The Harvard Dorm Room Startup Story You Haven’t Heard – with Alasdair McLean-Foreman
You have likely heard of super successful companies that started in dorm rooms, think Facebook, Google and Microsoft. There’s one Harvard dorm room startup story you haven’t heard— until now. That’s the story of Alasdair McLean-Foreman, a student at Harvard that started a successful e-commerce business, became one of Amazon’s first third party sellers, and went on to found Teikametrics. His story, on today’s Private Label Movement.
From Customer to Dealer
Alasdair started his business during his sophomore year at Harvard. That time, his heart rate monitor watch got broken. So, he called the manufacturer about it.
“It was a time when I was just in the right place at the right time.” – Alasdair McLean-Foreman
That’s when he decided to learn what it takes to be a dealer. He got a computer loan, and bought more watches with it instead. He also put up a website to showcase his products.
Early Startup Challenges
Alasdair McLean-Foreman always enjoyed technology. Before coming to the US, he already started some e-commerce stores in England. He faced a lot of challenges with just building his website.
“I did simple things around trying to differentiate the ‘buy from this website’, because I know about the product that you are going to buy.” – Alasdair McLean-Foreman
During that time in the early 2000s, credibility was a big concern. Many weren’t sure if they get the product they’d purchase online. So, he placed a lot of effort on securing his website.
A Platinum Amazon Seller
By 2003, Alasdair became one of the first third party sellers on Amazon. He received a fax from Amazon, offering him to become a platinum seller. They wanted niche retailers to bring exclusive inventory.
Their offer was rather expensive since it required 15% share of his transactions. Before the offer, he was already getting orders every day through Google SEO. Now, Amazon has a lot of fees.
- Feedvisor Amazon Professional Sellers’ Summit – May 22 in New York City
- AmzCon/Private Label Days – June 2-3 in Bonn, Germany
Download and listen to The Harvard Dorm Room Startup Story You Haven’t Heard – with Alasdair McLean-Foreman. You can also find The Private Label Movement on iTunes and Stitcher.
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