Lindsay Pinchuk hadn’t seriously considered selling her business, Bump Club & Beyond, until a buyer came knocking in 2019.

Pinchuk, a former media account manager, had grown the parenting community to $1.7 million in annual revenue and 130,000 email subscribers since founding it in 2010. And she did it without outside funding.

The parenthood hub, which offered events, products and information for mothers and fathers, was acquired by Brand Connections, an Advantage Solutions company that specializes in helping retailers drive sales.

The key to their growth? Partnerships. Pinchuk leaned on them from day one to build the community.

She orchestrated giveaways with relevant brands, speakers within the industry and events in retail locations where their community shopped, as well as blog posts and cross-promotions. While paid partnerships developed over time, they focused primarily on organic partnerships, prioritizing opportunities where the partner would share with their audience.

“[Partnerships] were the backbone of how we built our brand and should be a vital part of any company’s strategy for growth,” Pinchuk said. “Partnerships, when done correctly, make sense and can really put a brand on the map.”

She outlined many of the strategies she used in an episode of her podcast, Dear FoundHer.

One of Pinchuk’s biggest challenges was building out her team when she couldn’t afford big salaries or lots of hires. She solved this creatively by developing part-time positions she offered to moms who wanted to work; they made what she called “manicure money” in exchange for their help at events. Over the years, they ran thousands of in-person events across the country.

“Because our staff was made up of moms, our guests never had an issue asking them questions or talking with them,” Pinchuk said. “It worked incredibly well especially as we expanded into multiple markets.”

How Bump Club & Beyond sold to Brand Connections

In the summer of 2018, three interested buyers reached out to Pinchuk on LinkedIn. “Nothing was for sale yet, yet ironically we were in the middle of preparing a deck for this purpose,” she said.

One of those interested parties was Brand Connections, an agency within Advantage Solutions that wanted to get into the baby space. They had partnered with Target in the beauty space, and wanted to get into the baby industry, but Target was already had a baby partnership: with Bump Club. They weren’t interested in another, which is why Brand Connections wanted to acquire Bump Club, Pinchuk said.

Pinchuk’s confidentiality agreement for the acquihire prohibits her from disclosing the sale price, but the deal included cash upfront and an earn out that was based on company performance. As part of the deal, Pinchuk and most of her team continued to work for Bump Club & Beyond post-acquisition.

“I was lucky to have an amazing team in place who helped me with what was needed to move forward with the sale and close the deal,” said Pinchuk, who had six full-time employees at sale and 10 part-time employees and contractors. “It was incredibly exciting.”

In the months and years after the sale though, Pinchuk had a tough realization: the company was no longer hers to steer. She’d been under the impression that not much would change, and that didn’t end up being the case. “The day I realized it wasn’t mine anymore… I knew it was time to start my exit,” she said. “But it was very hard to let go. I sat shiva for my company months before I left.”

She moved on from the company two-and-a-half years after the sale and now runs a marketing consulting business helping companies with strategic growth marketing.

Her advice to founders: “When you are selling your business, do not be pressured. You are in the driver’s seat, especially if someone approached you.”

Since publishing this story, we’ve obtained new information about the acquisition from the founder and added it to this story. The original version of this story contained different figures for revenue and email subscribers. We share more about our reporting process here.