This week at Flippa, I caught up with Sasha Benz the owner of All My Friends Are Models, an online publication that is currently for sale on Flippa. In the video below Sasha talks about the power of the brand, the business’s success to date and how a publication like this makes money. We also touch on the opportunity for prospective buyers and how they could take this business to the next level.
This week, we spoke with Justin Clarke the founder of RomperJack. RomperJack sells romper suits for men and the business was established after Justin discovered an opportunity and niche market via a Kickstarter campaign. Since then, RomperJack has hustled and exceeded all expectations, with annual revenues of $594,000. Romerjack is currently for sale on Flippa.
Check out the full video below.
Looking for an established business, in a booming industry with monthly profits of $38k? We recently sat down with the Asha Martin, the founder of an eCommerce and wholesale business sells cremation urns and jewellery worldwide. In its 12 years in operation, the business has continued to grow and evolve. Their pets category which includes urns, keepsake pendants and tags, is currently experiencing significant growth.
Asha started a funeral products business and was inundated with requests for urns and cremation jewellery, seizing a gap in the market. What does it sell?
The business sells funeral accessories and memorial books, cremation urns and keepsake memorials. Their collection can be used for adults, pets and includes a selection of biodegradable urns for the environmentally conscious.
Interview with seller Asha Martin
What is your background and why did you start Life Cycle Urns?
At the age of 23, I started my first own small business as a furniture upholster. A year before selling the upholstery business I started the funeral products business. The business first opened as a retail online store. It grew steadily over the first few years and soon enough I added B2B wholesale sales.
We kept getting requests for funeral urns and cremation jewellery. The funeral homes wanted better quality products at cheaper prices. There are only so many times you can hear the same request over and over again before I thought RIGHT, I’m going to find a way to make it for you!I set about designing a range of different funeral products which we continue to have made at our factories in India and China to this day
For many, this industry will be unfamiliar. Tell us a little about the industry and why people choose Life Cycle Urns?
We operate from a medium-sized warehouse with upstairs office. We hold bulk stock of over 130 different types of funeral urns for ashes and jewellery that has a hidden void for storing ash. Cremation jewellery is very popular, we sell thousands of pieces a year.
Our company has grown and gained momentum over the years because of our constant focus on supplying high-quality products, great customer service and shipping out orders at lightning speed.
How does the business make or acquire the product?
Over the past 12 years, we have formed trusted relationships with our factories in India and China. Its first name basis stuff and that’s the way we like it. Having good communication with our factors is so important, otherwise, it would be very difficult to manage. We have independent QC on the ground in each country to check each other which means we get the high-quality finish we are after.
Who are your paying customers?
We supply a range of different customers from the general public via our retail eCommerce store, funeral homes, pet crematoriums, cemeteries, crematoriums, jewellery stores, online stores. We are also about to start supplying a US wholesale funeral products distributor which is very exciting. The market in the US is ginormous compared the to Australia to the potential for things to explode over there is unreal.
How have you acquired customers to date? Where do they find you and why do they use the service?
Our main way of acquiring new customers has been a combination of direct mailing our catalogues, website SEO and trade shows.
What are the biggest challenges in this business? What would I want to know if I was starting this business from scratch?
The biggest challenge is keeping track of stock and manufacturing all of the different lines we carry and supply wholesale. Some weeks certain products just fly out the door like hot cakes and we can’t keep up.
What do you think you have done really well to date? What have customers been really happy with?
I am most proud of our range of exclusive designs. Seeing these items sell really well and having happy customers who buy them regularly really is a pleasure. Our customers have come to rely on us for being able to provide them with high-quality funeral products and the fact that we delivery so fast just makes the service so much better
What is your best seller?
We have a number of best sellers. Our range of premium cremation jewellery and also our stainless steel cremation jewellery sells really well. Our pet crematoriums love these items and buy large amounts regularly from us. They are small and cheap to ship so I like it when the jewellery sales come rolling in.
Where do you distribute to?
We distribute Australia wide which is our core market. We also distribute to HK, NZ, USA, UK and Canada.
Why do I want to sell if you love it so much?
I’m a creative, this business is built now and is ticking along nicely. I need to build and create something new. If I’m not learning, I’m not living life to the fullest. This is a brilliant industry, the people are warm and easy to deal with.
They followed a Kickstarter campaign and beat the competition at their own game.
Every now and then we come across something truly unique. It’s the uniqueness that captures the hearts and wallets of consumers making what was a clever idea into something highly successful. Below we interview Justin the founder of Romperjack which was founded in 2017 and since then has experienced incredible growth. They’ve tapped into a fashion niche and from their strong beginnings as a men’s only fashion line they’ve successfully expanded their footprint.
