Milton Keynes company embraces the web for international growth and new business ventures

A toys and games entrepreneur based in Milton Keynes has ramped up his partnership with the Amazon fulfilment centre in Marston Gate to help his business export products from the town to customers around the world. Julian Garner created Inside Out Toys in 2012 with the aim of selling quality toys at reasonable prices and runs the business with his wife, Nikki. Julian’s idea to start his business came from taking his children to toy shops, where he noticed how expensive certain toys were for consumers. He believed he could bring the same toys to the market in the UK for a better price by importing them directly from the manufacturer. His idea was simple – to sell the toys online at a better price than other retailers could offer. He quickly opened a store on Amazon and began selling products to customers in the local area and around the country.

Inside Out Toys grew at breakneck speed and today, more than half of Julian’s sales are exports to countries across Europe. It’s this pan-European demand for his products that led him to turn to the local Amazon fulfilment centre to stow, pick, pack and ship the toys to his multi-national customer base. The success of his first business led to the creation of a new brand called Jumini. Jumini specialises in high quality, wooden toys that are sold direct to smaller retailers. Julian uses a service called Fulfilment by Amazon, which makes selling across the world easy for SMEs.

Businesses simply send their products to Amazon’s fulfilment centres, where they’re stowed and given Prime listing status to final shipping. Amazon also offers tracking, customer service and handles returns all over Europe.

Julian visited the Amazon site in Milton Keynes to see how his products are fulfilled. During the tour, he met some of the staff that have played a key role in helping him expand to markets far beyond Milton Keynes.

Julian said: “The team at Amazon’s fulfilment centre in Milton Keynes have been key in helping me grow my business and it’s been great to come along to the site and meet some of them. I wanted to say thank you for everything they’ve done and continue to do for Inside

Out Toys.

“When I first started the business, I quickly realised that I had two options. I could invest heavily in warehousing, staff and processes of my own or I could team up with a partner to look after that for me. That’s when I came to Amazon and since then, I’ve not looked back. Our sales continue to be strong in the UK but it’s the pan-European market that’s really taken off for us.

“The beauty of having support from the people at the Milton Keynes fulfilment centre is they handle everything for me. Picking, packing, shipping and even customer service support means that I have more time and resource to dedicate to the areas of the business that I am most passionate about, leaving the rest to the experts at the fulfilment centre.

“The success I’ve had working with Amazon has also allowed me to create the second business – Jumini – which manufactures wooden toys. We sell the toys direct to smaller retailers and the idea behind the business is based on the focus on plastics and the need to embrace more renewable materials in all walks of life.”

The local entrepreneur visited Amazon as it geared up for one of the biggest sales events of the year – Prime Day on July 15 and 16 – to experience the journey their products take once a customer in the UK, Europe or further afield clicks ‘buy’ on the

Amazon website.

Scott Wharton, General Manager at Amazon in Milton Keynes, said: “Our team really enjoyed meeting Julian and loved showing him how we work to help his business grow. A key element of what we do at Amazon is helping small businesses to grow by exporting and we’re proud of the part we’ve played in helping a local business like Inside Out Toys expand to international markets.”

Thousands of SMEs in the UK took part in this year’s sales event. On Prime Day in 2018, SMEs selling in Amazon’s stores surpassed $1.5 billion in sales globally.