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Why brands like Bombas and Warby Parker don’t sell on Amazon

Amazon wants to be an everything store, but not every brand wants to sell on Amazon.

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands like Bombas, Warby Parker, Everlane and Casper have upended the retail industry by changing the way brands interact with customers. Known for their premium quality and millennial-friendly images, those brands have largely kept their distance from the Seattle-based e-commerce giant Amazon, at least for now.

“Our focus is on Bombas.com, building our brand through our own channels, controlling our story, and importantly, our data,” said Randy Goldberg, co-founder of Bombas during an interview for Yahoo Finance’s Breakouts series.

But consumers can still shop for Bombas’ signature socks on Amazon from individual sellers who buy from Bombas.com and resell them at a markup.

Goldberg said they are “unauthorized” sellers and advised customers against purchasing from them. But the reviews on Amazon product pages show some customers still opt to buy on Amazon for its convenience and fast delivery. On Bombas’ own website, customers need to order at least $50 worth of products to qualify for free shipping. Even though Bombas is not an Amazon selling partner, Bombas.com supports Amazon Pay, Amazon’s payments processing service.

“We're not anti-Amazon in any way. It's just not the right move for our brand right now (to sell on it), especially as we're trying to build a brand,” said Goldberg.

The Bombas founders are not ruling out the possibility of working with the e-commerce giant in the future.

“We know that Amazon will always be there for us. It's an opportunity for growth when we feel like we've hit that plateau,” said David Health, Bombas' co-founder and CEO.

Amazon has been courting both household brands and small- and mid-sized businesses to sell on its platform. In his annual letter to investors, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos emphasizes third-party sellers account for 58% of physical gross merchandise sales sold on Amazon. Third-party seller services generated $11 billion in revenue in the first quarter, growing 20% from last year.

In this June 22, 2018, photo, David Health, CEO and co-founder of Bombas, shows a Bombas sock during an interview in his New York office. Heath and his partner Randy Goldberg spent two years developing socks with features like blister tabs and arch support. Then they teamed up with shelters and nonprofit groups, and the company donates a pair for every pair it sells. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
David Health, CEO and co-founder of Bombas, shows a Bombas sock during an interview in his New York office. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

‘We control the message’

For the six-year-old startup, which is known for donating a pair of socks to the homeless for every pair they sell, being able to communicate its brand’s story and learning from its consumer base are higher priorities than finding new channels to grow revenue.

“We're just trying to control the growth that we have and do it in a really meaningful and thoughtful way. And by doing that, we like focusing everything on our own website, we control the journey, we control the message, we control the experience,” Health said.

Krystal covers tech and China for Yahoo Finance. Write to her via krystalh@yahoofinance.com or follow her on Twitter.

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