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May 05, 2021

EPISODE 24: Amazon Scaling & Exit Strategies

Sell Rank Win Episode 24 Amazon Business Scaling and Exit Strategies

In This Episode

This week we hear from Elevate Brands’ James Stein who agrees: growing and scaling your business means ensuring your inventory is in-country. Listen in and learn more about the firm and the strategies to consider when launching a business on Amazon.

TRANSCRIPT

Tommy Beringer:

What's up you data-hungry, Amazon sellers. This is your host, Tommy Beringer of the Sell Rank Win podcast from MerchantWords. And in this podcast, we give you the answers to your most burning questions, actionable insights that you can take away and implement into your business today. So let's go ahead and dive right into today's episode. What do you say? Let's go.

All right. Welcome everybody to the Sell Rank Win podcast. I'm your host, Tommy Beringer. And today we have a very special guest on with us. He went from learning how to operate an inventory business at scale, then to becoming a co-founder of Cheetah Technologies, which is a Last Mile delivery startup that has raised upwards of $50 million in venture capital today. He then exited Cheetah in 2017 and went on to start a new company called Elevate Brands, where they focus on acquiring, launching, operating e-commerce brands with a focus on the Amazon platform. Without further ado, I'd like to introduce you to my good friend, James Stein of Elevate Brands. How you doing James?

James Stein:

Wonderful Tommy. Thank you so much for having me brother.

Tommy Beringer:

Absolutely. Thank you for taking the time out of your day and coming on with us. I really, really appreciate that.

James Stein:

Yeah, of course. I hope I can bring some value to your audience.

Tommy Beringer:

Yeah, no, you definitely will. I only bring on guests that are going to bring value to my audience. That is it. And-

James Stein:

Oh, now you sent the bar high. So, now I'm-

Tommy Beringer:

So you better come with it. You better come with it.

James Stein:

I'll bring it. I'll bring it.

Tommy Beringer:

All right. What part of the world are you in today? Because I know you're all over the place sometimes, so...

James Stein:

Yeah. Well, our company is certainly all over the place. I'm in New York, I'm in Manhattan, so-

Tommy Beringer:

Awesome.

James Stein:

... we've been waiting out COVID in a 600 square foot Manhattan apartment.

Tommy Beringer:

Nice, nice. How you guys been doing through the whole ordeal?

James Stein:

Yeah. Okay, dude. New York's coming back slowly. It's people who are spelling the doom of the city, and it's certainly got its problems, but it seems to have plateaued and life's slowly starting to return to normal. So... Yeah-

Tommy Beringer:

Yeah, I think so. The vaccines are coming into play. People are getting more confident. So I think it will be good. This too shall pass, right?

James Stein:

Yeah, exactly. And look, I mean, we're super lucky, being in the e-commerce industry. If you were in the wrong business, you got completely, run over by a bulldozer, if you're in the right business, you did already well over the last year or so. So, we're very fortunate.

Tommy Beringer:

No, absolutely. I think anything digital is where it's at, at the moment. I mean, there's so many... COVID has sped up a lot of things by 10 hours now. So-

James Stein:

Yeah. It's interesting though. Because obviously, the restaurant industry has been decimated, but also, the flip side of that is opportunity, because Manhattan has never had fewer restaurants in its history. So, if you've been able to struggle through, 30% or 40% of your competitors are out of business. So there's massive opportunity at the tail end of it as well.

Tommy Beringer:

And, what I was thinking is, you bring up a good point there. Because if you think about it, all the restaurants, or any of those types of businesses that, they weren't really known for their food, but just maybe for atmosphere, just wanted to go there, they might have declined. Because, people would just go there to go there, not for the food. If you're there, if you have a good business, that is... There's a dish that people always have to have or something like that, they're the ones, they're the winners that are sticking around-

James Stein:

There's certainly some people that have just gotten super unlucky, but, totally agree with you. There's a bakery down the road from me called Bread Bakery. And, they have just been killing it. It's like nothing's changed. And they're amazing. Anyway...

