Female entrepreneur Casey Gheen was looking to buy a business that would allow her to work from home and spend more time with her newborn daughter, so she bought EcocentricMom.com for $15,000 on Flippa. In this interview Casey tells us why she bought the environmentally friendly subscription box business, and how she increased the number of recurring subscribers by over 100% in just seven months.
Tell us about your educational and career background and what brought you to Flippa?
I received a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University. I then spent most of my postgraduate career in finance, investment banking, and working for various startups. After the birth of my first daughter, I was left with the desire to work from home and spend more time with her. As a result, I decided I wanted to own a web based business, and this led me to Flippa.
How did you find the right business to buy on Flippa?
Though I have no technical or coding skills, I am well versed in the area of business management. So, I focused my search on businesses that would benefit from fundamental leadership initiatives. On the flip side, I wasn’t looking for passive income. I was instead looking for a new business challenge which would allow me to build upon my understanding of online ventures. After a few months of searching Flippa, I finally found the perfect fit and I acquired EcocentricMom.com
Tell us about EcocentricMom.com
Ecocentric Mom is a 4-year-old subscription box company that curates boxes of natural and toxin free products for delivery to moms in various stages of motherhood. We currently offer a pregnancy box, a mom and new baby box, and a general mom box. Each of these packages is meant to suit women at these particular milestones in their lives. The business had some history, having already changed ownership once in its lifespan when the founder sold it to the Flippa seller.
Why was Ecocentric Mom a good fit for you?
As a business, I was attracted to Ecocentric Mom because it is relevant to who I am and the things I care about: environment, health, wellness and family. The subscription model it was built on is gaining in popularity. The business had recurring revenues and even a small monthly profit that I knew would serve as a good base for its growth. It also had a positive body of Internet reviews and a well received brand. Perhaps most importantly, the purchase included a solid group of assets including the eCommerce platform as well as a collection of social media accounts and the blog.
What have you done with the site during the seven months since the acquisition?
Since acquiring the business, I have more than doubled the number of recurring subscribers. This was accomplished through a mix of marketing initiatives, overhauls to the product offering and box content, and some website changes that gave the business more social proof. Along the way there were lots of challenges! The main challenges have been low margins and stiff competition. There is a lot of pressure to provide a box that is much more ‘valuable’ than the cost of the box itself. However, by making lots of small changes (front end, back end operations, product procurement and branding) the business is continuing to grow.
What do you plan to do with the business moving forward?
We’re currently preparing to overhaul the product offering and pricing options. We’ve also been testing new acquisition strategies and investing more in those that seem to be working. Changes to the website itself have proved to be important but focusing on the product has been more important to driving growth and revenue than technical improvements, and we plan to keep this product focused mission in place moving forward. In the end, I’d like to continue to build the business in the short and medium term, and sell it in a few years when we have achieved some growth milestones that make it a strong acquisition target.
Any advice for others looking buy websites on Flippa?
I was lucky to find Ecocentric Mom via the Editor’s Choice section (and an email that I had signed up for to be notified about such opportunities). Sometimes it can be time-consuming to weed through all of the listings on Flippa, and Editors’ Choice is a great way to save time by getting instant insight into the top businesses for sale. Another piece of advice is to be ready during the last few hours of the auction, as this in when most activity will occur. Changes to the Buy it Now price can be made by the seller up until the last minute so you have to be ready to jump on those.
That’s Casey’s Flippa story. Read about the sale of another subscription box eCommerce site here.