The business sells romper suits and was established after seeing a Kickstarter campaign. They hustled and have exceeded all expectations, with annual revenues of $594,000.
Interview with the Founder
You’ve built an impressive eCommerce business. How did it all start?
We came across a campaign trying to raise money to launch male rompers. The Kickstarter campaign had a goal to raise $10,000 in 30 days. They surpassed this goal instantly and were able to raise $350,000 in just 3 days. We instantly realized this was going to be very successful. So, we quickly went to work to launch our own brand with an aim of beating them to market. Romperjack was born.
Your business is built on creative genius and quality manufacturing. Tell us about how it all comes together?
The creativity of our brand really comes from our customers. Every style we design and decide to launch is voted on by our customers. It’s the perfect product-market fit for us! We have found some really great manufacturers overseas that are extremely patient with our focus on quality. They always go above and beyond for us and make everything just right before going to full production with new styles.
The audience response is something most companies would dream of. Why do they engage / what is your ‘secret sauce’?
Our audience really engages well (with Romperjack) because the products we design and sell are something they have never seen before. 80% of our buyers are LGBTQ and they are the kindest and most supportive audience. We really care about our followers and we always make sure to share quality content and respond to all of their comments.
A company like this is reliant on a team of fantastic marketers, designers etc. How is the team structured?
Actually, this company only has 2 people that actually do the marketing and designing. We found a way to make marketing and designing simple and make it run like an efficient well-oiled machine. A lot of the time, designs are sent to us from our customers or influencers and we kind of just roll with them. It makes it super easy for us.
You are moving on to a new passion project. Why are you leaving such a great business and what are the opportunities for accelerated growth?
Yes, we are moving on and we are sad to let our baby go, but we have a brand new exciting company that needs a little jumpstart. We started a company called Whiz Tutor. Whiz Tutor is a mobile app and web app that allows students and parents to book on demand local in-person tutors anywhere, anytime. We need funds to boost this company and to take it to the next step.
The good news for the new owner is that Romperjack has so much potential and there are so many ways you can take this company to the next level. First, is to offer our products to customers in other countries like Brazil. We have more Brazilians visiting our website than anyone else. Second, Romperjack has had offers to go into retail stores but we didn’t have the money readily available to get a large enough inventory order at the time. Third, is to market our products to other interested markets, we have really only focused on the LGBTQ market to date.
It would seem you are dependent on social media to advertise. What kind of risk is there in such a dependency?
Actually, social only makes up 45% of our sales. We have a lot of organic and direct customers. Meaning they search for the rompers or jumpsuits on google and we pop up. Not only do we show up on PAGE 1 of Google, we show up on PAGE 1 SPOT #2. Which many companies never make it to this level, Romperjack has amazing SEO power.
What does the competitive arena look like? Who do you worry about at night?
We really only have one 2 competitors: one is RompHim “they are the original company that launched on Kickstarter” and the second is Zesties. Zesties is a bargain low-quality brand that is sold on Amazon.
Romperjack is focused on selling premium rompers and jumpsuits that are actually stylish. If you actually look at these companies style you wouldn’t even catch yourself dead in one. So many of our customers have said they returned their Romphim and bought a Romperjack instead. Plus, competition is good!! It keeps us striving to do better and to continue to give our customers an amazing product.
A smart businessman once told me “if you don’t have competition you are either a complete idiot and no one will ever buy what you are selling or you are a complete genius!”
This week we caught up with Dion Lovrecich, who along with his sister Andrea, are the owners of business oktoberfestcostumes.com.au. The business is currently listed on our Businesses For Sale page if you would like to check it out. Here is the full conversation below.
Background of the business
Tell us a little bit about the background of oktoberfest.com.au? I understand your sister is involved in the business in some way?
Yes she is and we can’t believe how this has taken off! Within three months it’s doing $60,000 in revenue and has already made $14,000 in profit. This is my sister Andrea’s business and I’m helping her sell it. She’s had ten years experience in costumes but always in a bricks and water capacity. I told her she had to take it into an online capacity and I was open to helping her since I have worked in digital marketing for years. Within just a couple of months, it absolutely took off and we are still getting sales even though October has finished now.
That’s probably a big question and tell us more about your customer base? What do you sell on oktoberfest costumes.com.au?
