Candid Conversations With Our FBA Sellers
A conversation with Hassan Farhat, founder of Xtreme Bands
We sat down with Hassan Farhat, founder and former CEO of Xtreme Bands, to discuss his company’s sale to Forum Brands. Reflecting on the acquisition process, Hassan gave us his unique insight into why he ultimately decided to work with Forum Brands. We discussed everything from his journey to becoming an entrepreneur, to Forum Brands’ unique acquisition process, to the advice he has for e-commerce brands looking to sell, and everything in between.
Tell us a bit about your entrepreneur journey and the history of your company.
My journey started back in my early 20s. I was in school studying civil engineering, and while it wasn’t something I loved, I decided to finish and obtain my degree so that I could find a well-paying job to help pay back my student loans. After being in the workforce for ten months, I realized that I wanted to build my own business and become my own boss. I researched other successful people who I admired and began to understand that they had one thing in common: they were entrepreneurs. I soon learned about Amazon FBA businesses and began to investigate products to build my business around. That business grew into what Xtreme Bands is today.
Can you tell us more about Xtreme Bands and the history of the company?
Xtreme Bands was what I’d like to call a “happy accident.” I paid for a course that taught me how to sell on Amazon. While following their step-by-step process to find a good product, I realized that fitness equipment in the Canadian market was a great opportunity. Once I settled on that product, I started to think about designs and branding. I came up with the name “Xtreme Bands,” and from there, we built our collection with different SKUs and styles of product.
What were some of the obstacles you faced trying to grow and scale your business?
It was tough financially because I didn’t have the necessary startup capital. In the beginning, It wasn’t easy to stay in stock because I couldn’t cover the working capital to buy my product in bulk constantly. I also underestimated how much time I needed to put into successfully navigating the Amazon FBA marketplace. It’s competitive, and it takes time to nail a successful strategy to launch a brand on the platform. In the beginning, most of my time was spent on testing, failing, and learning how to grow my business.
Why did you choose to sell your brand?
I wanted to pursue projects in real estate because it’s always been a dream of mine to make my own investments. Xtreme Bands became a well-oiled machine, and I knew it was time to sell and focus on my next steps. When I learned about Forum Brands, I immediately recognized that this could turn into an incredible opportunity for me.
Describe the acquisition process with Forum Brands from your perspective.
What I love about Forum Brands is that they are transparent, organized, and come to the table with an efficient acquisition process. In just a few days, the Forum Brands team knew my business inside and out. They presented me with plans to grow and take my business to the next level. At that point, I knew Xtreme Bands would be in good hands. We were able to close the deal so quickly because they stuck to their side of the agreement and worked fast as they promised. They were very respectful throughout the entire process, and I appreciated that.
How did you hear about Forum Brands, and what led you to choose us?
I did some research on Forum Brands and the other companies that were interested buyers. Forum listened to my needs and came up with the best structure for me. Forum had by far the most experience in M&A and managing Amazon brands, which meant a lot to me because I knew they would already understand how the Amazon e-commerce structure works. Another benefit was Forum’s payout structure. While other interested companies offered me low upfront percentages with quarterly payouts, Forum paid most of the sale upfront, with a set amount to be paid after one year based on sales. Their deal was the most transparent, which made me feel comfortable selling my brand to them. The way their team is organized made things easier for me because the acquisition process was so smooth.
What should an e-commerce entrepreneur think about when deciding to sell?
Before sitting down and deciding to sell, I’d recommend pinpointing the exact reasons why you’re looking to sell. Once you determine what you want to do next, you can work backwards in determining how to achieve that goal. For me, I knew I wanted to pursue real estate projects, and knew I needed a large amount of capital to make that a reality.
Do you want a legacy with Forum Brands, or was the sale of Xtreme Bands simply transactional? Was it important to you to see the growth and success of Xtreme Brands 2-5 years from now?
Absolutely. I went with Forum because they talked about expanding Xtreme Bands into the US, and I could see their vision for my brand. I’m excited to see where they take it within the next few years.
What have been the top benefits of selling your business? What does this sale mean for you and your personal and professional future?
Not only did the money from the acquisition allow me to pursue my goal of entering the commercial real estate space, but it also helped fund my engagement, exotic travels, and even allowed me to buy a new car. Selling my business to Forum Brands has been one of the best decisions I could have made.
Do you envision crossing paths with Forum Brands for future deals?
Absolutely. I’ve already said to others that Forum Brands is the first place I’ll go to if I decide to sell my other e-commerce businesses. I have even promoted their services to my colleagues in the e-commerce space. Forum has helped me so much, and I’m glad to promote them to other e-commerce sellers.
To anyone thinking about selling their e-commerce business or contemplating between selling to Forum or another company, know that Forum’s team is very transparent and respectful. They will not waste your time, they’re here for the right reasons, and they care.
If you enjoyed reading the above Q&A with an entrepreneur who sold his FBA business, be sure to follow us as we publish more candid conversations with our sellers.