Podcast Guest
Malte Karstan
Malte Karstan
Head of Acquisition in Europe for Berlin Brands Group,
Podcast host
Martin Zerrudo
Martin Zerrudo
SUEG logo mark.
Martin Zerrudo
Martin Zerrudo
Seller Universe logo.
June 24, 2022

Designing and Optimizing Your Ecommerce Brand With Malte Karstan

June 24, 2022

Designing and Optimizing Your Ecommerce Brand With Malte Karstan

Daniel CallejaMalte Karstan is the Head of Acquisition in Europe for Berlin Brands Group, where they create, build, buy, and scale ecommerce brands across the globe. Malte has over 20 years of experience in marketplace sales optimization and helping companies expand their businesses worldwide. He is a hands-on leader who has worked in corporate, international, and regional ecommerce roles.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Malte Karstan talks about his ecommerce history and how it launched his career with Berlin Brands Group
  • Can an aggregator acquire an international brand?
  • How to examine the long-term cycle of a brand to determine if it will produce positive growth
  • Malte discusses his thoughts on positioning your brand for a more profitable exit
  • The importance of having a clear vision to meet the demands for reaching your goals 
  • Why your consumer packaged goods brand needs to have a strong KPI cycle to outsource the competition
  • Malte examines the generational differences of aggregators in the online marketplace
  • How to manage aggregator expectations in an international ecommerce market

In this episode…

Whether you’re a brand that sells consumer packaged goods or retail, how can you leverage your brand to compete in international channels? What are the ingredients to make sure your brand is prepared for a profitable exit?

With two decades of marketplace sales optimization experience in international markets, Malte Karstan says there isn’t one solution for every brand. But taking quick action to maintain a high KPI (Key Performance Indicator) is crucial to your brand’s success. When preparing the recipe to exit your brand, Malte recommends you have a clear vision of your exit strategy to attract probing aggregators. This means aligning your infrastructure in terms of logistics to run unaccompanied so the transition during your exit is smooth. 

In this episode of What Do You Do Next?, join Martin Zerrudo as he sits down with Malte Karstan, the Head of Acquisition in Europe for Berlin Brands Group, to discuss the steps to grow and benefit your brand for a higher acquisition. Malte talks about how to examine the long-term growth of your brand for greater success, meeting the demands of aggregators by providing a quality brand environment, and making your brand appealing to aggregators across the globe. Stay tuned!

Resources mentioned in this episode:

This episode is brought to you by Seller Universe Ecommerce Group. 

We provide essential Amazon and NetSuite service solutions for brand growth. 

Seller Universe Ecommerce Group provides essential service solutions for brand growth and scale. We position brands for success through cost-effective growth initiatives and operational efficiencies. Our synchronized approach allows brands to dominate in today's complex, multiplatform ecommerce marketplace and ecosystem.

Our team at Seller Universe not only helps your brand on Amazon, but we also do Netsuite implementation and anything that gives you a headache around inventory management.

To learn more about what we can do for you and your brand, visit seller universe.agency.

Episode Transcript:

Intro  0:00  

Welcome to the What Do You Do Next? podcast brought to you by Seller University Ecommerce Group. Whether you're just starting your ecommerce journey, finding ways to grow your online brand or can't seem to find the right tool or partner to help you break through. We're here to help. We interview experienced sellers, strategic service providers and other ecommerce experts who will help you answer the question. What do you do next?

Martin Zerrudo 0:25

I'm Martin Zerrudo and I'm the host of the What Do You Do Next? podcast? Whether you're just starting your ecommerce journey, finding ways to grow your online brand, or can't seem to find the right tool or partner to help you break through? We're here to help. We interview experienced sellers, top strategic service providers and other seasoned ecommerce experts who will help you answer the question, what do you do next? past guests have included people from Pacvue Elements Brands, EconCrew, and so much more. But today, we have somebody super special His name is Malte. Malte is the head of acquisition in Europe at Berlin Brands is a hands on leader with compelling vision and impeccable track record corporate, international and regional roles. He has over 20 years of experience in marketplace sales optimization, and has had great success helping companies expand their businesses worldwide. Hello Malte. How are you?

Malte Karstan  1:13  

Fine, and you are Martin?

Martin Zerrudo  1:15  

Not too bad. Where are you calling in from Malte?

Malte Karstan  1:17  

From Switzerland?

Martin Zerrudo  1:18  

Oh, from Switzerland? How's the weather? Like over there?

Malte Karstan  1:20  

Tell us a mixture. Like it's like exactly reflecting the actual situation ecommerce word, right? It's, um, sort of the mix shows a little bit cloudy, partly cloudy, let's say.

