In this Prime Talk Podcast Video Sponsored by GETIDA, Yoni Kozminski discusses how setting proper structure for Amazon sellers can help them scale their businesses. Yoni is the founder of Escala and MultiplyMii, a consultancy and staffing solution focused on the eCommerce and Amazon space, shares his personal journey into eCommerce.
Many Amazon sellers have fairly successful businesses and can earn a significant amount of money. But what do you do if you want to expand? Understanding how to effectively scale your business is not easy. It’s not just about money, it’s about proper planning and proper staffing. Yoni Mazor from PrimeTalk discusses strategies that can help you scale your e-commerce business the right way.
In today’s interview, PrimeTalk sits down with Yoni Kozminski, the founder of Escala (a boutique process improvement and digital transformation consulting firm) and MultiplyMii (a consultancy that helps identify business operation and staffing needs and aids in finding the right employees for the job). Both consultancy firms help global e-commerce businesses reduce operating costs and increase profitability.
Yoni Kozminski shares with PrimeTalk his work experiences and how they drove him to create these two businesses on his own. So if you’re interested in scaling your e-commerce business but you don’t know where or how to start, or if you’re a budding entrepreneur looking for inspiration, then this episode is for you!
Visit MultiplyMii for more information.
Learn about GETIDA’s Amazon FBA reimbursement solutions.
Find the full transcript below
Yoni Mazor 0:00
Hey everybody! Welcome to another episode of PrimeTalk. Today, I have a really cool guest, I have Yoni Kozminski. Yoni is the founder of Escala and MultiplyMii, so two businesses, but for the most part, they’re a consultancy and a staffing solution, focused on e-commerce, and Amazon space and industry and so Yoni welcome to the show.
Yoni Kozminski 0:33
Thanks for having me, my friend and fellow owner of the name Yoni. Good to be here!
Thank you for your time and for joining us today. So yeah, this is, I can proudly say, this is the, you’re the first Yoni besides me on the show. So, this is the Yoni and Yoni episode, we’re kind of behind the scenes, we’re talking about getting like an M&M’s brand, maybe Y&Y brand candies, or whatever we can to make life sweeter for other people. But today’s episode is really going to focus on you. It’s going to be the story of Yoni Kozminski. So you’re going to share with us, you know, who are you, where are you from, where were you born, where were you raised? How did you enter the professional world, and what led you all the way to the e-commerce space? So I guess without further ado, let’s jump right into it.
Let’s do it mate! I guess you started off with, where am I from. So. I mean we’ve had chats before., but for those of you who don’t know and might be listening in, I’m Australian. The accent, I hope is still there because I’ve done a bit of global travel. So I grew up in the mean streets of Caulfield in Melbourne, Australia.
DId you say the ‘mean’ streets? You guys are like the nicest decent people in the world. I find that hard to believe there are mean streets, but if you say so, I believe it.
Nah, definitely not mean streets, mate, but I’ve had a lot of the privileges that you could hope for in life. Yes, I grew up in Melbourne, Australia, and spent my life… I went to, I mean, caught up before but I actually grew up at the Jewish school in Melbourne, and had kind of that formal private school education so like I said, not, not exactly mean streets so I’ve been really gifted and very fortunate in life to not have to worry about some of the things that, you know, people less fortunate. Yeah, definitely.
Do you know your origins? How your family ended up in Australia? Is there a backstory?
Yeah it’s you know what, well so I’ve got an Israeli father and an Australian mother. And so my grandparents are a real mix. I’ve got a German, Polish, Australian and Israeli grandmother. So, Eastern European Jews. Some of them got out of Germany, migrated to Israel, Poland, I mean, you know, kind of the classic, some classic Holocaust survivor stories…
So they migrated after the war? After the Holocaust? Or before? Or during?
So my parents posted that kind of era, but my grandparents. Yeah, one of them kind of went through the war in Poland, one of them got out of Germany just before the shit hit the fan, and one of them was actually born in Israel, which is quite rare. So, yeah, kind of…
The land of Israel before the State of Israel was established in 1948 you mean?
So, yes, so actually, my grandmother was born here, parents migrated here when they were like, in about 1925. And my grandpa and my, my, my grandfather was Polish. He actually got here a month before the State of Israel became the State of Israel, and left and went to Australia so if that timeline had shifted my accent might have sounded very different.
Very different. So one reason, the mean streets of Melbourne, privileged life in a private school, I guess a good environment, right? A good community. Where’d you go to school, I guess. I mean, after you graduated high school?
Yeah yeah, so I actually, when I was growing up, I always thought that I wanted to be an architect and so I went down that path and I actually, I studied at RMIT.
What’s that acronym? What’s that acronym for?
