Mohammad Interview with Nick Shucet

Nick (00:04):

Alright! What is up, everyone? Welcome to the Million Dollar Sellers Podcast. I'm your host, Nick Shucet. Today, we have Mohammad on the show. Thanks for coming on the show, man. I'm excited to chat with you a little bit. Can you let the audience know where you're at, and where you're calling in today?

Getting to Know Mohammad a Little Better

Mohammad (00:20)

Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for having me here, Nick. I'm actually based in Long Island, New York. A small town called Valley Stream in the south shore. So, that's actually where our warehouse office is—where I'm in. But my main office is actually in Brooklyn—Dumbo.

Nick (00:36)

Okay, cool, man. We got a lot of great Million Dollar Seller members up there in New York. I'm always down here in Virginia Beach, by myself. Still not getting a lot of people down in this area. Have you been… are you from New York originally? Or have you just been there a few years? What's the situation like?

Mohammad (00:55)

Yeah, Yeah. pretty much born-and-raised, man. But technically not born there. So I was born outside the US, came here when I was one, and then just grew up in New York since I was one and a half years old. So, that's why I just like to say I was born and raised here.

Nick (01:12)

Nice man. So, you guys said you have a couple... you have a warehouse up there in an office in Brooklyn. Is that what you said?

The Hybrid FBA Model

Mohammad (01:22)

Exactly. Yeah, we actually just got to the office about two weeks ago, so we're super excited about that. We have a team of about 15 people in New York. Prior to that, we were working out of this warehouse office in Valley Stream for roughly, five, or six years. We have two warehouses here. Again, we do like the hybrid FBA model that we sell on Amazon and we direct ship to FBA. As well as drip feed to them. 

It just helps with the whole warehousing system, and we're able to be robust in all that. So we've been doing this for a couple of years. Yeah.

FBM vs. FBA: How He Handles Warehousing & Fulfillment

Nick (01:59)

I know I'm kind of jumping ahead in the story here, but have you guys thought about doing any merchant fulfillment, so you guys can get that… now that the data's gone right on the FBA, customers, and stuff like that?

Mohammad (02:13)

Yeah, yeah. I mean, for us, we typically don't like to do FBM—that's what we call it. But we like to have it in case of any downtime on FBA. So if an ASIN gets suspended. Or if your product just gets an inventory review and you're not selling through FBA, we just flip a switch, turn on FBM and you're good to go. So at least, you're not losing rank and BSR. 

And then once you resolve the problem, we come back on FBA. You’re good to go. So we keep it for emergency purposes.

Nick (02:49)

Nice. Yeah, that's... Actually, how I got started on Amazon was like all FBM. So I've always felt good about having that skill in my back pocket because it does come in handy on a lot of occasions. And you can definitely still perform pretty well, I've noticed, with rankings. And even if you're competing on the buy box—I used to do a lot of reselling—you can still compete with a solid FBM offer if your metrics are good. And all that stuff.

How It All Started On Amazon

Mohammad (03:16)

For sure. For sure. I actually have a funny story about how I got started selling on Amazon and it was okay.

Nick (03:22)

Yeah, let's hear it.

Flipping Cashews

Mohammad (03:23)

So I was actually studying Finance, at Hofstra University. So I was a sophomore there, and I started selling outta my parents' garage. And the first thing I sold on Amazon was a bunch of roasted cashews that I bought from a local CVS. So, we were at a local CVS one day. I saw these cashews on sale, and I was like, ''Hmm, lemme see if they're selling on Amazon''. 

And obviously, they weren't because they were a private-label CVS brand, but I didn't know at that time. And I was like ''Alright, I'm gonna clear up this shelf''. I go to like five different CVSs in my area, clear out all the cashews, and bring 'em back to my garage. I figured out how to put 'em on Amazon, and I got 'em listed. And within six hours, sold two units. 

The First Loss

I just made my first internet money, and next thing, I go out to the post office to ship them out. And I totally didn't realize that I didn't account for packaging, postage, and all that. So, I ended up making a loss. So, that was my first business on Amazon—I started selling cashews.

Nick (04:23)

That's funny, man. Yeah. Those are the good lessons you learn the hard way, man. It's like, you probably never forgot. You're like ''Alright, now I need to know how much the shipping's gonna cost."

Mohammad (04:34)


Nick (04:35)

Yeah. You never forget that lesson, man. That's so cool. What year was that?

