The Gym Owners Blog/Podcast/Selling Apparel in Your Gym - The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Selling Apparel in Your Gym - The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Saturday, January 21, 2023

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shirts, gym, people, designs, buy, sell, shelf, suck, apparel, logo, money, business, brand, memberships, nice, spend, screen printing, owners


  • ​Introduction to today’s episode - 0:02
  • ​The factors that go into carrying apparel in your gym - 3:18
  • ​Quality control is a big big big issue - 7:14
  • ​How do you get started with your gym’s brand? - 11:23
  • ​What do you do if you don’t have money? - 15:17
  • ​Efficiency in your entire process - 19:54
  • ​StoreFrontier’s offering - 23:24
  • ​Do not build your own store on your own platform - 27:43
  • ​How to reverse engineer your gym’s business - 32:49
  • ​What’s the word bolster? Is that a word? - 36:15
  • ​Why I bought the only red shirt I own from the gym - 40:56


Tyler 00:02

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to the gym owners podcast. In today's episode, we're going to talk about selling apparel in your gym. There's a lot of different factors that go into selling apparel, what it should be, how you're going to fulfill how you're going to do designs, all that other stuff. And we want to present to you by the end of this episode so that you can kind of understand all of the different factors that apply to you regarding selling apparel, and how you can make it work well for your business, how it is right now, and how it can be in the future. Before we get started make sure you join the gym owners podcast Facebook group that is the gym owners revolution on Facebook that link is in our description. Don't miss it, so resources for gym owners we're putting together. We carry on conversations there. We have Live episodes. We have some special things coming up inside the group that you're not going to want to miss. So make sure you get into the group link in the description. Follow the podcast at the gym owners podcast on Instagram. You can follow me at Tyler effing stone on Instagram, and John

John Fairbanks 00:55

and J banks FL on Instagram.

Tyler 00:59

Alright, let's get into it. Apparel, right so everybody's gym carries apparel you started just basic. It's good to have people wearing your brand around town. It's nice. Like most marketing, like physical marketing stuff that we see where we're giving it whether it's koozies or pens or shirts or whatever that stuff is in the beginning it starts when you like to start a brand and you have a gym or a business. You may get sold. You can get sold just your logo on anything because it's cool. It makes you feel valid coffee mugs for all this unnecessary shit. But apparel is a thing that's very common in gyms . I think you should carry a pair. I think you should sell it. I think it's something that you should do. But I think people really need to be careful where they go with it because the apparel business is a fucking nightmare from beginning to end. It is a constant management problem with demand and quality control. It is dog shit and there's not much money for it in the end unless you're charging a lot and buying a lot. And I can say this for sure because we used to do this. A friend of mine started a company called mass genomics years ago. She was seven eight years ago now. John actually we're both wearing masks and anomic shirts at the moment as well. If you want to see it, I can't take any credit for the designs Tommy at Tommy D creative. He was one of our partners here at Mass anonymous and he's the design guy. He had a good eye for stuff. Some of the shirts he did our logo he did all our logo stuff he did the logo for my gym if you're looking for logos and designs, Tommy D creative you can follow he's at Tomahawk underscore D on Instagram. Follow Masson comics if you want to see all of his designs and all of his branding stuff Tommy rocks but so it's good to partner with somebody like that for that project. But Tanner Tommy and I with that business started out as we're gonna sell shirts, but we don't know we're just strength training guys and we had a cool logo. So how are we going to make anything out of this like it was? So when we started we had our logo on a shirt and then we don't know how we're gonna build this brand. We had no real plan. This was back in the day where you could blog so we do some written articles and we started the podcast and now masonite mix podcast a few 100 episodes deep and they're doing doing very well but they've sold a I think literally a fuck ton of apparel. If that's a matter of time. But the thing is about this that is very difficult and I've also sold apparel in my gym, it's very tough to know how committed you need to be to it. Because here's the factors that go into carrying apparel. The first one is design, that's a big one, right? How are you gonna design? Is it just going to be your logo that can work kind of except for it's only good for people that are kind of enthusiastic about your jam and want to wear it out. The shirts got to be a nice cut, they got to be a nice fit, are they for everybody? Buying shirts for women is very different from carrying shirts for men. By the way, we used to try with mass genomics. We'd always get asked ladies cuts ladies tanks, all this and every time we got samples in we'd have like all of our wives and friends and females that we trained with try them on and every one of them came back with a very different feedback. So it's just really hard for there's not women don't operate in this one size fits all world that us men can get by on, you know, we can get by on an athletic fit that fits okay, that doesn't shrink up and suck. That's kind of all dudes who get bonds. With women, it's different. So you end up carrying a lot of different variations, right? The other one is managing the demand in sizes. So if you're ordering everything yourself and you're keeping it on hand, you're just gonna guess, right, you're just gonna guess what sizes people are going to buy. And you're going to sit on a shitload of extras forever until somebody who's extra shmedium comes in and is interested in buying your stuff and how you got one of them off the shelf. So you end up sitting on an inventory that usually, especially in gyms, ends up kind of amounting to all the money you get from all the profit you're going to make. That inventory kind of sits and carries on for a long time. There's not a ton of money to be made in shirts if you're only making five bucks, six bucks a shirt, and you got to sort them all. All in you got to put them all away and you truthfully need to check in on there's a lot of time. This is by the way nothing we ever did with mass genomics did we factor in our own time into the equation, Tanner's still boxes up everything themselves and shipped them all out. To keep it in the gym aspect of it. One of the things that I think helps mitigate demand if you're going to have on the shelf product, right? If you're going to do bulk orders, if you do have to do pre orders. In a perfect world, that's the best way you're going to know how many sizes you've got, how many sizes you need, and about what the size distribution is going to be. The biggest lesson I learned in my CrossFit gym was I was the only 2x and three XL. There's a lot of mediums going out the door, there's just the opposite of the size distribution. We were moving with mass economics, which mass anomic sells more three, four and five XL shirts than most brands out there in the world. Yeah, so this became very, very challenging in my gym, there was like shit, now we've got, you know, we preorder everything. So I know what my in-house people want and that way at first, I got money up front, too. I know the size distribution, and then I can just order some extras. And that is kind of the best way to do it. If you want products sitting on the shelf behind you, it's pre orders.

