Q&A with the Co-Founders
Q: What was the inspiration behind founding Telos Brands?
James: eCommerce is an incredibly exciting space to us. The opportunity is almost unfathomably massive; in a multi-trillion dollar market growing more than 10%+ for the foreseeable future, it’s clear that there won’t be one but many winners in the space.
We come from technology investing backgrounds. In our years evaluating hundreds of companies to potentially invest in, we’ve learned that it takes three things to make a company successful: a great idea, solid execution, and capital to fund the growth. So many times in the Amazon space, we’ve seen FBA sellers who came up with a great idea reach the limits of their ability or desire to execute and raise capital. This is where we can come in with our expertise and take these great ideas from FBA sellers, add a platform to execute and the capital injection to fund the growth, and nurture the great idea into a multi-million dollar Amazon brand. Telos Brands was born from this opportunity for us to add real value to the sellers in the space and overall Amazon ecosystem.
The secret sauce to our approach here at Telos is technology. Our background in technology investing has given us first-hand exposure to the power of technology to both drive efficiency as well as enable growth. There’s a wealth of data in eCommerce that can empower better decision making around marketing, inventory management, pricing–in nearly every aspect of the business. We take full advantage of this data and technology to inform the way we operate our brands.
Q: What gets you excited when evaluating a brand?
Darien: We get most excited about brands that can tangibly show that the customers who buy their products really love them. This shows the brand is truly a positive contributor to the Amazon ecosystem. The best evidence is in great ratings and positive reviews, which ideally lead to strong sales momentum and a great Amazon rank for the relevant keywords.
Q: What’s the most common mistake you’ve seen FBA owners make?
James: The most common mistake we probably see is stocking out. Unfortunately in this age of unprecedented supply chain disruption, the margin of error is slimmer here than ever before. Here’s an example of the real value Telos helps drive for brands, where we have a sophisticated model for forecasting inventory ordering and access to institutional capital to relieve cash flow constraints on inventory management.
Q: What are some trends you’re seeing in the space?
Darien: Higher quality marketing content is emerging as a need to have, even for smaller sellers. We’ve found incredible success in brands that invest up front in the highest quality photo, video, animation and written content to their product pages that build trust with the consumer and show off the quality of their products. Our team at Telos Brands ensures that all of our products from day one have had time in a professional studio to get the best possible photo / video content for them and have our marketing team do a detailed analysis on if there are ways to change the product pages to increase their rankings or better appeal to our customers.
Q: What’s your favorite thing that you’ve bought off Amazon?
James: As a coffee connoisseur, I bought a nitro cold brew mini-keg to aerate and pressurize my morning pick-me-up. It’s amazing how accessible Amazon makes products like this that have added a lot of enjoyment to my life that I would never find in a typical retail store.
Darien: I bought this aerogarden off Amazon several weeks ago. It’s this all-in-one herb grower that goes in your kitchen–all you have to do is add water and seed capsules, and you get a little garden of various herbs in just a couple weeks. We’ve already used the basil from the aerogarden to make fresh pesto. Would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes having fresh herbs in their cooking!