Tommy Beringer:

Because I bet there's a certain pastry, that you love getting from there, or a certain type of coffee or something-

James Stein:

To be honest with you, it's just everything. No, it's everything. They're just exceptional. It's probably one of the best bakeries in the world. So anything you get from there, is just world-class. So... Yeah.

Tommy Beringer:

I don't know if you heard... I don't know if they have a Porto's in New York. Have you heard of Porto's?

James Stein:

No.

Tommy Beringer:

It's a Cuban bakery? So they have it out here in LA, and that place is excel because... Do you go there for their pastries, and for their food, and... I mean, that's an example... Prime example right there.

James Stein:

I also think, that obviously we're talking about bakeries. I think it's comfort food as well. That's the kind of stuff you need [crosstalk]

Tommy Beringer:

Everyone here is wondering, "What the heck is going on with this podcast? I thought this was an Amazon seller-focused podcast. These guys are talking about the restaurant business, what's going on here?" So anyways, what do you say, let's dive in James, and give them what you're here for. What do you think?

James Stein:

Let's do it, man.

Tommy Beringer:

All right. So I want to know, how did you decide to get into the business of helping Amazon brands become acquired?

James Stein:

Yeah, so I mean, our story's a little bit different. We've actually been... We've been trading on Amazon now for four years. What happened is, I'd left my previous startup, as you mentioned in the bio, I was looking for my next gig. And I found the Amazon world on my own, and started a small Amazon business. And, what I already locked about Amazon is the data. I mean, as an entrepreneur to be able to have all this rich data, and be able to place educated bets from the get go, is a hell of a lot. It's really much better than shooting in the dark. And then, serendipitously my co-founder Ryan, had just finished up with Glencore where he'd been with 10 years trading commodities. And he'd moved to America, and he'd also started an Amazon business, independently as me.

We come from the same community back in South Africa. So we were connected through mutual friends. And not only... It was so interesting. Not only had we started the same business independently of one another, but we were living a block apart from one another, in Manhattan. Literally next door neighbors. And we also hit it off, it was serendipitous. And so, the first opportunity we found in Amazon was actually reselling. We built an eight figure reselling business in Amazon in like 12 months. Mostly trading in gray market, footwear and apparel. We still have that business today. And then, the true story is, we actually met the [inaudible] a couple of years ago, at a conference. And we liked the reselling business, but it's kind of limiting, because there's no real equity that you're building in the business... Unless you've got exclusive relationships with suppliers and stuff.

You're really just buying for $1 selling for $2, you're never going to really be able to exit the business. And so, we were looking to build something much more sustainable and material. And so, we loved the idea of acquiring businesses. And so, we basically moved into it. And then another serendipitous thing that happened is, basically a friend of a friend moved to the states. Who's a rockstar of private equity and investment banking guy. He came here because his wife had an amazing job opportunity, so he was looking for his next gig. And it was like, "Well, we know how to operate on Amazon, you know how to do the deals, let's partner up," and that's Jeremy Bell, ahead of our M&A. And, yeah, we bought our first business at the end of 2019. And last year, basically spent the year beefing up the team, raising capital and getting to scales. So, here we are.

Tommy Beringer:

Very cool. Yeah. I mean, you guys are... What you just told me, what? 50, 60 employees already? Something like that?

James Stein:

Yeah. There's 60 of us. Most of them hired within the last couple of months. Yeah. It's a lot of fun. Yeah.

Tommy Beringer:

That's awesome. That's awesome. So when you start... You started selling on Amazon, did you start with the... Or did you get... No, you said you're doing the reselling. But, did you touch on the private label at all?

