Meet Maricia Magaña and Brian Meert, the wife-and-husband team behind selfie light company LITTIL. The couple knew they wanted to build their dream brand together — one that could combine their skills in branding and influencer marketing while giving them the freedom of remote work and time to raise their baby.
With Maricia helming the brand as founder and CEO and Brian working behind-the-scenes magic, they launched and built a private label Amazon FBA business with the help of Jungle Scout tools — all while tackling first-time parenthood. In just two years, LITTIL is well on its way to reaching $1 million in sales, with exciting new products in development.
Let’s learn more about their journey through FBA! You can also watch our recorded interview with Maricia and Brian below.
Life before Amazon
Maricia is a Los Angeles native with rich experience in the celebrity and influencer world.
During her career in the music industry and digital media space, she has worked with big names like Lady Gaga and Gwen Stefani, and helped guide successful brands as a consulting expert on branding, publicity, and social media.
Along the road, she met Brian, a fellow marketing whiz who left a successful corporate career to found AdvertiseMint, an L.A.-based digital advertising agency.
Through her work with influencers, Maricia perfected the art of selfie photography — specifically, game-changing lighting techniques. She’d used a variety of selfie light products, but found shortcomings with everything she tried. Maricia knew she wasn’t alone in her dissatisfaction — as a friend and high school classmate of Kim Kardashian, she’d observed the “selfie queen” struggle to find a holy-grail lighting option, too.
Maricia wanted to create the perfect selfie light: something that was portable, discreet, and accessible, but powerful enough to support professional-quality photography while on-the-go and at social events.
Around the same time, Brian heard about FBA from a friend who’d purchased an online course. Disappointed with paid educational content, he searched YouTube for alternatives and found Jungle Scout’s channel. For weeks, he “geeked out” and listened on his commute to work to Jungle Scout’s resident Amazon expert Lenny Smith explain FBA entrepreneurship.
When they finally felt convinced that selling on Amazon FBA was a good opportunity, Maricia and Brian decided to give it a try.
As part of their research, the couple toured an FBA warehouse in San Bernardino, California. There, the sheer size and scale of Amazon’s powerful logistics cemented their decision: using FBA was a no-brainer.
They knew they could build their dream retail brand without reinventing the fulfillment wheel, opening physical stores, or hiring a large staff. Their dream of being “in Bora Bora on computers” while the business grew seemed not just possible, but probable.
Thus was born LITTIL, Maricia and Brian’s selfie light brand.
How they did it: Product research
Brian and Maricia’s FBA journey began in late 2019. A couple weeks later, there came a surprise: Maricia was pregnant! While she prepared to welcome their first baby, Brian put in early mornings doing product research with Jungle Scout tools.
Brian learned from Jungle Scout’s videos that his best option was to create a private label business that he and Maricia could use to “tiptoe” into FBA. Jungle Scout’s tools revealed that the selfie light niche had no shortage of competition, and some of the biggest players had colossal daily sales numbers and tens of thousands of product reviews.
So instead of going head-to-head with the top brands, Brian used Jungle Scout Extension to find private label selfie lights that had lower sales volume, that presented opportunities to build up reviews and beautify listings.
Finally, Brian found a selfie light with a high profitability potential, and prepared for supplier negotiations. After testing samples from 15 different factories in China, he and Maricia narrowed in on one that stood out from the rest.
With an investment of over $15,000 on their first inventory order, the couple strapped in for the long wait until their shipment arrived at Amazon’s warehouses.
“When we ordered our first order, I was so scared. I was just sitting there like, ‘I hope they send it! That was a lot of money. Going through it the first time, I was very nervous,’” says Brian.
After two months of suspense, LITTIL’s first product, the Selfie Mini, was delivered in early 2020. They formally launched the brand on Amazon to an eager audience of friends, family, and Maricia’s influencer network.
From there, Brian and Maricia ramped up LITTIL’s operations. Despite COVID-related inventory restrictions, they launched a series of larger ring lights to a homebound audience eager for webcam lighting solutions. In their first year of business, they brought in nearly $250,000 in sales.
They also hired staff and consultants for social media marketing, design, and sourcing. Their innovative branding and timely releases have brought in glowing reviews and even earned them a shoutout from Hollywood actor and entrepreneur Jessica Alba on Instagram.
