No time to wait: for startups like Olababy!, Amazon’s speed enables innovation

Amazon’s data reporting and fast payments support a Portland startup’s swift and successful growth.

3 min
March 29, 2024
Ola baby photography

When Paul Wang launched his Portland-based start-up Olababy! in 2012, there was no doubt in his mind as to where he would sell his first product, a silicone sleeve that protects glass baby bottles from breaking. From day one, it was Amazon; now, hundreds of products later, it’s still Amazon. Why? Because their sales cycle, he said, is built with small businesses in mind.

With Amazon, Wang avoids a lengthy sales cycle and can quickly launch new products, showcasing them in front of millions of consumers. And, importantly, funds from customers are deposited into his account twice monthly with no 30-day wait. It’s the competitive edge that small businesses need to compete with big brands, said Wang.

“If you’re a big company with thousands of products, your size allows you the luxury of waiting for a sales cycle that often takes a year and a payment cycle of 30 days. If you’re Olababy! and launching a new business, you don’t have that luxury. It drags out your cash flow,” Wang said. “For small businesses, it’s not feasible to work with a ‘Big Box’ in the beginning.”

Wang founded Olababy! to create innovative, sustainable baby products with safe, unique materials. As a father of three, he wanted an alternative to plastic products containing BPA on the market . Tapping into his 10 years of experience in the semiconductor industry, he realized he could utilize innovative materials and technology to design better and safer products for his own children and others.

Ola baby photography

In the years following, Olababy! grew so rapidly that Wang hired three additional full-time employees to keep up with demand. Over the years, Olababy! has been sold in Big Box retail like Bed Bath & Beyond and Babies “R” Us, in addition to the Olababy! website and Amazon. In 2023, Amazon customers made up 90% of Olababy!’s sales.

“Amazon is small business-friendly and perfect for inventive people,” said Wang. “In the Amazon store, even if you only have one good product, you can immediately sell globally. If people like your product, you sell, make a profit and then invest that profit in more products. Our potential for business growth matches that of well-established corporations.”

Wang relies heavily on Amazon’s Voice of the Customer, a dashboard that provides independent sellers with data-driven customer insights, giving them a comprehensive understanding of reviews and returns, and behavior and preferences, as well as the ability to analyze purchase and return trends over time. Each week, Wang uses this tool to review complaints and return rates, using his insights to inform short-term marketing strategy and long-term product development. He qualifies Voice of the Customer as his “biggest impact” Amazon tool. “The data aspect of Amazon is the best out of all the stores we sell in,” he said.

Ola baby photography

Thanks in large part to his partnership with Amazon, Wang has grown his business by 40%, year over year, for the last two years and intends to continue that growth in 2024, reinvesting his earnings in product development. He’s increasing his involvement in the local community, donating products to local schools, educational events and his pet project: sponsoring a local robotics team. Wang’s dream is to create an enduring brand that his daughter may want to inherit someday, built on the foundation that Amazon helped him create.

“I want Olababy! to be a powerhouse for good in the community and the name that comes to mind when people think of top-notch quality and innovative design in baby products,” he said. “My partnership with Amazon has been instrumental in getting Olababy! to where we are today in leveling the playing field and allowing us to thrive based on the merit of our products and the value we offer.

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