Cushy Cove: from Amazon to “Real” Business in 5 Big Steps

Thinking of taking your Amazon shop and turning it into a real brand? When we first met JJ, he was ready to capitalize on his success selling on Amazon and turn his playmat-selling business into its own brand and online store. We were ready with a multi-faceted plan.

When JJ Park bought his first South Korean cushy mat for his son in 2008, he was working as an engineer and analyst for Amazon. He soon realized this play mat was something special; more than a mat, it was an extra-safe, extra-large space where his baby could feel free to roam and grow his curiosity. It was big enough that he and his wife spent plenty of time on the mat as well, making it an integral part of their home.

Because floor-living is so central to South Korean culture, JJ knew the mats were hugely popular, but he also saw a potential to bring them to a new audience in the U.S. He began selling them on Amazon in 2010 to much success—he received an Amazon Choice Award and an overall 5-star rating from more than 1500 reviews.

When we first met JJ, he was ready to capitalize on his success selling on Amazon and turn his playmat-selling business into its own brand and online store. We were ready with a multi-faceted plan.

Step 1: marketing strategy consultation

Working closely with our marketing consultant, Jena, JJ delved deep into his target audience, his unique selling proposition, and core mission. This helped our entire team focus from day one on the strongest differentiators of his brand and how to connect that to customers. Jena also worked on developing an online marketing strategy that encompassed ways that JJ’s new brand might connect to its audience through social media, press coverage, blog communities, and online ads.

Step 2: a new name and tagline for a new brand

The most important selling point for JJ’s company was the safety and softness of the mats, and how they inspire play, bonding and wonder for both babies and families throughout many stages of life. As I brainstormed new name concepts, I kept coming back to names that emphasized a sense of place. I imagined a fun, happy place full of happy creatures and hints of adventure. The softness of the mats, combined with the idea of a safe habitat where a baby and parent bond, led us to the perfect name and tagline: Cushy Cove – Playmats for Life.

success selling on Amazon: cushy cove's logo

Step 3: visual identity and logo design for Cushy Cove

About his goals for the design, JJ told Melanie: “I want the logo–together with the entire brand and website design–to give the reliability and trust for customers to feel safe to shop on my site. In that sense, a simple yet elegant logo with dignity may be preferred over a kiddy style logo, even though our site would mostly sell kids play mats.”

Melanie’s initial design concepts explored the usage of animals, like kangaroos and otters, to illustrate the special bond and feeling of safety between mother and baby. In subsequent rounds, the otters won out—both for their cuteness but also their shape. “It is shaped a bit like a C, but this isn’t necessarily just because I wanted to make it a C,” Melanie explained. “That is something that I do love, but the main reason I made it bend, is that I like icons to have some graceful movement and feel more ‘iconic’ and less like a visual representation of the animal.”

This gave the new Cushy Cove logo that clean, simple elegance so important to the brand, while also conveying the rounded, connected feeling between otter and mother with a bit of whimsy.

Cushy Cove Quick Brand Guide. After seeing success selling on Amazon, JJ came to us to turn his import business into a real brand.

Step 4: bringing Cushy Cove to life through words and images

With the visual identity complete, we got to work on beautiful, effective art and copy that would tell the Cushy Cove story through words and images. Jennifer, our photographer, styled, produced, and shot completely new images of the many play mats in the Cushy Cove collection. Far more than product shots, the images of babies and moms enjoying the mats conveyed the emotions and lifestyle that Cushy Cove products provide. This same value- and philosophy-driven approach set the tone for the website’s copy: from the Home Page to the About Page and FAQs to each individual product description.

Cushy Cove model product photography

Cushy Cove styling and photography by Jen Lacey for Aeolidia

Cushy Cove model product photography

Cushy Cove styling and photography by Jen Lacey for Aeolidia

Step 5: a guided Shopify setup for CushyCove.com

With newer businesses, we recommend that they invest in the brand as the top design priority, and one of our logo packages includes help setting up a pre-made Shopify theme to work with your new brand. This is a good solution when funds are tight and is a great first step to making a good impression online.

With custom photography, a new visual identity, and copy development, Cushy Cove was nearly ready to make its big launch. We helped JJ take all these great pieces and put them together into a Shopify theme that worked with both his branding and e-commerce goals. Three cheers for Cushy Cove! This project called for some big steps and major work, but we were delighted to do and delighted that JJ felt empowered by the process.

“From the brand name, tagline, copywriting, logos, hero shots and more, it’s been a great pleasure to work with the Aeolidia team where experts for each area kindly and professionally led me through projects that seemed overwhelming at first. Moreover, they have a working process to deal with ambiguity and find the perfect balance between the needs from the client and the target audience.”
–JJ Park, Cushy Cove

Ready to take some big steps in your business? Contact us to set sail on your new journey!

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Want to build a brand around your product?

Selling on Amazon is one thing, but building a brand that lasts is a whole different skill set. Over the years, we have watched many businesses succeed, and many more struggle.

Those businesses that seem to have had an overnight success and barely needed to work at promotion? There is something special about them. They know it and their customers know it. Their work can be spotted from a mile off, it’s something that people want, and it’s easy to promote – like a snowball rolling down hill, gathering speed, and getting huge.

Why is it so easy for them? If you have what they have, it will be easy for you, too. If you’re lacking this, it will be like trying to win a race with a bicycle that has square wheels. A crazy amount of work, with few results. Find out what I’m talking about by watching my video presentation on building your brand story:

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