Simplicity is complicated. Just ask DL Byron, who set out to perfect, patent, and sell the world’s simplest device for re-sealing any bag in your pantry.
"It's the hardest thing I've ever done," he says.
If you can sell a product in your sleep, then you can be successful. Really, that's what FBA did."
Byron and an industrial designer went through prototype after prototype before finally reaching all of their goals on the 26th try. The result is Clip-n-Seal, a made-in-the-U.S.A. product that Byron struggles to manufacture fast enough to keep up with demand from Amazon customers. "It's amazing. We're selling all we can make."
That's a big deal to Byron, who has vivid memories of tweaking that 25th not-quite-right prototype and waking up in the middle of the night, filled with stress that his "entirely self-funded" venture might fail and drag his family down.
It didn't fail. Byron has built a thriving company by following the same guiding principle that worked so well for his best-selling product: simplicity. After a fleeting try at juggling all business tasks himself, he crunched the numbers and concluded that relying on Amazon was the simplest, best way to go. He's sold on Amazon since 2005 and used Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) to store his inventory and fulfill his customer orders since 2007.
Byron remembers the days before FBA when he had to ship everything himself. "It's a massive time suck to fill all these orders. And shipping is enormously expensive." Bottom line: "If you can sell a product in your sleep, then you can be successful. Really, that's what FBA did."
Byron, who's willing to tweak something 25 times until he gets it right, has stuck with Amazon because it gives him the tools to keep up with the evolving customer demand. He's had no need, for example, to create his own smartphone app to sell Clip-n-Seal to on-the-go customers. "You know your customers are mobile now. Just point them to Amazon."
Clip-n-Seal has succeeded in ways Byron never even intended. Crime scene investigators use it to seal bagged evidence. Dairy farmers use it. Byron's company even made a custom version that NASA uses in outer space.
Where will Clip-n-Seal go next? That's up to the customers. "We're popular with breastfeeding moms too," Byron says. "That's what happens. People think of things to use it with."
DL Byron is one of thousands of innovators thriving because of Amazon customers.