Just Saying No to Amazon


"When we are not sure, we are alive."
— Graham Greene

Someone told me recently that 90% of pre-Christmas on-line sales were made through Amazon last year. A recent TechCrunch article predicts Amazon will claim about 50% of all on-line sales in 2018. Our own Google Analytics tells me that people are increasingly googling terms like “Temperfect Amazon” and “Joeveo Amazon.”

Our Temperfect mugs are not sold on Amazon. Why?

I’ve always felt ambivalent about selling through Amazon. On one hand, tens of millions of shoppers are accustomed to buying there. Their rich store of customer reviews is valuable to those doing comparison shopping—I often read them myself before buying a product. I suspect that having our mugs on Amazon would be a good way to expose potential customers to new products like ours. Our products could be compared head to head with our competitors, who all sell on Amazon. We'd sell more. Amazon also has a program called Launchpad which looks nice. It helps startups with innovative products get started selling on Amazon.

On the other hand, well, Amazon just doesn’t feel right to me. I’m much more a maker than a businessman. I’m making Temperfect mugs because I love the challenge of making a better product than anyone else. I’m not doing it to make as much money as possible (though I do need to make some, of course). Amazon is the modern-day on-line Temple of Mammon. It’s all about money: Early Black Friday Deals! Free Shipping with Prime! Hot Sale! Today Only! Top Picks for You! Richest Man in the World... I started to set up a store for Joeveo on Amazon last year. One of the steps was agreeing to a 13-page (or so) “terms and conditions” contract that no one except the writer probably understands. Amazon also requires special product photography. All products sold there have to be represented on a white background, giving the whole site a not bad, but bland, uniform look.

I get it. Their job is to sell. They’ve studied human nature and and they use the techniques that work. They’re going to protect themselves legally with a contract that is in their favor. They want things to look neat and nice on their site.


"I still believe in the act of finding people who want to make the world better than the hyper-capitalistic status quo, and in listening, working, and dreaming together."
— Jordan Lee


It just all has my tendencies as a creative type screaming to get me out of here. So, for now anyway, I’m saying “no” to Amazon. I’m learning by doing with this project, so I’ll be learning if it’s possible, in this age of Amazon-Mammon, for a brand to not sell on Amazon and thrive.

As I mentioned, one of the nice things about Amazon is their customer reviews. If you have a Temperfect mug and would like to help us out, leaving a review on our Facebook page will help. I recently added a page to our website to show our Facebook reviews there too, so website visitors looking for product reviews will find them. Also, most of our current sales are to repeat and word of mouth customers—thank you!—it really does help us if you tell others about your magic Temperfect mug!

I think Jeff is OK now with us bypassing his island, but he was pretty PO'd there for a while.

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