Some of the greatest businesses are born out of necessity, and this is exactly how Little Teekies came to be. Experienced marketing professional and mum of two, Michela, was so frustrated at not being able to find the perfect kids tipi for her daughter that she created the product herself, launched an Ecommerce business, and eventually sold it on Flippa for five figures in her first exit. This is her story.
The Birth of a Business
When Michela was setting up her 2 year old daughter’s bedroom, she wanted to create an exciting space that would foster creativity and imagination for her daughter. With most of the bedroom setup, Michela wanted one final piece to complete the room, a tipi. And so her search began to find the perfect tipi. What she thought would be a quick online purchase, turned into a time consuming hunt across the internet.
Michela wanted a tipi that was a stylish, high quality, timeless edition for her daughter’s room. But what she found were childish designs that she felt her daughter would quickly grow out of, made with cheap materials. After hours of searching, finally she came across an olive green, canvas tipi. She purchased, and waited for the product to arrive. When the product turned up on her doorstep, her excitement quickly turned to disappointment.
Michela had spent over $200 on the product and it couldn’t have been further from the ideal tipi she was expecting to receive. The tent area was small and constrictive, there was no mat on the base so her daughter would slip when inside the tent, and it continually fell down.
Frustrated and disappointed, Michela took matters into her own hands.
Launching the Business
With a background in digital marketing, and having worked for start-ups of all sizes, Michela knew if she could create a better product, she had the skills to successfully sell it online. So she started her own Ecommerce business.
At this time, Michela was pregnant with her second child, and while not everyone would see this as an opportune time to start a business, Michela felt it would work for her. She could run the business around looking after her kids, she wouldn’t have to answer to anyone, could complete the work that was essential for her to do, and for everything else she could outsource to virtual assistants. And with that, Little Teekies was born.
Michela spent a huge amount of time researching tents and tipis for sale online, particularly focusing on Amazon. She scoured through hundreds of product reviews to understand what people liked about the best selling tents, and what they didn’t like. From there, Michela created a sketch of what her dream tipi looked like – it needed to have a frame that didn’t collapse, high quality tent material, durable tent poles, and a play mat that was attached to the tent so that kids didn’t trip when inside. She then mapped out her target customer – a mum who is extremely considered about what she brings into the home, she’s stylish, likes beautiful things, and is willing to pay for quality products.
The next step was to find out more about how many customers were looking for a product like hers, and the results were overwhelming. Michela knew that it was a quintessential childrens playroom item, but she had no idea just how in demand tipis and play tents were. In the US alone, there were over 40K google searches every month. And on Amazon there were more than 1M searches for related terms each month. The sheer size of search volume indicated the opportunity for a business like Michela’s. The market was split between low cost play tents or stylish but impractical tipis. Michela’s product would be the best of both worlds and fill a sizable gap in the market.
Finding the right manufacturer took some time and she partnered with a product designer to ensure the product would deliver on all the key features she wanted. Once she received a sample she loved, Michela was ready to go into production and start selling.
From here things moved quickly, she set up a Shopify site using photos from the sample she received, placed her first order and started running presales. It was also at this time that her second child was born.
With a new baby and a two year old daughter, Michela set to work building Little Teekies. The business started to grow and slowly Michela began to scale her orders.
Fast Growth Led to a Fast Exit
In just twelve months, the business was generating an annual revenue of six figures, making it very attractive to potential buyers. The drivers for the fast growth was largely from the strong marketing strategy Michela implemented. Soon after launching, the brand was featured on an Australian network tv show and Michela leveraged this PR to grow the Instagram following. She ran Instagram giveaways generating thousands of entries, and paired this with a social media campaign which achieved a ROAS of 3:1. The brand also generated a number of five-star reviews in a short period of time, giving potential customers confidence in the product.
After a few production challenges and having to air freight some product to get orders delivered, she learnt that in order to grow the business to the level she wanted to, it would take a lot more logistical organization and time, time that Michela didn’t want to spend away from her family. So she decided to sell the business on Flippa.
Exiting an Ecommerce Business for Five-Figures
Once Michela made the decision to sell, she needed to work out how to sell her Ecommerce business. Having no knowledge of Flippa prior to selling, Michela went to Google. A quick search for ‘selling an Ecommerce business’ brought up Flippa.com as the number one search result, and from there it was pretty simple. “When I thought about selling the business I had no idea how I would do it. I searched online for ‘selling an Ecommerce business’ and Flippa came up first,” says Michela.
After looking at listings on Flippa that were similar to her business, Michela input all of the details for Little Teekies and launched her listing on Flippa.
It was around the same time that Flippa’s Sydney Meetup Event was on so Michela went along to learn more about the marketplace and meet others who were also selling their businesses.
“It was a really good event and I met lots of interesting people. Entrepreneurship can be really lonely, so it was great to meet like minded people who are building a career on their terms.” Michela, First-Time Seller & Founder of Little Teekies.
Find out more about The Exit Meetup Events here.
As soon as Little Teekies was live on Flippa, Michela began seeing interest from buyers.
“I didn’t realize I would see so much interest so soon after going live on Flippa.” Michela, First-Time Seller & Founder of Little Teekies.
As she moved through the sale journey, three buyers were particularly interested: a Canadian company who acquire Ecommerce businesses and scale them; a US VC company; and Katherine, a buyer from Adelaide, Australia looking for a side-hustle.
After initial conversations with all three buyers, Michela quickly knew that Katherine would be the right buyer for her business. Katherine loved the product and the brand, she had a clear vision for the growth of the business, and she was a mother. While this wasn’t going to impact the sale, Michela liked the idea of passing the business on to another mother.
Conversations continued with all interested buyers as Michela negotiated to get the best price for her business, but she didn’t want to drag out the sale. After Katherine had made an offer Michela was happy with, she went back to the other two interested buyers to find out if they would be making counter offers. They were both interested but wanted to undertake more due diligence, so with that Michela accepted Katherine’s offer and exited for five figures. The entire sale period was just 45 days.
“I believe a fast sale is a good sale.” Michela, First-Time Seller & Founder of Little Teekies.
Life after Little Teekies
Michela has a few ideas brewing, and with everything she’s learnt from her experience she knows she can sell anything online. Whatever business Michela creates next, if she does want to exit again, it will be through Flippa.