Amazon helps Spring couple turn hobby into $150,000 business

SPRING, Texas (KTRK) -- Amazon has helped a Spring couple launch their small business in a way they never imagined possible, all thanks to the site's "Handmade" section.

Seven years ago John Leslie picked up a new hobby: wood working. But his daughter going through an international adoption gave him the motivation to make some real money making Christmas ornaments.

"Surprisingly, we ended up making $20,000 to put toward this adoption," said John, who is owner of John Leslie Studio.

The next year, not only were people reaching out on Facebook and Etsy wanting more ornaments, but that's when Amazon asked John to join their Handmade section, a platform that gives artisans the chance to show the world their products.

"I said sure and it blew up," John explained.

Working out of a small room in the back of his house, John started designing earrings and bracelets along with the Christmas ornaments. He even brought in his wife, Mary, to help.

"He got really busy, overloaded busy, and I asked how can I help? And he said, 'Hey, how about you help me put the earrings together or packaging?'" Mary said.

At times, the demand gets so heavy that they have to close their business online for two to three days just to catch up.

"You know most people think of Amazon as they sell their own things, but surprisingly about half of Amazon's revenue comes from people like us who use their platform to sell their products," John said.

It's an opportunity John is thankful for every day.

"There's a big difference between $20,000 and $150,000 and that's the difference Amazon has made," John said.

Amazon takes 15 percent of the cut you make compared to Etsy who takes five percent and Facebook Marketplace's zero percent. You do have to apply to sell on Amazon's Homemade section.
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