John Fairbanks 06:16

But if I google like, I want to do shirts or something Tyler's like, fucking hundreds of people on the first few pages. Yeah, how did you guys even know what to go with? So

Tyler 06:27

we started locally, we went with local screen printing shops. And for this, I still believe this is probably I don't know, this is where it gets tough, you have to make a decision, I think it's kind of the way to go. Because most screen printers suck. Most places are gonna get these facts of the apparel business of screen printing done, they're going to suck, they are not the most enthusiastic employees, there are not a bunch of go getters out there so that it's just not, they're not very high paid. So they're just getting it done. Okay, you're gonna order 40 shirts, 50 shirts, 200 shirts, whatever that is, you're just gonna have some guy making $9 an hour, who doesn't give a shit about his job. And if there's a bit of an issue, he's gonna fold it up, and he's gonna pack it in with the rest of them. And that is going to be what it is going to be. And quality control is a big, big, big issue. So we went from one local screen printing place, and we just had a lot of fucking problems, it just, I think we're looking at almost like 10%, five to 10% of the apparel we were ordering, we're having to send that out. Which sucks because it delays, it delays a lot of things, especially with pre orders and shit, you hope that you ordered long so that you can have it. And that was frustrating. So you start having issues with the screen printing and quality control, it just ends up being you get this pile of stuff, shirts that are stacked, and then you have to fold them for the shelf, which is going to be your new favorite job. And you fold them all up for the shelf and you have to inspect every single one, by the way, Tanner still does this inspect every single shirt that gets folded to be shipped, and then is stacked up by size. And you have to look at every piece because nothing sucks more than sending the shirt out. Or having someone take it or they get one wash and the shit all comes sucks. That's a bad spot to be in. And it's not you, it's not your fault. So when this happens, we did the best you have to communicate, you got a good relationship with the people doing the printing. And then we pulled the plug. So we went to another local spot. And guess what? They suck too. They weren't any good, either. And we started asking around and we realized some of these businesses that had been in our town for a long time didn't even do the volume that we did. They all said the same thing. It was like Yeah, we tried this, everybody asks around in your business, who does screen printing, and who's hired them and who else they've used and most likely, you're gonna find that nobody's very good at it. Nobody's very good. And everybody ends up going to the next place until the next place until they're all out of options, right? And then they found an online service in mass and AmEx right now they do their embroidery locally, and they have an online place that does it all. It's not a place that you or I could go in and order. They require a high volume, or sell a lot of gear now. So they kind of do this as a production service, if you will, for the good you're buying 10s of 1000s of shirts a year now. So it's just a different game. So and that's when, as a gym owner, if it was me, right, I would start to look at these other options, which is how can I solve all of these, everything I've described you up to this point is time and headaches for fucking pennies, truthfully, right? It's just to keep my members happy to give them something else to engage in the gym.