Martin Zerrudo  1:33  

That's nice. What's the temperature like 18, 19?

Malte Karstan  1:36  

Around like 20? Maybe? Oh, nice. Not much more. Not much more.

Martin Zerrudo  1:40  

Not much more than that. I'm calling it from Toronto. So we have similar weather, which is nice, because I know our winters are also similarly brutal. Okay, yeah. So we've been interviewing different aggregators. These past couple of weeks, we spoke with elements. We spoke with seller x. And now today we're talking about Berlin Brands Group. Can you tell us a little bit about BBG? As you guys are referred to what makes you different from I guess, the other players in your space? Yeah,

Malte Karstan  2:06  

basically, how to say not like listening to all everything what the other state or say are saying like, but basically there I mean, what do we have on the table, right, we have in we have BBG, that is there for 17 years, and was like, as long as there's ecommerce, let's say there was the BBG, right? And from scratch bootstrapped with the same founder, back in the days and today, and like, you know, like a founder who did everything from scratch on his own that say, you know, like picking up passwords, and arranging everything, visiting the suppliers flying over to China, and, and like, you know, basically everything. This is legacy, this is the history. And then two years ago, BBG, decided to add, let's say, at the idea of acquiring brands, adding brands to the existing infrastructure to the existing brands that were already there. For decades, let's say basically, I nearly am in the BBG brands family, that was basically the BBG idea. And then if you compare, like the other stories, then it is mainly, let's say, at least mainly the idea of acquiring brands to stop. And that's maybe if it comes to a difference of it comes to like a different perspective or a different background. And this is basically what I would highlight.

Martin Zerrudo  3:43  

Absolutely. And for you, yourself, you know, you've been at Berlin Brands Group, I believe, for three years now, almost four years

Malte Karstan  3:48  

now, almost four years now.

Martin Zerrudo  3:50  

And you started you're sorry, go ahead. No, no, no. Yeah, you started your journey, as I see here on your LinkedIn, Amazon evangelist. Can you tell us a little bit about that, and how that grew to your role now as head of acquisition in Europe?

Malte Karstan  4:03  

Um, yeah, I mean, when I started the BBG, there was basically no m&a. So that's why I sold my businesses in 2018. And after 20 years of, you know, like full power 24/7 Typical ecommerce story, and yeah, so that an 18 and then basically wanted to do nothing. Holidays are long, long weekends. Yeah, and then but that really, they are somehow I've failed, somehow on the way something went wrong. Or I made the wrong people say no, I met interesting people that time and I started to talk them and especially with Peter here from the BBG, and we found some sort of an overlap. Yeah, let's say in mind mindsets in our history. And in our perspective on the back then ecommerce, that was cool. And that's why I really decided to go the same way. And I'm and I let say join the party at BBG. And changing opportunities or changing the changing roles scenario, of course, stepped in when BBG decided to go this m&a way, right. And that particular situation, there was maybe a great fit, you know, like me as a previous founder, knowing a lot of people in the ecommerce space, but also having like, like background in terms of having sold my own business. And so there was a lot of overlap, you know, like, let's say qualifying for for a certain role in the new scenario. That's why but still, but still, I'm always there, let's say to help in terms of ecommerce experience Amazon experience in BBG, you know, like, I'm not off the off the table and in my m&a bunker, you know,

Martin Zerrudo  6:05  

for sure, for sure. That's fantastic. And obviously, quite extensive. What is it about ecommerce, you know, merging and acquiring new brands? What is it about that, that has fueled yours excited you in these last 20 years?

Malte Karstan  6:19  

What is it? I mean, it's some sort of a logic behind it, right? And if you've, if you've done all that way, and if you experience exactly the same, like, you know, being in a position thinking about selling, proceeding, stopping, I don't know, all the different scenarios AM. And then some days later, let's say sitting together with founders and thinking about the same situation, you know, like feeling the same. brainstorming about possible alternatives scenarios, ideas, them, I don't know, low hanging fruits, maybe on their end, yeah, let's say if you would do this, imagine your your, your position would improve whatsoever. This is some sort of a natural next level somehow, maybe? That's what I can say, for sure.

Martin Zerrudo  7:17  

Since BBG, obviously, is based in Europe, and we have other players in the space that are based in North America. Is there a different approach for European companies or aggregators, when they try and merge and acquire certain brands? That's different from maybe North America's approach? Question.

