In this Prime Talk Podcast Video Sponsored by GETIDA, Andy Hopper, the founder, and CEO of Global E-commerce Experts shares his eCommerce Expansion story.
Most e-commerce sellers want to grow their online businesses and move into different markets. But, expanding your business into a new country can be daunting! However, if you have the right support and the right help, it can also be a piece of cake! Yoni Mazor of PrimeTalk discusses the things that are necessary when you want to scale and expand your business into a foreign marketplace.
In today’s episode, PrimeTalk has teamed up with Andy Hooper, the found and CEO of Global E-Commerce Experts, a full-service solution provider for e-commerce business owners looking to expand into foreign marketplaces. Global E-Commerce Experts not only help with VAT and customs issues, but they also provide 3PL solutions and account management among many other services.
Andy Hooper shares his personal story from selling clothing to pest control, from sailing and sports consulting to wedding photography, and finally how all these experiences contributed to the evolution of Global E-Commerce Experts. So if you’re an e-commerce business owner looking to expand into a new market, or even if you’re just a regular person trying to decide what that next step looks like for you on the journey of life, then this episode is for you.
Learn more about Global E-commerce Experts!
Learn more about GETIDA’s Amazon reimbursement solution software today!
Find the Full Transcript Below
Yoni Mazor 0:06
Hi, everybody, welcome to another episode of PrimeTalk. Today, I’m really excited to have a special guest. I’m having Andy Hooper. And he is the founder and CEO of Global eCommerce Experts, which is a leading global growth agency for Amazon sellers. So if you’re trying to expand globally, Andy is definitely the man to see. Andy, how are you? How’s everything?
Andy Hooper 0:26
I’m amazing. Yeah, everything’s great. Thank you very much. Thank you very much for having me on. It’s amazing to be here.
Yoni Mazor 0:32
Our pleasure really. Where are you located? Are you in London right now?
Andy Hooper 0:34
Everything’s good. Although I am in isolation. Yes, I’m about south, an hour south of London. So, but I’m at home. So I’m self isolating because I’ve been to the Netherlands to find a new warehouse. And because of that, here in the UK, you can isolate for 14 days. So trying to run a business from home when everyone’s in the office is interesting. In all honesty, it’s already thrown a few hurdles in the way. But it’s all part of the fun of running a business. That’s how life goes. So we’re all good.
Yoni Mazor 1:07
The life of an entrepreneur. Awesome. Okay, so today’s episode is basically going to be the story of Andy Hooper. So you’re gonna share with us, you know, where are you from? Where’d you grow up? Where’d you go to school? How did you develop your professional career? How did you end up in e-commerce? So without further ado, let’s just jump right into it.
Andy Hooper 1:25
Perfect. So I suppose I’m sort of thinking now. Oh, no. Where did I grow up? So clearly, for most of you, you’re going to know that I’ve got an English accent rather than a US accent. So that’s probably the first place to start. So I’m UK based. And I grew up in a little…in a county just north of London. It’s on the commuter belt into London. It’s a nice, I started my career going into London…
Yoni Mazor 1:51
Give it a shout out. What’s the little town, I guess, the London town that you grew up in? What’s the name?
Andy Hooper 1:57
The county is called Hertfordshire, and it’s a little place called Broxbourne.
Yoni Mazor 2:01
Andy Hooper 2:03
Yeah Bruxbourne in Hertfordshire. So Hertfordshire is like the county, or the state if you like. I mean, yeah,
Yoni Mazor 2:09
And Brugsborn? What was the name of the other?
Andy Hooper 2:11
Bruxbourne. Yeah, Bruxbourne. Yeah. So big shout out to the Bruxbourne Massive. There we go. It’s gonna be great to see if there’s anyone actually, there’s in our sort of e-commerce world there listens to different blogs on so if you do I think you should put something below because I think that’s going to be cracking.
Yoni Mazor 2:32
Put a comment below and say, you know, Andy, my guy, you know, we’re both from the same club, you know, from the same neighborhood.
Andy Hooper 2:38
They’ll be like, thank God, he got rid of us from Bruxbourne. He moved. Thank goodness.