The ASM Course

Mohammad (04:39)

That was 2013. Geez. That was like forever ago. Yeah, that was 2013. That was when I was still studying and then I had to convince my parents to let me pursue this thing full-time because I saw a lot of opportunities on Amazon. and at that time, there was one of these courses that was up and coming. I think ASM. Yeah, ASM and I pretty much missed a boat on getting into ASM 2.

So, I had to wait for 3. And then once 3 came around, I took six months to learn everything on Amazon. Learn about, how to order products from Alibaba how to source them, and how to ship them, just learn all the ropes. And then, ASM 3 came out, bought it, got in there, got it going, and launched a brand that became like the number one best-selling personal care accessory on Amazon and it was all history from that point forward. 

So that's how I got into this thing.

Nick (05:36)

Nice man. Did you try anything entrepreneurial before that cashew moment?

Mohammad’s Business Background and Inspiration

Mohammad (05:44)

Yeah. Yeah. That's a great question. So I haven't tried anything entrepreneurial. I don't have the typical lemonade-stand-as-a-kid story, but my family's been in business for a long time.

A Father’s Response to Failures

So my dad actually is involved in the food industry, so I've grown up seeing him expand his business. Started from scratch, and failed a couple of times —which was brutal. But I've always seen him keep going forward and that was sort of instilled in me as I was a kid, and I wanted to be an entrepreneur myself. So when I saw Amazon’s opportunity, I was like "This looks interesting"— it looks fun.

”it's something that I can do working from home” and that was appealing. And I went into it.

Nick (06:25)

Nice. I love that story about your dad kind of inspiring you and like you seeing him fail and just keep going. Like that's such a great example, right? Cause failure is part of the process, for sure. I mean, just like your story, right? Like you bought the cashews, you had an idea—it was a great idea. But you get there and you're like, "Damn, I lost money on this".

I think my first sale… was on eBay—and I made 13 cents and I was 90 days into listing stuff on eBay. Finally, make a sale, and I'm like "Yeah", like 13 cents, man. But it's cool because I think traditional school doesn't really teach us to be like this. But looking back on it, some people pay to go to college. Some people pay to learn these the hard way and there's some failure associated with that.

Learning from His Failures

Mohammad (07:23)

That's the best way to learn. I mean, it's costly but it really sticks with you because you learn it practically after figuring out what works, what doesn't work. And then you eventually get to something that works and a dozen ways that it doesn't work. and I think that really sticks with you versus reading it from a book or watching a course—you just can't beat practicality.

Being Persistent

Nick (07:47)

Yeah. I think there's another aspect to it as well, where it's like that skill of—it's kind of hard to put in words—the skill of overcoming failure. 'Cause In school I've always felt like, at least for me, it was like, they're always preparing you to try and get a hundred percent 'A' on the test. And it just doesn't work like that in business. You can prepare, prepare, prepare, and things outside of your control will go way wrong.

And part of the process… part of the lesson, is in the failure, anyway. And I feel the quicker you can realize that, the more successful you can become in business. 

And I know for me, it took me a long time to learn that lesson as a business owner, man.

Mohammad (08:39)

I could not agree more with you. I mean, there's a famous saying that: "if you want to be an entrepreneur..." It's sort of like you need to wake up every morning and be ready to take a punch to the mouth and then keep going". Because, it's gonna happen one way should perform, sooner or later, you're gonna get punched in the mouth. 

Maybe Amazon suspends your top ASIN and now you're stuck there, dealing with the POA for the first time. And it sucks 'cause I'm sure we've all been in that position. But then you keep going forward because you don't have a choice, really. What are you gonna do? Pack, go up, and go home because you got suspended?

Nick (09:18)

Like's definitely a wild ride.

Mohammad (09:19)

Exactly. Yeah. 

These businesses are our... these are our babies and we've invested everything into them. And when I say "we", I'm talking about everyone in MDS—so we've invested everything into them. 

We wanna see them prosper and we have no choice, we gotta deal with it as it comes. And I think persistence is a key characteristic of a successful entrepreneur.

The Journey Into Private Labelling

Nick (09:40)

Definitely. So did you do any more reselling, after the CVS trip? Or, did you move straight into the Private Label stuff?

A Trip to China

Mohammad (09:51)

Yeah. Yeah. So I did take a stab at some reselling. I bought a bunch of cheap scarves and leather gloves and stuff like that. those that didn't perform as well as the cashews did, which was surprising. So but then like I said, I was waiting on this ASM course to learn a little bit about private labeling and learned how it all works. And I started connecting with other Amazon sellers and then started really figuring this whole thing out.

