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

ByBecky Patton

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Essential Info
  • 400% advancement in 18 months &#8211 from $3m to $15m

  • 7 to 50 users of team

  • Saved 80 several hours for every week &#8211 equivalent of two total-time staff members with new tech executing the large lifting

“There’s a philosophy in e-commerce: when you’re making down below 10m it’s about the hustle about your solutions and promoting. When you begin to make above 10m, it is about processes and people today. If you never swap that aim, all the things will crack and you will in no way scale.”

Kaevon Khoozani, Founder of Bells of Steel

With a adore of lifting that seemed to seed in advance of he was born (his great uncle owned a ‘House of Strength’ in Iran), possibly it is fate that Kaevon Khoozani turned the self-produced founder of a multi-countrywide health brand name worthy of $15M. In actuality, he owes the phenomenal success of his ‘proudly Canadian’ organization, Bells of Metal, to a established of clever enterprise moves, and an unflinching religion in himself in the course of moments of unparalleled obstacle.


Back in 2009, Khoozani was supplementing his enterprise diploma with a job in a Calgary conditioning retail outlet when he noticed a absence of Olympic-stage devices, this sort of as bumper plates and kettlebells. His manager was not fascinated in stocking it, and so led Khoozani to find out an e-commerce specialized niche that would make him $150k in his very first yr.

What commenced with marketing to people on Craigslist from his Ford Festiva grew to become a entire-time career go for Khoozani. He dropped his options for a corporate work, established up a BigCommerce e-retail outlet, took on a silent partner and hired staff. An entire at-residence fitness center kit &#8211 complete with ability rack, barbell, bench and plates &#8211 grew to become their star product, and Bells of Steel held its very own as a popular DTC residence-gym provider for the future ten years.

“I often refer to Bells of Metal in ‘pre and put up-pandemic’ terms”, Khoozani mentioned. “As everything modified for us in 2020.”

In a similar tale to 1000’s of suppliers, the pandemic strike the business enterprise like a storm. A mass shift to on line searching, particularly for dwelling fitness tools, intended Bells of Steel’s crew of 7 couldn’t keep up with surging desire.

Khoozani strike a crossroads. “I was the most miserable I’d ever been in business. My possibilities were, market the business, continue to be smaller, or employ a even bigger workforce and keep scaling till I no extended desired to give up. I chose choice 3.”

He employed 39 new staff members, opened a larger warehouse in Toronto and a retail retail outlet in Indianapolis, included 3PL in LA to protect West Coastline demand from customers, and fully overhauled the web page.

The hazards linked with rapid scale paid off &#8211 with the raise in staff members-ability, inventory concentrations and channels, Bells of Metal could satisfy demand from customers and profits soared. But as shopper starvation for kettlebells billed on, the company’s progressively elaborate workflows were dropping them dollars and resulting in them operational problems.

“I’m a sales male,” Khoozani suggests, “So I was fastened on revenue. There is a philosophy in e-commerce: when you’re producing underneath 10m it is about your goods and advertising and marketing. When you begin to make in excess of 10m, it’s processes and people.

“If you never swap that focus, everything will break and you will not scale. Which is particularly what occurred to us.”

As is generally the case when providers promptly grow, amplified complexity in the again end caused the crew countless operational complications &#8211 and their guide inventory management and accounting inaccuracies spiralled out of regulate.

The enterprise was produced up of ‘a patchwork of software’ with tiny cross-conversation, and had two complete time team dedicated to keeping figures exact. The absence of visibility, especially in inventory, intended Bells of Steel’s margins endured, and employees weren’t in a position to make perfectly-knowledgeable selections.

Even though rising with this sort of speed was the appropriate alternative for the enterprise, Khoozani’s monetary associate insisted on a solution to their breaking infrastructure behind the scenes.

“My CFO reported, ‘This is a mess &#8211 we want additional sustainable processes, it becomes far more critical the larger you mature.’

“That’s when the hunt for a appropriate running system commenced.”


Khoozani needed to keep away from a classic ERP. “Some friends had provided up on ERPs like Netsuite and Odoo after they took above two a long time to deploy,” he reported. “I’d also found MS Dynamics in motion and was shocked at the difficult again-finish, which just looked like a mass of spreadsheets.”

After getting turned off by the extremely complicated and clunky offerings on offer from classic ERPs, Khoozani started off hunting for choices and arrived throughout Brightpearl’s Retail Working Alternative.

After viewing Brightpearl mentioned in e-commerce discussion boards and reading through its purchaser stories, Khoozani was drawn to its retail aim and relieve-of-use, along with its excellent financials and reporting features. He before long signed Bells of Metal with the adaptable Retail Working Procedure and was established up in a fast 120 times.

“Brightpearl took only 4 months to deploy and the UX just cannot be understated,” he explained. “It has quick cross-compatibility with the applications we use like Xero and Freshdesk, and its Plug & Participate in integrations designed it the most progressive answer for us in phrases of connectability.”

Due to the fact Brightpearl stepped in, the advantages for Bells of Steel held on coming.

Their lack of stock visibility was solved with Brightpearl’s potent Automation Motor, which automates and streamlines processes these kinds of as ordering, stock, warehouse, delivery and fulfilment, and delivers in-depth stock insights throughout various warehouses and channels. The crew can now deal with and replenish stock in just a few clicks, conserving them tons of time in guide processing.

The crew also turned to a match-transforming forecasting instrument to replenish unique components of its flagship product or service, the at-residence gymnasium kit &#8211 as well as improve gains on their margins with accurate, knowledge-driven sales forecasting for all goods.

Khoozani states: “There’s so lots of going elements to Bells of Steel, so bringing them with each other into just one central source of truth of the matter has not only saved us time on operations and enhanced cross-division communication, but enabled us to allocate expenses the right way.

“Basically we have total visibility of what’s likely on, thus a tighter grasp on our spend. The effect of that has been substantial for our bottom line.”

Time definitely has been saved with the group&#8217s new tech-led technique. The two users of personnel employed to double-examine financials are now utilized far more properly, saving the business enterprise a phenomenal 80 several hours a 7 days.

Khoozani’s brave possibility-taking in the deal with of the pandemic gross sales boom &#8211 deciding upon to use personnel, open up additional warehouses, and uplevel their tech to aid their growing infrastructure &#8211 usually means Bells of Steel has developed 400% in 18 months: from $3m in earnings in 2019, to an outstanding $15m in 2021.

Superior, More quickly, Stronger

Unsurprisingly, Khoozani claims the very last pair of years have been a huge finding out curve.

“One issue I did not anticipate from scaling is just how badly your infrastructure breaks. Every person is normally chasing that growth, but do you have any idea what you require to have in put to do that properly?

“Taking on cutting-edge methods was a very important portion of our scaling journey. We’re now earning smarter info-driven choices throughout the board, whether which is in stock management, product, choosing and much more.

“Now everybody is centered on the right aims fairly than wasting time placing out fires.”

The retailer is on monitor to Mature Fearlessly in the many years to appear. With additional time and cash to expend on product innovation, paid out adverts and influencer advertising and marketing, they’ve even obtained a few of WWE stars on deck to force the brand name forward.

Khoozani says the original strain of the pandemic couldn’t have been far more worthwhile.

“2020 was fortunate for us, but additional so than the massive bump in product sales, it opened up a entire world of opportunity to continue to keep the momentum heading.

“We want to enjoy that sustainable advancement in 2022 &#8211 putting concentration on Ontario, increasing our US sales, then branching into Europe and over and above.&#8221


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