You can support veteran-owned small businesses this Amazon Prime Day

Julia LeDoux
July 12, 2019 - 2:23 pm

Photo courtesy Paul Miller


What do Marine veteran Paul Miller and Navy veteran Zachary Lewis have in common in addition to their military service?

Both vets have partnered with online retail giant Amazon to expand their web-based businesses and hope Amazon Prime Day – July 15 and 16 – keeps that momentum going.

“I know Amazon supports vets,” said Miller, owner of Ashubrn, Va., based CozyPhones. “This would not have happened without them.”

Photo courtesy Paul Miller

Miller served in the Corps from 1981 to 1992, working as a combat photographer, infantryman and drill sergeant. When he left the Marines, he drifted into several jobs – including video production – before settling into the restaurant business.  The 2008 recession and other personal matters negatively impacted Miller’s restaurant business, leaving him searching for another career. Miller was 53 when he opted for a life-changing “do over". He switched to selling comfy headband headphones online designed for both children and adults. 

Miller said it was by accident that CozyPhones were born. He often woke up in the middle of the night and listened to podcasts or audio books until falling back to sleep. Problem was, the headphones he was using were uncomfortable. So he created comfortable headband headphones. 

On Prime Day 2018, the company generated $80,000 in sales and Miller says he is anticipating selling two weeks-worth of inventory on Monday alone.

On the other side of the country Integrity Bottles, based in San Diego, Calif., was begun by Lewis, who served in the Navy’s Special Warfare Command from 2009 to 2018, and his wife Jamie. The company creates handmade sand-carved glass products that are sold on Amazon Handmade.

“We started by selling to the guys on base,” Lewis said. “Our products are the No. 1 retirement gift out here in San Diego right now.”

Integrity glass
Photo courtesy Integrity Bottles

Because of the products popularity teh husband and wife team decided to start selling thier products online. When they moved their online prescence over to Amazon, sales really took off, he said.

“They’ve helped me every step of the way,” Lewis said of Amazon.

Integrity ``
Photo courtesy Integrity Bottles

Last Prime Day, small businesses selling on Amazon exceeded $1.5 billion in sales.

Unlike Black Friday or Cyber Monday, Amazon Prime deals last up to 36 hours. If you don’t have Amazon Prime, you can sign up for a free trial just to take advantage of the deals.

Want to get more connected to the great stories and resources Connecting Vets has to offer? Click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter.