Jim Mann | Sell Your Amazon Business & Gain Freedom

Episode Summary

In this Prime Talk Podcast Video Sponsored by GETIDA, Jim Mann, the Director of Acquisitions at Thrasio, a leading marketplace brand acquirer, discusses how to sell your Amazon business & gain freedom. Jim shares his life's journey into eCommerce.

 

E-commerce is going through such an interesting time at the moment. There are so many opportunities for entrepreneurs who have developed successful private label brands to cash out and move on to the next passion project. Yoni Mazor from PrimeTalk discusses what options you have if you’re thinking about selling your profitable e-commerce brand.

 

In today’s episode, PrimeTalk has teamed up with Jim Mann, the Director of Acquisitions at Thrasio, a leading brand acquirer in the e-commerce space. Thrasio will help you transition out of your private label brand in a way that is most profitable for you. They have the resources, the marketing, and the staff to buy your brand, make it more profitable, and get you a larger share of the pie in return.

 

Jim Mann talks about his start in London and Spain in consulting and retail and how it led him to team up with the giant Thrasio machine. So if you’re a seven-figure Amazon seller who is considering getting out of your brand and moving on to your next adventure, then this episode is for you!

 

Visit Thrasio for more information.

 

Learn about GETIDA's Amazon FBA reimbursement solutions.

 

Find the Full Transcript Below

Yoni Mazor 0:06

Hi, everybody. Welcome to another episode of PrimeTalk. Today I'm excited to have a special guest. I have Jim Mann. Jim is the Director of Acquisitions at Thrasio. Thrasio is a leading marketplace brand acquirer. And Jim, welcome to the show.

 

Jim Mann 0:20

Thank you very much, Yoni, lovely to be here.

 

Yoni Mazor 0:23

Same here. Thank you so much for your time. Alright, so today's story is going to be the story of Jim Mann. You're going to share with us, you know, who are you, where you're from? You know, where'd you grow up? Where'd you go to school? How did you begin your professional career? So without further ado, let's jump right into it.

 

Jim Mann 0:40

Okay, are you gonna ask me some questions, Yoni? Or you want me to freestyle? 

 

Yoni Mazor 0:44

You're going to freestyle, and then I'm going to pick up on whatever I think is, you know, extraordinary.

 

Jim Mann 0:48

Okay, so I'm here in London. I lived in Spain for 12 years, but I’ll come to that later. My first job out of uni was working with a company that promoted Anthony Robbins in Europe.

 

Yoni Mazor 1:03

Let’s backtrack. Let's backtrack. So you already jumped into Spain, but you were born and raised in London?

 

Jim Mann 1:08

I was born and raised in London. I'm half Spanish. My mom ran away from a very traditional Spanish family to the UK. My dad was a pilot, my mom became a stewardess.

 

Jim Mann 1:19

Wow. So your mother ran away from Spain from which area do you know?

 

1:23

From the Basque Country up in the north near San Sebastian.

 

Yoni Mazor 1:26

And share with us a little bit, what was the issue there? Just you know, to expand their horizons. 

 

Jim Mann 1:31

Yeah, my mom was a...she's probably a little bit of a rebel. Spain is quite a conservative country, used to be very conservative. She was one of six. She was expected to grow up and become a good wife and move into the family business. My granddad was a hotelier and she just looked on that future and thought that's not for me. And she wanted to go to Switzerland to become an interpreter. That was quite expensive at the time. My grandfather said no, it wasn't about the money. It's about the principal. And she said, Fine. I'm going to go do this on my own. So she moved to Spain...to France, actually, for a year. Did France for a year, learned French then moved to the UK to London. And when they lifted the net, she decided she wanted to travel. At the time flying was super glamorous. And

 

Yoni Mazor 2:13

This is which decade? Do you know?

 

Jim Mann 2:15

This was in the early 60s. This was before British Airways. What was the movie with...Catch Me If You Can, it was that kind of era.

 

Yoni Mazor 2:23

PanAm I think. PanAm.

 

Jim Mann 2:25

Yeah. Yeah. You know, people used to wear suits to travel. It wasn't a budget airline.

 

Yoni Mazor  2:29

It was glamorous. Yeah. It wasn't like, it's almost like a punishment.

 

Jim Mann 2:33

Yeah, yeah. So my dad was a pilot, and they met and fell in love. And that was it.

 

Yoni Mazor 2:39

So your father was a commercial pilot?

 

Jim Mann 2:40

Yeah, with British Airways.

 

Yoni Mazor 2:43

And he was always a commercial or he had some air force background?

 

Jim Mann 2:46

No, he was an accountant. So his family were all accountants, and he was, you know, very similarly, was forced to become an accountant against his will. And did that for about eight years. And then said, Look, this isn't for me. And he disappeared off, trained himself as a pilot, and came back. About a year and a half later, announced to the family that he was now a pilot and joined BA. 

 

Yoni Mazor 3:10

Unbelievable, really unbelievable. I never heard of an accountant turned into a pilot. Especially after 8 years of experience under his belt. That's, yeah, that's unusual. And impressive. Okay. Wow. So that's already an interesting background right here. So. So you grew up, born and raised in London, your parents were, I guess, also way growing up because of the nature of their occupation?

 

Jim Mann 3:28

Yeah, so I had a lot of au pairs living with me. I was on my own. It's just me.

 

Yoni Mazor 3:35

Only child? Wow. Diamond. Right.

 

Jim Mann 3:37

So yeah, just me. Spoilt, spoilt single child.

 

Yoni Mazor 3:41

Okay, very good. And so alright, so you grew up born in London, I guess. You know, very independent, I guess. You know, growing up or you just had to be. And then you finished high school and where’d you go to university?

 

Jim Mann 3:52

I went to Nottingham, which is..

 

Yoni Mazor 3:56

Nottingham?

 

Jim Mann 3:56

Yeah. Do you know, Nottingham? I guess you probably don't. It's kind of...

 

Yoni Mazor 3:58

I do...from the football, you know, from the Premier League. So I'm familiar with... Yeah. Yeah, Nottingham. Almost all the towns in the UK are in the Premier League. I do have a connotation. When I was young. I actually did a whole project about the Premier League. So I exposed a lot of the cities, but I guess for the audience, so Nottingham, yeah. So which area is that? You know, if you're,...