And next thing I was like "Alright, so it looks like I need a lot of product and I need to put my name on it—get my own brand out there". I was like "Alright, I gotta go to China". So I just found myself taking the next flight out to a random city. didn't know where I was going, just knew that the products were gonna be made in China and everything was gonna be there.

The First Challenge

So I took a flight out, I landed in a city called Hangzhou, and I thought "I can use Google and I can go and look up everything and I'll be good". And little to my knowledge, Google's banned over there, man. So, I get there and Google's banned. And I'm like "Alright, great. So now I gotta do everything manually". So I worked my way around to a city called Yiwu.

Yiwu has this huge market where you can source anything in the world. It's insane. That's when I started buying some products. You can't really private-label it because, again, these are all like wholesalers. But, it's still different than buying it from the wholesale market here in America. So, then I started learning about these fairs that go on... like the Canton fair and Hong Kong fairs.

And people started telling me "Hey! Look! What you're looking for is gonna be found there. So you gotta wait till the fairs, coming up. Go to these expos, then you'll meet all the factories—the actual manufacturers. And you'll get exactly what you need". And I was like "Great". So then I packed up, went back home, and waited for the expo to come on. 

And then I attended that and I started making a lot of these factory connections and that's where we started private labeling full force. So, I launched four brands that are catering to specific categories. So we're in premium bedding personal care accessories, kitchen appliances, and we have a small baby products brand. So I wanted to really go wide and explore a ton of different categories on Amazon.

But also, I also ran into the problem where I didn't want one brand to be involved in a couple of different categories. Because you lose that branding in that field, so I wanted to separate that out. So I just ended up creating four different brands under one portfolio company, that's definitely what's been happening.

Nick (12:34)

Nice man. I love that you took this dive into the China trip. Who did you talk to about that? How many people thought you were nuts? Did you have anyone in China to help you out at all? Or you just completely went in there in the dark and figured it out.

The Language Barrier

Mohammad (12:54)

Yeah, man. I mean, now that I look back at it, it was so crazy. I had no one there—I didn't know anyone, no anyone. Didn't have any friends there. just took a deep dive. Took a flight out, landed in Hangzhou, and had broken English with everyone there—no one really spoke really good English. I downloaded an app on my phone that translated from English to Mandarin, and that's how I was communicating with everyone.

I would type in a wholesale market like: "Take me to the wholesale market". It would translate to Chinese. And then someone would be like "Yeah, go over there or go over here or take this". Then I eventually made it to Yiwu. So that's how I got that going.

Nick (13:37)

Nice, man. And how old were you when you took this trip?

Mohammad (13:42)

I was 19. I was 19 years old. Yeah.

Nick (13:45)

So what did your parents think?

A Supporting Father

Mohammad (13:47)

So that's actually pretty funny because my dad was all for it because he's been like a hardcore serial entrepreneur his whole life. So he was like "This is awesome, now you're actually becoming a man and you're going out and doing things". And I was like, "Great, that's awesome".

A Caring Mother

My mom was scared. She was like, “Why are you going halfway across the world? And, no one knows you there. Like, what are you gonna do? Like, what are you gonna eat?” So she was basically being a mom.

Nick (14:12)

What are you gonna eat?

Mohammad (14:13)

Yeah. But then, just having that moral support from my dad the whole time was very motivating. And he had high hopes for me as well. So I definitely didn't wanna let him down. And then to me, I was like, "Look, I'm 19 years old. Worst case scenario, I end up wasting a flight and some time. And then I come back and start from scratch". So I really didn't have anything to lose at that time.

Nick (14:42)

Man, that is cool. I love that story, man. So you get to China, you figure it out. And it sounds like you made some great connections.

Mohammad (14:51)


The Importance of Business Branding and Design 

Nick (14:52)

I like what you did with the different brands and how you separated 'em right away. Because That's another lesson I learned the hard way. I've always had that big vision like I want to have my hands in a lot of things. But I tried to do it under one thing. And I didn't really know much about marketing and branding and design and stuff. But man, down along the path, I ended up with some people who did. 

And I remember the first time I got my first brand book done right. And I was like "Man, I should have done this a long time". Like, that's the starting point. I was like "Okay, we wanna do some email marketing and we wanna post some stuff on social media". People are like, "Alright, what are your colors? And what's your message". And I'm like, "I don't know any of that stuff right now". 

So, now I learned that and we started another brand and that was the very first thing we did. It's like a compass for the company, anytime you're like, "Oh, what should this article be about?", you can look at that brand book or look at that customer avatar and be like, "Okay, this is who we're talking to, this is what they want, these are the problems they have". 