Yoni Mazor 2:44
London, you can take! Or uh south London, where you located, I think you’re in Southampton. Is that true? Or no, it’s it’s just me?
Andy Hooper 2:50
So. So I started off in that sort of area. And then I started my career going into London, I worked for John Lewis, which was one of the largest department stores here in the UK, they had a management training scheme. So what we did is I sort of joined them when I left school to do their mat retail management training, because it was, I wasn’t sure what well, I still don’t know what I want to do. And I think a lot of us can probably vouch for that. So while I was enjoying working in a local shop, and I thought, Well, where do I want to carry on work in a shop where it’s got like a global program that can help me do that, at least I know, enjoy. It might not be what I want to do for the rest of my life. But at least this got a decent training program.
Yoni Mazor 3:32
Let’s get some perspective. So this is after you finished high school or finished college?
Andy Hooper 3:37
So finished college.
Yoni Mazor 3:38
So where’d you go to school in college, you kind of skipped the whole educational part?
Andy Hooper 3:41
Yeah, that was right into business. I went to Bruxbourne School, which was a school we…it’s sort of equivalent to sort of your 7/11 in your, in the States. And I got to the end of school education. I’m pretty vocal. And I like to be doing stuff. I’m not very good at sitting there listening to someone talk at me for hours on end, it just doesn’t appeal to my strengths.
Yoni Mazor 4:13
Yeah, the way that I see that you’re very good at absorbing, sorry, transmitting instead of absorbing.
Andy Hooper 4:17
What I’m good at absorbing, absorbing the things I want to absorb. Okay, is that fair? You know, more than fair? Yeah. And I think that that whole piece was an interesting piece. For me, I did fine at school I got decent grades, but it wasn’t something that I sort of really wanted to stick out.
Yoni Mazor 4:38
I see. You know, at least you got the ability to understand that about yourself, which is very important. Now you know yourself a bit better. I think that’s a major thing to say, you know, I know what I like, and I like to know what I like. So I’m going to focus on that, anything else is just noise to me. So let me stay focused. That’s one thing. So what was your major? What was the trajectory of your education back then?
Andy Hooper 5:01
Well, so when I left school, I then went to college. And in college, I did a uniformed services program and leisure and tourism course. Because at the time I wanted to go into the services, I was looking, I wanted to be a Royal Marine or go into the Navy. And that was sort of my, the route that I was, I was looking to go down. And what happened from there was when I started going to college, I started finding all the things that we tend to find in life as we grow up. You know, I was finding the opposite sex, I was getting a bit of freedom. I was finding the path. I was finding what we used to call the rave scene, the disco scene, whatever you want to call it.
Yoni Mazor 5:37
This was what year if you don’t mind?
Andy Hooper 5:39
This was 94-95-96.
Yoni Mazor 5:45
That’s cool. What was the music back then? That was Oasis or Guns and Roses?
Andy Hooper 5:49
I was more into jungle and drum and bass. So it was a bit more sort of hardcore if you like.
Yoni Mazor 5:57
Andy Hooper 5:58
It was, it was great fun. And I spent a lot of time going to nightclubs and dancing.
Yoni Mazor 6:07
See you almost skipped the dancing part and went right into John Lewis.
Andy Hooper 6:10
Exactly. Yeah, I, yeah, I used to enjoy a good dance. It was one of those things where it was just great fun. So I went through that whole piece. And in college, my focus was to get into the Navy or the Marines. And then I realized I got down into a position where someone said, okay, I went through the interviews to sign up. And it was basically now a case of you, you’ve got to go now. Like do you want to go? Do you do or do not want to go? And I think someone said to me, Andy? Do you really want to actually go and have to, you know, do what you need to do, when you wear a uniform?
Yoni Mazor 6:47
And you know, go on a boat or vessel and, you know, conquer the world? The British way?
Andy Hooper 6:51
Yeah, I think that part was okay for me. It was the piece where you do realize that you may actually have to fight someone or physically shoot someone.
