The Little Flower Soap Co. in Chelsea, Michigan, is one of the small businesses featured on Amazon’s new Storefronts platform. The soap and candle maker also is the subject of a new national TV commercial from Amazon.
Seattle—According to Amazon, half of all items purchased through its site come from small- and mid-sized businesses.

Now, it’s created a new concept to promote them that challenges Etsy and serves as a counter to criticism that the online giant kills small businesses.

Amazon Storefronts consists of several different online stores grouped by categories such as “Back to School,” “Halloween” and “Pet Supplies.” Each category features a curated grouping of products from small- and mid-sized U.S. businesses.

There’s even a jewelry category, which showed 31 products as of Monday, including watches. The jewelry storefront promotes brands such as Zoe Lev Jewelry and Jord watches. The majority of the pieces are costume.

In addition to the product categories, the Storefronts initiative also profiles businesses through articles and videos based on groupings like “Women-owned businesses” and “Family-focused businesses.”

In a press release, Amazon said that Storefronts features more than 1 million products from more than 20,000 vendors though at launch, there appeared to be no more than 55 products listed per 12 “curated collections.”  

“We’ve created a custom, one-stop shopping experience for customers looking for interesting, innovative and high-quality products from American businesses from all across the country,” said Amazon Vice President Nicholas Denissen.

“Amazon first invited businesses to sell on Amazon nearly two decades ago, and today, small and medium-sized businesses are a vital part of Amazon’s large selection and commitment to customers. We’re championing their success with this new store and a national advertising campaign featuring a successful Michigan business selling on Amazon to customers across the U.S. and worldwide.”

The campaign to which Denissen refers is a national television commercial starring the people behind The Little Flower Soap Co. in Chelsea, Michigan.

The company is also Amazon’s first “Storefront of the Week.” Each week, a different business will be featured on Amazon.com.

Holly Rutt, co-founder of Little Flower Soap Co., said: “Since we started selling on Amazon in October 2016, our sales have nearly doubled. Due to our success, we have been able to hire new team members from our community, including full- and part-time jobs. We believe that customers like to know the story behind what they’re buying. When there is worry about creating jobs, it’s reassuring for customers to know their purchases are helping sustain jobs in the U.S.”

According to Amazon’s Small Business Impact Report, released earlier this year, the small and mid-sized businesses that sell on Amazon are estimated to have created more than 900,000 jobs around the world.

Amazon estimates that there about 1 million of these businesses selling through its site.

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