Malte Karstan  7:33  

I mean, it comes back to the to the first question, right? Of the offer question that they you were asking, let's say, what is the difference? So and we are ending up here, let's say once again, but the same situation doesn't matter. Whether an aggregate a typical view aggregator, let's say, and founded to aggregate, based on I don't know, the patient or vision, at least, or something based on an idea, and but not much more. It doesn't matter whether they are situated in Europe, North America, Asia, Australia, whatsoever, and it's basically more or less. So what are your plans for the future? Right? Or what is your what is your mid to long term perspective, you know, on what you're doing, and why are you doing things? What is your what's the purpose behind your aggregating the brand to, to become to be in 10 years? The biggest, brightest shining the best whatsoever? I don't know. The what's your perspective, basically, right. This is maybe one of the big differences. Now, if it's, if it's, yeah, that's, that's what I can say. So it doesn't matter North America. I mean, what maybe a little bit is like, you know, talking to founders who previously talked to us aggregators. Yeah, of course, they are reflecting Uber, okay. roller coaster, you know, like, bah, bah, bah, bah, bah. Right, right. I mean, I'm talking a lot as well, right. But it means like, it's more like telling your brand, it's more like a party in the US. Yeah, at least, it's transferred like this. But still, you know, if it's everything you've done in your life, like basically, and it represents your great achievement. That's your baby, basically. Yeah, it's a baby, that it's basically in the end, a very serious thing, you know, and it's not something I clearly decide because this Rolex or, I don't know, Sportswagon, like, you know, represented in front of whatever Fairtrade building or whatever, you know, that's not, that's basically not really there's no fit in terms of in terms of the cereal city of the case. You know what it's all about, right? For sure. Maybe, maybe I can say

Martin Zerrudo  9:52  

for some of our listeners who own brands and are hoping to one day be acquired, maybe perhaps by BBG, when you ask those kinds of questions. What are your major longtail goals or plans? What are some of the answers that you Malte are looking for?

Malte Karstan  10:06  

Yeah, I mean, what? What is the BBG? Looking for? What is the plan of the BBG? Let's say it's, it's basically the same plan we had before we stepped into the m&a thing. Yeah, there is. There was once like one brand and one founder and alone, and now they are 1000 people and 50 plus brands, I don't know. Exactly. And, and this is the way that could, let's say, could have been done on your own from the BBG perspective, or with founders on the way that in their brands, joining the family, you know, like being part of the growth scenario. So it's from everybody's perspective, it's all about, you know, there's a category we were always interested in, and we could either start from scratch into that new vertical into the new category, or there maybe, look, there are 123 successful already successful founders, with their brands and their lead, there's passion and the product. Brilliant. And, you know, this could be BBG perspective, a perfect starting point for the new vertical fantasy of the BBG. And could speed up, you know, it's like a fast lane approach, you know, for but basically for doing the same BBG would would maybe have done anyways. Right? Like, this is the if this is the road to go, and they could someone help building a bridge? Yeah. And we both benefit from it, like going forward together. And BBG is whatever, maybe build for sure. Maybe a little bit later, right?

Martin Zerrudo  11:49  

If I may ask, if you're faced with two potential brands, right, one that you feel like has a lot of potential, but probably would require a little bit more work. And the other brand that's firing on all cylinders, but maybe doesn't have as highest ceiling as the first brand? Which one to you would be the most exciting to to try and work with?

Malte Karstan  12:06  

I mean, that depends. I mean, it's a typical question, right? And there's still a lot to do, but a lot of potential, potentially you can, you know, like, pick up and integrate in your already existing infrastructure, your own warehouses, everything, you know, your own customer service, everything that the BBG has. And on the other hand, they are someone who's staying. Okay, basically, everyone wants it done. Super easy. One of my items, has it, I'm feeling a little bit finished. BBG, you can maybe like play the ball forward. But, you know, that really depends on the perspective of the founder, you know, like how nature is the perspective of the Poland? I've talked to farmers stadium, basically, I don't know. Maybe? Well, yes, that is that big adventure, like going forward that opportunity? Yeah. And let's do it together. You know, look, here, you are basically only in one to three countries, actually. And there are so much more to explore, whatsoever, explore, explore this thing, but em, yeah, that's why I wanted to say so is the perspective of the founder, on his own business the same as I have. That's basically something is there an overlap? Is there a match? Is? Is it the big difference? It can also be in both directions? You know, I'm gonna say, look, it's so amazing. And so okay, and you're like, maybe it's a little bit outdated? I don't know. Yeah. And those close? Yeah. So that's why there has to be in alignment. Right. And, or, or a difference, but then, like, in a positive direction, right. But you see, it's too complex to say, we prefer that. Of course,

Martin Zerrudo  13:54  

of course. Are there challenges, obviously, when there's you bring up fidgets spinners, right? A lot of products will trend sometimes and have this huge viral Windows maybe one or two years and they kind of fizzle out? Would that be something that BBG would ever be willing to explore? Knowing that, hey, we may have a limited window here, or do you guys typically prefer more long term? You know, Evergreen type products?