James Stein:

Not before we... Well, no, that's actually not true. So we did reselling for about two years, and then... And we still have that business by the way, we're still operating it. We've got it running on, pretty automatic. And we acquired our first brand by the end of 2019, as a private label business. And that's basically, essentially as the sole focus of the company today. And then we grew that. And then in May of last year, we actually launched a beach product, ground up, ourselves, which was a tremendous success. And now we have... I think we have 15 brands in our portfolio. We may have 20 by the end of the month. I don't know the number of SKUs that we're managing, but, yeah.

Tommy Beringer:

Nice. And-

James Stein:

And that's our private label, sorry.

Tommy Beringer:

Yeah. That leads me to my next question, because... I mean, when you take on a brand, the only way to really scale a scalable business, or the easiest business model for Amazon from my experience, is the private label model. I mean, does it really make sense... I mean, this might be a stupid question, but does it really make sense to take on an OA or RA, or a wholesaling business? Or do you guys... I mean, like you said, you only focused private label, but is it... Maybe I could be wrong?

James Stein:

No, you're right. So firstly, actually I think that it's actually easier to resell on Amazon, because for the most part you're-

Tommy Beringer:

But the margins are low.

James Stein:

... The margins are low. It's not as good a business, but in terms of... That's kind of why we started in reselling, because it was kind of an instant gratification type of thing. We actually started in RA. In the first month in business, we did, I think, a quarter of a million dollars in sales profitably. Because it was like moving... We took advantage of Christmas sales at Nike outlet stores and Marshalls stores or whatever. It was during Christmas, so the volumes were crazy. And it was as simple as just linking the product to the listing on Amazon, and shipping it in. You didn't have to deal with product photos, branding, copy, SEO optimization, all of that stuff's taken care of you with a reselling. Now, from a business perspective, it's a worse business because it's highly commoditized. Everyone can go into a Marshalls or a Nike outlet and sell what you're selling. I'm sorry, what was the exact question?

Tommy Beringer:

No, it was just basically regarding the private label model. And, it doesn't seem like you guys-

James Stein:

We wouldn't acquire, unless it was a very unique... We were actually offered a reselling business to acquire actually a couple of weeks ago, and we passed on it. It's just really difficult. You're just not really the master of your own destiny. Even if you've got exclusive relationships with great brands, or whomever it is, if there's-

Tommy Beringer:

No, so there's nothing proprietary.

James Stein:

... There's nothing proprietary. And if there's a change of management at one of those companies, they I go, "Oh, we want to bring it in-house". Well, there's half of your business gone or whatever. Or Amazon says, "You know what, we've signed an exclusive relationship with Adidas, you can no longer sell Adidas sneakers [inaudible] ". But, we love the reselling business man. And, it's a fantastic... I mean, it's how we cut our teeth. The awesome thing about it is that... Where it did get complicated is we ended up literally having 8,000 SKUs, in our reselling business. So it really taught us how to operate a business at scale and deal with the complexities of reverse logistics and 3PL management and reprocessing and all that sort of stuff. So, it's a fantastic way to learn. For sure.

Tommy Beringer:

Let me ask you something. So speaking of OA and RA... And for people who don't know those terms, RA is retail arbitrage, and OA is online arbitrage. Where you buy something low and resell it high in a different marketplace, in the states. So... Or anywhere else, I should say. Sorry. So, I mean, you said you had 8,000 SKUs, so I mean, you must've been hiring tons of people to go out, to buy these at Walmart, target or wherever it is, right? That's the only way to scale this. I mean-

James Stein:

I'll tell you the story. So what happened is, we were introduced to retail at... My previous business Cheetah Technologies is a business that basically was exclusive... It had exclusivity with a company called Restaurant Depot, which is a... Think of it like a Costco for restaurants. We were just talking about restaurants. It's a food service distributor. So, independent restaurants go there and shop around like they would at Costco. They're buying like 80 pound boxes of meat, 70 pound bags of potatoes, for their restaurant. And so that business was... Have you heard of an Instacart? You know Instacart, the grocery delivery service?

Tommy Beringer:

Oh, yeah.

James Stein:

It's essentially the ista-

Tommy Beringer:

Everyday.

