with every purchase.

Tell your story

Amazon Launchpad gave them the tools to customise the look and feel they were after to effectively tell their brand story.

“The ability to leverage the additional tools that Amazon Launchpad offered and the extra help from the team at Amazon Launchpad made that extra difference that helped boost sales further and support sustainable growth,” Kalish said.

Amazon Launchpad’s arrival here has given Beach House Group the chance to scale internationally, and once the Australian launch is bedded down, Ido Leffler says they’ll look to other overseas markets with Amazon Launchpad.

One of the unexpected joys the Beach House has had from selling on Amazon is reading the reviews of their products.

“I love the honesty – good or bad – and some of them are just outrageously hilarious. You wouldn’t believe how much a bar of soap can mean to some people!’ Leffler said.

“The best part of the job comes from realising from these reviews that all the hard work and effort that has gone into bringing the business and brand to life is actually bringing satisfaction and enjoyment to people’s lives.”

For others looking to enter the online retailing space, Kalish’s advice is to do your research and homework.

“Make sure you are not just putting up another website with the hope that there will be traffic from day one to buy your product. Traffic only comes with a solid and well thought out strategy that needs to be developed and executed together with people who really understand the digital and online space,” he said.

“One of the biggest decisions you will need to make is whether to focus your energy and resources early on either your website or on a marketplace like Amazon.”

The Beach House Group have made their decision and are now in Australia for the first time on Amazon Launchpad with Marlowe, Yoobi and Antsy Pants.

For more about how Amazon Launchpad can help your startup grow and succeed, check out the details online here.

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