We sell a traditional German costume with the ladies wearing a dirndl and gents a lederhosen. These costumes are actually used all year round which many people don’t realise. In truth, this a highly seasonal business and we did more than 800 transactions over the last two and a half months. The thing is, customers still come through, but if I’m being honest it is a seasonal business. It has achieved huge growth and the potential is there for someone to build the business with other types of costumes or for a buyer to attach the business to something else.
The customer base and how this was grown
There are customers coming through thick and fast from the October period, in celebration of Oktoberfest of course. As you have said, the opportunity for the new owner is to obviously take it on in its current form but is it also to grow this into a generalist costume business?
Yeah, it could be a generalist costume business or it could be a closer niche to German costumes or you could pick another niche entirely to get into. There is a lot of organic traffic coming through and we have used social very successfully, along with some paid advertising too. The combination of the two was such a beautiful start. Andrea and I are keen to sell it but she is torn because she wants to keep the business given the phenomenal results we have seen in the first few months. At the end of the day, we’ve decided ‘let’s do this, it’ll be good for you (Andrea)’ and hopefully, we can find the right kind of buyer. Andrea wants to pass the business onto the right buyer.
The business opportunity and marketing efforts to date
Fantastic, when we talk about buyers, we here at Flippa often educate buyers and tell them to make sure that they know how the business is acquiring customers. So from the perspective of Oktoberfestcostumes.com.au, how has it been so successful early on? What are your marketing methods?
You can’t be that successful without paying for traffic. If you see a website that says they don’t pay for traffic and claim to have thousands of viewers, ask them a few questions. In fact, ask the guys at Flippa, they’ll help you out with that.
So you guys are buying keywords around the Oktoberfest period and around no doubt the specific product units so lederhosen and dirndl. You mention social, so how has social been beneficial? What platforms have been working for you?
It has been Incredible and the cost per click has been so low. There can be a lot of industry terminology that people throw around. But, at the end of the day, the cost per acquisition/cost per sale was exceptionally low. People liked the adverts, and they were being shared a lot on Facebook and Instagram and that’s how we built the business so quickly.
Andrea and Dion’s business is now on Flippa and its Oktoberfestcostumes.com.au. This successful start-up is six months old and has already made $60,000 in revenue. Make sure you check this profitable listing out.
We caught up with website investor and internet marketer Jeff Hunt this week. In the interview below, Jeff shares his experiences around becoming an entrepreneur, his favourite monetization methods and growing his own website portfolio.
What was your background before you started operating in the website/online business space and how did you make the switch to being your own boss?
I worked for IBM as a Project Executive, operating 9-figure outsourcing deals for Fortune 100 companies. Then I took a totally opposite direction moving my family to a small central Asian country where we served students and families in a humanitarian role.
While overseas I started some small businesses that needed websites, so I got my feet wet in the internet world for the first time. Soon I discovered that websites were not just marketing channels for brick and mortar businesses but could actually be income-generating businesses in their own right.
Seven years later when we moved back to the United States I had started generating cash flow from my websites. I decided not to reenter the corporate world, and instead to grow my online portfolio primarily through buying websites.
What prompted you to make the jump?
When I bought my first successful website – Note: my first website purchase was NOT successful – I discovered I could make a couple of thousand dollars a month from a relatively simple online business.
I didn’t know exactly how to do it at the time, but I knew that if I could make $2K per month, I could probably grow that to $10K per month. That was the magic moment that convinced me it was possible to do this full time.
What does a typical day look like for an online business investor?
I think it is different for everyone but I start every day at Panera Bread which is a coffee shop/bakery about a mile from my home. I work from my laptop and sometimes I stay there all day, but usually, I hang out in the morning and work from my home office in the afternoon.
I don’t have an official office because I use freelancers to do all the day-to-day operational tasks. Although I’ve had websites using almost every business model, I tend to focus on content websites that are more passive.
Depending on the phase, there can be plenty of work to do, but it is almost never urgent. That gives me the flexibility to take days or even weeks off to do non-business projects. It also lets me meet with friends, family and other entrepreneurs any time during the day that they are available.
When did you first discover Flippa?
My Flippa profile says I made a purchase 9 years ago. I probably had an account before that.
What is your favourite monetization method?
I love non-transactional monetization because it doesn’t require customer service or personal selling. Display ads, lead generation and affiliate monetization methods fit these criteria.
I’ve done dropship, FBA, SaaS, eCommerce for digital products and straight services business. All have pros and cons.
What are the first three things you look for on a website?
I start with the fundamentals.
Traffic and income graphs should be flat or going up. If there are peaks and valleys, there should be good explanations for those. Age and consistency are important.