John Fairbanks 09:40

What is that metric? What is the metric that you kind of deem is hey, this is kind of you want to be making x on a shirt and you feel good about

Tyler 09:49

all this you just described. It's the fact I tell every gym owner truthfully, if you're going to get into shirts where you're going to do the work yourself no matter if, let's say A you markup $10 A shirt, it's probably still not worth your time. I mean, it's not worth your time as the gym owner. And if you have somebody else, literally handling the correspondence by the way, this is assuming that the designs just exist. Or someone else for free is just saying this and just handling the email, like all of it starts to suck everything about it starts to be laborious, and just it's not the best, but you need your shit out there. So I'm not saying don't do it. So like while

John Fairbanks 10:30

you don't have to like, but at least like what you're putting on it though. Yeah, I think that makes you more excited. Like, because a couple of the shirts that you've created. Just you and I working together the last several years, you've come up with some designs where I'm like, I'm so fucking excited. Yeah, see the shirt come? Because I'm excited about that design to exist on the garment. Yeah. And that's,

Tyler 10:51

and that's important to know the logo. No, it's and it can't just be your logo. This is a piece gym owners get into? Well, it's important to have your logo and stuff, right. And everything we did with mass genomics in the beginning was right. It's your logo, it's great. You want people to represent your gym, but maybe try making something that somebody actually wants to wear. It's something somebody likes, start with that. A good cut to fit a good color, a good a cool design, and this was a thing, let's let's run you through kind of what designs popped for mass genomics was the first one. John, you want to screen share real quick, I'm gonna have you hunt down the lift shirt while I tell the story. Okay, yeah, can we do that here. So what we did was we started with our OG logo, and we just kept trying to sell that shirt while we figured out what to do. So we started building our brand, and doing a weekly podcast and we did it forever and ever and ever and ever. And every once awhile, someone would buy a shirt, but the only people that would buy a shirt were well within our circle. people that knew us, people that liked us, people that thought whatever about us, and they were just going to support the project and bless their hearts. That's very much like what people are doing when they buy stuff from your gym, they're kind of throwing you a bone a little bit if it's just got your logo on it. Then Tommy continued to make designs. And then he got to the point where he had found he had made this logo, we started doing these like parody, beer logos, like this huge life Highlife knockoff and and then the lift shirt. And this one was a design that just really popped, it was really cool it put it on a cool color. And that thing was the thing where every time we would post about that on social media, people wanted the shirt, they didn't know who we were. They didn't know who we were, they didn't listen to the podcast, our brand was not relevant to them. But that shirt moved the needle. And we could tell so we started using influencer, bridging strategies where we would make contact with people in the space big ass powerlifters, you know, strong dudes, and we would just send them shirts. So here's the shirt, if you're in the Facebook group, you can watch the video episode there. And you can see the lift shirt, but it's a dope shirt. It's a cool logo, it just is what it is. It's a cool brand. It's a cool design. The design was something that people actually wanted. And it had very little to do with mass genomics. And that thing has sold many, many, many, many 1000s of shirts now at this point. And so that's the thing is eventually you're going to have to get beyond the point of making shirts to make money. And you are going to have to make a shirt to design something that's neat. So I think by having a design , how is that getting done? Are you doing it? Is it a good form of creative expression for you? Is that fun? Is it then yes, then you should do it. But then if you've got to hire someone to make designs for you. Now you start running into costs, and let's just pretend that it just cost a couple 100 bucks. Well, you got to sell a lot of shirts at making five $6 a pop to make a cut to clear a couple 100 bucks Johnny meter.

John Fairbanks 13:36

Yeah, just to break even then just to break even.

Tyler 13:39

Yeah. Yeah. And so that became the piece that we started looking at was like, Okay, we gotta start making stuff that people actually want to wear. And it's not all about our logo. And John and I, we've done it. I've designed shirts for specialty programs for gyms and program launches and product launches and seasonal stuff for a lot of gyms and we've got some cool stuff. We've used that. That's just, it's awesome, because it's awesome, right? Yeah. But every single time I talked with one of the gym owners or someone else they're like, Okay, so I put my logo on the sleeve, or I'm gonna put my logo on the back, or I'm gonna slap my fucking logo here. I'm like, stop. Stop, because the fishing seemed like a CrossFit gym.

