THE STORY

Marc Lore and Vinit Bharara had been buddies since elementary school. Now in 2005, age 38, they had something else in common—extraordinary business acumen.

With the baby days—and endless diapers—upon them, 12 million American mothers were in the same sticky situation. So they decided to take on the FMCG big guys and bought diapers.com.

As soon as the site went live, orders followed! But P&G wouldn’t sell wholesale to them until they had a sales story, so… they went for the old fashioned way. A friend would race to the local BJ’s Wholesale Club, load her van with diapers and ship them. 30 to 40 packages a night became 180 a night until they were renting U-Hauls and clearing out all the stores within a hundred-mile radius.

They finally got that wholesale account. Not only that, they had a little trick up their sleeves borrowed from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos: cash in the sales, pay suppliers later.

With $59 million from investors, tens of millions in sales and now 300 employees, they set up a giant robot-run warehouse and introduced other baby products—with giant profit margins to match.

Amazon was all over them, counteracting every clever move they made. It was clear to Amazon that they were losing the diapers war. And as the saying goes, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Or buy ‘em.

In 2010, Bezos wrote them a check for a smooth $540 million. Smooth as a baby’s bottom.

Marc Lore and Vinit Bharara.

BIG DREAMS, BIG GUNS

Competing with an established corporation is certainly not easy, so get your big guns out. For starters: a brilliant plan, an agile team, a few creative hacks, psychological warfare… When your competitors start panicking, whether they run a big corporation or a local shop, you know you’ve got something to work with.

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© Story by Tarek Issa.

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