Malte Karstan  14:19  

Yeah, I mean, it's all about lifecycle, right? It's all about them. You first of all, from the assessment perspective, you look at like, how long is this item like existing? And how likely or how highly likely it is going to sustain like next two 5, 10 years or whatsoever right? Is it really trendy, cool product for the next summer? Like imagine like last summer are those inflating unicorns? It's like the next big thing and those swans and whatever? And the summer next Yeah, next time next time. Next Something might be

Martin Zerrudo  15:00  

a different animal.

Malte Karstan  15:01  

Yeah, maybe a different animal, like from a certain movie. Yeah. trending in a certain way. You don't know. So and this is also an interesting space. Yeah, I had different customers, let's say or mandates I was consulting and, and they were like, exactly in that space, like fast, quick, quick turnaround some, but it's a completely different business. Yeah. And BBG is more like, you know, like, looking at long term perspective, more complex product. And big topic is, you know, like, the technical perspective, you know, and, like the app apps combined with the products and you know, like all this, let's say, future driven perspective on things, not simply a toaster, but you know, like products that somehow paved the way into the future.

Martin Zerrudo  15:57  

So when we talk to other aggregators, actually Malte they have different strategies, we prefer the founder to stay with us long term we prefer to completely take over, do you have a stance on acquiring brands? Do you prefer the founder to be part of the day to day? Do you prefer to kind of transition it to more hands off? Or does it depend?

Malte Karstan  16:15  

I mean, basically, depends on the founders. But at least until today, our perspective was to if we are not able to proceed. Yeah. And there's some sort of dependency right on the founder, because he has a certain knowledge only he can write, like, deliver, then be a little bit hesitating, right. So what happens if the founder five minutes, the contract is signed? Sorry, about I moved on to Cocos Island. So what's reconsidering something? And so basically, we approach everything by saying, Okay, we have to be able to do it. On our own, let's say, with all its dependence on this engagement, let's say going forward, if the founder is willing to stay, if the founder is willing to engage, if the founder is willing to, you know, like, knowledge transfer, something going forward, we are fine. But it's not something we are like, you know, like, deeply, deeply expecting, you know, of course,

Martin Zerrudo  17:20  

for those who are listening, who do want to eventually be acquired, what are some of the tips that you would provide to FBA sellers today, to better position themselves to be acquired maybe by somebody like BBG?

Malte Karstan  17:33  

Yeah, I mean, actually, if you're, if you're asked me exactly today, and in this moment, I would be better positioned. I mean, it's always the same rights. I think, I would think about selling my business if there's an opportunity. By doing so, I mean, I've talked to the founder today, and he was saying, you know, I prepared everything, I have prepared everything this that set up, I have no videos in my, my listings. And from now on, I'm pretty sure you know, like, it will grow more, because I've seen it already, you know, like, and I said, guy, why would you, you know, today, you know, we have prepared everything, you know, like everything is paved, and the Autobahn is ready, and you beat the truck on it and go, at least for some more miles. Yeah,

Martin Zerrudo  18:25  

let's see, easily,

Malte Karstan  18:26  

easily, you know, it's, there's fuel in the truck, it's ready, driver, to everything to why would you because sometimes, it's the same situation, and people are saying, Yeah, because opportunities, this is looking great here. And it's growing tremendously. But there's one other thing growing even bigger, even better, even more. Every time I'm investing here in this ecommerce business, I'm, you know, like, I'm losing on the other side, and every everything I'm doing in this other engagement is, you know, creates more value compared to this. That's why it you know, like all about unity. Now. That's why sometimes people you know, like, next month, I'm retiring, boost up. So it's not about you know, how much you know, what, what's actually a stage of your business? It's simply about, you know, like, I just want, yeah, and not any further, right. So, it's always a little bit different. That's why every single founder should ask herself himself, like, is it? Is it a position where I'm actually in deal with my business that requires some sort of supernatural engagement and going forward to grow further? Yeah. Or is it something I'm investing in talking to farmers, they really are saying, I'm investing two hours a day, or some hours a week, and it's growing like 20% or something, you know, so and of course, you're gonna be talking and then there's always something different additional that's, you know, that shows man I'm interested in the new baby much more. I don't know. Yeah, it's real estate business. And on any fees or so, and basically, that's why it's blowing, you know, if it's working if it's growing? I don't know. Yeah. I don't know whether I was right now. Yeah. If it's, you know, if the brokers on the road, I cannot, you know, like remove myself if they are like other adventures? I would. I'm heading to, of course, it's basically something. Yeah.

