Many of our UK sellers are entrepreneurs working hard to build businesses and brands, using Amazon tools and programmes to scale and grow. As part of our celebrations for International Women’s Day 2023, we spoke to some of the women entrepreneurs and founders who are building their businesses on Amazon.
These four women-owned brands explain how selling on Amazon helped them turn their side hustles into full-time businesses. From food and drink to wellness and skincare, these founders have harnessed the power of Amazon’s small business programmes to scale their businesses and reach new audiences all over the world.
Over 85,000 small and medium sized UK businesses are selling their products on Amazon. Keep reading for inspirational stories from just some of the women turning their dreams into reality on Amazon.
Holly-Anna Coulton, founder of The Ilex Wood
Concerned about the amount of obscure ingredients in mainstream beauty ranges, Holly-Anna Coulton decided to step up and launch her own line of natural skincare products from her own kitchen where she started making them. It wasn’t long before she joined Amazon Handmade and her business The Ilex Wood took off.
During lockdown, sales exploded when customers turned online to stock up on their skincare needs, and it was at this point that Holly-Anna knew she could turn her hobby into a career. She quit her job and started to focus full-time on her growing business.
After joining Amazon Launchpad, Holly-Anna was able to scale her brand The Ilex Wood and now sells products in the UK, US, Canada, Europe and Australia..
"Amazon allows small, independent and handmade brands like ours grow from a cottage business to a global one,” said Holly-Anna.
“We are in 17 different countries thanks to Amazon. The return on investment is beyond comparison and it has empowered me to quit my job and pursue turning my hobby into a real, sustainable business."
Roni Bandong, founder of RoniB’s Kitchen
Roni Bandong decided to pack her bags and move to the UK to find new opportunities in 2002. When she arrived, she worked two jobs to make ends meet and to set herself up for success in her new home country.
A native of the Philippines, she found herself missing the taste of home, so she decided to share her culture with others, teaching people how to cook their own Filipino-style food at home.
It wasn’t long before she began selling her own homemade sauces to friends on social media. After that, she set up her own brand, RoniB’s Kitchen, to offer Filipino-style vegan sauces, chillies, jams and marmalades to home cooks and local businesses.
With restaurants closed during the first pandemic lockdown, a generation of foodies was forced to turn to other ways of bringing the tastes of the world into their homes. But this also spelled danger for Roni - as the farmers’ markets she used to sell her products shut too.
“Thanks to Amazon my business not only survived but thrived throughout Covid,” said Roni.
“When the farmers’ markets were no longer happening, my sales on Amazon flourished as more people were cooking from home, shopping for their groceries online and looking to try new recipes. Amazon helped me reach more people than I could have ever imagined!”
Through the Amazon Small Business Accelerator, Roni made use of tutorial videos and workshops to revamp her store and update her listings to make it easier for customers to understand how to use her products. As a result, she’s seen 40% of her sales come through Amazon.
“The best thing about selling on Amazon is that my products have reached areas I couldn’t even locate on a map before!”
Aliza Marogy, founder of Inessa Wellness
When Aliza Marogy was 18 she was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, a lifelong autoimmune condition.
After medication failed as an effective treatment, Aliza turned to researching nutrition and lifestyle to see if it would help. Under the supervision of her doctor, she found a way to manage her health, and has remained in remission ever since.
Inspired by her experience, Aliza trained to become a qualified nutritionist herself. After realising that clinical grade products were expensive and hard to access, she created her own affordable, high-quality supplements to help people live better lives. Her brand Inessa was born.
The company launched on Amazon in 2017 and now exports to the US and Europe.
Today, Inessa offers multi-award winning and globally unique products, manufactured in the UK . Around 50% of sales come from Amazon and it has enabled them to help thousands of customers worldwide.
“Amazon has allowed us to launch products without having to take on huge overheads to get started. It also put us in front of a large audience at a relatively low cost.”
“During the pandemic, when all other logistics channels went down, Amazon’s logistics channels remained open which meant we didn’t experience the same level of interruption to our sales in comparison to some other businesses in our sector.”
“Launching our product on Amazon’s US store also gave us the opportunity to test a new market and gave us the confidence to expand into other business channels.”
Emma Eatwell, founder of Cotswold Crafts by Emma
Emma Eatwell turned a resin kit gifted by her sister into a business turning over £100,000 in one year.
To raise spirits during the COVID-19 lockdown, Emma made gifts of pressed flowers and leaves for family and friends. Soon after, she started to consider getting her products featured in local arts and crafts shops - that’s when she discovered Amazon Handmade.
“It’s a great place for creators and makers like me to put our products in front of many more people than we would normally reach,” said Emma.
“I registered the business in September 2020 and by October I had my first listing on Amazon. This was the real game changer that propelled Cotswold Crafts by Emma to where it is today.”
"Amazon is my primary channel and drives 95% of all sales, by using Fulfilment by Amazon, I generated £100,000 in sales this year as a one-woman team. I'm now looking to employ two to three people in the new year which wouldn't be possible without Amazon.”
"They are supportive and encouraging. They nurture you from a small seed and give you the tools to reach millions of people, providing tonnes of resources along the way."