March 08, 2022

Sell Like a Girl: A Woman’s Take on the Amazon Industry, Or What It Means to Be a Female Seller

Sell Like a Girl: A Woman’s Take on the Amazon Industry, Or What It Means to Be a Female Seller

The past decade has been marked by unprecedented wins for women across various professional communities.

Is the glass ceiling fully broken? It’s not, but in some cases, the cracks are already big enough to climb through.

This International Women’s Day is dedicated to the theme of #BreakTheBias. Is Amazon and the overall e-commerce landscape still full of bias against female entrepreneurs? Only women themselves can answer that.

That’s why for March 8, we asked six incredible women who know the Amazon industry in and out to share their thoughts on how it feels to be a female entrepreneur within e-commerce and how Amazon treats female sellers.

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Breaking the Bias: 6 Takes on the Female Side of the Amazon Industry

We posed the same four questions to six women with different perspectives on the Amazon industry—from those who actually sell on the marketplace to those who work in Amazon-related fields.

Given the knowledge, the experience, and the outlook these women have, you’ll hear about everything from the overall Amazon gender landscape to actual advice on being an entrepreneur in what was once a ‘man’s world’.


#1. “... I see more and more women joining this work environment by the day.”—Stefania Pilindavic, Director of Client Services at Bellavix

Stefania Pilindavic, Director of Client Services at Bellavix

1) Do you think gender affects the way that people are perceived or treated in the Amazon industry?

Of course!

Truth be told, men and women are different. And that's a fact. We're just biologically set up to cater to different needs. For example, by pure nature, men have riskier personalities and tend to think less about the possible consequences. It's deeply ingrained in their nature from ancient history when they would go and hunt for food while women were taking care of the offspring. Women tend to be more cautious and methodical when making decisions.

It might seem banal, but it's part of the reason why both women and men question women at their jobs, especially in leadership positions. Deep down, even though this opinion has changed on the surface level, it's still very much true.

Think about it! Men are always described as the boss, while women don't usually get this title. If women demand respect and hard work, they are described as bossy. Being bossy does not have good connotations. And this right here is exactly what tells you how women are perceived in the work environment.

But this does not mean that women are any less good at their jobs; it just means we have more obstacles to overcome: society’s perception, our nature, the constant proving of ourselves and our skills, and constantly carefully choosing words.

2) In your opinion, are there any challenges facing women in particular in the industry?

Women are constantly facing challenges, and the e-commerce industry is no different.

Finding and maintaining the ideal work-life balance is the most challenging task for women. Although women have broken the glass ceiling more than ever in the last decade, they still feel guilt if they need to do something personal instead of focusing on the work 110% of the time.

We are constantly proving ourselves, especially if we are in higher positions, that we deserve it and that we are capable of doing the job, trying not to sacrifice the quality time we spend with our friends and family at the same time. And in the case that we fail at either one, we hear the "I told you so" or "I knew you couldn't do it" from society and ourselves because that sort of sentiment is ingrained so deeply in women.

Each and every step we take is then scrutinized, and everyone is just waiting (or wanting) for us to fail! It's challenging to be a woman and speak up. The current generation of women leaders and women in IT and marketing/e-commerce environments is taking all the pressure and burden for the future generations to come.

3) Do you notice a lack of women in the industry? If so, why do you think that’s the case?

I see a lot of women in operations and marketing, as it requires being detail-oriented and creative. At the same time, I see more men in the advertising area, as that requires more risk-taking.

The 21st century has brought great things, one of them being a remote work environment, and I see a lot of women taking advantage of that. This work brings women financial security, satisfaction, and a sense of accomplishment and usefulness. And I see more and more women joining this work environment by the day. But I cannot generalize because what I see are only some parts of the world, and I believe what I see is just a tiny fraction. The position of women in strongly patriarchal countries hasn't changed that much.  

Additionally, there aren't that many women in management and leadership positions. I wish there were more, so women could have more role models to look up to and know they are not alone!

4) What advice would you give to a woman considering a business on Amazon? What do you wish you had known?

  1. You can have ambition! Don't feel bad about striving to be the best version of yourself. It will most definitely benefit those around you, but, most importantly, you will feel satisfied and content!
  2. Take care of yourself! Amazon's industry is highly dynamic and constantly changing. You need your focus and energy levels to be top-notch if you want to succeed. Do whatever you enjoy so you can recharge and grab the bull by its horns.
  3. Find a company that truly supports you! I am lucky to work for a company with a perfect balance: 50-50 male and female employees!
  4. Women are emotional. That's a fact too. Rather than fighting your feelings, embrace them! They will reflect your enthusiasm and passion for your work.
  5. Learn how to prioritize and effectively manage your time. Truly learn this: don't just say you want to! It's going to benefit your entire life and well-being, finding the right balance between personal and work life. Once you master this, there's nothing you can't do!

#2. “...Women have a strategic advantage when it comes to e-commerce”—Daniela Bolzmann, founder at MindfulGoods.co

Daniela Bolzmann, founder at MindfulGoods.co

1) Do you think gender affects the way that people are perceived or treated in the Amazon industry?