I look for inappropriate concentrations. Too much traffic from one source, too high a percentage of traffic landing on one page, too much traffic from the wrong geographies, an unusual mix of device types, concentrations of expense or revenue – all of these are potential negative signals.
There needs to be a well defined and understandable process for customer acquisition. If I don’t understand a repeatable process for getting traffic or customers, I back away.
Why do you buy websites?
I try to identify opportunities that have the potential to be held for the long term. Occasionally something will turn up that is riskier but has some strong upside potential. These deals have to come at a lower multiple to offset the risk. They typically either do well and lend themselves toward a flip, or don’t do well and hopefully at least pay for themselves before going to zero.
What are the steps you take to grow websites that you’ve recently purchased?
The quickest wins are usually in the financial realm. On the revenue side, adding entirely new monetization sources using existing traffic usually increases revenue by more than it cannibalizes. A classic example is adding display ads to a site that is monetized only with affiliate links.
You can also easily increase revenue by patching holes in the funnel. Adding upsells and downsells, optimizing conversion rates, making additional touch points to prospects and following up with existing customers can all yield revenue growth.
Another financial move is eliminating or reducing expenses. Business owners often spend money on non-critical functions or overspend on basics like webhosting or freelancer support.
Traffic improvements often take more time. Basic on-site SEO improvements can sometimes result in substantial traffic growth. Things like site speed, title optimization, heading optimization, and content updates make a difference.
How did you learn how to run and operate a website?
I learn from anywhere I can. The basics of WordPress and setting up a website were all self-taught. But I’ve taken many courses over the years to learn methods and systems. I’ve also hired coaches along the way and pay for membership in high-level mastermind groups. Spending money on mentoring and networking can help you focus and speed up success.
You’ve been focusing a lot more on teaching and coaching recently, even writing a few articles for us talking about website multiples and another discussing how to make one of your website investments passive. Do you still actively buy and sell websites or is most of your time spent helping others acquire and grow their own portfolios?
The vast majority of my time, energy and resources is spent on growing my own website portfolio. I negotiated the sale of two of my sites this morning. While I really enjoying teaching and coaching, my main focus is on growing the value of my website assets for an eventual exit.
You also have several courses and webinars over at FlipMinds. Can you tell us more about what Flipminds is?
Flipminds is a community of entrepreneurs that Sunil Jaiswal has developed over a period of more than 10 years. They are investors in property, traditional business and online businesses.
In the early days, most of the group were property investors. As online real estate became more compelling, I joined the Flipminds team to help train entrepreneurs on how to develop cash flowing assets in the world of web businesses.
Now we have an active member community, mentoring resources and training in topics like paths to Financial Freedom, Website Investing, Property Investing, Online Business and Content Website creation.
When it comes to making mistakes when buying websites, what’s one thing you wish you knew sooner?
It is natural to think that putting less capital at risk is safer than putting more capital at risk. That would be true if all businesses had the same intrinsic risk profile.
But the truth is that older, more established, higher quality online businesses are much safer investments than their less expensive but lower quality counterparts. So I would have avoided many mistakes simply by focusing on businesses with better fundamentals.
That is not to say that it is impossible to find good websites at lower price points. It is also not to say that all, or even most, larger online businesses are low risk. That isn’t true. Even very high-income sites can have attributes that make them bad bets. Websites generally have high ROIs and with those ROIs come risks that have to be accounted for and mitigated.
Compared to 5 years ago, is it easier or more difficult to find a deal when looking for a website? How does the future look for this?
It is more challenging to find underpriced deals today than it was 5 years ago. There are more buyers now and the buyer community is better educated and has more resources for making informed investment decisions.
Additionally, price levels are going up. Multiples are growing not only because more buyers are entering the market but also because website assets have attracted the interest of private equity groups, larger private investors and institutional investors.
Despite the fact that big-money investors have entered the fray, there will continue to be opportunities for buyers and sellers at every price point because there is a market for websites at every stage of size and maturity.
As technology evolves, online apps take on different forms, adapting to a variety of devices and platforms. This creates new business models, new niches and new ways to deliver online solutions that will continue to create opportunities for anyone willing to master a little corner of the market.
I am very optimistic about the marketplace for online business. Economies grow by increasing the productivity of their workforces and websites and internet technologies are key elements of that productivity growth.
If you want to learn more about buying an online business, you can sign up for Jeff’s free training course via Flippa here.
Jeff Hunt is an internet investor, marketer and website owner. He actively buys and grows websites with the intent of creating multiple passive income streams, and enjoys capitalizing on internet opportunities to help others to do the same. You can learn more about Jeff and his courses here.