John Fairbanks 14:16

No, you don't mean no, there's no way to know

Tyler 14:20

the shirt your way, right? There's no way to know it's a massive mess. And I'm sure it's impossible. And this one has it but it should be relatively subtle. And by the way, there's a time and a place to have your logo all over it and I'm okay with it. But I'm saying people gotta break that fucking thing that you the same reason that somebody can come in and sell you a bunch of coffee mugs with your logo on it. That's about your ego more than it is about anything else. It's like our brand. It's like no more people buy the shirt. No like it if somebody asked me about it, you can tell they can tell you it's at my gym the amount of Yeah, you see it on people's social media posts all the time. It drives me crazy where they just have to arbitrarily slap their logo like it's a watermark on it. And I was like, Do you think people are Dealing the photo of the fucking people in your gym exercise and trying to pass, what's the fucking point, and it just muddies things up and makes it look stupid. So worry about the quality of the look first that people like is the design cool, that's kind of the first game that you should be playing.

John Fairbanks 15:17

Now I might as well give him a couple of different ideas because you gave him Tommy and Tommy is a great option. But you really need to be able to come correct and be able to spend talking to somebody that knows what the fuck they're doing. And when you really do that kind of thing, like I said, you're gonna need to spend money. So what do you do if you don't have money and you don't have an overly creative coach or somebody that's inside of your, your business that you can just have a makeshift, because a couple of the gyms that we've worked with have had that you had a coach that just loves doing that kind of shit. And it was perfect. It was like scratching that itch for him. If you can, there's also there are things that are out there as far as getting designs, 99 designs, or you can go to fiverr or you can go all sorts of those types of places where you can find VA work and be able to submit to people that want to be able to make logos and do those types of things. And you won't spend hundreds of dollars but you probably want to spend you know between around that $100 mark like you said spend that for sure designs. Yeah, yeah. But and you're gonna that means you're still gonna spend some time massaging and working with somebody to come up with stuff but you can find good shit that's out there. But like you said, you kind of build that in that time and that money that you're gonna build in finding those

Tyler 16:32

and I also think the SP you try to make it well I understand other gyms that do the thing you do are not competing with you directly. So it's not like that big of a deal. There's nothing that I hate more than every year in summer when fucking Murph season comes around, and all these CrossFit gyms were this it's the same fucking designs that they just grabbed a design that they saw was cool from someone else lash and I fucking Can I don't hate anything more than I hate that. It's like Jesus Christ are you even trying? That sucks be better than that fucking especially for like a tribute workout. You're just gonna like it, it sucks. I just hate it either to make something cool, make it a real decent Memorial or just make it slick and make it awesome. But make it some people want to wear and Jesus Christ, I'll make it something that 45 other gyms within 1000 miles of your spot have done, and that I just really can't stand at all. And so and I get it, there's only so many patriotic Stars and Stripes and shapes, things that can be done. But I don't know, maybe you should try. Because this is supposed to be a tribute thing. And you're just going into this being fucking a plagiarist. That sucks.

John Fairbanks 17:44

But I think you've now you're going into kind of the next phase, which would be kind of my questions or where I would want to give feedback towards which is what do you why do you have the excuse to make a shirt? I think it's important. What is rehab? Yeah, why are you even making it because I think this is where we've seen gyms and have worked with places and groups and people that have been very successful with the strategy where you can have this where now, you know, if you don't do it, well, it can be a money suck. And the best case scenario is your breakeven. And then on the flip side of that, you can now do something to where now you are making money by design like so somebody's apparel,

