Candid Conversations With Our FBA Sellers

A conversation with the founder of Domain Cycling.

We sat down with the founder of Domain Cycling, a seller of modern high quality cycling products.  We discussed his advice for other ecommerce business owners, what he learned through the acquisition process, and what it was like to work with Forum. 

Tell us a bit about your entrepreneurial journey and the history of your company.

I’ve always loved tinkering, building, and designing things. It runs in my blood as my dad has remodeled nearly 50 houses through the years.  After college, I worked for years as a Tax Accountant making good money, but never felt fulfilled. I started brainstorming ways of escaping the corporate ‘rat-race.’ I saved enough money to start my ecommerce business, learned everything I could about private labeling, importing, photography, and selling on Amazon.  I started my company in 2015, made my first sale that October, and quickly grew it to a point where I was comfortable leaving my corporate job. 

I meticulously chose my first products, made some improvements on them based upon my own testing of samples and various customer reviews, and developed some products that I am proud of. I was an avid cyclist and mountain biker for a few years and used my knowledge to create some high-quality products.

I built the business with a focus on better product design, better branding, better customer service, and in general just a more friendly demeanor as a company. I grew the business to a point where I needed to make a choice of either growing a team of employees or selling the business and I’m happy I chose to sell and move on to my next adventure!

What does it take to become a successful ecommerce business owner?

To become a successful ecommerce business owner, it takes hard work and unending dedication. You should be self-motivated and able to push yourself to accomplish your goals. I would also recommend being a jack of all trades, so you’re able to do most of the tasks in the business independently when you first start your company, as you’ll most likely be on a tight budget in the beginning. I worked a corporate job for over ten years and for over six years as a small business owner. Both are difficult in their own respects, but when you don’t have a boss, it takes extra effort to keep pushing yourself to reach your next goal. However, once you start getting sales from strangers on the internet who leave great reviews for your products, it’s extremely satisfying, much more so than any corporate job. Go for it!

What should an ecommerce entrepreneur think about when deciding to sell?  

I wish I would have started with the end in mind, setting my business up for eventual transition.  I could have spent more time having proper bookkeeping in place, neat and organized files and records, proper documentation, and standard operating procedures as early as possible. Bookkeeping and accounting would be my number one recommendation. Get your books in order so a buyer can quickly and easily evaluate your business without second guessing. I also wish I would have streamlined and reduced my supplier count to make the transition easier for my buyer. Most importantly, I wish I would have started sooner! 

What ultimately led you to choose Forum Brands? 

The Forum team was heads and shoulders above the rest. I spoke to about fifteen potential buyers and from the first introductory phone call with Forum’s team, they just felt more professional and organized than the rest. They had a clear process in place, a very detailed, but reasonable due diligence, and a quick and easy close. They had a spreadsheet which detailed the expected timeline from the start of due diligence all the way to close and post close transition and they did a great job sticking with their original plan and keeping me updated on any bumps in the road. Overall, it was a smooth and quick process, and I appreciated the detailed communication and hard work from everyone on their team.

What have you learned through this acquisition process?

I’ve learned how to use Zoom, ha! I think I’ve had enough Zoom calls for a lifetime! In all seriousness, I’ve learned that finding the right buyer takes time, but once you find them, you’ll know it, as it is with me and Forum Brands. I’ve also learned to make it clear as to what I’m looking for, specifically a dollar amount, a closing time horizon, and a deal structure. Without a clear goal, you won’t know if the offer you’re presented with is acceptable. Get clear in your expectations, communicate quickly and clearly, and move forward swiftly.

Describe the process with Forum Brands from your perspective. Was it simple, seller-friendly? How so?  

The whole process of selling my brand to Forum was straightforward and worked very well. One of the only challenges that arose during the process was coming up with a plan on how to transfer inventory from my warehouse to Forum’s. We worked together to come up with a plan that worked well for both of us, then they gave me plenty of time and a no-pressure timeline to get my tasks completed. I’m very happy with the end result of how it turned out!

What does this sale mean for you and your personal and professional future?

The sale of my business means I can hand the reins of my brand to a competent operator who I am excited is able to take it to the next level. It means I can “take some chips off the table” and diversify my investments instead of my funds being mainly tied up in my business and inventory. I’m excited to take a vacation without looking at my sales for the first time in six years and I’m excited to see what the future holds in terms of possibly starting another ecommerce business in a different niche, possibly ecommerce consulting, or a completely different direction in another field! I appreciate the freedom that selling my business has given me and I sincerely thank Forum Brands for their help in making that possible.

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