 

Jim Mann 4:19

It’s pretty much in the middle of England, it's right in the middle. It's about two hours north of London by car. And they have a team called Nottingham Forest, which never does very well. It's a very depressing team to support. But they're in the Premier League. So I did my degree there and studied business with marketing. Came out of that, I wanted to go into marketing but then discovered that it wasn't great money.

 

Yoni Mazor 4:43

And what year did you graduate? 

 

Jim Mann 4:47

What year? 2? Oh what year did I graduate? 1996 I think it was.

 

Yoni Mazor 4:55

Ok good. Manchester United when I think Beckham started to play football around that time for Manchester United.

 

Jim Mann 5:01

You’re like an encyclopedia for soccer. Yeah, it must be.

 

Yoni Mazor 5:02

Yeah. 95-96 I believe he started playing, David Beckham, was already retired. Yeah.

 

Jim Mann 5:08

Yeah. So um, I had a buddy working in this company, as with all things in life, you often kind of ended up through your network doing things, which is...

 

Yoni Mazor 5:17

So you said you graduated with marketing, but it wasn't your thing?

 

Jim Mann 5:20

I did business studies with marketing. And it was a four-year degree, a year in Spain, three years studying. And the natural trajectory of a lot of people was to come out into a marketing role, either agency or in the enterprise. But that wasn't for me. I didn't, it didn't really excite me. And then a friend of mine was working with a small consultancy at the time, who were promoting Robbins in Europe.

 

Yoni Mazor 5:46

Tim Robbins, Anthony Robbins?

 

Jim Mann 5:47

Tony Robbins.

 

Yoni Mazor 5:48

Yeah. Tim Robbins, you know, the major, I guess, life-changer, you know, motivational?

 

Jim Mann 5:55

So at the time, that was for a lot of people, that was crazy, freaky stuff, right. You know, as you know, my friends used to say you're doing Jedi mind tricks, you know? And...

 

Yoni Mazor 6:05

So this was revolutionary. And we’re talking about 96-97, the year of 96-97? Yeah, it was early days.

 

Jim Mann 6:11

Yeah, it was very early days for that stuff, and certainly in Europe. And we realized that there was a market for this stuff in enterprises and companies. So at the time, Anthony Robbins was filling football stadiums with people and having these three-day events, and then just completely rewiring people to go out and achieve what they thought was never possible before. And we thought that companies need this. So we built a program for companies, and we called it “Breakthrough to Peak Performance”. And it was all about shifting people's mindset, setting up beliefs, and goal setting, and personal responsibility. And all the stuff we'll talk about now around mindset, we were kind of pioneers of that stuff in Europe. That started off as a basic training program, we made it up to the boardroom, because then a lot of companies were trying to drive change to their organizations, and change is found... is based on the mindset of your organization. So we then started working at the executive level, and talking to them about...they're trying to change the process, the technology, the strategy, the most important thing, the speed of execution is all linked to the mindset of the organization. And so we put together communications packages, leadership programs, and we just did the whole thing from the boardroom, down to the shop floor.

 

Yoni Mazor 7:24

And how big was your team? The team you're working with? 

 

Jim Mann 7:28

Uh, we were seven. Then we got up to 50. And then we were acquired at 250. And I left at that point because I had

 

Yoni Mazor  7:34

You were acquired at 250? Which year and by whom?

 

Jim Mann 7:37

The acquisition happened in 2006.

 

Yoni Mazor 7:42

You were there for close to a decade? Close to 10 years? 

 

Jim Mann 7:44

Yeah, I was there nine years. Yeah. And if I'm honest, I was getting a bit bored. It was really exciting. We were pushing boundaries. We were innovative. We were different. We were selling hot air, which is quite hard to sell. But it makes it quite exciting. You're selling a piece of tech, you can see a tangible result for the implementation of that. We were just selling hot air. It's like what do I get? That your people will get on board and you can execute. That's what you're gonna get, but that you're trying to sell that.

 

Yoni Mazor 8:12

So the hot air is basically a mindset. A mindset is nothing. It's intangible. You can't hold it or grab it. But eventually, it brings results.

 

Jim Mann 8:19

Yeah, yeah. So I did that. And I was getting itchy feet. I was then at that stage, I was 30-31. And I felt like I didn't want to be doing that forever.

 

Yoni Mazor 8:28

And who was the acquirer again, sorry, I’m not sure I...?

 

Jim Mann 8:30

There were two acquisitions. The first one was a company called Rogen SI who had a similar organization in Asia and Australia. 

 

Yoni Mazor 8:36

And they just bought the unit for basically for businesses for uh enterprise level?

 

Jim Mann 8:40

Yeah and that was Rogen SI and then a couple of years later, a US firm called Teletech. I Bought Rogen SI. So

 

Yoni Mazor 8:51

How do you spell Rogen SI?

 

Jim Mann 8:55

R O G E N  S I. So there were 2 companies. Rogen and SI, they became Rogen SI. And then Teletech acquired Rogen SI. So both of those companies are now gone, and they exist, the company that’s there now is Teletech.

 

Yoni Mazor 9:08

Got it. And this is already separate from Tim Robbins or they’re still working with association with the...

 

Jim Mann 9:12

No sorry, so the Robbins, we separated from Robbins very early on when we realized that selling football stadiums of people with Robbins was not sustainable. Wasn't really...we weren't we moved into the enterprise model within about two years. And then we've separated...

 

Yoni Mazor 9:27

Got it. So you came in 96-97 for the first two years it was mainly about Tim Robbins. And afterward you basically laid all the tracks where just you guys are selling organizations. The ability to create an environment where it's just the mindset is much more focused on results and results-driven and innovation and taking that organization to the next step. Got it? That's very good context as I was under the assumption it was all Tim Robbins.

 

Jim Mann 9:52

No, we set...we parted ways with Tony Robbins quite early on, then focused on the enterprise. But you know we're very thankful for his inspiration, you know? The consultancy would never have been born without the Robbins part of the journey.

 

Yoni Mazor 10:09

So what was his part though? You guys were part of their group or are you always kind of a third party that was just always independently...Always independent. Got it.

