Carla Penn-Kahn and David Kahn: Boosting Ecommerce Profitability with Visibility | #400

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Carla and Dave talk true profitability

CEO for 10+ years with a team in Sydney and Kuala Lumpur. Our eCommerce brands were no1 and no2 according to the independent voice of Australian consumers on ProductReview for our category. Acquired by Kitchen Warehouse in 2023 to create the largest Kitchenware player in Australia. Founder of Profit Peak, an operating system for profitable eCommerce businesses. Optimising advertising and inventory for profitable outcomes in real time, with first party data, solving attribution. Mum to two gorgeous kids.


eCommerce CMO for 10+ years making our business grow from $3m ➡️ $30m+ in sales selling the world's best kitchenware brands for Australia's leading pure play kitchenware stores without external capital before exiting.
Now heading up growth as co-founder of Profit Peak with a focus on customer success with a product-led growth strategy, helping e-commerce businesses boost their profitability.

In this episode of Add To Cart, we are joined by Carla Penn-Kahn and David Kahn, Co-founders at ProfitPeak

Today’s guests join me to go deep into the subject of profitability and separate the layers that hide in different areas of an ecom business.  Carla Penn-Kahn and David Kahn are Co founders of Profit Peak, a SaaS tool built to give merchants true visibility on everything that contributes to profitability, all in one place, in real time.  The husband and wife team started ProfitPeak in 2022 to help them run their own ecommerce business and it soon became clear this was a solution that other founders were crying out for.  Today they work with clients such as Arms of Eve and Flora and Fauna.  In this chat, Carla and David share their insights, including the key metrics within marketing, inventory and customer that contribute to profitability.  We hear about their customer-first approach to Profit Peak’s social media presence and what the duo gained from being a part of the Blackbird Giants…that’s the mentoring programme, not a baseball team 🙂

“Was there a bad metaday yesterday for everyone or was it just me that had a bad metaday?”

Carla Penn-Kahn

Control freak

“We got to a point coming out of COVID where we’ve just felt a little bit out of control. So I’m a control freak, Dave will tell you that.  And I no longer felt in control of the numbers. Cross platform ad spend, our volume had increased so much, our SKU count had gone up to 20,000. We were actually carrying 20,000 SKUs in our warehouse. So significant cash investment from our personal funding, and we did not know what was going on. 

So January 2023, we sat down with our development team team. and we said, how do we feel like we can get back in that control space? What do we need to feel like we’re in control? And what do we need to show green arrows or red declining arrows to Dave who was running the digital marketing to say, we know we’re in the right direction and we know what’s happening in our business. And so that’s when ProfitPeak was really born.”

Brand advocacy

“I’ve had investors say, so when are you going to turn on ads? You’re telling me you’re building this tooling for ads, but you have no plans to turn on ads!

And I keep saying, no, we’re just going to keep investing in our community and sharing knowledge with the community and saying, you know, trust us and over time, if we develop the right relationship, let’s talk profit peak.

Rather than saying ProfitPeak, ProfitPeak, ProfitPeak, the same way as a brand says, buy me, buy me buy me, doesn’t create that community and it doesn’t create brand advocacy. It’s sales. And customers see that and it’s like waving a red flag and the customer instantly keeps scrolling.”

Factor in GST, discounts and returns

You need to make sure that you’re starting with net sales. So a lot of people are sending gross sales out of Shopify into the app platforms. And that’s including before discounts, it’s also including GST, which actually doesn’t belong to the business. So you’re actually inflating the outputs that you’re achieving. So the first thing is you really need to start with is net sales. So that’s ex GST, after discounts, also after returns.

So that number does change a little bit overtime, when products come back. So when you look back at historical data, you’ve also factored in returns, which is a big cost to many e-commerce businesses.”

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