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Amazon Supports Women Merchants at Inaugural Conference

This week, Amazon encouraged the 300 attendees of its first Women’s Entrepreneur Conference to share their experience on social networking sites, even suggesting the hashtag #AmazonWEC – an unusual move for the usually secretive company.

Some attendees tweeting on Tuesday added their own hashtag “#girlpower,” such as the founders of MooshWalks socks and BengC fashion and accessories.

Amazon spokesperson Tom Cook told EcommerceBytes that Amazon is increasingly becoming a home for entrepreneurs, and in particular women-owned businesses. “We are in a unique position to positively impact women business owners, and we’re proud to be providing this group of business leaders with the actionable advice that they need to continue to succeed.”

Amazon had held its third annual gathering of marketplace sellers in June, but Tuesday’s conference was the first for women-owned businesses. The event was by invitation only.

Peter Faricy, Vice President of Amazon Marketplace, opened the event, and Amazon’s Maria Renz, Vice President and Technical Advisor to the CEO (Jeff Bezos), gave the keynote address. In writing about the conference, she noted she had been with Amazon since 1999 and said, “I love that our innovations have taken away the traditional gatekeepers and empowered such diverse women (and men) to find success using Amazon to launch, scale and grow their business.”

Renz said Amazon Marketplace is great for customers because it adds unique selection, and it’s great for sellers – over 70,000 entrepreneurs sell more than $100k a year on Amazon, and in turn they’ve created over 600,000 new jobs in their communities.

Cook told us that Amazon invited women-owned business leaders and entrepreneurs that sell on Amazon to the conference, including Christine Boerner, founder, Cielo Pill Holders; Elena Castaneda, founder and CEO of Bling Jewelry; Lisa King, founder and Chief Merchandising Officer of b-glowing; and Dayna Martin, founder and CEO of Stand Steady.

“The Women’s Entrepreneur Conference is a first-of-its-kind event from Amazon, offering women business owners and entrepreneurs an opportunity to connect and learn. The full day conference included two expert keynote addresses, panel discussions with successful Amazon Sellers and leaders, as well as workshops conducted by Amazon program and product owners – all geared toward supporting women-owned businesses as they grow on Amazon.”

What might also be a first for Amazon – a seller, Christine Boerner of Cielo Pill Holders, had the opportunity to interview Amazon execs Faricy and Renz on stage at the event.

Boerner told EcommerceBytes after the event that the level of commitment and passion the two executives showed for helping sellers succeed on the Amazon platform “absolutely blew me away.”

“We talked a lot about the future of ecommerce and what a tremendous time it is to be an entrepreneur,” she said. “There has never been more direct access for brand owners (like myself) to connect with customers, and the global opportunities truly feel limitless.”

Photo credit: Liliana Gesthalter from LilGift.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.