Tyler 18:28

Let's use a functional fitness gym, as an example. It's kind of the house we're most familiar with. But we have a source for many other things. But there are seasons, right? There are seasons even in your sport. So functional fitness, you got Murph, for sure you sell a bunch of merch shirts every year, some people just use it as a fundraiser to then you donate, you donate half of the proceeds or whatever, and that's fine. That's a good one to do. I also like some sort of just Summer, summer style apparel, tanks, that type of stuff, you know, make things just the generic T works, it's fine. You know, like a good quality tea but like, you know, tanks are nice for the summer, some racerback stuff for the females. Usually I recommend doing at least two to three different cuts for the females, just to make sure that you fit people's different body types and people's desires. The nice thing about if you're already having screen printing done is as long as you're the size is nearly the same, right? Actually, you don't have to like to order an extra 200 To get your price difference for every cut. Does that make sense? Right. So if I choose this design here and I can have it made and it fits right on men's shirts, on women's tanks, a women's tee a different variation of a women's tee and a men's tank that still kind of fits all my order minimums because it's the screen printing that is the thing so so you can get by but you need to be you need to kind of if you have don't have an eye for style, not just design but like style of how something fits you got to have somebody else to do this for you. I was terrible with this. I don't understand. That game I dress, I wear the same T-shirt cut to Your brand, I wear the same exact pair of jeans in different colors. And I have six pairs of the exact same shoe in different colors. So that's kind of the world that I live in. It's weird, but I had to find somebody else to do it. And fortunately, we had a partnership with one Tommy who would do stuff for us as well with Tommy D creative. And one of the companies we were with had a partnership with us because one of their employees was a member of our gym. So she would just help me pick the base shirt. That was the big one. It's just like, I don't enjoy it. You know what I mean? Here's what happens anytime you go into a screen printing place, and you want to get fucking shirts made, is they hand you a sandbar book that's has 1000 pages. And they literally will say, yeah, here you go look through here, make it. And that is, by the way, I have gotten handed that book six times, I'll go and talk about hats here. And like, fuck me, come on. And so that's what finally like, I don't know, man, like what, and then they'll have samples on the shelf for a few. But then that's kind of all you're choosing from and does that separate is that something that's going to move the needle within your gym, I would like people even though the same amount may buy, just to support you, I would like them to buy because they really like it and wear it. That's kind of the thing. I like it. So I did detach myself from that process and let somebody else tell me what's cool. And then we would just figure out if it worked: money, time, fit, sign and all that other stuff. Again, every step that I'm talking about, he was taking time from you as a gym owner to make fucking four to $6 a shirt. That sucks, right. So again, keep that in mind every step of the way. Now that this is less efficient. So this is the piece I want to touch on efficiency in your entire process. So we've talked fully about screen printing, and you're going to have it done locally. And you're going to go in and you're going to order, you'll have clients preorder, and you'll take the money you make on the top to just order that basically all the profit, you're going to make off their pre orders, you're just going to spend 100% of that money, right. So let's just say you make $5 a shirt, you sell them for 20, you can and should sell them for more, but just $5, who's selling for 20, Get 10 People pre order that's 200, you spend all $200, you're not going to spend 15, right? That's what I'm saying you're gonna spend all of that. So you have some product on the shelf, that's what I would do every time. Problem is, then those ultimate people in your gym that wanted shirts have them and you just gotta have them in case new people come in, maybe drop-ins, and they just sit there forever. And so you almost never get the money back out of it. And that's assuming you ever got through time back out of it. So the other step, and this is the thing we've been working on a lot. Lately, with a couple projects, a couple projects we're doing is having online fulfillment and just doing your client orders themselves, they get a little more options, maybe they pay a little bit more, but they can order anytime. There is no sense of urgency, but they can get it shipped directly to their house, it's printed to order, it just takes a little bit longer. That's all and there's some options for that I've bought products from like storefront before. So that's the platform we've been using to tinker with. And they allow you to just go in and you take whatever designs you want. And as fast as you can upload them and select from their limited but decent quality they got next level shirts, you know, they have all of the check all the boxes, they got tanks, shirts, hoodies and high quality, medium quality and low quality stuff, you can select the price with which you sell. And you can also give like, you sell each product. And you can also give up to three color options in each cut or type of shirt as well. So with that we just put up like seven designs for this MMA gym the other day on store frontier, I gotta check it out, go to store Ford slash hub city, Hu B, city. And you can see what the store looks like you can kind of click around. But of each of those shirts, or each of those designs, there's three or four different variations. And each of those has three different colors to choose from. And so you have this wide array of offerings people, and I spend no time folding shirts, you will spend no time doing anything else, other than putting the thing into the store and getting money when it comes back to you and maybe promoting it on social media or sending the like marketing it to your actual members that I think kind of changed shifts the paradigm a little bit. And they also do an offering where you can do bulk orders if you want for yourself, you can make a design, you can select a thing, you know, like all things the quantity kind of dictates the margin but like it's not, it's not terrible. So you could do that if you want to have some product on the shelf. So the strategy I would recommend that people use is just put some stuff in there. By the way, there's no risk. So if you make a design that's a dud that sucks that nobody wants and you spent when I was ordering shirts with Jim we would spend anywhere from one to $2,000 per order, give or take and that's just money coming in. Right you know that's that just ends up kind of being a lot of money to part with it. Knowing that I may break even, you know, it's just playing a long game. But if I launched a design that nobody wanted, suck, the shirts would sit on the shelf forever. So this way allows you to not risk just rolling out designs, if people like it, they can get it. If they don't like it, they cannot, you can still do your seasonal stuff to let's say, you do a Murph shirt, or some sort of Christmas or Halloween themed or whatever it is you want to do, you can do all that stuff, via somewhere like store frontier, and then just tell everybody, hey, this product, we're not going to sell it after on this date. So you have to rebuy this to get it on this day, and then we'll pull it from the store, you can still do it that way. So that is an interesting solution to solve the Time Crisis, the time and the demand issue, you give up a little bit of extra money, but you can just raise your price. Everywhere you're gonna go online, you're scared, you're not buying a good quality t-shirt for less than $24. You're just not and you're probably going to spend upwards of 30. So here by the way, the quality of shirts that we get on all these fronts, you have pulled up nice. So if you're in the Facebook group, you'll be able to see this when we publish the video episode. But this is a store for one of Jim's subsidies mmm, and we just slept a bunch of these designs on here. Every one every shirt that you're seeing here comes in three different colors at least. And also John if you scroll up, you can select like all the different cuts as well. So you can go to the for everything from tie dye to go to the raglan t. So each one of those designs that you're going to pull up here is going to show three different colors. And so there's just it's really really nice way to have a very diverse offering of products without having to like fucking do the whole launch and fold and quality assurance and all this stuff now I bought a couple things from them a couple other places we've worked with have bought products from them, the print quality seems nice seems okay, the shirt quality you get to pick, you know when you when you build your store. So I think it's a solid solution. If it's something you guys want to tinker with, it's pretty much low risk, unless they totally suck and your reputation goes to shit. But it is kind of like it cost no money to start what we talked about last week. The reason I liked that supplement launch strategy using an affiliate program first is if you don't have any money, well this is a way you can just start bringing in money, you don't have to produce you don't gotta front up a bunch of cash. So if things are tight, and you're looking for options to just get stuff moving, this is a way to have people that come into your gym, get to choose from 30 different products, you know, 50 different products without you having to have $50,000 worth of screen printing done and 200 hours of your time in order to get other shit on the shelf.