Yoni Mazor 7:03
Yeah, engage in battle. Yeah. And to me…happened to me that I was in the Navy, my home country, of Israel. I was in the Navy for three years, and we had a war. And guess what, you know, people got hurt.
Andy Hooper 7:16
And when you’re 17-18 years old, going to nightclubs, dancing your friends and finding the opposite sex, you know? In all honesty, that’s not necessarily what you want to do.
Yoni Mazor 7:27
Yeah it’s a big discord. I mean, every region with its own battles. Alright, so what was the switch for you if you didn’t go to the Navy? And then what happened? What was the next station?
Andy Hooper 7:33
Well, that’s when I then thought, Well, I better do something with my life. So that’s when I was working in a shop, I was quite enjoying, you know, I had, you know, I was running a clothes shop. Not me, I, you know, I was just running a department of it, an evening occasion. And I was getting a bit of management experience. And they were leaving me to it. And, you know, it was just a Saturday job and an evening job. That’s all it was, I was doing more and more time. Now. To be fair, I probably spent more time there than I did at college at times, I was more interested in working than I was in educating myself. And it was because I was educating myself in things that I just wasn’t really that interested in, if I’m honest. And I think that will give…if I look at the education I do now to then is completely different. You know, it’s because I want to learn and I want to absorb the things I want to learn, as well as then it’s someone telling me you’ve got to learn and you’ve got to absorb. I wasn’t really that keen on it. I think that now is a case of no, I want it. I’m hungry for that education. I’m hungry for the education in the things that I want to educate myself in, not, you know, my son come home from school the other day, he’s just started high school, secondary school. And he said, I really don’t like science. Like I just don’t like it. I’m like, oh, no history’s repeating itself.
Yoni Mazor 8:53
Andy Jr. Don’t worry though if you’re doing all right, he’ll be he’ll do right though, we do have a jury saying that you gotta educate the child based on his, the tracks that are laid out to him. And if the track is not science it’s something else, you know, encourage him and he’ll probably prosper in that route because it’s just the right fit. And I think you will probably end up pretty well but we’re in the middle of the story. So Alright, so you start working in a shop, kind of a side gig, but you find yourself actually excelling in it, you know, developing and getting some managerial experience. And that was when you entered into John Lewis?
Andy Hooper 9:26
Yeah, so they, they…It’s like okay, I need a career. So what do I need to do? So okay, who’s the market leader in retail? What’s the market leader sort of training program that can help me…Excuse me…that can put me on a path that will set me up for a career in a good standing and John Lewis has got a…you know Price Waterhouse Cooper? PWC? Most people probably would know them. They designed the course for John Lewis and help them to…
Yoni Mazor 9:50
PWC, Price Waterhouse Cooper, the accounting firm? Got it
Andy Hooper 9:54
And this piece comes into a later piece that I’m sure we’ll come back to. But they set it up. up. And I then applied for it, you 1000s of people apply for these management training schemes. And we, I was lucky enough to wing it and get myself in there somehow. And that piece really was a solid grounding into work and structure, but also discipline. So for example, one of the things is that if you’re late three times, I mean, you get disciplinary, there’s no, there’s no ifs, buts, or maybes. Like, when you’re working in a shop on a shop floor, what happens is, is that you, I sort of ended up becoming a manager. And one of the things was, you know, if you went out to lunch and came back, you had to be back at that exact time, because the next person needed to go to break. And if you didn’t, you then set everyone off late. And that created issues.
Yoni Mazor 10:46
Yeah, this is a, this is a dynamics of business where it’s rigid, it’s about money-making, and you cannot kind of deviate because you’re part of a big, I guess, team. And the structure is extremely important.
Andy Hooper 10:57
And this is exactly it and that was a really solid structure grounding base. For me, it gave me the structure of management, you know, it gave me the real life experience of management. And what happened was did the management training scheme, it was 18 months, by 12 months, I’ve been promoted. And then they I think, just got sort of shoved from different departments, different departments in a degree. And, you know, I went in and, and you stepped up, I knew nothing about the stock. It wasn’t about, you’re the manager of this department, and you’ve got to be an expert in this department, it was more about, hey, you’re now a manager of that department. You didn’t know anything about the stock. But the systems and the processes are all the same. The stock is just, you’ve then got individuals who are experienced, have been there for 30 years, that know the stock inside out. So work with it. So it was real good grounding from that point of view, you don’t need to know anything about what you’re managing. What you need to know is the system, the process, and how to get the best out of individuals, so they can sell the stock and work with the stock. I think that was the number one takeaway for me that, as a manager, you don’t need to know what you’re managing, you just need to know the system and the process, and how to get the best out of people.