So how much of that stuff have you guys leveraged on Amazon? Cause I know a lot of Amazon sellers, they don't really get that stuff, right? Because Amazon handles so much marketing. How involved are you guys in that kind of design world?

His Early Days Branding & Design Steps

Mohammad (16:29)

Yeah. Yeah. In the early days, I was the designer, the Photoshop, and the videographer, I was doing all of it. So, I bought a Nikon camera and started taking product images. I was genuinely pretty good at Photoshop 'cause I took a few courses in college—in high school—and I was involved in art design. I knew a little bit about designing images so I started doing all that myself and then afterwards, we hired... Is that your son?

Nick (17:02)

Yeah, one second, guys. One second. All right. Sorry about that.

Mohammad (17:22)

No, yeah, you're good. You're good.

Nick (17:24)

Yeah. So let's jump back into the design stuff. You said you were doing Photoshop and you did a lot of this stuff on your own, right?

Getting an Outsourced Designer

Mohammad (17:31)

Yep. I did. I did everything on my own in the early days, every single product, the image. At that time we didn't have access to EBC unless you were a vendor. But I was doing all of it. Then, once we got our designer—we used I think it was, we got our designer. We got it. We got our first brand book going and this person was teaching us like "Hey, looks like you're doing it all wrong.

You can't just think of random colors off the top of your head and just put 'em on. You gotta design it. You have fonts and typography ready to go. And everything needs to be consistent.” And then that's how we learned about brand building and really, really crafting an experience for the customer. 

Hiring an In-House Designer

Mohammad (18:20)

So after ‘99 designs,’ we realized, "Okay, we can't really depend on an outsourced designer anymore because the person's working 20 different projects for other people and we needed to do our stuff.” So then, we went out, and actually, we hired a designer from Bolivia and he was just phenomenal. This guy came in and we revamped all of our brands from scratch, modernized all of them, and got them to be consistent. 

So all of our different brands that are in different categories, they all sort of tie back into our portfolio company. So that was pretty cool. And then we eventually got him an H-1B visa and got him into the States. And now he's here in our New York office. He's been here for two years and he is having a great time and he's our lead designer.

Nick (19:14)

Man, that's super cool. I would really like to have someone like that, on my team. I've got an agency I work with that does stuff that I can depend on but it would be cool. I like that they tied it in with your main Company. That's super cool, that they pulled that off. My mind doesn't really think that way, like design and branding. Sometimes, I can have a vision of what that would look like for my company or something.

But it's just blank when I try to think of how I would accomplish that.

Mohammad (19:48)

That was me basically. I never thought about connecting them all together. I just had them all separate and he recommended this idea and I was like "Let's see how it looks". So he mapped it out and it looked great. And I was like "This actually may be something cool". Because at the end of the day, everyone who's buying one of our portfolio brands..., in one way, shape, or form, knows who the parent company is. 

So think of Procter and Gamble, right? People may or may not know about P&G, but everyone knows about Tide and Gillette and all these brands. So if you can get that connection back to your parent company, that's always a cool thing to do.

Handling Business Organizational Structure

Nick (20:31)

Yeah. It's nice, man. Hopefully, I'll someday. Hopefully, I'll figure that out, man. I would love to have that all dialed in like that. Yeah, that's super cool, but I totally get what you're saying with P&G and the other companies as well. Then the other side, I think about is, how do I structure that from an organizational standpoint as well—have all those businesses tied in together? 

Have you guys figured that out too?

Mohammad (20:59)

Yeah. Yeah. That was a discussion we had early on, we were thinking about: "Should we open up another LLC and separate the brands out completely? Or should we open up different Amazon accounts?" Back then, it was sort of taboo to have like multiple Amazon accounts.

Well, in my mind, that decision became pretty easy for us. I mean, if we're not gonna have multiple Amazon accounts, they might as well keep it all under one company. So we ended up just having one simple structure—one company with all the brands in there. And just kept it on one Amazon account.

Nick (21:36)

Yeah. And you guys still have it that way?

Mo Talks About His Next Big Idea

Mohammad (21:38)

Yeah. So, that legacy brand today, actually morphed into a bigger idea, which is basically gonna be buying Amazon brands, alongside, to grow the portfolio companies. So, we've changed the structure a little bit where now everyone… everything that we're buying and growing, they're sort of separated into their own LLCs. And then they all fold back into the parent company. 