 

Jim Mann 10:16

Yeah, we just took the license for Europe to promote Robbins in Europe.

 

Yoni Mazor 10:20

Got it, makes total sense. So 2006 you find yourself with I guess the next station. What happened there?

 

Jim Mann 10:25

So then I decided, right different. I had my first kid and I got mortgage-free, which was a big milestone for me.

 

Yoni Mazor 10:34

Mortgage-free because you are you made a fortune doing this, or what was the?

 

Jim Mann 10:38

No, meddler, I made enough money to pay off my mortgage. It wasn't retirement money.

 

Yoni Mazor 10:41

Got it, got it. Okay, that's good. So you're young and you're early, early 30s. That's pretty good.

 

Jim Mann 10:46

I got mortgage-free and moved to Spain, decided I wanted to go for slightly lower speed.

 

Yoni Mazor 10:51

Hold on, you’re mortgage-free and did you sell the house? The asset or you...?

 

Jim Mann 10:56

Yeah, yeah. So I moved out of the house in London and put it up for rent, was living off the rent in London for a year while I was working out what to do in my life. I was in the south in a place called Tarifa, it's the southernmost tip of Europe. You can see  Africa across the water. 

 

Yoni Mazor 11:12

You can see also probably Gibraltar, right?

 

Jim Mann 11:15

It's right next to Gibraltar. Yeah. Yeah. And it's also the wind capital of Europe. So it's a bit like...there's a between Africa and Gibraltar that you have the Gibraltar Straits and the wind fires through there And as a result, you have the best windsurfers and kite surfers in Europe, and much of the world, go there to train.

 

Yoni Mazor 11:36

So are they harvesting energy there as well with the wind?

 

Jim Mann 11:39

Yeah, they are. Although they’re off a lot of the time because the wind’s too strong so they have to keep turning them off. 

 

Yoni Mazor 11:44

Wow. I didn't realize that. Yeah. So how long were you there in Tenerife?

 

Jim Mann 11:49

That was in Tarifa. Tarifa. Happens all the time. I was there 12 years.

 

Yoni Mazor 11:56

12 years, so 2006 up to 2018? Up to recent.

 

Jim Mann 12:03

Yeah, in 2017 I came back to London. Yeah. And during that time, I ended up with like a basically a big retail unit. I built a retail unit, it’s about 6000 square feet. 

 

Yoni Mazor 12:16

Oh like a brick-and-mortar retail? 

 

Jim Mann 12:18

Yeah in Tarifa. And just like surf and lifestyle stuff. So you know, Ruka, North Face, Patagonia, we had a section with surfboards and kitesurf equipment. We had a boutique, which was more girl, you know, female. 

 

Yoni Mazor 12:34

So let's talk about this, you know, this entrepreneurship, this is your own business, right? I guess you sailed into doing your own business and what was the evolution of that? So 2006 or seven? You said, Let me go to Spain. What actually...what triggered that...what made you change the scene? 

 

Jim Mann 12:50

I fell in love with Tarifa, it’s a stunning place. It's pretty unique. And a lot of the people living there. A friend of mine said go they will love it. And they just knew me inside out. And I went down as I have to come back.

 

Yoni Mazor 13:02

So you went alone? You went with your wife and what have you?

 

Jim Mann 13:05

Yeah, well, my partner, my one kid, we had three other, so I had four kids since. And I ended up just as well, I made my base. While I was there, I did a bit of consulting back in the UK. And I ended up working with eBay. And the European management team. And in one of the events, we were doing for them we had we were working on the strategy deck with them. And there was a big thing around the move towards marketplaces. This was 2013. And I didn’t know, you know...

 

Yoni Mazor 13:39

So you’re not working for eBay? You’re working with eBay as a consultant?

 

Jim Mann 13:43

I was working on my own. Just old contacts used to call me and I used to go back and just do the odd freelance project because the money was great. And I couldn't say no to it. So a few weeks here and there back in London or in Spain or other parts of Europe.

 

Yoni Mazor 13:54

And what was the project about in 2013?

 

Jim Mann 13:59

This was working with eBay. This was the...actually they were building a team a bit like Amazon, which was reaching out to retailers and convincing retailers to go on to eBay as a sales channel. And they were offering them, channel managers, basically on eBay.

 

Yoni Mazor 14:13

This is for globally or just for Europe? 

 

Jim Mann 14:15

Oh, yeah, this was global. This was a European team, but part of the global. And they were trying, you know, eBay had an image issue. And they were trying to get big brands to see eBay as a bona fide ecom channel. And these guys were doing that. And part of that was their pitch deck was around the move towards marketplaces and how e-commerce stores were going to struggle more in the future and the money was going to end up in marketplaces.

 

Yoni Mazor 14:40

And what was the image issue you would say eBay had? Or maybe still has, what was the issue? Or as you perceive it,

 

Jim Mann 14:47

This is just my...I can’t, you know?

 

Yoni Mazor 14:51

It was just too wide, too wild?

 

Jim Mann 14:54

This is just personal. A lot of people, I think, see eBay as a cheap place right? And so big brands worry about which stores they're seen in and eBay is effectively the store. So if you want that illusion...

 

Yoni Mazor 15:04

They were afraid if their brand is there, it's prevalent, maybe dilute the prestige.

 

Jim Mann 15:12

That’s about it. And that's what these guys were trying to convince. And they were successful. They went from zero to huge numbers very quickly.

 

Yoni Mazor 15:18

Oh, yeah. Okay. That’s interesting.

 

Jim Mann 15:19

So whilst..a short time after this, a friend of mine came to me and said, Oh, there’s this guy's doing a course on how to sell on Amazon.

 

Yoni Mazor 15:27

And this is 2013 as well?

 

Jim Mann 15:29

This was 2013 as well.

 

Yoni Mazor 15:31

This is evolutionary, I tell you from all the guests that I had, I really do, spot-on, that 2013 was almost like a “big bang”, man. Yeah. You know, retailers and marketplace players really shifted in during 2-8, 2-13. But yeah, so what happened? What transpired?

 

Jim Mann 15:46

This was the famous ASM. Amazing Selling Machine. So it was ASM 1, and my friend said like, it's not cheap. I think it was $3,000 or $4,000. He has let's get it. And so we did it. And this all makes sense. And

 

Yoni Mazor 15:59

It was a physical event? 