Gender affects the way people are perceived and treated in every industry, but women also have a strategic advantage when it comes to e-commerce.

According to Inc, we make up 70-80% of consumer purchasing; this means we have a unique opportunity to not just identify gaps in the market but intuitively understand what it takes to stand out and sell a product online.

That is one of the reasons we have an all-female team of Amazon creatives at MindfulGoods.

2) In your opinion, are there any challenges facing women in particular in the industry?

Women have far less access to start-up capital. We have brilliant ideas and marketing chops, but funding is not equally distributed. Capital is very much needed in e-commerce businesses for product development, inventory, marketing, and cash flow.

3) Do you notice a lack of women in the industry? If so, why do you think that’s the case?

I am one of a handful of Amazon agencies owned by a woman. In the last 90 days, I’ve spoken to 50+ agency owners and 95% of them were male. We have an all-female team of Amazon creatives and we support many female and male clients with brands that sell on Amazon.

4) What advice would you give to a woman considering a business on Amazon? What do you wish you had known?

Amazon provides a great platform for reaching almost any audience when the demand is there, BUT you would be wise to validate demand for the product before you create it.

Creating a great product is easy in my opinion. Selling products and turning a profit is the harder part. To be successful on Amazon, you need two things: 1) great product listings with exceptional content, 2) to find someone in your budget who is great at PPC advertising.


#3. “The world of Amazon requires tough skin and the removal of many self-imposed barriers”—Tamika Richie, CEO of www.100NormanC.com, and a Certified Public Accountant

1) Do you think gender affects the way that people are perceived or treated in the Amazon industry?

Yes, I do feel gender plays a role in how someone is perceived.

I would say it’s more than about Amazon but in the retail/e-commerce industry as a whole.

Amazon is a male-dominated industry. As such, we as women have to deal with hidden gender stereotypes when conducting business within the Amazon world. From attending trade shows, negotiating deals, bargaining with manufacturers, etc, we continuously deal with bias that I believe exists amongst many industries, not just e-commerce.

2) In your opinion, are there any challenges facing women in particular in the industry?

I will say if you have worked at all, the challenges facing women are the same. The industry is irrelevant. The notion that women are emotional, require coddling, are risk-averse, weak, indecisive are the same challenges faced in the e-commerce industry.

We as women expect these challenges. We now work to not necessarily overcome them but reach our targets in spite of them.

3) Do you notice a lack of women in the industry? If so, why do you think that’s the case?

There are many women-owned businesses in the e-commerce industry. But for Amazon, in particular, we are the minority and for those of us like myself who are African-American, we are the minority of the minority.

As far as the lack of women in the Amazon industry goes, I believe many women initially enter this industry without a good business foundation. In our previous lives, we have often worked in the background, and while we may have been great at completing tasks, we were not provided with the full opportunity to be more and do more.

The world of Amazon requires tough skin and the removal of many self-imposed barriers. If you’re tenacious, survival in the Amazon industry is highly possible. The women that I know who work in this industry are all badasses. They are silent warriors who have mastered skills that have evolved beyond just Amazon. They’ve created multiple streams of income with Amazon as the starting point.

4) What advice would you give to a woman considering a business on Amazon? What do you wish you had known?

  1. If you are not familiar with accounting, financials, etc., please take a business course introducing you to a balance sheet, profit and loss statement, statement of cash flows, inventory turnover rate, etc.
    Having this will prove valuable as “knowing your numbers” will help you project the trajectory of your business.
  2. Establish the business up front (bank accounts, mailing address, credit cards, etc.). Doing this early on will get you into the mindset that what you’re doing is indeed a business and should be treated as one. Many start selling on Amazon as a hobby and wait to see how it will work out. Changing your mindset at the beginning will put your business on the right path right away.
  3. The last piece of advice would be to trust your gut. The things that can be sold on Amazon are limitless, remove your blinders and think of the impossible. Do your research, but trust your intuition. It hasn’t failed me yet.

What I wish I had known before entering Amazon is that friends and family should not be relied upon for business or business advice. Also, I had a concrete set of skills that I initially didn’t think were useful when I started selling on Amazon. I was mistaken. If I had believed more in myself and my capability initially, I would not have taken a little longer to get my business to where it is today.


#4. “Don’t let those comments stop you from finding your spot at the table”—Robyn Johnson, CEO at Marketplace Blueprint and renowned Amazon expert

Robyn Johnson, CEO at Marketplace Blueprint and renowned Amazon expert

1) Do you think gender affects the way that people are perceived or treated in the Amazon industry?

There are some that will discount what you are saying, consciously or unconsciously, because you are a woman. I have even had someone, well-meaning, come up to me after a presentation and tell me that my content “was really good for being a woman!”

Now, this gentleman actually meant it as a compliment. He was genuinely surprised that a woman could provide value to his business.

However, that is not representative of the space as a whole. There are a lot of women that support the growth of women and there are some great male leaders in the space that work to make sure that female leaders have the chance to emerge.

2) In your opinion, are there any challenges facing women in particular in the industry?