Yoni Mazor 12:13
Yeah the protocols and the procedures that make it all work in sync, like a conductor, he doesn’t have to know every single note and every single instrument and how to play it, he knows all the players, he knows what’s their ins and outs, and he knows how everything is conducted. And he plays on it. So that’s great, I guess, experience to get so early on and also built by PWC. Price Waterhouse Cooper, you can really not get it wrong. It’s the top of the line on a global level. Okay, so let’s, let’s put some chronology. So which year are we now? Where are you? You’re with John Lewis, you finish this course, a specialty leadership course. Then what was the next station?
Andy Hooper 12:49
So that was 2000. And then from there, I then was like, okay, so where do I see me next going, I was like, sales. Like I was into doing sales and the selling part of the retail, but retail is not known for perhaps having the best salary in the world. So I said, Okay, well if I want a career and I want to develop, and I want to get my own more money or buy a house or whatever, I need to get to the next step. So I saw that the sales roll would be the next step. And it was okay. So where would be a market leader? Who would be a good place to start? And where could I have some fun? Cuz I still wanted to have fun, you know, I still wanted to enjoy what I was doing.
Yoni Mazor 13:27
A healthy positive environment, the business environment at least.
Andy Hooper 13:32
Exactly that so I came across a role for Rentokil Pest Control. So I think Rentokil was a global name in the States as well, if I’m not mistaken.
Yoni Mazor 13:41
I think so. It was like a green logo, if I’m not mistaken.
Andy Hooper 13:44
Yeah. So red logo, red, red, sort of, basically, what it is, is pest control. So I was selling pest control. And you know what, it was one of those things that was just great fun. On top of a solid sales structure, process and system, was just saying that going talk to people, get to know them, build up a relationship with them, and then sell them what they need.
Yoni Mazor 14:07
But this was still a b2b sales? or b2c?
Andy Hooper 14:10
It was both. So the area that I looked after was an area in London that had a sort of…Kentish Town and Camden Town, which is in North London, iI’s Kentish Town is a lot more council estates areas. Camden Town is upcoming, it’s got, so it’s got a number of properties on there when I was there, the properties ranged from 20 million for one house. And then you know the next time you’re going to a house in Kentish town which is, you know, it’s a council estate.
Yoni Mazor 14:47
$20 million mansions in Camden Town in London, when they place an order for pest control, what’s the scope of the work? What’s the…how much they pay for that, for example?
Andy Hooper 14:58
It could be literally anything. So you walk in and it could be they had got they’ve got moths so therefore they need, you know, keep up fumigation if you engage in everything, or they might just have pigeons or they might need. I mean like literally anything could happen.
Yoni Mazor 15:14
So they start from 10,000 pounds, 100,000 pounds to uh..?
Andy Hooper 15:18
It literally could be anything from 300 pounds job to a 20,000 pound job and anywhere in between.
Yoni Mazor 15:23
Okay, but did you ever do some royal treatment to the royal palaces or estates?
Andy Hooper 15:29
Now they’re a bit outside of my area, there’s no, there’s no castles involved in, no palaces on this occasion. The other area I had was something called Euston Road, which was all business to business. So I got both the business-to-business sales and the business-to-consumer direct to consumer type model, which from a sales point of view, you don’t always get. So not only have I got the sort of retail grounding of them built on that and then put the sales environment on top of that, which has given me the sort of management and sales experience all into one. And that was amazing. I did really, really well in the sales really, really enjoyed it. But anyone that has worked in sales that constant over and over and over again, you either love or you hate. And I absolutely loved it. Right until the point on a Sunday evening, I was in a pub with my friends. And they said to me, we’re going to Faliraki on Saturday. Do you want to come with us on holiday? Which it’s like a holiday place in Greece.
