Bells of Steel and an Iron Will: How This Fitness Retailer Grew from $3M to $15M in 18 months

Important Information
  • 400% progress in 18 months &#8211 from $3m to $15m

  • Seven to 50 associates of staff

  • Saved 80 hrs per week &#8211 equal of two comprehensive-time staff members with new tech doing the weighty lifting

“There’s a philosophy in e-commerce: when you are producing under 10m it’s about the hustle about your products and internet marketing. When you begin to make in excess of 10m, it’s about procedures and people. If you do not change that target, almost everything will split and you will never scale.”

Kaevon Khoozani, Founder of Bells of Steel

With a like of lifting that seemed to seed prior to he was born (his fantastic uncle owned a ‘House of Strength’ in Iran), most likely it is fate that Kaevon Khoozani became the self-made founder of a multi-nationwide conditioning model really worth $15M. In actuality, he owes the phenomenal good results of his ‘proudly Canadian’ organization, Bells of Metal, to a set of good small business moves, and an unflinching faith in himself all through occasions of unprecedented problem.

OLYMPIC Eyesight

Again in 2009, Khoozani was supplementing his organization degree with a career in a Calgary fitness keep when he observed a lack of Olympic-amount devices, this kind of as bumper plates and kettlebells. His boss was not interested in stocking it, and so led Khoozani to learn an e-commerce market that would make him $150k in his initial yr.

What commenced with advertising to folks on Craigslist from his Ford Festiva became a full-time occupation move for Khoozani. He dropped his options for a corporate task, established up a BigCommerce e-retail store, took on a silent husband or wife and hired workers. An complete at-household health and fitness center package &#8211 comprehensive with power rack, barbell, bench and plates &#8211 turned their star item, and Bells of Metal held its individual as a common DTC residence-health and fitness center provider for the up coming 10 years.

“I often refer to Bells of Steel in ‘pre and publish-pandemic’ terms”, Khoozani explained. “As every thing modified for us in 2020.”

In a similar tale to hundreds of merchants, the pandemic strike the small business like a storm. A mass change to online shopping, significantly for house exercise machines, intended Bells of Steel’s staff of seven couldn’t hold up with surging need.

Khoozani strike a crossroads. “I was the most depressing I’d ever been in business. My selections were being, market the company, remain little, or employ a more substantial group and hold scaling right until I no for a longer time desired to give up. I selected option three.”

He employed 39 new staff, opened a larger warehouse in Toronto and a retail retail outlet in Indianapolis, additional 3PL in LA to include West Coastline need, and absolutely overhauled the web site.

The threats linked with immediate scale compensated off &#8211 with the enhance in workers-electrical power, inventory stages and channels, Bells of Metal could satisfy demand and earnings soared. But as consumer starvation for kettlebells billed on, the company’s progressively intricate workflows were being shedding them money and leading to them operational headaches.

“I’m a income guy,” Khoozani claims, “So I was preset on income. There’s a philosophy in e-commerce: when you’re building under 10m it is about your products and marketing and advertising. When you begin to make above 10m, it’s processes and folks.

“If you don’t switch that concentrate, every little thing will break and you will not scale. Which is accurately what transpired to us.”

As is normally the case when corporations rapidly extend, increased complexity in the again finish caused the group limitless operational difficulties &#8211 and their guide stock administration and accounting inaccuracies spiralled out of manage.

The corporation was built up of ‘a patchwork of software’ with little cross-interaction, and experienced two full time staff members devoted to preserving figures exact. The deficiency of visibility, primarily in inventory, intended Bells of Steel’s margins endured, and staff weren’t equipped to make very well-knowledgeable selections.

While developing with these speed was the suitable alternative for the business, Khoozani’s economic associate insisted on a resolution to their breaking infrastructure guiding the scenes.

“My CFO mentioned, ‘This is a mess &#8211 we need a lot more sustainable processes, it turns into additional vital the bigger you expand.’

“That’s when the hunt for a appropriate functioning method started.”


Khoozani wished to keep away from a regular ERP. “Some friends experienced provided up on ERPs like Netsuite and Odoo just after they took about two several years to deploy,” he explained. “I’d also viewed MS Dynamics in action and was stunned at the challenging back-conclude, which just looked like a mass of spreadsheets.”

After remaining turned off by the overly difficult and clunky offerings on give from basic ERPs, Khoozani started off looking for alternate options and came across Brightpearl’s Retail Running Alternative.

Immediately after viewing Brightpearl outlined in e-commerce forums and reading its consumer stories, Khoozani was drawn to its retail emphasis and ease-of-use, together with its wonderful financials and reporting features. He before long signed Bells of Steel with the versatile Retail Functioning Procedure and was set up in a fast 120 days.

“Brightpearl took only four months to deploy and the UX cannot be understated,” he said. “It has easy cross-compatibility with the apps we use like Xero and Freshdesk, and its Plug & Enjoy integrations built it the most progressive solution for us in terms of connectability.”

Considering that Brightpearl stepped in, the added benefits for Bells of Metal stored on coming.

Their lack of inventory visibility was solved with Brightpearl’s impressive Automation Engine, which automates and streamlines procedures this sort of as ordering, inventory, warehouse, transport and fulfilment, and offers in-depth stock insights across many warehouses and channels. The staff can now handle and replenish inventory in just a couple clicks, conserving them tons of time in handbook processing.

The team also turned to a match-altering forecasting tool to replenish particular person elements of its flagship product, the at-property gym package &#8211 as very well as strengthen revenue on their margins with precise, facts-pushed revenue forecasting for all goods.

Khoozani says: “There’s so numerous shifting parts to Bells of Steel, so bringing them together into just one central supply of truth of the matter has not only saved us time on functions and improved cross-section conversation, but enabled us to allocate expenses effectively.

“Basically we have total visibility of what is going on, hence a tighter grasp on our invest. The impression of that has been massive for our bottom line.”

Time absolutely has been saved with the crew&#8217s new tech-led solution. The two associates of staff hired to double-examine financials are now used much more properly, conserving the small business a phenomenal 80 hours a week.

Khoozani’s brave risk-using in the confront of the pandemic sales boom &#8211 choosing to employ personnel, open far more warehouses, and uplevel their tech to aid their increasing infrastructure &#8211 means Bells of Steel has grown 400% in 18 months: from $3m in earnings in 2019, to an incredible $15m in 2021.

Far better, More rapidly, Much better

Unsurprisingly, Khoozani suggests the very last pair of yrs have been a substantial mastering curve.

“One matter I did not expect from scaling is just how badly your infrastructure breaks. Every person is always chasing that development, but do you have any strategy what you have to have to have in area to do that efficiently?

“Taking on reducing-edge methods was a crucial element of our scaling journey. We’re now earning smarter details-driven conclusions across the board, whether that’s in stock administration, item, hiring and more.

“Now anyone is targeted on the suitable aims somewhat than throwing away time placing out fires.”

The retailer is on observe to Mature Fearlessly in the decades to appear. With much more time and money to shell out on item innovation, compensated adverts and influencer marketing, they’ve even received a pair of WWE stars on deck to force the brand ahead.

Khoozani claims the initial pressure of the pandemic couldn’t have been extra worthwhile.

“2020 was lucky for us, but extra so than the huge bump in profits, it opened up a globe of opportunity to retain the momentum heading.

“We want to love that sustainable growth in 2022 &#8211 placing target on Ontario, rising our US sales, then branching into Europe and beyond.&#8221


The publish Bells of Metal and an Iron Will: How This Fitness Retailer Grew from $3M to $15M in 18 months appeared 1st on Retail Minded.