So we have changed our philosophy there a little bit.

Nick (22:11)

Okay. Yeah. And then is identifying it—the parent company idea… Is that as simple as just saying that the parent LLC owns the other LLCs?

Mohammad (22:22)

Basically, yeah. All these subsidiary LLCs are a hundred percent totally owned by the parent company. And as far as Amazon knows, they're all still individual LLCs and all the brands are still separate.

Nick (22:36)

Nice. So they, so they end up with different EINs and everything, it sounds like.

Mohammad (22:40)

Yep, exactly. Yeah.

Nick (22:42)

Cool. So, yeah. And then nowadays you can get away with that... No, you're not getting away with anything anymore, right? They let you have separate accounts.

On Owning Multiple Amazon Accounts

Mohammad (22:49)

Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. So I think it was about 18 months ago, or maybe earlier, that Amazon made the change. So, like if you have a legitimate business reason. Meaning if you have different brands, you’re allowed to have multiple accounts. So that was a game-changer. So now you're actually able to have multiple accounts with different entities and do that without looking over your shoulder the whole time, see if they are gonna ding you for it.

Nick (23:18)

Yeah, man. And I know there's still a lot of people who like… because they did that real quietly, it's not like they broadcasted it. But there are still a lot of people who think you can only have that one account.

Mohammad (23:32)

Yeah, yeah. It was something that they sort of just snuck in there. But then, folks found out about it. And as long as it's written on Amazon's TOS that you're allowed to do this, then I think you're in clear.

Mohammad’s Achievements, Growth, and Sustainability Plans

Nick (23:46)

Yeah. Nice man. So you guys have created these different brands. How is all that working out for you? What are some things you guys have been able to accomplish on the platform lately?

Mohammad (23:59)

Yeah, yeah. Behind me, you're probably seeing two plaques: one of them—actually the one of the pink. That is Inc. 500. So we were the 11th fastest-growing company on the Inc. 500 in 2018. And then that one is actually Crain's Fast 50. we were the 10th fast-growing company in New York, in 2018. So I got those two cool accolades and that basically signified that we grew the company 3500% top-line revenue, in a three-year growth period.

And we did that with six people. So when we went to receive these awards back in 2018, everyone there was running companies with teams of at least 25 people to anywhere to 500 people. And I was over there like "Hey guys, I've got six employees and I've got eight figures in revenue". And they're looking at me as if I have three different hats. 

They're like "What are you talking about? Who's running your company". That sort of just told me that we run a really lean ship, which can be a good thing and a bad thing.So at that time, it was a good thing for us. But now I'm realizing that if I had the chance to go back and do it again, I would actually hire a lot more people. And make sure that the business has a lot more processes and is self-sustaining.

Nick (25:33)

Yeah. How many hours do you think you were working, in 2018, when you guys did that?

Mohammad (25:40)

It was non-stop. this is everything I do. I love it and I'm always just eating, sleeping, breathing Amazon. So I was working definitely more than 40 hours a week. And today I think it's even more than that because I feel like today, more than ever, this whole opportunity to sell on Amazon is still growing incredibly fast. and obviously, it was catapulted by the pandemic in 2020. 

So we're seeing a lot more growth runway ahead of us, so I'm working harder than ever to try to make sure that we're in a good position in the next couple of years.

Nick (26:20)

Yeah. The pandemic made me really realize how early I got in on the whole e-commerce and Amazon thing. Because of being so involved in it and hanging out with other e-com guys, you start to get this idea of "it's competitive, it's getting packed". But it really did, because you've got these big giant companies starting to get their hand in the game. 

So I think it's gonna change. They're gonna change it up a little bit. But yeah man, we got in. You got in even earlier than I did. I was in 2015. You got it in 2013. You said so, and then it's a good time to be in there.

Sharing on How To Stay Ahead of the Competition

Mohammad (27:03)

Absolutely. Back in the early days, from 2013 to 2015, you could pretty much launch anything and it would just sell like hotcakes, right? Yeah, so like those were the good days. But now, as you said, with all these sophisticated players coming into the market, it takes a little bit more than just launching a product. It takes good branding, good marketing sense, and investing — investments into your supply chain.

Maybe having a hybrid warehouse model. Everyone needs to bring some sort of edge to the game. I feel like if you do have that edge and you're able to learn quickly and adapt, there's a lot of room for growth here.

Mo Speaks on His USP

Nick (27:50)

So what do you guys think your edge is like if you had to pick one thing that you guys do better than most of the competition?

