In 2007 Maninder Sahota started selling scarves online under the Lovarzi brand to supplement his income as a software engineer and satisfy his interest in fashion. He invested his own time and money in this project, but after his first year of trading the business was struggling to attract customers and gain visibility. Maninder said, “I had great quality products but customers just weren’t finding them, so in December 2008 I started selling on Amazon’s Marketplace. After that, my business grew exponentially.”
In 2009 Maninder quit his job to concentrate on building the Lovarzi business from his Hertfordshire home. Even with additional staff to pack the growing number of Amazon orders and answer customer queries, he was still struggling to meet demand. It is at this point that Maninder decided to use Fulfilment by Amazon.
“FBA has helped us in a big way. All we do now is send our products to Amazon’s warehouse and when they sell, Amazon handles all the picking, packing, shipping, customer service and even returns. As a result, we have more time to focus on sourcing new products and exploring growth opportunities.”
Maninder also used this additional time to promote his brand and grow his business outside the UK. It was easy for Maninder to start selling on Amazon in France, Germany and the US – it only took a few minutes to set up.
“I don't think we could have achieved this much success by selling our products in a physical store. It takes years and a lot of money to develop a chain of shops across several countries. Thanks to Amazon we are now selling in the USA, German and French marketplaces without having had to take out a loan or invest vast amounts of money and time.”
Turning a small niche business into an international brand
Having an international footprint allowed Maninder to become an official licensee for the BBC Doctor Who scarf range in 2012. This range was such a success over the holiday season that he is now working on five new projects with the BBC.
“Amazon’s Marketplace and fulfilment programme have allowed me to turn a small niche business into an international brand. Amazon customers feel confident in us as a business and as a brand when they see our feedback on Amazon. It was easy to set up and Amazon’s support team is always quick to respond to queries.”
Lovarzi sold thousands of scarves in 2012 and is looking to double sales in 2013.