James Stein:

Yeah, exactly. There you go. So it's the Instacart of wholesale. That was the business that we built. So, when we were introduced to the retail, arbitrage thinking like when I walked into a Nike outlet store New York, New Jersey, and I could scan product barcodes, I was like, "Hold on a second. I could buy this for $30 here, and sell it for $90 on Amazon". There's like 300 Nike outlet stores in the country. There's a thousand Marshalls in the country. I've just spent the last two years building out this very complicated pick, pack and delivery operation, essentially outside of a retail environment, you can scale this. So that was the original hypothesis.

So we rent and we raised some capital to scale it. We bought three, 2008 Toyota Sienna minivans. We ripped out the seats, we hired a bunch of people, trained them how to interpret the data, and for six months, they were basically on the streets. And then what happened is, we slowly started getting introduced to... Basically what they call, gray market wholesalers. Guys who have wholesale accounts with a Nike or an Adidas or whatever, and to make a bit of extra bucks, they divert product to us.

So it's completely legal in the states, nothing untoward or anything. But it was just much easier buying wholesale. We could sit down in the morning and place a $200,000 PO, and it would take six people on the street, with all the sort of complicated logistics, to go and do it in the retail. So that's how we operate our retail businesses. That we bought wholesale from these guys who we have relationships with...

Tommy Beringer:

I love hearing these stories. That's amazing. Very cool. Very cool. So-

James Stein:

I hope it's entertaining. Trust me. It was a lot of hard work.

Tommy Beringer:

Yeah. For sure. For sure. For sure. But anyways-

James Stein:

Don't let anyone tell you a Toyota Sienna Minivan is not a cool car. Okay? They're brilliant, they're amazing. Especially ones from 2008.

Tommy Beringer:

There you go. There you go. But yeah, no, my recommendation, I mean, it looks like James... You guys are still doing it on the RA and OA stuff, but I recommend private label. That's the best way [crosstalk] biggest margins, like we spoke about earlier. I mean, that's just my recommendation, and I think James' as well, probably.

James Stein:

No, of course. I mean, that's why we would love your audience and entrepreneurs to go and make as many successful private label businesses as possible. So please God, we can buy them one day.

Tommy Beringer:

That's right. That's right. So, leading to my next question here, so that there's this new term coming into play... And I'm sure you probably heard of it, the Amazon aggregators, is what probably people think elevate brands is, and such as a Thrasio or a Perch. So, I just wanted to see how are you different from these other Amazon aggregators such as Perch and Thrasio.

James Stein:

Sure. So, the first thing is that, there are probably... I don't know, 30 to 50 companies that have come into the space. And the vast majority of them... I mean, the reason they've come in is because there is such a tremendous opportunity, to consolidate these businesses and operate at scale and get kind of all the advantages you get from being at scale. That's what's attracted all the interest. I can't say we're unique to... Well, we are unique, I'll get there in a minute, but, in one facet, we're definitely unique to probably about 90% of the guys that have come into the market. In the sense that we're one of the very few, who've actually got multiple year track record of actually operating on Amazon, and have the specific... Now that's the tough thing with entrepreneurship, from the outside, it always looks like, "Oh, it's not that difficult". But, the devil's in the detail. And if you have the specific knowledge of a particular platform or a particular business model, you're off to a tremendous advantage.

Now, the rest of our competitors have very smart guys, and they will learn quickly. But, when a seller is selling to us... And a lot of the times there is a big earn-out component, that is tied to our ability to grow the business after we acquire it. So we give the seller a piece of the upside. And their ability to recognize that piece of the upside, is entirely predicated on how competent we are as operators. So when you've got a buyer coming to you and saying, "No, no, no, you should sell your business to us, we're paying you the same price as let's say Elevate is". How do you know that company actually has any track record, to actually be able to grow the business? They've never really operated in Amazon. So that's the one thing.