You know, less interesting acronym, but I think that the thing that’s interesting is on the first day that you go and start your architecture course they say, Look to the left of you. Look to the right of you. Only one of you are going to make it through. So it is brutal. So you’re sitting there on the first day, well at least I was, and I looked to my left, I looked to my right and I’m thinking “suckers I’m going to be the one that makes it through”. And within less than two years I was just another statistic. So I actually dropped out of architecture and realized that um…
So the school was in Melbourne?
Yeah, sorry it was in Melbourne.
And you called it R M I T?
RMIT. But the university that I did study Marketing at, that I after dropping out, I actually moved, and did marketing, and that was at the Swinburne University of Technology.
Swinburg University of Technology you said?
Close enough – Swinburne. It’s the accent.
Swinburne. Ok, so let’s touch your years a little bit. Now let’s go on to the chronology. So what year did you basically pivot into studying marketing?
So that would have been 2007 if I’m not mistaken. 2006. 2007 I got into, into kind of a marketing game, and I actually, my first job ever, I was…So, after graduating, I actually wanted to come, it’s funny, I was actually a very kind of like a big believer in the State of Israel when I was younger growing up and now the least kind of Zionistic if you will or anything like that at the least point that I am right now, actually have lived here for 4 years, so I’m probably skipping a few years ahead
Yeah by here he means..yeah you didn’t share with us yet but born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, but currently residing and living in Israel as an Israeli and, really, even though the thick Australian accent, which is lovely by the way, is still in your DNA, which is all good, it’s fine. So you’re saying in those times 2007, you know graduating. You’re getting your marketing degree, you were very passionate about Israel and the land of Israel and the State of Israel, also known as Zionism.
Correct, yeah so that was kind of a part of it, I wanted to kind of explore the world, and Israel just felt like a very natural progression for me. Having roots here, my father’s from here and, you know, I grew up very, very fond memories, and, you know, tell you a little bit later on, not to give some spoilers about what it’s like today, but I really wanted to get over here, and my parents were, just said, you know, first it just finished your degree and so I did that. Once I finished my degree, it was alright, I’m ready to go, and they said we’ll just make a bit of money so you can afford to go. And, and I actually went into my first job that wasn’t anything related to marketing. It was in, in recruitment, but more so in kind of the hardcore headhunting space. So, this would’ve been 2008 if I’m not mistaken. And in that time, in 2008, I actually was, this is kind of pre-LinkedIn when LinkedIn is what it is today, you know, it was sort of just coming up and to kind of headhunting, it was all about your database. It was all about who you knew. And so we actually did some pretty questionable stuff to get our hands on great candidates. Like I’ll never forget one of the tricks that we used to pull. We used to call up companies, and say listen, you know, I was kind of in the digital, or the IT space back then, I’d be looking for, you know, project managers and software developers, and things of that nature. So what I would do is I would call up these big companies and I’d say, Listen, I was speaking to someone in the team, you know, I’m a client, I was speaking to someone in the team yesterday who was a software engineer, can’t remember his name but he told me his name, maybe I’d remember. And so what you’d end up doing is getting people to kind of rattle off all the names. Exactly, yeah it was Ben and so I’d speak to Ben and I give him the opportunity and then you know, the next few days, call back and say oh yeah I’d like to speak to Dave, I’d like to speak to Andrew and that was really
So what was the purpose? What was the end game for you?
I was trying to place people. I was trying to find the best talent, place them with our clients.
So lemme get this straight, if i got the strategy straight. You call a company, let’s say Microsoft, not that you ever did, but you know that top-of-the-line, top-tier software developers. So you want to recruit top-line software developers, maybe for another organization. So you call it in and say I had technical difficulties, the other day and I spoke to this, you know, the top senior developer, can you remind me the name? And they give you a whole list of contact information, then you would just, you know, it’s okay, it’s this one. So they refer you to him, or her, and when you speak and then you get friendly and then you kind of pitch an option, maybe you come work for a competitor called XYZ, to get a better salary, better scope, whatever it is, and play the game of talent, and hijack or headhunt from top organizations. That was kinda the element there?
Yeah, that was the element. Totally. And I’ve gotta say, I lasted, I’m surprised, I lasted a year in that job. It wasn’t for me. It really wasn’t. It was, it felt… It just felt pretty inauthentic. The kind of hardcore recruitment when you talk about, when you’re placing people from Australia, in Australia, all of a sudden, everyone kind of looked like, you know, like dollar signs. Like can I place this person somewhere? Is there a company I can place people at and it didn’t really sit well with me? To the point where I had, like, the way it works is you get paid, you know, some of these bigger salaries, 20-30% of first-year annual salary, once someone is placed. You get paid as a commission so I didn’t make all the commission back then but maybe you made a pretty significant amount of that. So the company would make that much and I’d take a big clip but it kind of got to me where I just thought that it wasn’t, it really wasn’t for me to the point where I was waiting on like 20 or $30,000 worth of commissions, it’s got to wait three months if someone to be on the roll we get paid. And, I actually left and took up an unpaid internship at a digital agency, because I just, I didn’t believe in it, it wasn’t, it just wasn’t my…
So you’re saying the money was good, but there was no soul. So you went, you know, to a new place to kind of reset or pivot, maybe try a new domain, and even give up a hefty amount of money just to do that because it didn’t fit right in your soul, or your temperament, whatever it is. So you pivoted into?