Mohammad (27:57)

Yeah. That's a great question for us. I think we've invested a lot into our supply chain, so we've got a global team of about 65 people and a lot of them are in Asia. So we have boots on the ground in China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and everywhere that our manufacturing is. We have our own people there. And we're able to get product testing and product samples done within 48 hours. 

Whereas, the average seller who doesn't have boots on the ground there, they may be waiting for product samples for a week or ten days and that's always time-consuming. So we're able to get products to market very quickly. We're able to control our product quality, audit our suppliers, all these things. And we're able to route cargo the way that we want to. 

So consolidating shipments from multiple different suppliers into one container and then importing that. Versus having LCL cargo from ten different ports adds up to a lot of cost savings over time. So we've invested in all those things. We've invested in our own warehousing here in the States. We've got a global warehousing network. So, like today we are selling ten different Amazon markets, right? 

So we're in the US, we're in Europe, the UK, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Amazon, UAE, and then Turkey— Turkey is the newest, so I don't really count it. But we're in all the major marketplaces, as well as Japan. So we're selling out everywhere and all we have to do is make sure that our stock gets to all these markets at the right time. And then, making sure that we don't go outta stock. 

If we do that, we've won half the game., yeah. So I think we do a pretty good job in making sure that we're a global player. So we're not just relying on one market—like the US market. And then 18 months ago, Amazon changed the global review sync — where all your global reviews synced up together—that just changed everything. So all of our US reviews are now showing and markets like Australia and Singapore were able to go in there. 

The first day with a ton of reviews launched products very easily. That wasn't the case a couple of years back. I remember launching in Amazon, Canada, and then having to start all over again from zero, even though you have 5,000 reviews in the US. So that's definitely demotivating. But now, I think, like I said, the opportunity is bigger than ever cuz you've got global review things. 

You've got Amazon global logistics, which helps you import into all these markets, without having to go through headaches with freight forwarders and customs brokers. So Amazon's doing a lot to help us over here. And I think all we have to do is just make sure that we stay ahead of the curve and our first market in some of these smaller markets. 

And I think just let Amazon tail wings push you further from there.

Mohammad’s Advice on Expanding Globally

Nick (30:47)

Yeah. I appreciate you mentioning the global strategy cause I know Amazon pushes that pretty hard. What would you say to someone who's kind of been on the fence about expanding out globally on Amazon?

Mohammad (31:01)

Yeah, I think it's definitely something worth pursuing, maybe not from the start. So if you're still ramping up very very quickly in the US, I would think to keep focusing on that. You definitely don't want to distract yourself and go into a different market and then have to compete in two different markets. so definitely focus on the low-hanging fruit. 

But if you're well established in the US already and you've got a smooth rhythm going I would highly recommend exploring the Canadian market. For us, it's about 10 to 11% of our US sales so it's becoming a decent chunk. But back when we first launched there, in 2015, it was less than 1%. and we just kept sending products there as we launched in the US, and it became stable. 

We shifted over to Canada and today we have a couple of best sellers and all we had to do was make sure that we kept sending product there, kept it in stock, and we were one of the first ones there. So now it's 10% of our US sales and that's a decent chunk.

Nick (32:13)

Yeah. That's definitely a good chunk.

Mohammad (32:15)

Exactly. And then now we're experiencing the same thing in Amazon Australia. We launched it in Australia, I think it was back in 2018 if I'm not wrong. And the same thing. it was less than 1% of our sales. And we just kept sending product there and today it's gonna be close to two and a half percent— so it's growing.

Mohammad’s Long-Term Vision and Plans

Nick (32:36)

Nice man. So you guys... sounds like you have a lot going on in the world of Amazon, kind of. What's the long-term vision you guys have for the business? What are some other things you guys are doing with the company?

Mohammad (32:50)

Yeah, absolutely. So… and I don't mind sharing the company names. I run D1 brands, so you can go to you can take a look at it. So we have about 14 brands in our portfolio today. four of those were homegrown by myself, like I mentioned, in the early days. And then the other ten were acquired over time. 

So our vision is basically to become the number one marketplace seller in the world. And you notice that when we say marketplace, we're not really looking at just Amazon. So we're very conscious about lowering our dependency on Amazon, but we wanna be mindful that there is a lot of opportunity in the short term and medium term to grow here.

