Monday, September 20, 2021

Build your company culture consciously

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Sabine Elsässer
Sabine Elsässer is founder and chief editor of the StartupValleyNews Magazine. She started her career at several international direct sale companys. Since 2007 she works main time as a journalist. While that time she learned more about the Startup Scene, what made her start her own Startup Magazine the StartupValleyNews.

Remazing service and software providers for brands on Amazon and other online marketplaces in Europe

Please introduce yourself and your startup Remazing to our readers!

My name is Hannes Detjen, I am the founder and Managing Director of Remazing. I launched the company in 2016 and have been building it together with my co-founder Emil Beck ever since then. Four and a half years after we started, we are today one of the leading service and software providers for brands on Amazon and other online marketplaces in Europe.

We help companies like Beiersdorf, Henkel, and Under Armour to place their goods on the “digital shelves” of all the countries that are relevant to them and ensure that they are as easy to find there as possible. To do so successfully, we advise our clients on a strategic level and also help them with the implementation of the daily tasks involved in acquiring customers and selling their products on Amazon and also other online marketplaces.

As trusted partners for our customers, the more than 60 international e-commerce experts on our team develop custom-fit Amazon Marketing strategies and take care of the corresponding execution of content optimisations, Amazon Advertising (sponsored ads & ADSP), and monitoring with the help of our software solution Remdash in various languages.

Why did you decide to start Remazing?

I had the desire to be self-employed ever since I was in high school. When pursuing my Bachelor’s studies, I already had a few ideas but my entrepreneurial undertakings only became much more serious when I was doing my first Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship at the ESADE Business School. There, we were taught a lot about building businesses, and the most important thing we were told in that respect was: “You will make it! Just do it!” This time in Barcelona was very decisive for me.

When I went to the United States for my second Master’s degree in 2015, I eventually had enough time to think more concretely about the field or industry I wanted to start a company in. Back then in Seattle, it was the professor of a marketing course who made me aware of the discipline of Amazon Marketing, which was still quite unknown at the time. It was very fitting to the business environment of the city as the e-commerce giant was founded and has its headquarters there. I then took the decision to turn the idea of my own start-up into reality and start Remazing relatively quickly after I returned to Germany.

What is the vision behind Remazing?

Even though the global e-commerce industry has been experiencing massive growth already for many years, we believe that online retail is still in its early stages. Last year, in particular, the COVID-19 pandemic showed how much digital potential still has not been exploited in commerce worldwide.

Our goal is to be the #1 global partner for manufacturers of products and brand companies through our hybrid approach as an agency and software provider, helping them to be successful on all e-commerce marketplaces. We are convinced that, in principle, every brand can write its own e-commerce success story. It is our daily motivation to provide the best possible support for doing so. 

What have been the biggest challenges and how have you financed Remazing so far?

Since the start of Remazing, we have managed to grow and be profitable without external investors. Thanks to the positive results we constantly achieve for our clients, we have always been recommended to other companies. Like this, we have almost doubled in terms of turnover, size of our team, and the number of our clients every year. This has enabled us to finance our development from being an agency to becoming an integrated tech service provider from our own cash flow. 

Despite all advantages, the “bootstrapping” approach of course also provides some challenges. Like all start-ups, we had to learn some things the hard way in the first few years of our existence. Among others, we had to face the challenge of diversifying our client portfolio especially in the beginning, and planned our office capacities a bit too carefully. Due to our positive development, there were times, during which we no longer had enough meeting rooms available as our team grew larger and larger. By now, we have already moved into our third office – but this time, it should provide enough space for the next few years. 

It is also a challenge to gradually increase the number of your employees as the demand for your services grows, especially since we are naturally a bit more cautious about how we spend our money without having external investors that finance us. By taking in venture capital, we could certainly hire more people more quickly. However, our approach is based on quality and sustainability, so we prefer to grow organically from our own resources.

Who is your target audience?

