Michal Bohosiewicz launched less than 2 years ago its beekeeping products brand. Former Amazon employee, he managed to make it rise to the best of its industry. He was also one of our fist coworkers and a recognised member of the nyuko community. A few days before his departure from Luxembourg, we discussed with him about his experience and best tips.
What do you do for a living?
I have a company together with my business partner and we produce beekeeping apparel under the brand HumbleBee.
What was your dream job when you were a kid?
To have a business!
How does it feel like working daily in a coworking space?
It’s great, I love it! I’m not the type of person who can work alone, I need people. There are very few things I miss from having a job, but that’s one of them: having people around me, people who inspire me or just with which I can have a friendly talk. And it really couldn’t be much better than the experience I had with nyuko.
How do you organise your day?
My business partner lives in Vancouver, so that impacts my day because I have to be available in the evening. So usually what happens is that I come to work around 9 until 3 or 4p.m., then I go home and relax a bit. But when he wakes up and starts his day, we have our calls on current issues and based on that, I complete what I was working on. It’s difficult to really plan because we are in a phase of growth and there is always something new.
How do you split work between you and your business partner?
My business partner has the technical foundations, and I always had commercial jobs. I deal with manufactors, with quality-control companies, the logistics companies and most of our freelancers as well.
My business partner and I are very different, we don’t agree very often just on the feeling. Usually it takes some analytics and then we agree. But it’s fantastic and it really helped our business.
Both my business partner and I come from Amazon, so we believe in platforms, we know how to do business on them and how to scale it globally.
What are your milestones as an entrepreneur?
The first one was the first day when we launched ourselves and people were buying our products. It was unbelievable because it was the first time that I manufactured a product. When we saw order after order after order, we thought it was a mistake because we thought it would take a long time to get even one.
Another milestone was launching in the United States. Initially we launched in Europe and that was good. We resisted entering the US because we thought the competition was so strong that it would be very difficult for us. And when we finally gave it a shot, we did even better in the US than Europe.
The time when we thought we were profitable was a milestone. The next milestone was probably when we were actually profitable, a good ten months later!
The last one would be recently, when our website became a relevant source of sales. Both my business partner and I come from Amazon, so we believe in platforms, we know how to do business on them and how to scale it globally. What we didn’t have is the know-how on how to run a business with your own website.
How do you go from Amazon to beekeeping apparel?
I went to a beekeeping class, here in Luxembourg. I’m interested in a lot of things, I’m kind of nerdy. I told you that I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, so I see and test business opportunities all the time. This one just made sense. The competitive products were not that great, so we thought we could do better.
What are your goals for the year?
We are launching new products, including bee hives. The goal is to maintain the quality we have with our other products, which is a challenge because it’s a new manufactor.
Michal's interview with Quartzium about his business
How do you go from 0 to #1 in Amazon marketplace?
It’s fairly straight-forward: you make the best products, and you offer the best service. I think sometimes there is a bit too much focus on hacking the system, especially in e-commerce. There are no special tricks. If you want to dedicate your life finding those tricks, you probably could, but that would be a bad investment of your time.
It’s all about quality: quality of products and quality of service. I think in Europe the quality of service is just ridiculous. We got used to it in a certain extent but we shouldn’t be, we should expect more. If a customer buys my product and is not happy, I don’t care what it is, he is either getting a replacement or his money back, there is no other way. This customer should be more impressed about your company than a happy customer.
What selling channel would you recommend for startups willing to launch into e-commerce?
I think it depends on the product. What product are you offering? Are you distributing someone else’s product? Is the product already distributed in the market? Or are you the manufactor or brand owner? That’s question #1.
Question #2 is: what is the complete retail package? We tend to ask the question a little too late. This should be addressed before the product is designed. When you sell product online, that is going to make a huge difference. If you shorten the shipping box by 1cm you could save 50% on the shipping costs. There are certain products that are excellent to sell on platforms due to their volume/price ratio, and others that are difficult.
So it’s difficult for me to say one or the other, but I think that you should definitely explore platforms, especially if you manufactured your product. Amazon comes with a huge customer base – so does Ebay, so does Rakuten. It allows you to get to a certain volume of products.
You will soon leave Luxembourg, what will you miss the most?
The nyuko staff 🙂 Also my friends, and the small airport where I can come half an hour before the flight. Come to work by bike. Luxembourg is a nice little town, I had a very good time.