The other thing is that... And this speaks more to sort of the softer things of business, which I think make all the difference. Peter Drucker said, "culture eats strategy for breakfast". And, what we do is we acquire Amazon businesses. Now, but why we do it is essentially communicated in our name. And, I would totally go up against any of our competitors, to say that we've got the best culture out there, and likely the best people out there. There's a saying I like to say that, if you're not growing, you're dying, and if you're growing alone, you're not living.

So, the thing that permeates our whole company, is basically a saying from Ray Dalio, which is meaningful work, and meaningful relationships. We're looking to play long term games with good people. And once price is kind of off the equation, where as it relates to a bidding process or whatever. And, people are trying to decide who they want to work with, I really do think that they'll have a hell of a lot more fun, and be in a lot safer hands working with us. So that was a very long answer, but I hope I did it justice.

Tommy Beringer:

Absolutely. Yeah. Thanks for that. I mean, I don't know if this is true or not, but I've heard that Thrasio, they'll just pick you up and then spit you out for the lowest possible multiple. So it sounds like what you guys do is you curate it, make sure it's right, and then trying to help the brands to exit at a higher multiple... At the highest multiple possible, I should say.

James Stein:

Yeah, look, I can't speak to Thrasio like... The market-

Tommy Beringer:

I know. This is just something I've heard. So it's not... I haven't done any study-

James Stein:

Hey man, preach. That's fine. No problem. But-

Tommy Beringer:

Maybe you could come on and do a rebuttal. I don't, but-

James Stein:

You know what it is, dude, it's just trends. It's just fantasy and transparency. If you're going to go and sell your business, there's multiple ways you can go to market with it. But, let's say you go out and you just put it out to all the aggregators out there. Invariably, you'll see the market will determine what it's happy to pay for your business. Right?

Tommy Beringer:

Right.

James Stein:

So, if I was giving my honest advice to a person setting their business, well, it would depend on what they want personally. Are you trying to maximize how much money you get? Or are you trying to build a relationship with the sophisticated operators so that you can sell your next business to them? Or you want to work with them for a few years because you're not... That's personal. But if you're trying to just maximize PROS, you'll take it out to bid, you'll get three or four guys, that'll be basically in the same range. So now PROS is out the window, now you have to make a decision on who to choose to work with. And, the cool thing is, as you go through these processes, we'll meet with sellers, we'll have our whole team on the call or whatever, and they get to know us and hopefully they can get the sense that these are the kind of guys that, I trust more and I want to work with more.

Tommy Beringer:

Yeah, definitely. Totally agree. You know your stuff, James, that's awesome. That's why I have you on here. To some of the audience here, I want you to answer this. So say that I have a private label business. Maybe I'm making six figures annually, seven figures annually. Could I come to Elevate Brands... Can I come to you guys to help me scale my brand and my business to get to that higher multiple four exit. Can you guys help me do that?

James Stein:

Short answer is absolutely yes.

Tommy Beringer:

And how would you do that for me?

James Stein:

So, first, going back to, long-term games with good people... That's the other thing, the human nature is an opportunity and people rushing, potentially looking for a quick buck, get quick rich scheme with this new model. We're in this for the long-term. The other thing you were talking about were the aggregators. For the most part, it sounds like we're all the same, but invariably what's going to happen is, we're all going to acquire different businesses in different categories, and we'll end up kind of specializing in verticals over time. And so, we are... Even a six-figure business is not something that we want to acquire now. It just takes too much time and resources to acquire a business that size, versus a big business.

But, that seller who comes to us, we want to talk to everyone who have the potential to be, or who are already great operators. Because, we just acquired a business from a couple that's literally bought and sold four or five FBA businesses.-

Tommy Beringer:

Amazing.

James Stein:

... And so, if we can work with the seller, and get into the weeds of their business, we can... And you asked me how you tell them to grow it. It depends on the business. I can't give you a blanket answer, I can give you blanket sort of best practices and what to focus on. But, I'd have to get into the weeds of the business, and some businesses just aren't scalable. Some businesses are like, you've found a niche, that's just a small market, for a particular item. And, you dominate that niche. So, it's just not going to get bigger.

