Transparency helps Drillbrush wipe out the counterfeits

“Drillbrush wouldn’t be here today without Transparency. The value we get out of it is immeasurable.”

Josh Baranowski
Drillbrush COO

Spinning up a new business

For many of the 10 million Americans who live with it, carpal tunnel syndrome is debilitating.

In severe cases, the condition – pressure on the nerves in the wrists which causes pain, numbness and difficulty gripping things – can require physical therapy or surgery. Even in mild cases, the sufferer must stop any activity that worsens their symptoms, or risk causing permanent damage.

For what many people would see as a substantial trial, Anthony LaPolla was able to turn into a triumph.

An electrician by profession, he quit his job in 2005 to launch a car wash business in upstate New York, and quickly built a reputation for top-notch service. But then carpal tunnel syndrome started making it difficult for him to properly clean hard-to-reach spots like rims and meet his high-quality standards.

Determined not to let his condition get in the way of his dreams, Tony got creative. After some serious thinking and experimentation, he came up with a unique brush design that allowed him to easily reach a vehicle’s tightest nooks and crannies without straining himself.

From garage to greatness

Tony’s design, which featured a modified a toilet brush that could be inserted into a cordless drill, proved immensely popular. When customers began asking him where they could get one like it, Drillbrush was born.

Business really took off when he started selling his brushes on Amazon and joined Amazon Brand Registry – Amazon’s flagship brand protection programme that also gave Drillbrush access to a number of brand-building features.

“Amazon made a huge difference,” says Armin Pekmez, Drillbrush’s Finance and Logistics Administrative officer. “Just the amount of eyes you can get with Sponsored products and all the other brand-building features… it gave our sales a big boost.”

A piece of the action

The brand’s increased visibility and growing reputation opened all sorts of doors. From humble beginnings, Drillbrush went on to count the likes of Boeing, SpaceX and the US Air Force among its clients.

Unfortunately, success also brought with it the wrong kind of attention. Once Drillbrush started making a name for itself, bad actors took notice and tried to cash in on Tony’s ingenuity and hard work by counterfeiting his products. Eventually, these counterfeits started cutting into Drillbrush’s margins.

But dwindling profits were the least of their problems. Worse, the poor quality of the counterfeits meant that the brand’s hard-won reputation also took a hit.

“Customers would get in touch with us to complain, because the piece that attaches to the drill broke off,” explains COO, Josh Baranowski. “These products didn’t even have our proprietary design.”

Something had to be done soon to get in front of the problem.
Power Tools
Amazon Brand Registry


Taking back control

The question was, how do you stop counterfeiters from profiting off your products and harming your reputation?

It’s a problem Drillbrush wrestled with for several months. The counterfeiters were cunning and relentless, and Drillbrush’s reactive attempts to stop them in their tracks were met with mixed success.

“We started doing test buys,” says Armin, “but it was challenging. In the meantime, the counterfeits were out there, getting bought by unsuspecting customers.”

At one point, Drillbrush considered hiring a brand management agency, but what the agency was offering didn’t stand up to detailed scrutiny. “It was extremely expensive,” remembers Armin, “and we didn’t believe the protection they’d offer us would be adequate. It wasn’t right for us.”

“I’d spend two to three hours a day tracking down counterfeits. Now it’s a non-issue. We don’t need to do anything about counterfeits.”

Scrubbing away the counterfeiters

Right around this time, Drillbrush learned about Amazon’s Transparency programme and enrolled. They moved fast and were up and running by the end of the week.

While the quick and, in Armin’s words, “slick” onboarding process was certainly promising, what impressed Drillbrush the most was that as soon as they implemented Transparency, things changed dramatically overnight.

More importantly, the system is extremely simple to use, which means Transparency isn’t just effective, but also sustainable in the long term, regardless of the size of the business.

“Whenever we launch a new product,” explains Armin, “we load it up to our Transparency dashboard, download the codes, print them in-house and apply the codes so it’s protected from day one. It couldn’t be simpler.”

“Transparency saved our business”

Armin doesn’t have to think twice to say “Yes” when asked whether it was a good decision to sign up for Transparency.

But by far its biggest benefit is that it enabled Drillbrush to empower its customers and, in turn, build more trust in the brand.

“We’ve even put a blurb on our website that tells customers they can spot counterfeits by checking if they have a Transparency label. Being able to educate customers in this way and ensure they only buy authentic products has been really beneficial.”

So, would Drillbrush recommend Transparency to other brands who are thinking of signing up?

“We couldn’t recommend it enough,” say Armin and Josh together. “Transparency gives us peace of mind. It guarantees that our brand is protected and that our customers always get authentic products, and has made our lives substantially easier.”

“The thing about Transparency is that it’s proactive and effective. It keeps counterfeits off your listing.”

Enrol today in Transparency

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