Aspiring entrepreneurs gathered at Huntington’s LaunchPad this week to learn about e-commerce and product sales on Amazon.com.
Huntington LaunchPad director Phil Rugile introduced the location as a co-working space for entrepreneurs and startups. “The idea is that you’re sitting next to people who are doing what you’re doing,” said Rugile. “They might have different skill sets than you have, so you can collaborate and get to know each other. We just try to get people in an environment where they can really focus on what they have to do to get their businesses launched.”
Hasan Hasmani and Brandon Fuhrmann use LaunchPad’s space to work on various entrepreneurial endeavors. “Me and Brandon joined about three months ago,” said Hasmani. “We work with everyone, we chat with everyone. It’s a great co-working community.”
Hasmani and Fuhrmann hosted Tuesday’s meeting.
Hasmani started selling on Amazon three years ago. “After my junior year in college, I Googled, ‘How to make money selling online,’” he told those in attendance. “I took a couple courses, and started selling stuff from Walmart. From there I started a massive wholesale operation. This February I started my own brand, called Private Label, and my own board game brand [Underdog Games], and I now sell a board game called ‘Trekking the National Parks.’”
Fuhrmann also began selling on Amazon three years ago. “I started out selling oil paintings online, until I realized that was the worst thing you could sell online,” Fuhrmann said of his early e-commerce experience. “So, I went to law school, and while I was in law school I sold my books on Amazon. Long story short, now I’m here.” Fuhrmann and Hasmani met through a networking group for people selling more than a million dollars a year on Amazon.
The duo took time before their presentation to ask those in attendance about their experience-levels and goals. Some people in the audience boasted more than 10 years of e-commerce experience, while others were simply in attendance to find out what their options were. Product sales ranged from kitchenware and auto parts, to vegan snack boxes and ping pong tables.
Fuhrmann and Hasmani’s presentation went on to detail their own journeys in e-commerce, the basic ins and outs of building a brand, and an overview of making and maintaining sales.
Hasmani’s closing advice to the crowd was, “Once you find success, dig deep.”
One man, named Hector, came all the way from the Bronx for the meetup. “I thought this event was great,” Hector said. “It was cool to see people doing different stuff, but all trying to make sales online. It’s not just me out here.” He looks forward to returning to LaunchPad for future Amazon Sellers meetups.
Separate from his presentation, Hasmani spoke about the assets Long Island, and Huntington in particular, bring to the table. “There’s real community here,” Hasmani said. “There’s a connection to everyone.”
On the other hand, even though Long Island has so much to offer, Hasmani has found that building an entrepreneurial base here has its challenges. “Long Island has everything except millennials,” Hasmani said. “Millennial housing just isn’t a thing.” But Hasmani has hope that meetups like this, and spaces like LaunchPad, will lead to more interest and involvement with startups, business, and innovative thinking.
“We’re pretty much the hub for startup activity on Long Island,” said Rugile about LaunchPad. Now we wait to see what grows from that entrepreneurial core.
Future Amazon Sellers meetups are posted on Meetup.