Martin Zerrudo  20:39  

When when you mentioned brokers, are there other? Let me let me let me take a step back. How does BBG find these potential FBA sellers? Do you guys look for them on your own? Do you guys work with brokers? Do you have people go on your website and fill out a form? What's the process for BBG? And finding these potential sellers that you'd love to work with? And hopefully acquire

Malte Karstan  21:00  

basically everything you said, right? There's a constant flow through a website as a constant flow rushing and through brokers. There's a constant flow in terms of of final work, let's say yeah, like, taking a look around who's there who's interesting, who is doing an astonishing job? Like from an auditing perspective, as well, yeah. And that's what we can say. And, and so they are all the different types of inbounds that say you can imagine,

Martin Zerrudo  21:33  

how would you personalize those three funnels? I guess, would you say a majority like 60%, inbound, maybe 40%? More? So from your own internal team? Maybe some from brokers? Where do you get a majority of your your leads from?

Malte Karstan  21:48  

I don't know. And, I mean, if we are not talking about quality, then I would say, you know, like, basically, yeah, you know, if you if you're looking for new flat, yeah. And you're going your new environment, you don't know what, yeah, your new there and you're even not living there. And you're planning to move to I don't know, either moving to Geneva. That's right. Yeah. to Geneva. Yeah. Great idea. So and then you say, Okay, I have no idea. You could a go for a broker? Yeah. Searched something for me, then, of course, yeah, you know, what, maybe it's a little bit more expensive for I don't know, only some particular offers, because there's a certain agreement between the person searching and the person offering and whatsoever, and, and then you're going for some websites, right? That, let's say like offering flats? And, of course, the flats that are there. Other flats, maybe, and no one wanted it saved, like, like this, you know, like, do we had good ones like the chin. You know, you have to go there and you ring the bell and someone's opening, and you say, Hello, your I Am let's drink, and drink coffee and something and then you talk and you talk. And then in the very end of the talk, this guy is saying, Do you want to buy my house? This scenario, right, right, right. I mean, this is this is maybe somehow reflecting a little bit about this three columns and about quality.

Martin Zerrudo  23:31  

It really all depends on the kinds of leads that you get depends on the method in which you find them. It's true, you know, anybody can go on your website, and put in whatever information you kind of have to vet that brokers obviously will have a different barrier of entry, because you have a middle person that's also betting the quality of that lead, and there's an intrinsic value and then being able to land that, that deal with you guys in terms of whether it's a referral fee or commission or what have you. And then lastly, do you guys have like an internal algorithm, like a special process in place to kind of filter out sellers and then really hone in on the ones that you think are emerging that happen opportunity to be acquired?

Malte Karstan  24:06  

Yeah. You know, it's then in Fort Knox. There's the recipe. And, and our algorithm, right, like lying next to each other and pretty much pretty much no one knows, like, besides this one old guy, you know? Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Coca Cola as well, right? Now. That's why, you know, basically, it's, it's about those a it's dynamic. It's a little bit dependent on the on the, on what we're actually looking for. That might shift drastically, like saying, Okay, we have now this and that and there's you look, there's a gap, or there's some sort of a demand, you know, like opening up, so that means sometimes we are really searching for the ideal, something that really fits into that new, obviously new niche, but you know, that new gap that is between this brand and the other one, for example, between those products and that product. And, and two weeks ago, I've had no idea that we were like looking for this one. So it's really, really like deterring research during looking again, reaching out to particular, you know, like, tell us we are seeing out there because there's 10 may be an exact passion fit as we call it. Passion. And, and that's why. So it's not like, you know, like, we are not the ones with with the big machine, like, you know, like, you know, like going over it and then sending out 10 1000s of handwritten postcards. Right. And so that's why, for what reason, right? We are not trying to buy like everything, everybody's Yeah, we have a vision and a clear idea of what we need, you know, like, it's like a big menu, right? It's like, see a set like, you know, the so what's what's missing? You know, like, you don't need like 10 tonnes or sold in your in your noodles. Right. It's like, a little bit here a little bit there. You know, Bob Ross, you know?

Martin Zerrudo  26:21  

Yeah. happy accidents.

Malte Karstan  26:23  

Just yeah. And in the very end, you have the perfect picture, right? Maybe in between, it looks a little bit weird. But then,

Martin Zerrudo  26:31  

you know, when you look at it, a big picture, it looks It's a masterpiece. So what's what's missing in BBG? menu at the moment? Are there certain types of products brands in certain categories that you feel BBG could benefit from that you haven't quite found just yet.

