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  • Consumer Product Company Creation, Succession, & Acquisition

    Apr 20, 2021

    Advertising trailblazer and icon, Stephen King, famously said, “A product is something made in a factory; a brand is something that is bought by the customer. A product can be copied by a competitor; a brand is unique.  A product can be quickly outdated; a successful brand is timeless”.

    Walk down any grocery store aisle, visit any E-commerce website, or go through the thought process associated with making a purchase from a throat lozenge to an automobile to the selection of a cruise line for a vacation holiday and in all probability you will gravitate to a brand that fosters memories of positive experiences or confidence in quality.  The achievement of the “brand” threshold for a product is significant.  It means the market has recognized quality and/or a “cool” factor and consumers now seek the product by name.

    One consumer product that long ago achieved coveted brand status is Fisherman’s Friend lozenges.  The product was created by a pharmacist, James Lofthouse, in the English port town of Fleetwood in 1865 when he combined eucalyptus and menthol into a syrup as a remedy for congestion and other cold symptoms. The product, modified to be sold also as lozenges by the Lofthouse family owned pharmacy, essentially sat dormant beyond some local fans for 100 years, then Doreen Cowell married into the Lofthouse family and started working in the pharmacy.  A visionary entrepreneur related to the potential of the Fisherman’s Friend product she started selling the lozenges in neighboring towns in the early 1960’s before setting the brand a sail to countries around the world.  Today the consumer product, in a spectrum of flavors beyond the original, is sold in approximately 120 countries.  Unfortunately, the world lost Doreen Lofthouse who became a beloved philanthropist later in life at age 91 March 30.   https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-lancashire-56587841 Her achievement in creating a world-wide brand as a woman before the Internet should be eternally recognized as evidence of the possible for anyone with vision, intelligence, product quality, and execution ability.

    IBA, as the oldest business brokerage firm in the Pacific Northwest, often is provided the ability to work with entrepreneurs who either through the manufacturing or distribution of items identify products with the ability to become iconic brands.  Two examples of consumer brands IBA has been involved with as a mergers & acquisitions firm that have gone from local quality products to nationally recognized distributed brands are San Pelligrino and Pedag.  San Pelligrino was originally brought to the United States by Giancarlo Manzin, the founder of Bianco-Rosso Imports, the oldest wine distributor/importer in Washington.  I am a better man for the cups of coffee shared with Giancarlo hearing the stories of his life experiences.  Today the quality water product he identified for import can be found for sale virtually anywhere carbonated beverages are sold.  Pedag, (https://pedagusa.com/) a manufacturer of high quality, natural product made insoles and orthotic products, was originally brought to the United States by Russian immigrant, David Shinder, a highly skilled shoemaker.  Over the years Mr. Shinder cultivated relationships for the sale of the product with Nordstrom, Amazon, and a host of other quality shoe stores building a nationally recognized brand from New York to Los Angeles with his exclusive American distribution rights.  Recognizing a desire to walk into the sunset with his wife, Rose, and experience other elements of life than entrepreneurship, he engaged IBA and the company was sold to successors capable of being stewards of and growing the brand.  Today, athletes to seniors would not leave home without a Pedag insole in their shoe.  The company is well positioned for future success, including recent expansion into the E-commerce sale of Mephisto Shoes through https://www.shoesnw.com/, a second business bought by the company that purchased Pedag USA.

    Distributing a product manufactured by another company to the United States market is one pathway to creating a popular consumer brand for entrepreneurs.  The second way is to control the product from creation to sale.  Product creation is a visionary, execution process few can perform with excellence.  Developing a product that can be distributed effectively and profitability thins the entrepreneurial herd significantly with even a smaller number of people emerging into the sunlight with a recognized consumer brand.  This climbing of an entrepreneurial Mt. Everest does occur, and more commonly than you would think.  As a business brokerage firm, we have seen it occur with niche products, like American Dream Products (http://www.adp-usa.com/home.ec), a product nearly every needlepoint and cross stitch enthusiast coveted when the company was sold by IBA over a decade ago with a robust distribution network online and in retailers like Michael’s, and with emerging brands like the consumer products manufacturing company we are presently representing for sale that has skyrocketed from $1.5 million in revenue in 2019 to $3.8 million in 2020 to a projected $6 – 8 million in revenue in 2021 through intelligent expansion of its coveted product line.  This fast-growing female centric brand is looking for a new captain at the helm of the ship, as current ownership recognizes they are not the party to help the business achieve its eight-figure revenue potential in the next couple of years.

    If you provide people with quality, innovative, or trending products, they will be purchased.  If you are interested in selling a consumer product company for a strong market value in an environment of strict confidence employing best practices or catching a rising product star and guiding it to the apex of the sky as an entrepreneur, we would welcome the opportunity to talk with you.

    IBA, the Pacific Northwest’s premier business brokerage firm since 1975, is available as an information resource to the media, business brokerage, mergers & acquisitions, accounting, legal, wealth advisory, and real estate communities on subjects relevant to the purchase & sale of privately held companies and family businesses.  IBA is recognized as one of the best business brokerage firms in the nation based on its long track record of successfully negotiating “win-win” business sale transactions in environments of full disclosure employing “best practices”.

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