 

Jim Mann 16:03

ASM online program. Amazing Selling Machine.

 

Yoni Mazor 16:05

Got it, I didn't realize that. Okay.

 

Jim Mann 16:06

Yeah. And so follow the program, picked some products based on the criteria, ordered it from China. It's quite a slow process, right? It takes six months, by the time you get your samples, stuck it up on Amazon, then it’s sold, and I was like, this works! Let’s buy some more. And you know, from there very quickly, within a year and a bit, got up to seven figures, and grew...

 

Yoni Mazor 16:29

A year and a bit already. So you're hitting already 2014 maybe 2015?

 

Jim Mann 16:33

Yeah. 2015 by the time you….

 

Yoni Mazor 16:35

Did you cross a million in sales for your own private label brand on Amazon?

 

Jim Mann 16:39

Yeah. And that's what I did for a few years, built a very profitable multi-seven-figure FBA brand. But here's the downside, it was in travel. So...

Yoni Mazor 16:55

So the downside in 2020. But

 

Jim Mann 16:58

So, you know, I've had a great run in FBA until 2020. In hindsight, I should probably have sold the business year last year.

 

Yoni Mazor 17:09

Oh, so you’re saying you still own it?

 

Jim Mann 17:09

I still got it.

 

Yoni Mazor 17:11

I've got it. Okay, so yeah, now it's a plot twist for 2020. But we kind of jumped five years. So hold on, because I'm trying to try to fit in the brick and mortar component that you had that you mentioned. So how does that fit into the mix? 

 

Jim Mann 17:23

Okay, so there was a change in my personal circumstances. So in 2017, I separated from my ex-partner, she came back to the UK with the kids. And I was faced with the decision of living in Spain, another country away from my kids, or coming back. And obviously, I did what most dads would do and I followed her back. So in 2017, I rented the shop to someone else.

 

Yoni Mazor 17:45

And so the shop was in Spain, but when did you start it? When did you begin? What was that track that you laid?

 

Jim Mann 17:52

 Okay, so the building went up in 2008, nine.

 

Yoni Mazor 17:58

This is way before eBay and Amazon?

 

Jim Mann 18:01

Yes, yes. Yes. So,

 

Yoni Mazor 18:03

So 2008, which is an interesting year, because it was kind of a global recession, but nevertheless, you decided, you know, that's, that's gonna be my first business. Yeah, open the store, because you will also connect it to the lifestyle, you know, surfing, and outdoors. 

 

Jim Mann 18:15

Yeah, there’s an important part to this actually, which is, so I sold my house in London in 2007, just at the peak, and I made the decision to buy this land to build this retail unit in Spain and started building just before the clouds of 2008 hit. And the plan was never to end up with a lifestyle, you know, sort of surf lifestyle clothing store in Tarifa, that was never the plan. The plan was to build this retail unit, rent it, take the money and go off and do the next development. 

 

Yoni Mazor 18:45

Oh, so it was a strictly retail investment for I mean, real estate investment for yourself, which turned into because of the global economy shifting into, you actually saying I have this a real estate unit here. Might you know, be wise to open a store, a retail shop and Yeah, wow, that's a Yeah, definitely a plot twist.

 

Jim Mann 19:07

So something you may not...you may or may not know when south of Spain, people in a tourist are not paying rent. Anyway, it's a very relaxed culture. And unfortunately, that sort of translates into people starting businesses with no real plan. And so the first thing they stop paying is their rent and the business doesn't work. So I was left with a decision of renting to someone who would probably be in the crisis, fold and not pay, and then be stuck with a tenant or just open up a retail store myself. So I very quickly learned about retail, I had no idea about it and opened my own store. And we made it work.

 

Yoni Mazor 19:39

You made it work and you didn't feel like it was chaining you down physically? Because once you have a brick-and-mortar store, that’s it. You’re in the locale, right?

 

Jim Mann 19:48

No, I was in paradise. Like literally, I had the beach like 100 meters from the front door. Do you know?

 

Yoni Mazor 19:55

Was it a big shop? How much, I guess, they do meters over there. 

 

Jim Mann 20:00

And yeah. Or both. But it was just under 600 meters, which is six and a half thousand square feet, something like.

 

Yoni Mazor 20:05

That’s pretty decent.

 

Jim Mann 20:06

That's a pretty big store.

 

Yoni Mazor 20:09

Okay, so you started 2008 right? 2008 or nine?

 

Jim Mann 20:13

The store opened in 2009. Was it, might have been summer 2008.

 

Yoni Mazor 20:17

Got it. And so you had the store, but then you mentioned you were also a consultant?

 

Jim Mann 20:23

So I was still, through my network from what I used to do, would still get offered to come and join in on projects. So I did a few freelancing gigs. So I did one with eBay. I did one with Vodafone and did a really cool project with Vodafone that was trying to retail transformation at a time.

 

Yoni Mazor 20:38

Vodafone is a big wireless network provider OMS much like Verizon here in the US. I do believe they are related somehow. Vodafone and Verizon here in the US.

 

Jim Mann 20:47

Yeah, yeah. Thanks. So yeah, they...a bit like I don't know if you've seen this as well. But Apple obviously transformed the retail experience for mobile phones and tablets and Vodafone was left behind, like most stores with some kind of young kid who comes and speaks alien data packages to you. And you'd run away from the shop thinking what am I doing? And so Vodafone realized they needed to switch the whole retail experience. And they closed every store globally for three days to refit. And while they were doing that, they gave us their people. And we did a kind of rewire on not only on the store but how to think and give a different customer experience.

 

Yoni Mazor 21:25

I think it's just whether you always had or still have this ability to, you know, reach out to organizations and staff and rewire their mindset into a common goal. I think it's a great skill.

 

Jim Mann 21:37

Yeah, it's a niche. It's a niche thing, you know, and I did it right. I was like one of the early guys doing it. So I was lucky I had a good reputation and a good network. And so when these projects popped up, people go look I've just, you know, just closed this gig, I'd love you to come in and help structure it and lead the team. And so I did.

 

Yoni Mazor 21:53

Excellent niche for you for making an income. What was your base? Was your base the retail store? Or the consulting or?