Tyler 27:43

So that's that, that's the online fulfillment version, I would not go any further than that if I was going to have anyone fulfill on my like do not build your own store on your own platform on your own website. It's not worth the time. Don't manage your own Shopify stuff to be packing and shipping and you know, counting your own inventory, that's the hardest thing to if you're gonna have stuff on the shelf is you kind of should keep track of it, you know your business, you kind of should know what you have on the shelf, what's selling gotta process every sale, this just puts it all in one place. And it just makes it easy. Instead of man John stuff, you just get a check. It actually just gets money transferred to you via PayPal at the end of each month. But they handle everything. And it's so that's the thing that I would recommend. I don't know, by the way, that that is superior. If you have the money and you have a good relationship with a printing, screen printing company, and they do good work and you've got a process in place where you can do all those things without having it be such a time suck. Go for it. Because it's great to have products on the shelf. I think no matter what you do, even if you're just storefront here then I think at some point when you get a little flush for cash, you should have some of your coolest stuff on the shelf just a few because anytime you have events or droppings or new people in there, you can sell a lot of apparel apparel is best sold on impulse because let me go about this this way. We've done a lot of seminars. John, you and I, we've been to a lot, we've put on a lot and roasted a lot. And every seminar that I've ever been to has been a missed opportunity for people to sell shirts. That's where it really is if you had shirts, even if people paid to be there, they would all buy shirts. I was at a grappling seminar this weekend. These guys didn't have their own brand. They weren't even didn't even own gyms but they were just some guys that were, you know, black belt guys who had put on an educational product. So when we went there to do the thing, if they would have just had shirts, like from their gym, I bought it. You know how it is when you drop into a new gym, you'll buy a shirt from there if they get one in your size, even if it's not that cool. This is the same thing as how they had. It's like a band concert. He's gonna go for 50 bucks now these days,

