Amazon.com became the world's most valuable retailer by selling everything imaginable at virtually no profit. Jet.com raised hundreds of millions of dollars before launch, with the promise of undercutting Amazon's prices.
E-retailer Zazzle has spent the past decade—and made money—refusing to play that game.
Zazzle's trick: CEO Robert Beaver and his sons, Jeff and Bobby, focus on products that can't be found elsewhere, and thus face little to no pricing pressure.
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Design your own flask? Check. Customizable ping pong paddles? Got those too.
The Beaver family has been quietly building the company, raising limited amounts of venture funding, shying away from the press and doing something crazy by Silicon Valley standards: generating profit.
Now as the Redwood City, California-based e-retailer celebrates its 10th anniversary, it's ready to talk financials for the first time.
Zazzle told CNBC.com that it expects revenue this fiscal year of more than $250 million, representing 25 percent annual growth, a pace that could accelerate to 35 percent over the next few years.
The company's gross margin, or the profit left after subtracting the cost of goods sold, is a hefty 45 percent. Amazon just reported a quarterly gross margin of 35 percent, and much of that is due to the rapidly growing and very profitable cloud-computing business.