But if... Especially if a seller is in a business that you can grow, it would be awesome. Because we can help them put all the best practices and spice in terms of accounting and inventory or whatever, tell them exactly what they need to grow their business. Tell them how much meat we'd like to have on the bones so that when we acquire it, we can continue to grow it. And, we can work together in partnerships, then when it does come time in a year to transact, it's a one-week process. Because we've already done our due diligence basically. So... Yeah.

Tommy Beringer:

So I know you can't really give a blanket answer. I just wanted to see also about, if someone comes to with what their FBA private label business, are there some first aspects of the business that you look at to help scale or kind of clean up? Or what are the first... What are the first things you guys do, when someone comes to you with that? [crosstalk]

James Stein:

Yeah. So high-level stuff is golden rule, never run out of stock. There's not much... Most things in life are easy, but not simple. You want to lose weight, move more, eat less. Easy, not simple for a lot of people. I mean, it's simple, but not easy for a lot of people. Want to maximize your FBA business, don't run out of stock.-

Tommy Beringer:

Don't run out of stock.

James Stein:

... So that's the number one thing. And what we see is that, we've just acquired a business now where, where these guys have done a tremendous job, but they've opened up literally like five different Amazon marketplaces. And it's very difficult to manage inventory. Because then you're essentially managing inventory in the tree, it's like running five different businesses. So, I think... Anyways, this is an example of [inaudible] why it's complicated.

So, building buffers, building... If you think your product could potentially get stuck at the port coming into the country for two weeks, bold in a four week buffer. Go... And again, this is adviced in terms of growing your business, not necessarily running the most efficient business, which is a different conversation. So, the advice to me is, go deep in inventory, be heavy on inventory. And then you can pull all sorts of amazing marketing levers to really give yourself a chance to grow. Because if you don't have the stock, doesn't matter what brilliant creative you have, what brilliant PPC you have, what pretty in social you have, you ain't selling shit. Excuse. I don't know if I [inaudible].

Tommy Beringer:

No, you're good. You're good. Don't worry about it. But, I mean, this happened in my business. I unfortunately ran out of... It was killing me. I ran out of stock because... I don't know if you remember this, they still have the limitations on it, but there was limited stock you can send in [crosstalk] items. Yes. Well, it's still on, and at least in my account from some of my products, I'm not able to send in a certain amount of units. So, when I got hit with that, I was like, "Oh, come on". And I couldn't even... I had my product sitting at my 3PL. And it was just a nightmare. Because I'm sitting there, I'm out of stock for whatever it is, a couple of weeks which is an eternity. So-

James Stein:

And at the same time, every American now is buying online, because all brick-and-mortars closed down. So you could be just killing it in there. We had to do the same thing. Thank God we had a... We had to flip out and tie our business over to FBM, overnight, and that happened. Yeah,

Tommy Beringer:

Yeah, yeah, I know.

James Stein:

So that was a lot of fun.

Tommy Beringer:

Oh, yeah. Definitely. But, yeah. I mean, that is... I mean, do not overlook that tip as simple as it is. Do not run out of stock. Your brand gets killed. When you come back in, sometimes Amazon will put you back in the same place, but it's just not the same. It doesn't feel like it's the same. So, you want to keep that inventory level in there. They do take that into the algorithm in the back end. And I know that there's the new A10 algorithm they're calling from their A9, their search algorithm. But there's a couple others I think. We could do a whole podcast on that. I don't know. I don't want to get too much knowledge on that-

James Stein:

And then the other thing is, people might be listening to this and go, "Oh, cool. Easy for you guys to say, you've raised all this money, so it's easy for you to stay in stock. You can just... You've just got the capital to put into inventory". And that actually is the... Probably just an excellent blanket piece of advice. It's like, your success becomes your problem as you start growing, because you start saving like crazy, and it's like, "Oh my God, now I have to take all of my profit and just put it back into inventory. So finding yourself a scalable, safe working capital solution to finance your working capital upfront, is also critical.