John Fairbanks 29:54

but we're gonna help him buy him because shit I'm here

Tyler 29:58

so they sell shirts at EXPO. Going to the Arnold, Massenomics has set up the booth and sold it at the Arnold one. One of the people that kind of inspired them to do that was Nick Robson from live large. You can follow kind of what is it going to be I should find him. Let me look them up real quick. Anyway, Nick owned, live large fitness, I still owns live large fitness. And he was one of the first guys that was at his Ohio style, Nick. Because now he has a bunch of Ohio style pizza restaurants Ohio pie company, Nixon OG though, but Nixon OG live large is a pretty big brand as well. And he kind of talked about how he did his fulfillment and how he was doing stuff off the shelf as well. And he kind of cut his teeth, he would go in Ohio, there's a lot of powerlifting meets, and he was he would go to every powerlifting meet, he could, he would just load a shit ton of apparel, because it was all all inventory, you know, so he would just log it out there and set it up. But you know, he would sell a ton of them. And it's great for the brand to be present. Here's your gym, this isn't necessarily don't go this far. And this, maybe you want to but like this strategy works so well for him because people were there and they're hanging out. Even if they're not competing, they're just there. And competition shirts suck. And there's only one of them and usually get one when you sign up. And so people would go there buy 234 T shirts of his because it was cool. They were cool. They buy one for someone else. And he would just come away with 1000s and 1000s of dollars every weekend and your presence and you've endear yourself to those people. So while that's maybe not relevant to you as a gym owner, those principles I think we're really interested in. And then he was set up at the Arnold. And so the Arnold was the big one. And he would essentially pay he would take out I won't use numbers so he would spend all of the money that he had, I think he mortgaged his house one year to do it. But then he would make enough money in one weekend, to where all of the inventory you needed to buy for the entire rest of the year was covered and paid for and he didn't have to worry about much else. And then everything beyond that weekend was profit. But so that type of thing that is present is the psychology of people just buying a thing because they're there but expos and stuff like that. It works. And that's why I think you should have some product on your shelf, because it's an impulse buy if you have seminars in your gyms or competitions. So your competition shirt, that's great if you're going to make sure it's competition, but you should probably also let people buy so you have cool designs, people will buy the stuff if you have it on the shelf, if you have someone come and do a seminar, and there's people from a way in from a way outside of your area who aren't members like those are opportunities to where you know what you could walk away with an extra couple 100 bucks two to 500 to maybe $1,000 worth of sales out the door, which is its low hanging fruit, especially if the shirts just sitting on the shelf. Like I think it's an opportunity that you should look into. Well, that's the

John Fairbanks 32:49

A way to reverse engineer, right the Arnold or the powerlifting meet is that your gym should be doing things that are community related that invite people into your community. You know, a lot of people that we work with, they have gyms that are in industrial parks, they have gyms that aren't on now we do have some folks that do have gyms that are right on fucking Main Street and on the main drag and you have great visibility, we have other gyms that it's like, that's a rapey part.

Tyler 33:20

It's just like storage units, and there's no signage anywhere. And it's like, Man your skirt shit out of people if this is their first jurist around your neighborhood band,

John Fairbanks 33:28

right? And so, in order, how do you combat that? Right? And we've done a lot of different episodes about how you do in person human shit, to network and actually interact with people that are in your neighborhoods and your community. Because, you know, remember, like, you want to actually help those people. Well, you have to also do events to bring them to you. And so we have another gym we're working with, who's going to have the right to record this. This is a week, you know, essentially before Halloween, and there's gonna be a kick ass Halloween event at his gym that he has brought in. Right the local DJ

Tyler 34:07

The DJ dance party lights the whole thing. Yeah, whole thing

John Fairbanks 34:11

and it's going to be monstrous fucking event. And as we were meeting with them this week, the question that I asked whether you were off the call I said, Great. So you guys have something really sweet like Halloween, right for the gym. Because you're gonna have all these people he's like, fuck me. And it's on the list for next year. And that's where you can kind of manufacture these days or these events. So whether it's a powerlifting event or it's going to be a community event, or whatever it is you can do those things that are oftentimes can be centered around holidays. But there can be things where you can have the excuse to create something awesome. Yeah, then limited time to

Tyler 34:53

doesn't have to do with your business's logo necessarily either can just be fun. No for this guy. You have a shirt like this, you know, you have an event like this, we're just a party, and you just sell I party, that blank, blank gym, and all I got was a stupid t-shirt. Sure. And you know what, if it fits right, it's funny enough, I'd probably wear it. Fuck it, I buy it if I was at a party, and I'll tell you that how and that's important to know is that people will just you need, if people are there, they will buy things that are around. This is why again, we sell supplements, because they're just looking to invest in that part of their life, it's in the things they're doing. Again, things don't have value, you don't do things because they have value, they have value because you do them. So I'm in a space, I'm hanging out there a lot, if anything that they have to sell at some point, I'm just going to be there willing to give more energy into the space, meaning I'll just buy some shit that they have there. It just is what it is, is the the impulse buy section of the grocery store on your way out where they just start stuffing shit, I need this, you know, what I need is a phone charger that I'm gonna fucking hate because it's so low quality and charges slow. You know, but I need a charger. And that's the one you buy there just because cable can do a better job on the quality side of it. But I think you need to give people opportunities to buy and we don't just sell fitness, we don't just sell memberships. We have all these people here for that. So how else can we? What's the word bolster? Isn't the word? How else can we prop this up? Is that a word?

