Blair Forrest, born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario is the kid that always had a business. From the traditional lemonade stand, to car washes, any opportunity to make a buck, he was there. It is no surprise that Blair, 23 years old, is now the CEO of AMZ Prep Canada, a company that preps, packs, and fulfills orders for Amazon, Walmart, & a variety of e-commerce brands. They handle the logistics of selling products online from start to finish.
This incredibly successful business began years ago with garage sales. Thanks to supportive parents who would drive him wherever he needed to go, Blair would search high and low for great deals and resell his finds on eBay or Craigslist. Earning a couple thousand dollars a week as a high schooler, Blair was no stranger to making money online.
As the world of e-commerce continued to develop, he started selling his own products on Amazon. Wanting to expand sales to Amazon Canada, he would go to a warehouse in the U.S. that had prepped and labelled his products, pack his car, and then make his way back home after long winded conversations with the customs office. Logistically this wasn’t sustainable, so Blair decided to do all the prepping and labelling himself in a small 300 square foot warehouse. His friends and family who were also selling on Amazon started asking if he could receive, label, and ship products on their behalf.
“I started to think that potentially there might be a business model here,” explains Blair.
So, with a minimal website, Blair launched his give-it-a-try venture and got 15 submissions on the first day. By December of 2018, AMZPrep Canada grew out of the first space and moved into a 1,000 square feet warehouse. As business continued to grow, they were able to raise seed funding of $250,000 with a Brampton company E-shipper! This investment skyrocketed their business and they were able to move into their current warehouse here in Brampton which is 100,000 square feet! The rapid growth of AMZ Prep Canada is amazing and even more awe inspiring because Blair managed it all while attending Wilfrid Laurier’s Lazaridis School of Business and Economics full time.
As our society came to terms COVID19 and the need for community help in the relief effort, AMZ Prep Canada was one of the many essential businesses that lent a helping hand. They worked with local distributors and medical companies to distribute items to frontline workers. “With over 100,000 orders for medical companies, we were honoured to be able to give back to the community in this way,” explained Blair. In addition to doing their part in COVID19 relief, AMZ Prep Canada also gives back to the community by partnering with local charities to donate excess liquidation products to those in need.
The AMZ Prep Canada warehouse
Clearly community is important to Blair which is why he notes his network as a great help on his entrepreneurship journey. Experts at the Brampton Entrepreneur Centre, E-shipper, and Wilfrid Laurier’s start-up hub are only some of the people Blair goes to for guidance. “I’m always looking for new people to have a conversation with. You never know when someone’s advice will give you the perspective change you need,” explains Blair.
An underlying source of motivation is one that the young entrepreneur holds closer to heart, but shows up directly in the work he does today. Blair says, “my dad used to have a hot sauce business, it was very early on in the e-commerce days. Sometimes I think if I was able to help him, knowing what I know now, his business could have been better.” As he continues to work on developing AMZ Prep Canada, he “hopes that he can help a small business reach their full potential by preparing them for the online market.”
For those looking to get started on their entrepreneurship journey, Blair’s advice is to “just get started. Get up and go. Whether it’s an hour a day or an hour a week. Start!” As he looks to the future, what lays ahead is nothing but opportunities for growth both locally and globally. Just this summer, Blair won $10,000 in Enactus’ 2020 Student Entrepreneur National Competition. Moving forward, he’s looking to take AMZ Prep international. Any country where Amazon is offered, he’ll be working to help businesses bring their product to the marketplace using AMZ Prep’s service offerings. When looking at to the future, Blair says, “ultimately, I’m really working on becoming a better leader and listener.” Both are traits he’ll need in the future and his dedication to developing them now are a good indication that AMZ Prep Canada is headed in the right direction.
To find out more about AMZ Prep Canada, you can visit their website.