A couple of months ago we were approached by an Amazon aggregator who wanted to see if we were open to selling the business. As successful Amazon Sellers we saw many of these emails and usually just ignored them as we had some specific profit goals we were targeting before we were looking to exit. But this particular acquirer was very persistent so we decided to have a quick call to sound them out. This “quick call” went a little better than expected and around 2 months later we were signing the documents to sell them our main brand, Oliver James.
I met Oliver (the founder of the company) when I was working in London and we quickly became good friends. About 18 months ago he convinced me to leave the SaaS startup world behind and help him grow his Amazon Seller company, which he’d been previously operating by himself. In that time we managed to take Oliver James to the top of the “wand massager” category across Europe. This was no easy feat as it’s an incredibly competitive category (it was even showing up high on the opportunity list on Jungle Scout for a while, just to make life more interesting…) and we encountered the standard black hat tactics and even full-on attacks on our account at numerous points along the way.
Being #1 in a competitive category on Amazon is stressful – it’s great to be the leader but at the same time you are aware there’s only one way to move from there, and that’s down. There are plenty of ways to be knocked off the top spot, and it’s not always because you’ve done something wrong. In the two months of due diligence before the sale was finalised I was becoming slightly obsessive with my checking of BSR movements, ad spend, unit sales and profit. I was sure a competitor was going to find some sneaky way to knock us offline and potentially disrupt the sale.
So there was quite a feeling of relief when everything was signed and we could hand over the brand to its new owner. They have a solid team and some interesting ideas so I’m sure they’ll be able to take it eve further.
Oliver and I both feel we have more to achieve in the Amazon space so from the moment Oliver James was sold we moved straight over to working on the new company, Ice Brands Group. We have our first products already live and more brands currently working through the product launch pipeline. To steal a sporting analogy, there is a noticeable shift in focus to pure offence (launching and growing new products) vs defence (maintaining #1 category position), which makes for some exciting days ahead.