Malte Karstan  26:46  

Ah, I mean, that's not really something I want other guys to like, Oh, that's a

Martin Zerrudo  26:55  

good idea. Let's put that on our best or on menu. Good. Listen to that podcast. He's given the secrets away. Okay, let me rephrase my let me rephrase. Is it true that CPGs rank high on the priority list for aggregators to acquire, because obviously, there's a repeat purchase aspect of it, you know, very low cost of goods, and then you can very easily rebrand, repackage, and potentially adjust the price to really make up that profit quickly. So is, is that true? CPGs are very lucrative and exciting type of brand that that aggregators look to acquire.

Malte Karstan  27:33  

Oh, man, that's a very generic question. Because from my perspective, it ranges from you mean, and basically what it is consumer packaged goods, could be everything. Right. And, you know, there are certain types of products that have a certain dependency, and are a little bit maybe circumvented by the there's a high, you know, like this iPhone cover. Yes. Yeah, of course, it is a big business. I know, for some guys, you know, a very good relation quick acting trickery acting, you know, in their warehouse before, right?

Martin Zerrudo  28:13  

Yeah, somehow they already know. And then

Malte Karstan  28:17  

I don't know, like, Coca Cola is cheap, right? So basically, it can work for someone. So basically, it's simply not the perspective of the store. In generally CPGs. I mean, in generally, it's all about the HA, it's all coming lifecycle is very strong KPI. So if you say it's, it's a CPG. Okay, if it's, no, that's not, I've never heard like, that we're thinking about this is, you know, this is our perspective, let's, let's, let's put that or another CPG umbrella, you know, it's like, totally different arrangement from our perspective, right? It? Is it a long lasting story, somehow, this product, even the slight changes, or, you know, adjustments and keeping it, you know, like up to date whatsoever, that's not the case, right? We are not like sitting on there exactly the same thing, like for ages. But there are different, let's say, different KPIs that are much more important from our perspective, and not really how this product is shaped in terms of, you know, like, what is CPG? Is it a type? Now, is this a certain? I don't know, it's, it's an umbrella, but it's not like one umbrella we're slipping under? Like, actually, from our perspective, right?

Martin Zerrudo  29:36  

Of course, of course. When, let's say you find the perfect brand, you acquire them, the founders gonna retire next month, he's gonna go to Florida and fish for the rest of his life. Fantastic. What happens to the brand next without going into any kind of specific Coca Cola recipe, you know, processes, but what happens? What does BBG do post acquisition to that brand? If somebody's listening right now and they say I want to I want to make sure my baby is in good hands. So if I'm going to engage with BP, and they're gonna buy my brand, and I'm gonna go fish next month, I just want to know, my baby's going to be taken care of, what would that process look like?

Malte Karstan  30:07  

I mean, I BBG is this like trying, first of all, trying to replicate the actual scenario, right? The actual status quo as a founder, and he's in there with his, you know, with everything, like, all right. 24/7 Thinking about his brand, I don't know, Sunday, Sunday evening, you know, like sitting in front of the laptop checking whether everything's in perfect shape. Right, right. And so we, first of all, BBG is trying to pick up extra stitches cool, arrange everything. On the BBG platform, like, you know, like, transferring it. There's the own info infrastructure in terms of logistics, and all the departments, channel manager, Category Manager, logistics, legal, customer service, everything, you know, everything you can imagine, and that is truly needed for ecommerce company. Right, right in house. So then, of course, there are certain people like stepping in, that are like brand managers that are taking care of the brand in terms of like, you know, someone who's arranging everything inside this infrastructure. So, today, the founder, maybe was answering the email, right, taking deposits, and in the middle, looking for new opportunities in terms of new product. So in the BBG, there is a customer service, there's the product department for hundreds of guys, there is logistics and something. So there needs to be someone who's Yeah, who's like the captain. Right? Yeah, like the brand Captain going forward? And maybe not that one person maybe it's group off? depends a little bit. Yeah, on the on the dimensions and the size and everything. And they, of course, a lot of very much experienced people out of the ecommerce space. And that are, you know, like, the joint BBG in the past and the supporting, like, the basic idea. Yeah, because, um, everything, not everything, but it makes a lot of sense. If a brand is joining a brand's family and as a benefiting from the already existing infrastructure, but also be if there's an exchange between the brand captains, let's say, going forward, you know, it's every everyone is doing everything on his own, and like,

