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Bootstrapping an E-Commerce Startup with a Paycheck to Exit: Jay Perkins, Co-founder of Kettlebellkings (Part 5)

Posted on Tuesday, Jul 5th 2022

Sramana Mitra: You sold from bootstrapped directly to exit right?

Jay Perkins: Right. When you’re building a business, it’s not easy. You can live and die with the day-to-day. Something good happens and you’re on cloud nine. Then a customer gets a damaged product.

Sramana Mitra: What kind of exit price did you get for your business?

Jay Perkins: I’m not sure if I’m comfortable sharing.

Sramana Mitra: But you had a good outcome?

Jay Perkins: Yes, we’re very happy. We had discussions internally about how we would evaluate offers. We decided that we would try to do our own research. What it came down to is, we wanted to expand to other countries. That would have been hard to do on our own. We were fortunate to find a buyer who was willing to pay a good multiple and commit to working with us post the acquisition.

Sramana Mitra: These kind of e-commerce rollups are happening in multiple places right now. It’s a very good way for solid bootstrapped brands to roll up into these private equity-led rollups and get a good exit. This is a good case study of what’s happening in the e-commerce exit market.

Jay Perkins: Right. If you’re fortunate to find a partner who shares your vision, you’re extremely lucky. We certainly were.

Sramana Mitra: Did they come to you?

Jay Perkins: Throughout 2021, we started getting a lot of solicitations from different rollup companies. As part of that content strategy I discussed earlier, if you were searching a term relevant to our business, you were most likely to encounter it. If you went to Google and typed the word kettlebell, we were the number one result for that.

A lot of companies saw fitness as an even more important part of their portfolio than they might have thought pre-pandemic. The one we ended up selling to, I think they might have reached out, but we were proactively reaching out. We wanted to have an idea of valuations and how other companies might think of our business.

Sramana Mitra: You had to look for kettlebells to find you but how do they know if this company is gaining substantial traction?

Jay Perkins: The importance of trying every marketing channel is important. In the end, that’s where your potential acquirers can find you. We have a substantial social following. We rank in the top in our business. We have a very good reputation on Reddit. We worked really hard to create an incredible customer experience that differentiates itself from the rest of the industry. There were a lot of ways that someone could encounter us.

Sramana Mitra: Were you on some retail or e-commerce brand list?

Jay Perkins: We were on a few of those. We would have been on the Inc 5000 list.

Sramana Mitra: That’s what I was asking.

Jay Perkins: I was familiar with that list even when we first started the business. I wanted to make the list one day. That gave us visibility. It took us five years to make that list. It was something that I was very proud of.

Sramana Mitra: Thank you for your time.

Jay Perkins currently runs Living.Fit which produces digital workoutsfitness education courses and fitness equipment.

This segment is part 5 in the series : Bootstrapping an E-Commerce Startup with a Paycheck to Exit: Jay Perkins, Co-founder of Kettlebellkings
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