Tommy Beringer:

0% APR credit card. Hey, that is a trick. If you need you need some money, you need some cash flow to help you scale, that's a tip I'm going to give right now. Get 0% APR card... What, 12 months, 18 months, you don't have to pay it back. But, there's other things like coverage and things like that-

James Stein:

There's plenty of solutions out there. The other interesting thing is... And I honestly don't think it's talked about enough, is that, really there's so much capital out there. It really is like, there's big income inequality in a country, whatever, you want to have a political conversation. But, there's so much money controlled by so few people, and all of these people need a place to put their money. It's just sitting in bank accounts, not doing anything. And there are options out there. You just have to go out, and look for them, and, do the work. So...

Tommy Beringer:

Absolutely. There's no excuses don't make any excuses, make it happen. No excuses.

James Stein:

Preach bro, preach.

Tommy Beringer:

Preach. That's what we're here for. James, so, you alluded to something earlier that I wanted to talk about, is you said, "Not all, Amazon FBA businesses, or not all Amazon businesses are scalable". Give me an example of a business that, if someone comes to you, and it's just not scalable at all, you're like, "Sorry, can't do it". Give me an example of a business like that. That is not scalable.

James Stein:

Sure. Have you ever heard of a vice jaw?

Tommy Beringer:

A vice jaw?

James Stein:

Yeah.

Tommy Beringer:

No.

James Stein:

Okay. So, to business people, the vice jaw is a paired... Basically for lack of a better word, that fits onto the teeth of... You know the vice... Like if you're into DIY and stuff, it's that thing that you crank, and it holds an object in place that you're working on, in a hardware store, in your tool shed or whatever?

Tommy Beringer:

Yes.

James Stein:

So this thing, it's got magnets on it, that you put onto either side of the vice so that it doesn't damage the tool that you're working on.

Tommy Beringer:

Got it, yes.

James Stein:

You've never heard of it, I'd never heard of it. We bought this business, we doubled or tripled it. But there's a ceiling on how many people are looking for vice jaws-

Tommy Beringer:

That's right.

James Stein:

... It's just not that many. And this is what I said to you people talk about as aggregate, you think of aggregate, you think these are all the same people. It's like, "No, you guys don't understand". It's just the beginning where you've got this opportunity of all these small businesses that are looking to exit. But, there's going to be businesses we buy that don't scale, we're just looking for kind of base hits, of like doubling or tripling it. And then there's businesses that we buy and we're like, "Holy cow, this can be a hundred million dollar business, in and of itself.-

Tommy Beringer:

That's awesome.

James Stein:

And we got to get our social channels going, we've got to get our website's going, we're going to be on every marketplace. We're going to take it internationally. So, that's just it. But-

Tommy Beringer:

That's awesome.

James Stein:

... And it's not better or worse by the way. If you can dominate a niche, that's awesome, man. No one... I promise you, no one can beat us in the vast general market on Amazon. I can guarantee you. We've got the number one shelf space, we maximize the product and what it can do... Someone's listening to this going, "I'm going to try to take you guys off it".

Tommy Beringer:

Yeah. I bet. But I mean, if you know what you're doing, I mean, that's amazing. I mean, was this vice jaw, something that was scalable to like a hundred million dollar business?

James Stein:

No, no, no, no, no, no. This was an example of a business that is not scalable [crosstalk].

Tommy Beringer:

... Just making sure on that. Because we touched on a little bit of both there. Okay. So... All right. Another question I had here... Let me see. Okay. Do you guys use the Amazon Brand Analytics to help within your process for growing the brand, scaling it and then possibly, if people coming in to do due diligence, do you guys use Amazon Brand Analytics?-

James Stein:

Yeah. Of course.

Tommy Beringer:

... in any capacity, for that?