Martin Zerrudo  32:32  

blinders on, they're not talking to each other, ya

Malte Karstan  32:35  

know, it's like a big platform, you know, and there's in constant exchange there, of course, like, measurements, you know, like rolled all the cross all captains that say, let's do that next month, together, you everyone for his for his her brand. And I know, trying to push on some, you know, spring or new picture? idea, I don't know, something, you know, like, it's, it's a big family, and they all work together. There's holiday together, there's eating together. And, but of course, also, in certain particular points, there's, of course, everyone has his privacy. Some things you have to arrange particular for this brand, because it's special, and it's different and needs a certain care, maybe the, my neighbor, you know, does not like, you know, so this idea, the basic idea of there are no Seelos there, there are no separated brands to inform, because would it make sense, right, my perspective, today, they are zeros, and they are separated? And if you're going forward, simply put zeros into a room, then it remains the same. Why should it grow? Why should it benefit? You know, like when cross learning to cross selling something,

Martin Zerrudo  33:57  

why not leverage each other's understanding in your respective categories and products to help everybody grow, you know, symbiotically for sure. When you speak to these founders who are awake all night, 24/7, Sunday night on their laptop, checking inventory and all that stuff. Have you encountered founders who have ever worked with agencies or who have worked with, you know, outside experts who provided help in growing their brand? Or do they typically do it all on themselves?

Malte Karstan  34:23  

I mean, it's a little bit from my perspective, it's a little bit dependent on the age of performers, like the older ones are more used to doing everything on their own. Yeah, like, it's interesting. No, agency. No, no, no, no, three PL. You're right. No, no, no. Just me and my cousin or I don't know,

Martin Zerrudo  34:44  

me and my wife and my son.

Malte Karstan  34:46  

Yeah, like, like this. So if they're really younger founders who are really you know, like, they're stepping into the ecommerce space with a completely different perspective. I would like to do it just because Was fun vision, I have an idea I came across a certain product or bring guys, you know, like, I'll collaborating a certain way one is coming with a product, the other with a marketing experience and the next one with a logistics background, I don't know. And then first of all, it's part time thing and then it's full time and, you know, and, and they're, from my perspective, they're like quickly outsourcing when it comes to certain dimension, you know, when it comes to certain efforts, or when they recognize you know, that they are like barriers, or they don't, they simply don't know how to do it, like in terms of, for example, payment things like payment transaction things, if it becomes more international, or marketing things, you know, like the one guy, you know, very much experience or party, but he's only this one guy, right? He cannot like, do like sit in front of the keywords and something like all day long. So, yeah. And to the different perspectives. And maybe it maybe it overlaps a little bit with those words, I was saying, like, if you're going international, maybe your demand for external support is growing. If you're going on different marketplaces, not only let's say your domestic Amazon Marketplace, like 2g, maybe in the US, right. But if you're going international, not only international multichannel, then your payment provider demand is growing. Is IoT a payment provider? I would not scrape and the Amazon space, I would scrape definitely the smaller marketplaces. You know, and because they are definitely sitting there saying, Okay, can you respond? They are five from there. They are five Canadian dollars over there. From there and something this is in micropayments? Or whatsoever? Yeah, it depends on what you're saying is telling. So this is definitely something why the older ones, the older guys, you know, the old industry guys, and they're doing they're in this industry, like carpets or whatsoever forever. And then they've employed and ecommerce and all little bit extra accidentially, you know, not like really planned long term. This is where I'm seeing myself with 55. And so and they are saying, yeah, there are some, like hesitations, I would say, crossing someone and letting someone into your baby's environment somehow and data and, you know,

Martin Zerrudo  37:41  

yeah, no, it's true. That's true. Yeah. Yeah. Full disclosure for us when we speak to potential clients, obviously, because we're, we're an ecommerce agency as well, that does that level of credibility and trust is always going to be a part of that discovery process and the conversation and for sure, that's a valid concern that you never know, how do you vet the these these agencies? How well do you know they're going to do the work? Are they just gonna disappear overnight? You know, are they trying to lock you in on a one year agreement and then give you like, you know, 50% worth of effort. So definitely, those are all valid concerns. Are there certain advantages, especially for those young entrepreneurs who really want to get into the space but don't necessarily have as much ecommerce chops? What are some of the advantages and working with some of these three pills?