So we want to be in every Amazon market and then aside from that, we're also selling in Walmart and eBay today. And we're also onboarding with Etsy, Target, and a couple of other markets. So we want to be in all the major markets. I mean, we haven't even explored China yet. So I'm always looking into Taobao, Tmall trying to see if we can do something cool over ‘cause at the end of the day we're building and buying real brands with real IP and they're not just tied to Amazon.

We can launch the same products in any market in the world and have a customer base that's gonna be ready to buy them. So we want to be able to invest in our supply chain and our infrastructure and our people, to be able to launch these products globally and then fulfill that demand. So think of it like the future P&G model.

Nick (34:28)

So where does that come from? Like, why do you guys want to be the biggest online marketplaces?

The Love for Ecommerce

Mohammad (34:36)

Yeah, that's a great question, man. I think it all stems from just the love of e-commerce. And think that if I were to do anything in the world right now, I would definitely want to be involved in e-commerce. And since Amazon, to me, seems like one of the biggest opportunities available to us right now, I mean, why not just pursue it all the way? 

Right now, Amazon's... they're... I think they mentioned they're doing about 300 billion at GV. And that's expected to go to 800 billion in the next ten years or so. That's insane. So if we can capture just a fraction of a percent of that market, that's a lot of value that we can generate. And it's a lot of fun. So if it's fun, then why do something else? 

So we want to do it to the max and do it well.

Nick (35:31)

Yeah. I love the lifestyle that eCommerce offers. The opportunity that it offers financially. I always kind of struggle ‘cause I naturally am... I'm naturally competitive. Like, I love the idea of being the biggest and baddest out there. and I love the idea of chasing that down. But then I got a little bit older. I've got three kids now and I like to go surfing waves and get good weather.

Like this time of year, the weather finally starts getting nice in Virginia Beach. I like to get outta the office a little early. So there's always that push and pull, internally for me where, really, what I want to be able to do is just whatever I want to do—whenever the hell I want to do it.

Mohammad (36:17)

There you go, there you go.

Nick (36:19)

That's what it boils down to, for me.

Mohammad (36:21)

At the end of the day, I want to have options available for myself my family, and anyone that I love. I mean it's all about happiness, right? So, I think all of us start a business to eventually source for a certain kind of happiness that we're looking for. So to me, I want to be able to do whatever I want, whenever I want, and not have anyone tell me what I have to do. 

So that's why I dropped outta school to pursue this because I was... cause at that time, I was in control of my destiny. And I just wanna keep pursuing that, and if it takes us to become the number one marketplace seller in the world, that's great. Even if we're not number one, or we're somewhere in the top 20, that's also great, as long as it's fun.

Nick (37:09)

Yeah. That's such a great way to look at it, man. And honestly, even if you were top 1000. If you were the 1000 guy, you'd probably still be doing pretty, pretty good, man. Being in that position, that's a great way to look at it.

Realizing Your Goals Early And Staying Focused

Mohammad (37:26)

Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And I think it's important to realize that early on so that you know exactly what you're waking up for every day and why you're working so hard, right? 'Cause Everyone can get caught up with the numbers game. And first, you wanna get your 100k a month and then, you wanna get to the million a month. And you wanna keep… and then at that point, it just becomes numbers, right? 

So if you get attached to that, you're never gonna be happy. you're never gonna be satisfied. So, I'm supporting you to sort of detach yourself from the numbers and look at the broader vision and the purpose of why you're doing this. I think that's gonna ultimately drive you towards that point eventually.

Nick (38:04)

Yeah, I like that you have that big goal. ‘Cause I know for me, I need a big goal to keep me focused on one thing. Otherwise, I'll start looking at other stuff and I'll get distracted and sidetracked.

Mohammad (38:18)

Shiny object syndrome.

Nick (38:21)

Yeah. So having that big goal, like "Alright, yeah. We're gonna be number one —I'd be thinking about that each morning for a while man. That would keep me up for a while.

Mohammad (38:31)

Yeah, yeah. Absolutely, man. We have to instill that vision and that goal in everyone in the company, so we have about 65 people strong today. We were a team of 12 folks about six months ago. So we started ramping up very quickly. just last week we actually closed down our A round. So now we have enough capital- somewhere around the nine figures- to go out and actually pursue this, like hardcore. 

So we are stepping on the gas now. We've got really good investors backing us, and we're ready to basically tackle this dream full-on to become the number one marketplace seller in the world. Now, we have the resources to do that. So like I said, the opportunity is better than ever and we're trying to build our team and our infrastructure to just make it happen.

Nick (39:42)

Nice, man. That's super exciting. Yeah. That sounds like a super cool position to be in, man. I'm excited to see what you guys do with the opportunity. 