While there is some prejudice, I think that sometimes we are our own worst enemies. Sometimes great females in the Amazon space are hesitant to speak or share openly in a group because they feel like they have to reach a specific level of achievement before they feel qualified to share.

Amazon is always changing, no one has it completely figured out. If you want to be heard, sometimes we have to speak up a little louder and ask for a spot at the table.  What you have to say has value, so it is important that you do speak up.

Our space can feel like a boys’ club, so it can be a challenge to find the right people to support long-term development and growth. However, they are out there, so don’t be afraid to keep looking!

3) Do you notice a lack of women in the industry? If so, why do you think that’s the case?

There are a lot more women in the space than there were 7-8 years ago, although if you look out at most conferences, there will be a lot more men than women. However, I have found that in the Facebook groups and mastermind groups there are a lot of great women out there growing amazing profitable businesses.

4) What advice would you give to a woman considering a business on Amazon? What do you wish you had known?

Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for a place at the table.

I know I am always nervous I will be seen as a know-it-all or too assertive. However, I wish I knew how many doors would open if I just turned the handle.

Some of the best friendships and support groups have been places that I have sought out and even invited myself along. Find other women that are building great things and learn from each other. A lot of experienced women in the space are happy to mentor and encourage others.

Finally, at some point, someone will say something really frustrating. I have had someone tell me I only got to speak on a panel “because I had boobs”, I have had people tell me how “lucky I am that my husband allows me to go to so many conferences”. You can’t control that, you can only control your reaction. I even find, for the most part, the people who say these things don’t even realize how offensive they are. Just don’t let those comments stop you from finding your spot at the table.

By stepping out there and meeting people and sharing, you will also encourage other women newer to our space. It is worth it!


#5. “I would advise women to go for it!”—Marie O’Shea, Co-founder of Pinformative Group Ltd.

Marie O’Shea, Co-founder of Pinformative Group Ltd.

1,2) Do you think gender affects the way that people are perceived or treated in the Amazon industry? In your opinion, are there any challenges facing women in particular in the industry?

I honestly don't think that women are at a disadvantage at all in the Amazon industry. We're definitely the minority, but I believe that we are treated fairly equally.

3) Do you notice a lack of women in the industry? If so, why do you think that’s the case?

I believe that there's a lack of women because the typical demographics of entrepreneurs are at the childbearing age, and running a business from home isn't a viable option for a lot of busy moms of that age.

4) What advice would you give to a woman considering a business on Amazon? What do you wish you had known?

I would advise women to go for it, but, like with anyone, learn the business thoroughly first before diving in. Master one skill set at a time.

I wish I had known how to better emotionally detach myself from a product rather than fighting a losing battle once a slew of sellers arrived to saturate the market niche, driving up CPC costs and competing for manipulated reviews and rankings.


#6. “There is no reason why gender should hold you back!”—Sacha Gorelik, Founder at Ecommcopywriter.com

Sacha Gorelik, Founder at Ecommcopywriter.com

A bit of a backstory…

I got married young, and by the time I was pregnant with my second child, my mind was brimming with business ideas that I could do from home.

After finishing my degree in Social Sciences, I started a very unprofitable "Etsy-style" website for Israeli artists. Eventually, I shut that website down as it was burning my cash and burning me out. What emerged was my apparent skill for copywriting and storytelling. Fast forward a few years and a few more babies later, and I now run Ecommcopywriter.com. My boutique agency provides e-commerce copywriting services for Amazon sellers and Shopify store owners. From speaking at conferences in Prague, Tel Aviv, and online, to working with incredible clients, it has been a wild and wonderful journey so far, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

1-3) Do you think gender affects the way that people are perceived or treated in the Amazon industry? Do you notice a lack of women in the industry? If so, why do you think that’s the case?

I do not believe gender has affected me in growing my business. I have always felt respected, valued, and encouraged by both my male clients and male business owners in the Amazon/e-commerce space.

I have noticed that around 80% of my clients are men. I do believe that women may be more averse to risk-taking, and choose to pursue other careers before starting their own companies. But, in recent years, more and more women have started their own Amazon businesses, and I have personally worked with many successful women running 6-7 figure businesses on Amazon/Shopify.

4) What advice would you give to a woman considering a business on Amazon? What do you wish you had known?

If you've got the guts PLUS knowledge, skills, and capital, anyone can succeed. There is no reason why gender should hold you back.

One thing I wish I knew is that success looks different for everyone. It took me a long time to realize that I could achieve the financial success I wanted without having a fancy office, tens of employees, and hundreds of clients per month. My style is to keep things small and have a personal connection with each client I work with. I treat their brand as if it were my own.

Happy Women’s Day and Don’t Let Anything Get in the Way of Your Amazon Success

As most of our interviewees agree, the e-commerce industry can be tough on women and they can still face some bias. Yet most of the obstacles appear to be in our heads, and that’s something that we have the power to change.

So, we want to express our admiration for all the women within e-commerce who are working their way through the challenges, opening up more and more pathways for other women who want to find their Amazon success and enrich the space with their hard work and amazing products and services.

In its turn, Sellzone is always here to lend you a hand and help you achieve everything you want to achieve in the marketplace.

Happy Women’s Day!


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