Today, LITTIL offers five LED light products, sells well over 1,000 units per day, and is expected to reach $1 million in lifetime sales by the end of the year.
How they did it: Branding
From watching Jungle Scout’s videos, Brian learned the huge impact branding makes on an FBA business’s long-term success. By investing in a cohesive, polished look, he and Maricia could set a higher price for their selfie lights. This, in turn, would allow for larger margins, which could be reinvested into an aggressive advertising strategy, and better rankings on Amazon.
Right away, Brian registered LITTIL’s business’s trademark and created its own Seller Central account. While it would take months for the trademark to be approved, obtaining it eventually allowed LITTIL to take advantage of Amazon’s Brand Registry tools.
The name LITTIL takes a palindromic spin on the words “lit” and “little,” and conveys the small products’ high-impact lighting capabilities. This notion of high-performance minimalism is reflected throughout LITTIL’s sleek product designs, packaging, and visuals.
Maricia and Brian sourced LITTIL’s logo from graphic design company 99Designs. In about a week, they selected a design that perfectly reflected the brand’s look and feel.
To emulate the pared-down sophistication of a certain best-selling tech brand, they worked with their supplier to create a white-on-white color scheme for LITTIL’s products and packaging.
“We spent more on packaging to make a nice box that would look like something you would see in the Apple Store,” says Brian.
Maricia developed packaging inserts to reinforce LITTIL’s brand mission and fight the darkness of the pandemic: each LITTIL product comes with a small card inscribed with an uplifting message for the recipient.
She loves hearing from customers who say unboxing their selfie lights made their day, as well as learning how the product is helping workers across all kinds of industries. “To go from makeup influencers to a place where frontline workers are using [the products], it’s such a good feeling,” says Maricia.
“During COVID, people were alone, dealing with depression,” notes Brian. “We wanted not only to have a light that shines on your face, but also a positive message to say you are important and you are valuable. The world needs you to make it a better place.”
Maricia and Brian’s branding efforts have paid off: after a recent Amazon Live stream they used to demo their products, they were contacted by Amazon itself, whose team had noticed its high production value and helpfulness.
This exposure opened up access to more Amazon resources and opportunities to work with the platform more closely. LITTIL now works with an Amazon representative, who helped refine its Prime Day strategy for 2021.
How they did it: Influencer marketing and social media
Take a look at the images on LITTIL’s Amazon storefront, and you’ll immediately notice their quality — and you may also notice some familiar faces. LITTIL is an example of how leveraging influencer marketing, developing a strong social media strategy, and investing in professional product photography can launch a new brand to high-profile success.
Maricia collaborated with well-known social media influencers at all stages of development for LITTIL’s products, including:
- Testing product samples
- Shooting product photography
- Promoting product launches
- Streaming product demos on Amazon Live
- Generating testimonials for LITTIL’s website
- Distributing coupon codes and other promotional materials on social media
There’s a ton of competition on Amazon, and its customers want to buy products of verified quality. As many Amazon sellers know, getting those first few sales and reviews for a new product can be tough — shoppers don’t often trust products with few reviews and low-volume sales. Influencer marketing helps break through the noise by broadening audiences beyond just the Amazon platform and offering social proof for a product’s performance.
To prevent a slow start, Maricia knew it was important to drive traffic to LITTIL’s first Amazon listing through influencer marketing. “Followers trust influencers, so if you can get a product into their hands, it’s worth it. You never know where influencer marketing can lead, so it’s never wasted money.”
To create product images she could reuse over time, Maricia invested in a professional photo shoot. She hired influencers who work as models, yoga instructors, and even a chef to illustrate the product line’s versatility. She also sourced a set designer to create branded scenery and a professional photographer to capture high-resolution images.
The resulting photos make up the bulk of LITTIL’s Instagram posts, offering a sleek and cohesive look to its main feed. Its tagged post feed is studded with even more influencer posts and user-generated content.
The phenomenon of social media-driven success in ecommerce is well-documented, and doesn’t show signs of stopping anytime soon. With the rise of TikTok’s “Amazon made me buy it” trend, all it takes is a few seconds of video to set product sales soaring.
Brian thinks of influencers as “wild cards” — you never know how many potential customers your product can reach when an influencer amplifies it on social media.
