Get to know Heroes: Q&A with Ben Currie
Q&A with Ben Currie, Brand Manager at Heroes
Ben Currie was born to teach. But even though he had a rewarding career, as a teacher in an international primary school in Italy, he knew it wasn’t forever.
So in 2019, Ben launched an FBA business, Agile, in the eco space.
“A lot of Amazon sellers come up with a collection of products, and focus less on the cohesiveness of brands,” says Ben.
“I dialled down on what I wanted the brand to be and decided to focus on a space that would allow me to charge somewhat of a premium.”
Ben would eventually sell his Amazon business to Heroes despite competing offers from other FBA aggregators. At the same time, he joined our team as a Brand Manager, bringing his passion and expertise for eCommerce back to London from Italy.
We borrowed 10 minutes of Ben’s time to ask about his unique journey from primary school teacher to FBA brand manager (and homeowner).
From first-timers building a brand to serial sellers launching another FBA business in 2022, Ben’s story has valuable insight for any eCommerce entrepreneur.
How did you get started selling on Amazon?
I started an FBA brand in 2019 while I was teaching in an English international school in Italy.
Then COVID-19 hit and I moved back to the UK, where I doubled down on my Amazon business. There was some business interruption of course.
I started working with an agency for 6 months, part time and furloughed for some time which was the only period I dedicated full-time to my Amazon business.
The majority of scaling the brand happened while I was working in the agency.
When did you start working with Heroes?
Working at the agency was super interesting and very insightful. I became more aware of the selling space, and it was the best place to upskill my Amazon ability. So I reached out to Heroes and pretty swiftly got an offer to join the team in June 2021.
What does your day-to-day job look like?
At the moment I manage 7 brands including my own. Day to day, Heroes is a start-up, so there are a lot of course corrections, checking brands, search pages, performance metrics, and tracking competitors.
In the mornings we focus on day-to-day monitoring. That could be things like optimising brands with comprehensive keyword SOPs, which virtual assistants now use on every acquisition. We also use keyword SOPs whenever we do new product development.
Afternoons are more about the long-term vision for our brands. Reviewing the brand’s assets, thinking about how we can improve the perceived value, launching into new markets, things like that. What I like the most is if there is a problem you can just get cracking to troubleshoot and problem solve.
Which came first, working at Heroes or selling your business?
I joined Heroes at the beginning of June and by July my brand had been sold.
In January 2021 I had just started to think of an exit plan. Almost immediately, I got a message from another aggregator who wanted to start off talks. Both parties initially wanted to square it off in 30 days but went on for 6 months. I learned an awful lot about due diligence, but things were moving slowly.
A few weeks after joining Heroes, I talked with my line manager and realised it made more sense to sell to them and have no conflict of interest. I was already in due diligence, but Heroes sent an offer within 5 days.
Why did you want to sell your Amazon business?
What made me want to sell? I got the right offer; I was approached at a good time. In the time since I sold my Amazon business to Heroes and joined the team, several aggregators have come knocking.
So, what made you choose Heroes over the other FBA aggregators?
The Heroes team was forthcoming, they offered a trustful transaction, and there were less fees on the legal side of things.
The full deal from start to finish took one month. It went rapidly because I had great relationships with the people I was doing the deal with.
What are 3 ways you have seen your FBA brand change after selling to Heroes?
Keeping up stock levels
In the first purchase order cycle after Heroes took over Agile, more money was spent than what was in the entire business.
If anything, this demonstrates the ‘capital constraint’ problem that small sellers face. They often go too broad as well, and can’t stay in stock. FBA aggregators are able to alleviate stock-out issues by purchasing enough stock.
Heroes immediately launched the US and EU markets, activating a multimarket expansion strategy by pushing a button. Their PPC skills are above and beyond an amazon seller who has to wear a lot of hats.
Related: read our recent blog about multimarket selling to find out if the strategy could grow your eCommerce business.
Sourcing is also important. Being able to have native Chinese sourcing team who are really skilled and amazing at what they do bumps us to the front of manufacturers’ queues.
Heroes are experts in being able to ship in cost-effective ways and good at price review.
After selling your Amazon business, what are you using the money for?
Buying my first house and setting up the next business. I don't want to stop working. I get exposure to 30+ brands, so every day is a school day.
Working with Heroes makes me understand what's easy for integration and what makes it appealing.
And good news: my offer on a house has just been accepted, so pretty soon I’ll be settled and ready to start working on venture number two.
Ok, last question. What advice would you give other entrepreneurs who are thinking of selling their FBA business?
Selling your business is a bit like the property market. You don't necessarily want to go with whoever is offering the most to get you into the exclusivity period.
I have heard horror stories about people getting big offers to get exclusivity and then try to knock the price down. I’ve also heard many complaints on the earn out and deal terms.
Like everything in life, it comes down to relationships. Trust the person you are doing business with.
If you are an Amazon seller, work with whoever you have the most trust and best rapport with, and those who are looking out for you in the long run.
Considering your exit strategy? Get in touch with Heroes, an Amazon FBA aggregator, to start a conversation.