“This is like the Gold Rush in the 1840s.”
“There’s an estimate passed around third-party Amazon consultants that claims 7% of all Amazon third-party sales originate from a single zip code in Brooklyn, and that Orthodox Jewish–owned businesses make up 15% of marketplace sellers,” reports Buzzfeed News.
Amazon wouldn't comment on these numbers, but said, “Brooklyn is home to many impressive independent retailers selling on Amazon.”
A growing number of American Orthodox Jews are finding prosperity that allows them to also maintain their cultural traditions by selling products on Amazon, with “one foot in modernity and one foot out,” writes BuzzFeed News reporter Leticia Miranda.
There are Facebook-based support groups, in-person community events -- this is apparently a big thing, and growing, in the community.
The prospect of building a business on Amazon has led to a boom across the Orthodox Jewish community in New Jersey and New York. In March, several Lakewood-based Amazon sellers spoke at an event dedicated to selling on Amazon attended by roughly 500 Orthodox Jews. Ed Rosenberg, who runs a consulting firm and Facebook group for Amazon sellers, holds an annual event in Brooklyn where he told BuzzFeed News roughly 1,000 sellers attend, mainly Orthodox Jews, to learn about new rules, network, and share information. And he’s far from the only one. In July, Rabbi Yehoshua Werde held an event in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, where more than 600 people from the Orthodox community attended to learn about selling online. Werde, who runs a nonprofit called Crown Heights Young Entrepreneurs, told BuzzFeed News that he organized the conference after noticing dozens of young men crowded around an Amazon seller booth at a business talk in 2014, while other tables had maybe 10.
“There is a certain transformation that is going on right here,” said Werde. “This is like the Gold Rush in the 1840s. Whenever there is an economic shift, it opens up opportunity.”
James Thomson, a manager with Amazon Business Services from 2007 to 2013, told BuzzFeed News that he noticed his third-party seller clients were mainly concentrated in only a handful of neighborhoods — Brooklyn; Fair Lawn, New Jersey; and Lakewood, neighborhoods with large concentrations of Orthodox Jews. “Before I left Amazon, some of my clients were Orthodox Jewish sellers, and I saw incredibly sophisticated entrepreneurs and saw business models that weren’t taught in business school,” he said. “It became natural that we’d do anything to make sure we worked with them.”
America’s Orthodox Jews Are Selling A Ton Of The Products You Buy On Amazon [buzzfeednews.com]
VIDEO, TOP: Rabbi Yehoshua Werde held an event over the summer in Crown Heights. More than 600 people from Brooklyn's Orthodox Jewish community attended to learn about selling online, with third-party Amazon stores.