He cites a recent example: earlier this year, he noticed a daily sales spike of 500 units. Unable to trace it back to a specific promotion, he chalked it up to the “influencer effect” — somewhere, someone must have seen LITTIL featured in an influencer’s Instagram Story, leading to a sales frenzy.
Maricia advises new sellers not to be discouraged if they don’t have a big budget for influencer marketing. She notes that if an influencer likes your product, they’re likely to work with your brand.
She says to begin working with micro influencers, who tend to have smaller, but more engaged, followings. As you generate more profit to reinvest in marketing, you can move on to bigger figures in the influencer community.
What’s next? Looking ahead to the future of LITTIL
Over the next few years, Maricia and Brian plan to further solidify their standing in the mobile video lighting space with new, proprietary designs.
LITTIL’s roadmap includes more than ten new products, including a portable ring light charger and other accessories to enhance video conferencing experiences for business owners.
When expanding your product line, says Maricia, “you can go [one of] two ways. You can pick products that sell really well, and have all different kinds of products. We went with picking one type of product, which is LED lights, and we’re going to stick with that family and make complementary products.”
“You definitely need to use Jungle Scout because you do need to do research,” she continues. “If you just go and pick a product you like, it doesn’t always mean that it will sell.”
They’ll also spend some of their earnings to visit China to work with suppliers in person and take the LITTIL line from private label products to custom designs.
“With COVID, that didn’t happen for us,” Maricia says of their hopes of going to China in 2020. “But there are definitely plans next year to do that and create our own mold. That’s costly, but with the profit that we have now, we can go there.”
Though both Brian and Maricia currently work full-time jobs outside of FBA, Maricia plans to transition into a full-time role with LITTIL.
What we can learn from LITTIL’s story
Pro tip: support your audience as you grow
After the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S., Maricia received emails from fitness instructors, chefs, and other female business owners who’d pivoted to online work and used the Selfie Mini to level up their video content. She was even more inspired when she heard from teachers and frontline workers — including one neurosurgeon — about how they were using the lights for Zoom calls.
She realized LITTIL had a great opportunity to fill the pressing need for great front-facing camera lighting. Using the new feedback as a guide, she and Brian developed the Selfie One, a larger clip-on ring light. It’s now their best-selling product, and has sold out multiple times on Amazon.
Pro tip: use data-driven tools
While in the product research phase, Brian quickly realized that it’s crucial to let sales estimates guide you to the best opportunities. Initially, he had workshopped a dream product of his own — a clip-on backpack light for hikers. But Jungle Scout’s sales estimates showed sparse demand in that particular niche, so he scrapped the idea.
“You could do all the work, but if you’re doing it for the wrong product, it won’t work,” Brian says of searching for products to sell.
Maricia advises sellers to start small and “educate yourself. That’s where Jungle Scout comes in. You need to learn first before you jump into [FBA]. Jungle Scout offers those tools and education that you need.”
Pro tip: stay positive during your journey and celebrate wins
With the COVID pandemic hitting just after LITTIL’s official launch, Brian and Maricia faced their fair share of setbacks. Though demand for their products soared, inventory limits made getting new shipments into FBA difficult. For a while, pallets of selfie lights piled up in the couple’s home garage. On top of that, they realized they’d been overcharged for their shipments — a learning opportunity common among new FBA sellers. But together, they found ways to celebrate their victories as LITTIL grew.
A win is a win, no matter how small. “It started to get exciting when we watched those sales numbers,” says Brian. “We were like, ‘we sold ten products in one day!’ And then all of a sudden, ‘we sold a hundred products in one day!’”
Slow and steady wins the race. “My mindset was like a turtle: just keep going. If I could do one thing every day and get a little further ahead, that would help in the long run,” says Brian.
Let teamwork take you through hard-won lessons. “I feel like Brian is a whiz at this stuff and we make a very good team,” says Maricia. “Brian always brings the bright side. I’m like, ‘we were overcharged!’ But he’s like, guess what? We built a brand!’ So, yes we were overcharged, but you have to look at where we’re at now.”
As they approach their million-dollar sales milestone, there is much to celebrate for Maricia, Brian, and the rest of the LITTIL team.
Curious about starting your own FBA success story? Check out How to Sell on Amazon FBA, our step-by-step guide to launching a private label Amazon business.