 

Jim Mann 22:02

Yeah, the retail store paid the bills and the consulting was nice. It's like the honey on top. You know, it's nice per diem consultancy money, but you don't, you know, if you did it all year, you'd be earning great money, but you don't want to do it all year. So, it was nice. It was a nice balance.

 

Yoni Mazor 22:14

Nice combination. Interesting. Retail and consulting. Alright, so let's fast track a little bit to, you mentioned 2017. That's when you physically left Spain back into the UK. And you delegated the store, or you sold it? What was the transition there?

 

Jim Mann 22:30

Yeah, I rented the store out. And I've actually just sold the building recently. So I've got no footprint there anymore.

 

Yoni Mazor 22:36

So you sold the building and the store as well? Like you cashed out of that position?

 

Jim Mann 22:42

Yeah, so the girl that was renting it has actually stayed in and purchased it from me just a few months ago. 

 

Yoni Mazor 22:48

And the store is still there. Active? Still there? Yeah. So, and I have to ask this, so if you are in retail, and these are branded stuff, right, you know, Patagonia, and you mentioned, and other brands, you never got tempted to sell those online? Or did you ever sell those online?

 

Jim Mann 23:03

No, because I subscribe to, to the NES and build your own brand.

 

Yoni Mazor 23:09

Right away. You didn't, you know, never had an arm and a leg in reselling or, you know, brands?

 

Jim Mann 23:15

I left that to the experts like you Yoni, there were already some people doing that stuff.

 

Yoni Mazor 23:20

Yeah, I mean, I'm very impressed the fact that you, even though you had a brick and mortar store and access to these brands, and you buying it, you have a relationship, I said, you know, I'm gonna venture online, which is retail, which where you do brick and mortar, and you're gonna start from scratch with your own brand. And you didn't have to travel. So it kind of correlates to surfing and sports and outdoors. There's some sort of synergy there.

 

Jim Mann 23:43

Yeah, I learned a lot about fabrics and geeked out on textiles. You know, I used to go to all the North Face, you know, the showroom, and they present to you all the latest textiles and the lightweight materials and the waterproofing. And I geek out on the zippers and the zipper tips. And, and so I had all of this useless information in my head, which is what actually turned out to be quite useful, because then when I had to geek out on product design, that's what I leaned on, which is what then ended up being a travel accessories brand, you know because I understood all that stuff.

 

Yoni Mazor 24:12

Yeah, one thing led to the other, layer after layer, and one thing after the other. So let's touch this in 2017 you cashed out a year position in Spain with the actual building and the store and you already have an under your belt, the private label brand, you know, I guess in those days, you're still doing well. And what was the next station for you?

 

Jim Mann 24:30

Well, everything was rocking until this thunderstorm called COVID hit right? And COVID has been crazy. I mean it's been polar, some people have flown, they’re up like 1-2-3-4-5X and some issues have been killed. I'm, unfortunately, I was in travel, I got killed. 

 

Yoni Mazor 24:48

So you were on the wrong side of the coin. But for 2017...

 

Jim Mann 24:51

But let me tell you something, I was beginning to get bored. And this is a, there's a trait for me. You'll probably hear this as I was in consulting. It was great but I was stuck. The challenge was waning, I was seeking a new challenge. And operating an FBA business, for me, the challenge was becoming...it wasn't it wasn't a fun challenge anymore. I wasn't looking forward to getting out of bed in the morning, I think about what I could do. It was just like another problem. And it was firefighting, and I wasn't enjoying it. So what's happened is COVID has forced me to put the business in the hands of some friends or brand managers that I trust, and they're looking after the business. And then I was able to just get a white piece of paper on my desk and go, what do you want to do? And I reached out to Stephanie, who's a co-founder at Thrasio. Yeah. I said, Look, Stephanie, this has happened with the business. I'm working out what to do next. I've got things on my table. I can be a channel manager, I've got the team, I can be channel manager for some stuff that's come to me. But it doesn't excite me. What would excite me is to work with you guys on the m&a team and talk to other sellers. I understand the emotion of the seller, you know, I've been a seller for years. I understand FBA. I'd like to join the team. She's that I get it. Let me speak to...

 

Yoni Mazor 26:06

Hold on, hold on. I got to touch this. This is kind of a breaking point. So we're talking about 2020. Which part of 2020 in March, April, how far into the pandemic?

 

Jim Mann 26:14

Yeah, this was. This was in August, this is quite far into the pandemic.

 

Yoni Mazor 26:20

So this is August only about, you know, recording this in early November. Yeah, I'm not sure when this is gonna get released. Probably take a little while. So you know, up to a few months ago, two, three months ago, you reached out to Stephanie, and what was your background with Stephanie? How did you know her?

 

Jim Mann 26:32

I met Stephanie from a Seller Mastermind that I’m in. And I mean, Stephanie, you know, Stephanie has just done, Thrasio has just done this amazing job. So two and a half years ago...

 

Yoni Mazor 26:45

Give us a little bit of Stephanie's background. You met her at this mastermind group that you’re part of but what's her background?

 

Jim Mann 26:51

So Stephanie previously had her own seven-figure brand on Amazon as well. Yes. And I don't know the full detail. But you know, the guys that put Thrasio together, you know, they needed a creative, they needed an operator, and they needed the money guys. And the founder just came up with this idea of let's raise some money.

 

Yoni Mazor 27:12

So, Joshua and Carlos, they got the infrastructure in terms of finance and maybe high-level stuff, but they need a backbone of staff that were actually, you know, Amazon sellers.

 

Jim Mann 27:23

Correct. And that, you know, that started off with a small team and has now grown to 300. full-time staff in the US.

 

Yoni Mazor 27:29

And it started around 2018.I believe? Yeah. Got it. And when did she join, Stephanie, as far as you know?

 

Jim Mann 27:38

Stephanie was one of the co-founders in 2018. 

 

Yoni Mazor 27:40

So straight from the start in 2018. She was there. Got it. Fast forward two years later, August and 2020. You already have some background with her with your mastermind group, and you have a clean slate on your paper. The pandemic, I guess, forced you to, you know, seek new opportunities. So, you know, so what happened? So you said, You pitched her about, you know, you can help them in all these many ways. But if something compelled you with the acquisition team, which is, you know, now you're buying businesses, right, that's kind of a new track for you.

