Ben Tabai operates Amaryllis on OpenSky with his girlfriend and business partner, Anita Shokouhi. Since they live a life so often attached to their cellphones, Tabai had become quite fascinated with mobile browsing as a way to pass the time, explore, feed his curiosity and inspire a business.
We partner with different e-commerce platforms and use their marketing and distribution prowess to grow our company
"The mobile-browsing phone is now an extension of our bodies," he tells us. "Getting into e-commerce was a given to me." The question that remained was simply, how?
"I was lying in bed one night and viewing Groupon Deals on my phone," Tabai recalls. "I came across the 'Goods' section and saw items being sold in the thousands over a span of a few days. I already had prior experience with importing goods, so I thought, 'Why not jump on this opportunity?'"
Tabai's next step was to reach out to Sholouhi to discuss the idea of selling fashion products in large volume online, and that was how Amaryllis got its start.
'Loves' mean sales
"The first thing we realized was we didn't want to launch a business whereby we carry the entire marketing load ourselves," he says. The couple turned to finding key partnerships as their best path to achieve the essential growth they knew their young business would need.
"I thought the optimal strategy would be to use piggyback marketing," he notes. "We partner with different e-commerce platforms and use their marketing and distribution prowess to grow our company."
The partners first tried LivingSocial, where they sold several thousand jewelry pieces during their first month on the market. "In our second month in the marketplace, we partnered with OpenSky and moved into apparel and accessories," Tabai adds.
He first heard about OpenSky through a query placed on Help a Reporter Out, or HARO.
What differentiated OpenSky for us versus any other platform is that we actually started selling on OpenSky from day one
"The social platform aspect of it intrigued us," Tabai explains. "I saw the number of 'loves' a product was receiving and thought to myself, 'If this product has this amount of loves, then an 'x' conversion rate would lead to a 'y' amount of sales! The platform looked like a winner to me as soon as I saw the social interaction aspect of it."
A win-win scenario
The couple found it was simple to set up their store on OpenSky and took only "a few clicks," he continues. "No buyers, no sample submissions, no paperwork!"
It wasn't long before the pair found that their mathematical assumptions were correct and that OpenSky differentiated itself from other selling platforms in other ways, too.
"What differentiated OpenSky for us versus any other platform is that we actually started selling on OpenSky from day one," the merchant notes. "Our theory on the number of loves converting into sales became a reality. We tried other platforms, and you can go days/weeks without selling anything."
Now that Amaryllis has been operating throughout the past year, the duo can make some distinct statements about how the relationship has worked out for them.
"OpenSky became the ultimate partner for our piggyback marketing strategy," Tabai explains. "They have a marketing service that coincided with our needs, and the program simply works. We outsource our marketing to them, let them do what they're good at, and then get the heck out of the way… It's a win-win scenario."
Focus on the sales channels that drive most of your sales
We asked Tabai about plans he and Shokouhi have for the business in the coming year. "We have an open sky (no pun intended) approach for our OpenSky store," he notes. "Our goal is to continue growing our store and sales on a monthly basis. Our business has exponentially grown in the past year, and our goal is to continue the steady growth for the years ahead with OpenSky."
Partnerships are key
When we asked Tabai about what advice he might offer others starting out with OpenSky, he demurred for a moment then said:
"The only thing I can say is figure out what your business goals are and make the right partnerships from there," he notes. "Focus on the sales channels that drive most of your sales. Speaking of key partnerships, this business wouldn't be where it is today if it wasn't for my girlfriend and business partner, Anita Shokouhi."
Tabai recognizes that she is the engine to keep the business running. Sounds like a wise business owner and a wise boyfriend, to boot!