I actually got into the digital marketing game in about 2009.
What was the landscape then? What were you doing? What were you doing it for?
Yeah, so I worked at an agency they’re called, and they are still called Online Circle Digital. And at that time…
Online Circle Digital
Yeah, Online Circle Digital, so Lucio if you’re watching this, a little shout out, still got a lot of love for you! And yeah, so, so I came in and I didn’t really know the first thing about everything that was going on but I knew that I was passionate about actually value creation about how we could actually help brands, I’d studied marketing, and so I had kind of, you know, the high-level insights of the marketing mix and what was going on and obviously the landscape has changed that time, sort of over the last 10, 15 years.
What was, I guess, the purpose or your mission inside the landscape there for their organization?
So when I joined, I didn’t know where I would fit. So we were doing solutions, delivering solutions like SEO and PPC, Facebook media buying when it was just starting off really, content production and strategy and kind of a whole gamut of all things digital.
How big was the organization? Was it super large? Or was it kinda midsized?
It was small. I was about, I was about the 12th employee if I’m not mistaken and I came…
Tight-knit. Kind of like a close game.
Totally. It was very very small. It grew a fair bit while I was there. But when I actually started, the first account that I ever worked on was Mercedes Benz Australia/New Zealand. So, we just won the account, as I joined, and there was no social media. They didn’t have a presence there, so I was actually part of the team that launched Mercedes Benz’s, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, the works. This was the stepping stone.
The whole digital marketing infrastructure for this global brand called Mercedes Benz. It’s pretty impressive.
Yeah, it was a pretty, pretty crazy experience you know. I used to spend a couple of days a week there as the account manager, trying to work with legal explaining why you can post on social and it’s not gonna totally backfire. So that was super interesting, an amazing client to work with, and learned an absolute ton there. And it’s funny, like, there’s a huge company, the other brands that I worked with, that no one in the US knows, so I don’t even know if it’s worth mentioning Mondelez Kraft Foods who have some of the best chocolate…
Yeah, Kraft is an American brand at least, they’re not called Mondelez here. But yeah it’s a global brand, I think it’s based out of the US if I’m not mistaken. Maybe in Chicago.
Well, I mean, no one seems to know about Cadbury Dairy Milk or Cream Egg or…
Cadbury? Yeah, Cadbury is British. They also play in this market, the US market, but the chocolate, right? It’s like a chocolate candy brand.
Totally. So, I guess my experience in, at that agency, I spent about four years there, was always working with enterprise clients and we grew from about 12 to 35. So, kind of grew up in that agency, and really loved everything I was doing from a kind of helping communicate the brand story and engaging the community and really looking to see how we could add value.
That’s great. Four years. That’s a great run. Global brands, you know, all kinds of leaders in their industries, and you did it all the way to 2013 ish, right? And what was the next station for you afterward?
Yeah, so I ended up there in 2014. And my next stretch was I moved to the US. So, I lived in LA for about three years and worked at a creative ad agency in Hollywood called Something Massive.
Something Massive. Yeah, yeah so that was the whole point, at the start. It was a couple, it was three of them and, you know, the ironic thing was something massive but we’re just three. But it grew, I was about the 15th employees and again, kinda grew to about 40. And the same sort of thing, I was the senior manager for strategy and engagement, which really is kind of a long-winded way of saying that I helped build the strategy pitch decks, and digital strategy and actually delivered on a lot of the execution work there. So that was working…
Kinda similar to the prior position, just, I guess, kind of a different marketplace, the US marketplace, maybe a little bit different on the lingo and culture that you got to cater to. But any notable brands?
Yeah, so the clients I was working with, they’re…you might have heard of them…Sony, MasterCard, worked with Snapchat a little bit, Medtronic. Again, big enterprise clients and the work that we’re doing now was, I would say even higher production values and doing everything from, you know, photo and video content, all the way through to TV commercials.
You in California, you said LA. right? Definitely the ability to tap into studios and create top-of-the-line, you know, content and video. Was it cool? Did you taste a little bit of Hollywood over there?
Yeah, it was pretty cool. I mean we had like, 10,000, square feet of production studio downstairs. We had an area that we’re actually building our own sets at times and yeah that was, that was pretty cool. I got to do some pretty cool live even all the way through to live activation where. Yeah, you know, working with, with MasterCard, flying over to New York. You know, it was all pretty crazy. I was about 27 ish when I got over there so that was a pretty, pretty crazy experience to me, you know, a guy from Melbourne, you know, I’ve never actually been to the US before and ended up moving there, you know?