 

Jim Mann 28:14

Yeah, absolutely. So I've gone from like FBA seller to FBA acquirer, which makes a lot of my friends nervous.

 

Yoni Mazor 28:21

Yeah, there's a mind...it seems like you had to get rewired at that point. Right? There's a mind shift. I think that you have to experience something that you kind of helped many others along with your career? Yeah, yeah, what was the change for you? I mean, what was I guess a few components of shifting or trying to, you know, sit at the other side of the table?

 

Jim Mann 28:38

You know, what, it's been really easy for me, because I'm still in the same ecosystem. And I'm talking to people I either know or friends of friends. And I think it's a very easy conversation to have because I'm not a typical investment banker that makes people feel uncomfortable. So my background and my story are very different from most of the guys coming into space and doing acquisitions. So every conversation I'm having with all sellers is just easy. And it's, this is what we can do. This is how we value it. You know, if you've got a number in mind, let's see if we can get close to it. If not, let's touch base in a year or two years or, you know, you know, I end up recommending people that have helped me in the past with PPC or SEO and, you know, we agreed to touch base in six months, you know, it's a very easy conversation.

 

Yoni Mazor 29:23

So you're swimming in your own water, it just feels very, very comfortable for you to handle other sellers. Because you simply, you swim in those waters. But I guess how do you feel you're making a difference? At this point? What's unique? Yeah. What's unique with your approach, I guess?

 

Jim Mann 29:40

I think that most of us, I say us, who go into Amazon and launch a product and then suddenly it's seven figures and multi-seven figures, probably go, most people go into it with the idea of taking some cash off the table at some point.

 

Yoni Mazor 29:54

Do you think this is kind of the mindset at this point?

 

Jim Mann 29:56

I think most people, right? Some people want to build an enterprise. A lot of people like being a solopreneur. They like having a virtual team and they like having freedom and not being particularly accountable. And so you reach a certain point with an FBA business that starts to require more infrastructure. And so a lot of people are quite happy to kind of take the cash off the table at that point. And it's just really, it's just a really easy conversation because you're giving you're allowing people to fulfill their financial goals, and move on to the next stage of their life.

 

Yoni Mazor 30:27

And tell me, in 2013, when you went to ASM, and I guess the rest of the people were working with that year, I guess that was the first year for ASM, what was the mindset, then, you know, the mindset was creating your brand and then cash out or was more like, you know, creating an enterprise as far as you remember?

 

Jim Mann 30:43

For me personally,

 

Yoni Mazor 30:46

For you or for maybe the rest of the environment back then.

 

Jim Mann 30:48

I think the majority of people, and I subscribed to this myself, would be to build a business that you enjoy building, that you're proud of. But you know, how to get to a point where you can take the money off the table, and put your kids through school, you know, be mortgage-free, and have a choice in the future that if you want to work, you want to work. But if you don't want to, you don't. And I think a lot of people it’s they have a lot of ideas, but an FBA business sucks a lot of cash. And it's very hard when you're feeding the beast of an FBA business that’s growing, it's hard to actually go off and do another passion project. So you know, selling cash off the table, also allows people to just take the five years of learning they've had behind them and start again, with a whole new set of knowledge that they didn't have when they started. And a lot of people I think, on their journey, who have grown an anFBA business realize the mistakes they made along the way. And selling gives them the opportunity to take that cash and restart and do it the way they would have done five years ago with the knowledge they have now. 

 

Yoni Mazor 31:45

It seems to me that some of the seeds were, you know, were plowed. And so in sorry, in, in, you know, early 2010, you know, early in the decade. But I guess at some point, Joshua and Carlos, they identify that, right and a certain way they identified that, that will or that desire of all the solo entrepreneurs are creating all these brands, especially on e-commerce in particularly on Amazon. And they're willing to basically have a liquidity event, cat, you know, make some money off the table. And let's give a little bit of context. So Thrasio today, which is, you know, I guess probably the largest brand acquirer on the marketplace, they raised, you know, you can touch the numbers, I guess you're probably more familiar with them than myself. But what was the last raise? And what was the last valuation of Thrasio?

 

Jim Mann 32:30

Well, there's over half a billion now in capital to acquire, and the people fund that the private equity behind so happy with the performance and the current strategy that they're gonna, there's no limit on funding. So we're in a great position where we've got a very successful model. But we're acquiring a business every six days at the moment, on average, the earn-outs are fantastic because there are 300 people that...if you can imagine this for a minute, you know, you've got 300, we've got 80 accounts, just I think it's 78 accounts. And we've got 12 data scientists, looking at all the data coming in from all of those accounts. You've got Casey Gauss has just come in from Viral Launch, who’s head of SEO, we've got an incredible team to operate brands, I would argue there isn't a better operational unit of Amazon brands now globally. And every brand we acquire equals more data and more performance. So it's this whole snowball effect. So you know, I think the latest stat I read last week is we're top 25 sellers globally by revenue. And the supply chain is increasing profitability. The SEO guys are...

 

Yoni Mazor 33:40

What was that global level? You said it was 24, number 24 on what?

 

Jim Mann 33:44

Number 25 by revenue of Amazon sellers, I believe in the US.

 

Yoni Mazor 33:48

Right. Now, so in the US, you guys are, if you combine all those sales, revenue generated, you're number 25 on the list. But once again, so Thrasio, you know, Joshua, and Carlos came in and said, we're going to raise a lot of funds, a lot of money, and create a, you know, an all-star team, that essentially, essentially we're going to buy all these brands, you know, private label brands on Amazon and create a beautiful portfolio of brands. And once we obviously acquire the brand, you know, everybody has usually over a million dollars worth of revenue and has a nice EBITDA, it's making an earning, it's profitable. And then they basically, the economy of scale, they plug it into the infrastructure, which just makes everything much more streamlined, more efficient, and super optimized. So it grows it and then it has a compounding effect of all these brands being enhanced, and it has been growing and growing and creates an explosion of growth and success and efficiency for this group, the Thrasio group. Yeah. And so more than $500 million already raised more than 75, seven, I guess 78 brands, already cashed out. So that's kind of where the portfolio is and the valuation for the raise, I guess the investors that are providing the liquidity, already give a valuation to Thrasio as an organization for over a billion right. What was the value there?