James Stein:

Of course, of course. I mean, largely, a lot of it is used for research and keyword optimization. So, one example is if we're trying to understand the quality of a business. You'll talk, and I sign into Brand and Analytics, and you could see what percentage of the click-through and conversion an item gets for that particular... Excuse me, for the top performing keywords. So, if we're buying something like... The vice jaw was actually a great example. If you talk then I sign into Brand Analytics, you'll see that we're getting something like 50% of the clicks of anyone using that search tool. And so it's just indicative that this is a very good moat. You hear the aggregators talk about buying a review moat. So, it's like a good data point to show-

Tommy Beringer:

Build a moat around your business.

James Stein:

Yeah. And there's a whole bunch of other tools that we use there as well.

Tommy Beringer:

Yeah, for sure. And, we're at already a half hour. I like to keep my podcast short and sweet, but James, we've been, I think, just talking, having a good time and giving some people some great value. But we're going to go ahead and wrap it up. And we like to have our guest give our listeners a one or two, however many tips or tricks that you can give to them, to implement into their business today, or just into their life in general. What do you got for them, James? A successful guy like yourself, what can you say to all of the listeners out there?

James Stein:

Oh, man, I don't know if you're going to like my answer to this. And I really just internalize this recently. There's amazing advice out there. Amazing self-help books, business books, Amazon books, whatever. It's awesome. Read them. You'll learn a lot. But, the number one thing I think I've learned, honestly, dude, is, you got to just jump into the game, and figure it out yourself. We're all different. We've all got our own baggage, our own shit, our own lives, our own whatever. And they're all fundamental things that like, exercise is a good meta thing. Everyone should exercise, so that's good.

But, me telling people to go exercise, isn't going to make them go and build a hundred million dollar Amazon business. Those kinds of things, it's like, take all the advice you can get, but, you got to wear it yourself, you got to molded with who you are. And, I think, I don't think that, that's spoken enough about. That in success and stuff, life is messy and confusing and chaotic at times, and, that's part of the fun, and that's how we all figure out shut out. So... Yeah. That's my vibe.

Tommy Beringer:

1000% James. I mean, I totally agree with that. That's kind of my style as well. Jump into it, make some mistakes, learn from your mistakes. Just make sure that you're learning from your mistakes and then, just don't continue to iterate yourself. Iterate your product, your business, whatever it is, for the better, for your customers. But, yeah. Great piece of advice, James. Thank you so much. So, if people wanted to reach out to you, where can they find you? Do you have any socials?-

James Stein:

Yes, I do.

Tommy Beringer:

... You can give out the email or anything like that. What do you got?

James Stein:

Yeah, so we're most active on LinkedIn. So just search for Elevate Brands. Our previous name... Which we did a name change, was formerly Recom Brands, if guys don't recognize us. So LinkedIn is an awesome place to find us, elevatebrands.io, our website. Anyone can email me, [email protected] And, yeah. If there's any sellers out there just want to have a chat, or interested in selling whatever it is, please reach out directly. We'd love to talk to you.

Tommy Beringer:

You. Very cool, James. I want to, again, thank you for coming on and taking the time out of your very busy day. I know you're a super busy guy. So I just want to say thank you so much for coming on, with us here at the Sell Rank Win Podcast, appreciate you. And I think we need to do another podcast again. We have a lot to talk about.

James Stein:

Dude. I love that. Honestly, I had so much fun. Seriously Tommy, thank you bro. Appreciate it.

Tommy Beringer:

Absolutely. All right, James, I'll talk to you soon, buddy. Thank you.

James Stein:

Peace. Bye.

Tommy Beringer:

All right. All right. Thank you guys so much for listening. And if you got any value out of this podcast at all, please let us know at the place that you listened to it at. Whether it be iTunes, Stitcher, or whatever it is, give us some love. Give us an awesome review and let us know, maybe some things you want us to talk about on the next podcast. Until next time guys stay awesome and be awesome.

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