Awesome. Do D1 brands do anything like, do you guys offer services to any other brands, or are you guys just buying 'em up and rolling 'em up under D1?

Helping Starters to Grow Their Ideas

Mohammad (40:05)

Yeah. That's also a great question, man. I mean so we've put a lot of thought into figuring out what we can do to really help starters because again, we're one of the only Amazon native buyers here. So I've built Amazon brands from scratch myself, so I know everything that goes into building these things and it's not just about buying them. 

So we like to really connect with the sellers that are maybe selling their brand to us. And we wanna figure out a way where we can, maybe, set up like some sort of incubator. That's something that may be in our pipeline. Helping sellers who have cool ideas, but may not have the capital— the resources to invest in the ideas.

They can partner up with us and they can come in and use our team, our resources, and our global infrastructure to launch their next cool product. And we'll make it worth it a while. So we're gonna add all these other ways that we can grow together. Because, again, I've been in positions where I had a really cool product idea and I just didn't have the money to put up for it. 

So if something like D1 existed that offered an Amazon incubator-like model, I would've totally done that. So that's what we're trying to build here as well.

Nick (41:21)

Yeah. I love that idea ‘cause, like me, my story of how I got into Amazon… becoming successful on Amazon really allowed me to be who I really wanted to be. 

It was like my first thing that went the way I wanted it to go. So like, if D1 could bring someone's idea to life, you're making money, you're helping someone, you're doing what's good for your business... But man, to really bring that level of happiness to someone's life, that's really what it's about for me, man. That would be great if you guys made that happen.

Mohammad (41:59)

Exactly. I mean, I couldn't agree with you more. It's an amazing feeling to help someone out—to help them succeed in business. And especially when it's something that's like a precious idea someone has. That they've maybe worked on for a year and just turns out that they just don't have the capital. And that's all it really is. 

If it's a good idea and we feel like there's a real opportunity here, then we don't mind investing the capital and the resources to help them get there. And then, we'll both win together. And then on top of that, knowing that we've helped them basically bring their vision to reality. That's gonna be priceless.

Nick (42:43)

Man. That's cool. Yeah. Hopefully, man, that would be great if you guys made that happen someday.

Mohammad (42:48)

Yeah. We're definitely working on it. There may be a beta test here or there, so stay tuned, and definitely feel free to reach out to me. Anyone who's interested, we're always open to chatting and seeing what's out there.

Nick (43:04)

And would they just check you out at D1 Brands on your website? Or where else can they find you?

Mohammad (43:09)

Yeah. If you go to, you guys can hit us up on our website. I've got a bunch of different social media handles but you can always email me. So,, it's the easiest way to reach me. And yeah I usually reply the same day, but if I'm backed up for a reason, I'll get back to you by tomorrow.

An Advice From His Business Journey

Nick (43:36)

Mo, you've had an amazing journey: from hitting the CVS and flipping some cashews. Take a dive into China all on your own to roll up these brands. It's a hell of a journey, man. What one piece of advice you would give someone that you've learned during this process?

Cut All the Noise

Mohammad (44:01)

Yeah. Honestly, I think this is the advice that I haven't given to a lot of my friends who wanted to sell on Amazon. And it is to basically focus on this one thing that you're super interested in. So whether it's selling on Amazon creating your own Shopify site or creating your own retail run. Whatever it is, just cut all the noise.

The Two-Year Test

Forget the shiny object syndrome, focus on it for at least two years, or 24 months. Because that'll be enough time for you to really gain some traction and get to a decent level. And then from there on, you can start to diversify or expand or whatever it may be. But it takes about two years to really get to that position where now you're somewhat successful.

Nick (45:10)

Yeah, I think that's a good piece of advice, man. We've got to give our ideas some time to really produce some fruit or just not. And then you realize "Hey, okay, let me try something else. I gave this a good shot."

Mohammad (46:22)

Exactly. It takes time.I've been doing this for seven years, man. I started by selling Rosewood cashews in a tin can. Lost money on my first order when I realized about the postage. And now here we are with nine figures raised and we're ready to push this dream further. So definitely takes time. That's why I mentioned two years is the minimum that you guys should invest in.

Nick (47:45)

Nice, nice, good advice, man. Mo, thanks for coming on. It's been great chatting with you. I'm excited to see what you guys do with your company, man. Thank you so much.

Mohammad (48:56)

The pleasure is all mine. Thanks again for hosting, Nick.

Nick (50:01)

All right. We're good.

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