Yoni Mazor 16:25
What was it called?
Andy Hooper 16:26
Yoni Mazor 16:28
Faniraki? Is that like an island in Greece or something?
Andy Hooper 16:31
So Rhodes is the island, Faliraki is a place within in that. So Rhodes is the island in Greece. They said we going now, we’re gonna go and work there for the summer. And I was like, You’re gonna do what? Like, we’re gonna go work there for the summer. Like, what are you gonna do? They’re like, I don’t know, we’re just gonna go and see what happens. We can go to work in a club, we get to dance every night. And we’re just gonna have fun. Anyway.
Yoni Mazor 16:53
And What year is this? What year is this, is this 2001?
Andy Hooper 16:55
So this is 2001.
Yoni Mazor 16:57
So you’re about a year into the company and all of a sudden there is a plot twist.
Andy Hooper 17:04
I been there for 18 months and this is in my head on a Sunday night. Monday morning, I go to work. I’m there you know, I’m selling and I have a rubbish day. Absolutely rubbish. So I walked into the boss’s office at the end of the day, handed my notice in, and said, I’m off at the end of the week. He’s like, Where are you going? I’m going to Greece for the year, I’m off for some fun.
Yoni Mazor 17:26
Oh, wow. It was with your friends and a random Sunday in a pub. Your friends are like we’re going to Greece for a year. Let’s cut it all out and have a good life. Wow.
Andy Hooper 17:35
That was it. And I was in a sales environment. I was earning really, really good money. You know, I was doing really well, I was progressing within the company, you know, hundreds of sales a minute and I was in the top, top 10% with ease. And I was looking to try and get into the top five, you know, within that next six months.
Yoni Mazor 17:55
Yeah the upper echelon of the organization in terms of at least pay. Well, what was the trigger for you to basically do that, looking back? Well, what compelled you to take a break on business? And, you know, push the eject button and fly to Greece?
Andy Hooper 18:10
I think there were a lot of things going on in my head. There was a craving to go and do something different. There was the pressure of sales day in day out. There was the pressure of life’s too short what’s going on. Someone in the family had had a breakdown, and you know, it all gone a bit, you know, I’m thinking do I want to spend all my life, you know, like this? Yeah, or do I want to just go and enjoy myself for summer? And just, if I take six months out, I’m going to come back six months time, there’s going to be no difference whatsoever. But I’ve had an amazing experience. So I thought…sod it. Let’s do it.
Yoni Mazor 18:51
Wow. So you went there, how long would you say you’re there? Six months? A year?
Andy Hooper 18:54
So I didn’t know…no it wasn’t quite that long in the end. It was about five months. Because my nan was really… you know, I had to come home cuz my nan was ill. You know, she passed away. So I came back.
Yoni Mazor 19:03
And just sorry for the dialect difference. So nan is for your grandmother, yeah? Got it.
Andy Hooper 19:10
Yeah, that’s correct. Yeah. So I came back on the ninth…so that I came back on the ninth, on the seventh of September 2001. And we obviously know what happened two days later there.
Yoni Mazor 19:21
Andy Hooper 19:23
Yeah, I mean, it was horrendous. So, you know, life sort of started changing then, like that was sort of a crunch point that lots of things were changing for everyone. And, you know, the economy was changing, things were changing. So I then started looking at, you know, what do I really want to do and, and having spent time away, I didn’t really want to go back into an environment that was sales orientated, or ready to just take a step back. I’m going to enjoy time, my friends. And what I really wanted to do was go and teach sailing around the world.
Yoni Mazor 19:54
Sorry, you’re saying it’s a bit of a what? Sorry. Hold on, you said you wanted to sail around the world and it’s a bit of a what? You got a little bit of cut-off. Sorry, I apologize.
Andy Hooper 20:04
Sorry. Yeah. So what I decided is what I wanted to do was go teach sailing around the world, so not sail around the world, go and teach it. So, I’ve sailed all my life. And I’ve got the ability to go an