 

Jim Mann 35:00

Yeah, there was a big headline that went out in July that Thrasio has just become the fastest ever-growing company in US history to reach $1 billion valuation and profitable.

 

Yoni Mazor 35:11

Right, yeah. You know, established in 2018 and in 2020 already reached a billion-dollar valuation as a profitable company, which is, you’re right, it's a unicorn among the unicorns. Right? That's, that's what they say. So that's really, really impressive. Alright, so I think it's kind of making sense to me, you know, it's a position of being, you know, you got to have the vision, but you have to have the ability to, to create a team and be bold, and seems like, that's what Joshua and Carlos, you know, have done. And now the whole team is a global team of, you know, 300, you know, strong. And, you know, you guys are, you know, catching top talents from the industry, you know,  for each component, kind of the top leaders or types of experienced operators and performers. And it's an exciting time. So I guess, you know, if I'm an Amazon seller, listening to this, and I own my own brand, and I do over a million dollars in revenue, and I'm profitable, Thrasio has to be at this point, it's kind of a first station or main station to check it out, well, what's the opportunity there to be able to A) have a liquidity event where you get cashed out, that's one component. But if I guess you’re truly connected to your brand, and you want to see it move forward, and, you know, keep succeeding, even grow, that makes it more of a, I guess, more of an emotional level, less on the business level, an opportunity for them to say, hey, it's gonna, my brand is gonna, you know, it's gonna be handled in safe hands or hands that are more than fitted to take it to the next step. Because you mentioned that I guess that was kind of the component there, that you, maybe you come into the mix as a seller, understanding these kinds of needs. This is something that you see happening, is there a mindset of the sellers? Are there any emotional components at all? It's all strictly business. I want to get out, what's the dynamic there?

 

Jim Mann 37:03

Yeah, everyone wants to get to a number really quickly.

 

Yoni Mazor 37:06

Fair enough. They're very number-driven, that's for sure.

 

Jim Mann 37:09

Yeah, right. So normally within about seven days, we can get an offer in. And we can put a letter of intent out in seven days, and we close on 98% of the letter of intent. So within seven days, you'll know what we're willing to pay, we agree on a price. And then within 40 days or a bit less than that out on average, you will then have a seven-figure plus normally in your account. And the deal structure, they're all slightly different. Typically, there's a multiple of your EBITDA paid within 45 days, we close always, in certain 45 days, I think the current average is 35 days, from the initial interaction. Yeah, super quick, it's amazing. And then there's a two-year period where we share the increased EBITDA with the seller for two years. So after 12 months, you get a big payment. And after 24 months, you get another payment. So you become effectively a silent partner in the business for two years. But you don't have to be involved. You just have the Thrasio machine investing cash and resources, and optimizing your business, and growing it as aggressively as possible. And you get 50% of the increased profit for that two years after the sale.

 

Yoni Mazor 38:16

I did not realize that. So this was from the get-go or this is kind of something that happened over time and its own evolution?

 

Jim Mann 38:24

Yeah, it's amazing. I mean, again, I can only give you stats that are based on facts that have been signed off. So the current stats 38 people, sellers are getting a 30% 38% increase on their original multiple at the end of the two years. So for example, if you agree to a 3x multiple, the real multiple after two years is well over four. So the real multiples that Thrasio is paying because of the operational excellence mean that sellers are getting the best multiples. So, you know, most people, it's a seller's market, right? So it's good in a way it's a good time to sell, it's harder for us because we have to pitch harder for business. But it's a seller's market but the important thing is that earn-out so most deal structures have an earn-out. And what you really want to make sure is the person or the people the team by your business are going to invest in it and they got the skill to grow it and I think that's where Thrasio, just no one can stand shoulder to shoulder right now threats to because the operational team and the data from 80 accounts, no one's got that. So we can grow brands like no one else, we've got cash, we got skill, we've got resources.

 

Yoni Mazor 39:31

Yeah, so I also like, you mentioned, so I guess it is a double positive for the seller. An immediate liquidity event, which enabled me to do it the next project that you have in mind or passion project. But besides the fact that you have the money, you also have the time because you're cashed out but not all you know, that time you also been paid for that time because you know, like you mentioned the Thrasio machine will continue to generate value with your business and you're going to be rewarded with that because I guess you have no intention in mind buying anything that's not going to be valuable to you or any increase in value?

 

Jim Mann 40:01

Yeah, we want to, we want to buy brands that we can really accelerate. Some brands need cash flow, some brands need, you know, skilled marketing. There's a new team. Now I think of 20-25 people building out an e-commerce presence. And within that team, they're also building out a sub-team, which is going bricks and mortar.

 

Yoni Mazor 40:23

Hold on, e-commerce presence, meaning like shopify.com. So they're telling you, they'll give you a basically a.com position as a brand.

 

Jim Mann 40:32

Correct. So, the Thrasio goal is to penetrate different marketplaces, different sales channels, and basically leverage your brand as much as possible with all the resources we have in the house.

 

Yoni Mazor 40:43

And what was that strategy you mentioned about brick and mortar? What was the position there?

 

Jim Mann 40:47

So we're trying, we're going into retail as well.

 

Yoni Mazor 40:49

You're going to wholesale the brands, the products into brick and mortar. So what's the vision? I mean, this is really interesting. I didn't realize all these components are in motion already.

 

Jim Mann 40:58

It’s happening so fast. So Thrasio has gone from a typical leverage rat, where you're buying brands, putting them together, and hoping to get a better multiple, to realizing there's a much bigger game at stake. And that is to shake up the whole direct consumer marketplace. So if you look at the global consumer marketplace right now, I haven't seen this picture for years. But you know, the Unilever's, the Procter and Gamble's, there are about 10 companies, right, that own something like 90% of the brands we all know globally, right? These guys have an infrastructure that was created in the 1950s. It's very hard for that infrastructure to unravel and actually deliver products as quickly and on-point and on the message that a savvy direct-to-consumer brand machine can do. Exactly. So there is a vision, evolving very quickly in Thrasio to become the new direct consumer brand creator in all marketplaces, which is a big vision, but it's viable on the current trajectory. So, you know, we've got the marketing, we've got the resources, we've got the funding. The traditional DTC brand machine is too slow, and it's broken. And there's an opportunity now, we're not the only people saying this, by the way. I'm sure you've heard other people saying this. So it's not just a sort of Thrasio dream, a bit like you were saying earlier, 2013 seemed to be a kind of pivotal time for marketplaces. My senses now there's a pivotal time for DTC and that's the bit we're trying to shake up.