Were there any elements of culture shock? I know the same kind of language but, you know, from your own experience was there culture shock at all? Or was it like a glove, fit you like the glove and, you know, you’re off and running as soon as you hit the ground?
D’you what, I would say, it takes, it really takes, it took me some time. I would say the first six months, firstly, I mean, now you’re saying, you know, a great accent to me when I first walked in, and no one could understand what I was saying, really. Yeah, I mean, like, one of them, one of the stories that I always find so funny is that when I sat like the closest when we were at the first location just on Wilshire, I was the closest person to the door, and so I was kind of the first face that everyone would see. So, you know, nice polite guy, people would walk in and I don’t know man, I was the doorman, I loved that. And so people would walk in and I would, you know, my natural inclination was to try to be helpful and I would always say like, Can I get you a glass of water? And, and they would look at me, I mean it’s softened now. And so what ended up happening was, I’m like, water, water and then, you know, you say you say it enough times and I feel like it’s kind of softened my accent now, I mean at least you’re laughing and people understand me so that’s a good thing, right?
Yeah, I understand you completely. So what? The people thought you were threatening them? Or what was their reaction?
They just said, “That’s not a word”. Like what are you, what are you trying to do? I’m trying to meet with the owners.
Yeah, very very curious. Culture shock for an Australian. I never thought about that. Especially not with, you know, a basic word like water, water.
Yes. So definitely, there’s definitely some, you know, early learnings, but I think, you know, after probably a year, like for me, we’ve done a few cities now and it takes you a good year to find your feet and then I would say like once you hit that two, two and a half year mark, that’s when you really have the kind of appreciation and understanding for kind of the true culture and what’s going on. I’ve got big love for LA, and for the US and
In a quick nutshell if you can, on the society, from the anthropological level, the main differences you find between the Australian culture and American culture. I never really thought to kind of hit that angle but I’ll take you as an experiment. So, what’s your take?
There’s a lot of things that I can say. On a quick touch, I think that, and it also depends when you talk about America, it’s a huge country like East Coast versus West Coast very very different kind of vibe but…
Full disclosure, I’ve never been to LA, so I’m very curious because, you know, for me, it’s like being in Australia. It’s all the way over there, you know, it’s across the land. What’d you find?
So I’d say that Australian’s are probably a little bit more laid back, and easygoing, and maybe a little bit more direct. Where, in my experience in the US, it was kind of like, skimming around the edges and being a little bit more cautious as to kind of what you’re saying and what’s going on. There was, I mean, again, I was working in Hollywood, you know, it’s all about the image so…I think that had a pretty profound kind of experience or impact on how I saw people but if there’s one thing that I will say, and I have become a victim to it, is consumerism. Do you know? Once you have, once you have Amazon and you have same-day delivery, you know, you can’t see the world the same, it’s, it’s changed forever.
I hear you! That’s why we’re all together here today folks, you know, the world of e-commerce slash Amazon, it’s just a world that is magnificent, it’s very powerful, very impactful, and creates, for the consumer, a lot of you know options to get delighted, but also for the entrepreneurs who offer their products, goods and solutions and knowledge, indulge and interact. Alright, so very cool, so you did it from around 2014 all the way up to about 2017. You tasted, you know, the professional world in the United States, obviously the culture and consumerism, but in 2017, what’s your next station? What was the next progression for you?
I was sponsored professionally in the US, didn’t have a green card or anything like that so I was tied to the job and I had to kind of make a decision, so I keep pushing forward, or do I kind of consider my options. And for me, again I kind of got itchy feet and I wanted to see what else was out there, what else, what other value I could create. What else I could do. And I actually came to Israel, I wouldn’t say on a whim, but I came just for a visit, you know? Hadn’t been in many years, wanted to see my grandmother lives here, and an uncle and my family have, had been here for many years. I haven’t really had a, had broken… You want to talk about US culture? I mean, you get 10 days off a year, and in that 10 days, I used to go back to Australia. And for anyone who lives away from home. Going home is not a fun holiday, let’s put it that way. So, you know, so everyone wants to see you. It’s intense. So, I was probably feeling a little burnt out, came to Israel, and probably two days into being here, I just said, “This is no way I’m leaving”.
Really? So that’s in 2017?
Yeah. This was May 2017.
Now, what was the effect? What happened to you in those 2 days?
So, my cousin, who actually grew up in Jersey, had just finished…
Jersey? New Jersey, United States?
Yeah, New Jersey, United States.
Cause there’s also Jersey Island In England somewhere, I know. But yeah, go ahead.