Our COPRA Cares social media programme has been running since 2018 inviting our sponsors to share their thoughts and of course to answer some crucial questions relating to our ever-increasing industry.
Please introduce yourself
My name is David Hampstead and I am Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Samarkand Global - a cross-border eCommerce company focused on connecting Western brands with China, the world’s largest eCommerce market. At Samarkand we make Chinese eCommerce simple, accessible, and profitable for brands and retailers of all sizes. Our proprietary software platform, Nomad, is at the core of delivering growth for our own brands and customers alike, covering commerce, distribution, logistics, payments, and analytics.
2021 has been another challenging year. How has it been for you and your business, and how have the recent challenges reflected in your business decisions?
Indeed, 2021 has been a challenging year for everyone. We have celebrated some huge milestones, chiefly our IPO in March where we raised £17m and then a subsequent £3.15m investment from our strategic partner, SF Express. However, in a business like ours with a global focus, being unable to travel abroad to our international offices and of course supply chain issues due to COVID, were inevitably factors in our decision making over the course of the last year.
Can you share any new initiatives you may have introduced?
To unite our teams and improve our onboarding experience in a period of growth where business travel and face to face meetings were not possible, we had to get creative in our digital team building initiatives. In 2021 we introduced a weekly online forum, SMK TV, for our employees to come together virtually and share with colleagues. This really helped our teams across the UK, China and Japan to collaborate and share knowledge despite being unable to meet in person.
Our industry is dynamic and extremely rewarding, it is also a great career choice. What do you think is an important quality for those thinking of looking to start a career or move over to the beauty/retail sector or any associated business servicing the beauty industry?
Having co-founded Samarkand Global to address a need we identified in the eCommerce industry - making Chinese eCommerce more accessible (particularly for beauty brands!) - I greatly value innovative ideas. As our company grows, we work with more and more dynamic, innovative and passionate beauty brands and we look for talent that is excited to collaborate with these brands and help them succeed in China. A positive attitude and a willingness to learn are key qualities that ensure we build the best team possible to deliver results.
COPRA is very dependant on its amazing sponsors, industry supporting brands. How is COPRA important to you?
First and foremost, we acknowledge that COPRA has fostered the Beauty Industry community for many years both on and offline. As we focus on providing technology and solutions to our clients online at Samarkand, we appreciate the togetherness and network of leading suppliers and retailers that have come together virtually through COPRA. We also greatly value the social change that COPRA strives for and we were delighted to be able to give back to the industry charity 'Look Good Feel Better' last year through our sponsorship of the COPRA Ball 2021.