In addition to leading CPG corporations and listed companies like Henkel, Remazing’s clients include digitally native brands like HelloBody and large medium-sized companies like MAM. These types of companies are the target group for both our agency activities and our software solution Remdash.

What is the USP of your startup? How do you differentiate yourself from other companies?

Our team works with our clients at eye level. Thinking and acting like an entrepreneurial partner, Remazing gives its all every day to bring out the best for them on Amazon and other online marketplaces. In doing so, we act with foresight and proactively propose new solutions based on our data-driven approach. 

What sets us apart from other service providers in our market is the fact that we have been working with our clients internationally since Day 1. For each market in which Amazon is active, our respective country teams, consisting of native speakers, know the local peculiarities. At our headquarters in Hamburg, digital natives from more than 15 different countries work in the areas of consulting, creation, content, advertising, data analytics, and tech. This allows us to offer our clients everything for their global e-commerce sales activities from a single source.

One of our greatest strengths in this regard lies within the areas of content and advertising.

In particular, we offer market-leading solutions for Amazon SEO, premium brand content, and graphic optimisation. Visual content is one of the most important levers for successfully using Amazon as a sales channel. On top of that, our team of experts takes care of sponsored ad campaigns, for example. As a “verified Amazon DSP Partner”, we are also one of the few providers in the market with in-depth expertise in Amazon DSP (“Demand Side Platform”). Amazon DSP enables programmatic advertising based on Amazon data. Since the beginning of the year, Amazon has been focusing on a stronger integration with its subsidiary platform Twitch, for example, which we have opened up as a further advertising channel for our customers accordingly.

In addition, we also support our customers in an advisory role when it comes to negotiations with Amazon. With regard to the booming “Amazon Seller” sector, we are also helping more and more clients to build up their marketplace channel, including large brand manufacturers who used to be very deeply anchored on the traditional retail side for most of the time. On that note, it is an advantage that we have both former and active sellers on our team. As a company, we have sold products via Amazon ourselves and thus know first-hand what needs to be considered for successfully doing so.

A particularly important development for the future is the introduction of our own tech product Remdash. We have developed it over the last few years based on our agency work. Our own software solution helps our clients to keep control of their activities on Amazon and to automate numerous manual operations. With Remdash, we can also serve companies that do not use our agency services. It is extremely important to us that we always offer our customers the best technological solutions. In this regard, we also want to work more with artificial intelligence (AI) in the future.

Where do you see yourself and your startup Remazing in five years?

Our goal is to become the #1 company in our field and to be the best global partner for our customers for selling their products on Amazon and also other e-commerce marketplaces such as Otto.de in Germany, Bol in the Netherlands, Allegro in Poland, or Walmart in the US. To achieve this, we are planning to continue to grow substantially and expand internationally over the next few years, including opening offices abroad. We want to continuously acquire new customers, hire more employees and, in addition to our agency work, also establish our software solution Remdash as one of the leading tools for Amazon Marketing worldwide.

What 3 tips would you give to aspiring founders?

Persevere when things get tough

Once you are on your way and building your own start-up, there will inevitably be not only ups but also downs. Mistakes happen, things do not work out – that is completely normal. But the most important thing is to not lose faith in your own idea, your own team, and the market you are operating in. In the first few months of Remazing, we basically had no revenues. It would have been easy to give up back then. But our persistence and perseverance paid off over time. 

Build your company culture consciously

The team is the most important asset of any company. That’s why founders should focus on consciously building their company culture and hiring accordingly. High standards pay off in the long run in this respect, as you can only win with a strong team. 

Grow without investors if possible

Depending on what kind of product or service you want to offer as a company, it might make sense or even be necessary to bring investors on board. In the early days of Remazing, we also had talks with business angels, among others, and considered raising some initial growth capital. In the end, however, we decided against it in order to maintain our independence and grow out of our own cash flow by simply doing good work and satisfying our clients. I would recommend this to every founder if the possibility to build your company without external capital exists. 

Thank you Hannes Detjen for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

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