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How Henry's House of Coffee Saved Time Selling on Amazon: A Conversation

Oct 12, 2020 4:26:49 PM

Amazon Consultant Partner Interview


At SupplyKick, we have the incredible opportunity to partner with smart, forward-thinking brands like Henry’s House of Coffee. To learn more about how we’ve teamed up to grow their business on Amazon, read their Case Study.

We recently spoke with Hrag Kalebjian, Manager of Business Development and Operations for Henry’s House of Coffee, about their journey from a local coffee shop staple to expanding their ecommerce business on the Amazon marketplace. What became clear after just a few minutes of speaking with Hrag was how dedicated they are to staying true to their roots while providing a meaningful, consistent customer experience both in-store and online—and just how confusing selling on Amazon can be for so many.

In this conversation, you’ll read about:

  • The frustrations that come with beginning to sell on Amazon 
  • Strategies for tackling Amazon logistics, selling FBA, and setting up a branded Storefront
  • How an Agency partnership can alleviate stress and take on the day-to-day management of Amazon
  • What it’s like working with SupplyKick

And with that, let’s dive right in...

Tell us the story behind Henry's House of Coffee and how you got started with Amazon.

Henry’s House of Coffee was founded in 1965, and my father purchased the business in 1983. I grew up in the business but didn’t actually get involved until 2013, after a 10-year career in corporate finance. At first, my goal was to grow Henry's House of Coffee’s brand presence in the local Bay Area—I wanted people to know who we were, because even though we’ve been there for a long time, nobody really knew about us or what we stood for.

In 2015, I decided to shift my focus from the local to national level. We rebranded and centered Henry's House of Coffee around family, tradition, and coffee roasting. When we created a website in 2014 we were doing about 20 orders a month—now we sell about 1,400 orders every month. Obviously we’ve seen some significant growth in the ecommerce realm, but I was always hesitant to sell on Amazon because I heard nightmarish stories about them taking over the product listing, changing pricing, and the logistics of it all being confusing.

But I kept finding myself buying stuff on Amazon, so I started researching how to sell on the marketplace. To be honest, getting started was a disaster. The program is super complicated, especially as a seller of consumable goods. I was just trying to grow my business and had no idea how to do anything on Amazon. I just didn’t have the bandwidth. 

How did you first hear about SupplyKick and why did you decide to form an Agency partnership?

When I experienced how complicated selling on Amazon was going to be, I realized I couldn’t afford to do this myself. So I just started Googling “Amazon selling consultant” and “Amazon seller help,” and SupplyKick came up. I immediately sent an email. The next day I received a reply and set up a call. The experience was refreshing—it wasn't pushy or salesy.

On the call, SupplyKick asked what my goals were, and I remember enjoying the honest conversation we were having. At the end of the day, I thought to myself, “I'm going to take the dive and make the investment for my family’s brand. It will be worth it.”

What were your biggest challenges and pain points trying to sell on Amazon?

First, I couldn’t figure out how the expiration date should be set for coffee on Amazon. Do I just make it up? Does it have to be six months from the roasted date? Can I use the best by date? Can I use the date it was roasted? The answers to these questions just weren’t available wherever I searched. When I reached out to Amazon Seller Support, I never received an answer. They would point me to a link that would send me somewhere I had already been. It was extremely frustrating to never receive an accurate answer from Amazon. 

And then I just wanted to get a sense of shipping cost. I know my product costs, and I can calculate the margin that I need to make, but I didn’t know how to figure out how to ship my product to one of Amazon’s distribution centers. How much does that cost? And then I found out about selling FBA, but I had no idea where to even start with the application.

I also saw that if you're selling on Amazon, you have to have a good Storefront or customers won’t trust your brand. I'm not a designer, I don't have time to learn how to design, but I knew you needed that to be successful.

Amazon Agency Consultant Services

Where do you feel like SupplyKick has been and continues to be most helpful to you?

To start, SupplyKick explained to me exactly what I needed to do regarding my situation with the expiration date. They even helped with the size and font of the expiration date, which I didn’t realize is something that needed to be taken care of. They were also super helpful and walked me through the process of applying to sell FBA and how to create a label to ship to Amazon. On the advertising side, they’ve been an immense help as we try to get our product noticed on Amazon. 

My Account Manager is really great at looking at my products and advising me on what needs to be done. It was their idea to create a variation for our product—instead of having four unique products with four separate product detail pages, we created one variation with four options. They pointed out that when customers land on the detail page, they'll also see the other variations of the products. For me, those little things are what I was hoping they could provide for me. 

I've been very happy with the level of service, weekly updates, and technical level of expertise provided by SupplyKick. I now have the extra time and resources to take a high-level look at Henry’s House of Coffee and understand where the business is currently, where I want the business to go, and even plan ahead for the holiday season.

What have you enjoyed most about working with our team so far?

I love how in tune we are with each other. The conversations I have with my Account Manager and the rest of the team are frank and honest. I think that's one of the things that I really appreciate about the team, on top of the technical expertise. I can ask logistical questions or technical advertising questions and I know I will receive an accurate answer. And I feel like we have really good communication—I can email them at any time and I’ll always get a response back whether it's an email or a phone call.

I just feel like I can trust them. It's not just blowing smoke. We’re looking at data-driven metrics and making decisions that will impact my business for years.

Last but not least: The entire SupplyKick team is a huge fan of coffee, so we’re curious—what sets Henry’s House of Coffee apart?

I get that all the time! The answer is: we're not selling you coffee, we're selling you our tradition and our heritage of coffee roasting. If you buy coffee from us, you're going to get a sense of family. You're going to get a sense of story—of something that we've produced for a long time. And we get coffee from all over the world: Central America, South America, parts of Africa, and sometimes unique places like Jamaica. 

But what really sets us apart is, if you like dark roast, my father has perfected his roasting style so it comes out very smooth. Dark roasts typically taste like charcoal and you need to water it down with milk and sugar. But my father’s dark roast—you can drink it black.


Thank you for taking the time to speak with us, Hrag! Looking to implement similar strategies and save less time while achieving more with an Amazon Agency consultant? Connect with SupplyKick.

Read the Henry’s House of Coffee Case Study for more on their Amazon story and results.

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