Malte Karstan  38:24  

I mean, it's, it's once again, it's an opportune thing. Somehow, it's all about opportunity costs, of course, it's might be the best way to do everything on your own. Right? Of course, if you're not doing it myself, you know, I don't know how it's done. Right. And may I new guy is really, really lovely guy that was, I don't know, 55 or something. He had a vendor Central account, he was not trusting Amazon at all. And he was sitting three, I always I was always receiving during night time, three o'clock, or sometimes it was one particular asin who's like one euro Apple two years down or something and he was concerned. So for him, it would, would have been definitely what was the best decision to say, hey, this window center can look at it, you can flag it, you can. So it's useless anyways, and but for us data center side, just to get more sleep, just sleep a little bit. Like to put it to bring in some sort of a tool, you know, and to implement ranges and it can only move like within those ranges and something you know, to bring this new man leap, you know, continents, and it's not you know, of course, it's all about trust. It's also all about I would not go let's say like blind always on three pl If I had to have resources in all Right, like without, like, you know, the 10 people sitting around doing nothing, you know, like and, and I would go from three PL like em. And truly end expectation management, right? I'm always like, we're always talking to foreigners. And this Yeah, there was this agency, and this was really Whoa, what a bad experience and we cut off relations after. Right? And I wouldn't do this again, but I don't know how to do.

Martin Zerrudo  40:26  

But I don't know who's gonna do it for me.

Malte Karstan  40:28  

I don't know. So and that's why am I always saying, Okay, it's maybe it was maybe your first experience with an agency. And it was maybe a little bit more like, about your experience? Maybe? What have you expected? Yeah, let's say you're paying 2500 US dollars a month, and you're expecting trains, you know, like, immediately, like, men are like flowing out of your business. So is it maybe, you know, a little bit of both? Right? If it's securing something, if it's, you know, like putting something into to Godrej it somehow Yeah. And then giving afterwards? Of course, hopefully, yeah. And this is maybe what it's all about, though, if you want more, right? If I would be a three PL, then I would, of course, say and use my goal enterprise or something, you know, where really like, day to day, they're really people sitting in front and trying to tweak and trying to improve something. Yeah, of course, you always get what you pay for. Right? Yeah. And they're always talking to foreigners say how much did you pay for this? This tool with 50 bucks a month? Okay. And it was not performing? Like what what did you expect? So it's, it's a mixture? Of course. Yeah, that's what I want to say.

Martin Zerrudo  41:49  

So last question. While this has been a fantastic conversation, the one hour has blazed by already but I want to be respectful of your time. Hopefully, this isn't the last time we have this conversation. Maybe you can fly me over to Switzerland. You know, we could have a couple of waffles, we'll have a good time. For those who are listening who say okay, you know what, I need some sleep. I don't want to do everything on my own. So Malte help me out what are some of the tools that you recommend that I use to help me with my FBA business? Anything that you can aim off maybe three really great tools that you would recommend?

Malte Karstan  42:18  

Um, I mean, it's a German it's a German tool was called me on this guy behind me Yeah, I mean, there's for example, it may mean the different areas right they differentiate fields right?

Martin Zerrudo  42:38  

Just name a few whatever comes to mind up duty pay for example.

Malte Karstan  42:41  

Yeah, when it comes to payment solutions, right? And then to all y'all if you're going international, and you need like, you know, and you need let's say, not really payment solutions, but someone is taking care of your vet registry and your monthly vet statements and something so on the other hand, tight supply of course, where the cool guys like helping you you know, like starting international somewhere, like exploring new countries you're not really in and you don't know how to enter the marketplace. Yeah, for example. Right. And that was for that fee as far as I remember. And yeah, and data hog. I think it's a great tool when it comes to data and fatigue is a cool diet. So I wanted to

Martin Zerrudo  43:30  

mention awesome any DSP players that you guys work with? You do it all internally? Yeah. We see cool the surface, right? No, of course, of course. Any any ecommerce mentors that you want to say thank you to anybody who has helped you along your your journey in your career,

Malte Karstan  43:46  

just my wife

Martin Zerrudo  43:50  

to Mrs. Karstan, thank you so much for teaching Malte, everything he knows.

Malte Karstan  43:55  

That's, yeah, perfect. He's teaching me all the new social media stuff and so on keeping me up to date right?

Martin Zerrudo  44:01  

Now TikTok and all that stuff. My wife too. I didn't know TikTok until she showed it to me now I'm addicted to it.

Malte Karstan  44:08  

Instagram and Snapchat and TikTok all of that stuff. And stuff coming up right to come.

Martin Zerrudo  44:15  

Perfect. Well, thank you so much Malte that was Malte Karstan from Berlin Brands Group. Thank you so much Malte. I hope this isn't the last time we have you on the podcast. Again. If anybody wants to learn more about you Malte in Berlin Brands Group where can they go to learn more about you and BBG to the website?

Malte Karstan  44:32  

I mean, the I of course, yeah, simply just go to the website and you'll find all the necessary information you'll find me I think even there and they can click and then contact or whatever. So it's everything possible.

Martin Zerrudo  44:45  

Perfect. Thank you so much more. We appreciate you having having you on the show. Thank you.

Outro 44:53

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