 

Yoni Mazor 42:30

DTC - Direct to the consumer. Where, you know, if you own a brand, you have the ability to touch them directly, you know, the consumer, sell to them directly with no, no brokers, nobody in the middle, no other retailers in the middle and so nobody's really there is no stopping you or giving any friction or any some sort of other messages between you and the final user or consumer. So non-standard disruption and the depth of destruction, disruption to the direct to consumer DTC structure, like you mentioned, they're all based on you know, I guess, the baby boom after the Second World War, these Procter and Gambles and Unilevers really established themselves as global leaders of brands, and brand aggregators. And you guys are disrupting it basically through the new medium, the e-commerce medium, which is going and giving you the opportunity to reach the consumers almost instantly on a global level on a global infrastructure of you know, if it's Amazon, if it's eBay if it's you’re on Shopify, and then you spread out to actual brick and mortars because you own the brands. They have already a footprint, they have an audience. They have everything so that's a nonce then the infrastructure of destruction, what you guys are aiming to and I find that to be fascinating and admirable. That's really revolutionary.

 

Jim Mann 43:42

Yeah, that's Carlos and Josh have got a vision, it's great. And, you know, the whole day, Unilever's infrastructure used to be a barrier to entry, it's now a barrier to change, right? It's a barrier to change for them. It takes them years to unpick what they've created and so that's what makes an opportunity for the new kind of like, you know, disruptors in the place of hope. And I believe that Thrasio is going to be one of them, if not, the biggest.

 

Yoni Mazor 44:05

Yeah, I think this is a really exciting time. Five years from now, 10 years from now, we're gonna look back, it seems like you mentioned this probably a pivotal moment for, for this kind of approach. And I find it to be fascinating. And the speed that it's happening is just unbelievably amazing. And I think beautiful because it creates so many opportunities for so many players out there and young entrepreneurs. So if you're listening to this, you're just so you're at the beginning of your way, selling online particularly on Amazon, you have the opportunity maybe to at the end of your road, to have your brown dressed in the arms of giants in creation, which is like Thrasio, where your brand might be, you know, five or 10 years from now, you know, kind of some sort of, you know, Speed Stick or a Gillette or something that it's global. So you guys also open that opportunity for the visionary of the dreams of all these brands that, you know, right now they're not at a global presence. They're not as famous as these global brands, but I think if you guys will be able to penetrate at least one or two, three brands like that, that's historical moments where every, almost every citizen in the world knows that one of the brands and in your portfolio might be, you know, something that you know, for the toilet or for daily use or whatever it is, that's going to be probably, once you have that breakpoint, that's going to be you know, we've kind of put the flag and said, you know, ecommerce has done it, disrupted, you know, the traditional industries in a positive way, though, it's not like you got to go and you know, break the doors in the walls of, of these other giants, it just simply did in a brand new terrain called ecommerce and online, which is there for the grabs, today is only 15%, out of the, of the 100% of retail, at least in the United States, and everybody can probably place a safe bet to say this is going to go to 20-25 or 30, over the years. And that creates the opportunity to, you know, take a leadership position. And then once you have satisfied customers, there's nothing stopping you by having also a presence with brick and mortar. So you're able to touch and help the lives of consumers worldwide. So exciting times, probably historical times, I really look forward to seeing how things are gonna play out. So thank you so much, Jim, for sharing the entire story, including Thrasio’s story, so far. It's been a great ride. So I want to sign off, I guess, the episode with two components. The first one will be if somebody wants to reach out to you, where can they find you? And the last thing will be what is I guess the message of hope and inspiration, you know, that you have for entrepreneurs listening out there?

 

Jim Mann 46:33

Well, that last one's a big one. So let's do the easy one.

 

Yoni Mazor 46:35

Yeah, easiest to hardest? Yeah.

Jm 46:37

So my contact is “jim.mann@thras.io”. J I M dot M A N N at T H R A S dot I O. Jim dot mann at thras dot io. Last question, say it one more time.

 

Yoni Mazor 46:53

What is your message of hope and inspiration for entrepreneurs listening out there? Because you're in a very unique position, as you know a part of a superstar group like Thrasio. Oh, and what you guys enable, I guess, entrepreneurs to become millionaires, right? I mean, with no shame, no shame about it. What is your message of hope and inspiration for anybody listening out there? Yeah,

 

Jim Mann 47:15

I think it's a really exciting time. I think like retail e-commerce, the whole world, but the tree has been shaken at the moment, right. And there are people that there are some people that are like rabbits in their life, and they did not know where to turn. And there are other people who are just seeing massive opportunities. So it's a great time. It's a great time and no one. No one's got the answers, right, you have to think about how you have to make up the answers yourself because there's no playbook for what's going on. And, and, you know, personally, I, you know, I told you, I got hit by 2008. I hit by COVID. Each time, I've had a couple of months of thinking, Why me? And each time actually, in hindsight, and this has happened now with Thrasio, with my business. And it happened in 2008 when I got caught with a property that I couldn't rent or sell for the price I wanted, hindsight and I that happened and I'm happy it's happened. It's forced me to do stuff that I didn't, I wouldn't have otherwise done. So. Yeah, COVID is a weird time. And there are winners and losers. And there's going to be great times and tough times. But I just think even when you're going through the tough time, you know, in the future that there'll be better times and COVID will make you think about, or force you to do things you might not have otherwise done. And that's a great thing that COVID is bringing for a lot of people

 

Yoni Mazor 48:25

Got it. So get out of your comfort zone, but trust one thing, it is going to bring you to a better position, has to and this is what your own experience has taught us. So thank you so much for sharing. Beautiful stuff. Jim, wishing you may know many more years of success. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I hope everybody enjoyed it. And you know until next time, thank you any

 

48:45

Thank Yoni. Catch up soon.

 

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