Selling on Amazon helped young entrepreneur Callum Bush build MediaDevil, a successful international online business selling own-branded phone, tablet and laptop accessories.
While working in the trading department of a mobile phone store, Callum spotted an opportunity after a terrible personal experience buying a mobile phone screen protector himself. The screen protector material was low quality and ill-designed, the instructions were poor and the packaging badly presented. Callum was unable to resolve the issue with the retailer and disappointed with their poor customer-centric approach.
Aged just 22 at the time, Callum decided to leave his job to set up his own accessory brand to “provide the customer experience that I myself would hope to receive,” a brand which customers could rely on for a consistently positive experience.
With savings of £3,000 and no budget for advertising, Callum focused on two key objectives to ensure the business did not fail before it had even begun. Firstly, it was critical that MediaDevil provided customers with an overall experience that was so positive that sales would grow as a result of word-of-mouth referrals and positive product reviews. Secondly, he needed his products to be highly visible.
“Selling on Amazon’s Marketplace provided the perfect solution. It allowed me to put MediaDevil products in front of millions of customers and be in full control of the customer experience by writing the product descriptions myself and delivering products directly to them. It also allowed me to be paid quickly (on a 14 day payment cycle). This helped the business grow sustainably through re-investing the profit, and it continues to allow us to expand into new product segments in the diverse accessories market much quicker than would otherwise have been possible. We are continually innovating and our most ambitious product yet is currently being designed in collaboration with the design school of a UK university.”
Callum launched MediaDevil on Amazon’s UK Marketplace in Summer 2009, and has used a suite of Amazon services to help create a global brand, including selling on Amazon Marketplace in the UK, Italy, Germany and the US; using Amazon Product Ads in the UK and Fulfilment by Amazon in the US and Germany to dispatch orders and provide customer service on behalf of Mediadevil. The business has offices in London and Milan, with plans for a North American regional headquarters next.
MediaDevil was awarded the UK Department of Trade and Investment’s 2011 Business Innovation Award for “demonstrating the virtues of excellent products and a passionate company”. The business is one of very few members of the exclusive ‘Built for BlackBerry’ accessory programme, which results in MediaDevil BlackBerry accessories being officially approved by BlackBerry’s own accessories team before launch.
In 2012, MediaDevil achieved wins at the UKTI’s Start-up Games, the Smarta 100 awards and the Startups 100 awards, and was shortlisted for ‘Product Business of the Year’ at the Start-Up awards. Callum himself was named one of Growing Business’ 2012 Young Guns, was shortlisted for Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the Growing Business Awards, and visited No.10 Downing Street to discuss the business with the Prime Minister’s senior advisors.
Callum’s advice to budding entrepreneurs: “To anyone considering starting a business, two key tips for success would be to only offer a product or service that you are truly passionate about, and to provide the experience that you would hope to receive. We are passionate about providing a customer experience that we can be proud of, and our customers really pick up on that.”