John Fairbanks 36:21

I could buy your business by having enough things that are going to be helping ultimately make you more money. The fact is we started this podcast going very hard. And we don't talk about it as hard now but it's stopped selling memberships. Stop having the Bull has stopped having memberships be the answer, right? We talked about ending the endless relationship, if all you have to offer to somebody is a forever relationship, they're just with you till the end of time, that's going to be hard for you to be able to grow your business because eventually you run into the same issue that everyone runs into, which is hard to

Tyler 37:00

sell because I don't want to get married to anyone else. I'm already married. I don't want to come in and like oh, yes, but my life now in this gym and purpose. Fuck me, man, I some of the results, I want some of the experience I want and then I'll continue to, to renew. And by the way, that doesn't mean yes, people are gonna buy memberships. But it means you got to do more than that, you got to be better than that, you got to frame it differently. It's very important.

John Fairbanks 37:21

There's one other thing that I've seen get talked about quite a bit, it actually comes from the gym lunch folks, but specifically from the supplement side of the business. And it's reciprocity. And the power of rights, when somebody walks in, when you walk to a fancy hotel, they will give you a free bottle of water when you walk in, or two free bottles of water. Well, that's a massive loss. It's a massive loss. They're giving away free shit. But the fact is, I have bought more items, more beer, or more liquor than whatever from that, that hotels lobby for the folks that give me the free water, I guarantee you I will buy more shit from them because of that fact. And it's not because I'm consciously saying, I need to now pay them back because it gave me free water. It just is. It sets me in the proper mindset, psychologically, where I'm feeling cared for. And now I'm more open of being of I don't know, fucking enjoying myself or doing whatever. The same thing applies for shirts is if you have shit that's around, that you've invested in that are cool or things that are those when someone becomes a new member, man, if you have a new member pack where people get some, some swag or get some shit that like they can get that comes with that membership. There's a huge feeling of reciprocity or more belonging to a community ship that you're just missing out on. If people have no, they're not endear to your business whatsoever.

Tyler 39:03

Well and then endearing them to the brand is important. And it's also like if, in this case here and swag bags or whatever that is, or whatever it is you give out to new members, that's that's great as well you can give that away. The other side of this is that your apparel is also a way for people to do this, it doesn't mean the apparel doesn't have to be the water in this analogy, right? The apparel can also be the beer and the other things you buy. Because let's say you go through and you're doing you have your membership and you have a very nice client experience from the time they find out about you. Everything's very premium and about them and they feel that they're impressed, right. They get done and they sign up and they join your gym and they come in they start training and you're passionate coach and you're good at what you do and you're all the things that you have to have in order for us to even be interested in working with you frankly, I don't work with fucking passionless projects I give no fucks about that at all. But if you're good at all these things and you want to be right and you over deliver when you coach and you over deliver on your product, then you deliver results. That is the water. And then these people, you're gonna sit around and they're gonna go, what else can I do to support this project? What else can I do? How can I buy some stuff? Can I buy shirts, can I buy some supplements, what else, let me just whatever I can buy them they buy from you. And those of you that are worried about trying to move more memberships. The problem is, is you have all these people in there, if you're good at what you do, they want to give you more, they can't because you don't fucking sell anything else. You mean, all you gotta do is have something, have something because they want to give you something, because you're good at the thing. But you can't just charge them more, you can't just say, Oh, you think we've done a good job perfectly. pay twice as much for your membership. That's not how it's going to work. So if you don't have some of these other things to offer, even people will show gratitude by joining your specialty programs or joining challenges. That's the way that they participate and engage. But if you're just selling memberships, you're fucking missing out on all of it. You've

John Fairbanks 40:56

literally described the exact reason I bought the only red shirt I own, from the gym that I can. Because they don't sell anything else. They told me and they don't even talk to you about it, hardly talk to me about anything ever about any of the things ever added at all. But I happen to see the t-shirt form by the water fountain with a QR code and I'm like, Oh, sweet. It looks cool. And I'm like, Alright, I will buy that because I like this gym. I like what they're all about. Like I'm enjoying my time here. By the way, we

Tyler 41:33

kind of like this, Jim. I mean, you're not like this is you just but you kind of like this, Jim, you're there you go there. You'll buy these things if they leave me alone. That is a lovely lift like Yeah, yeah, you don't like living there. You're not like going out with it. This isn't a it's not a fully engaged play. So those of you that have and engage memberships a true Christ, it's a very old I mean, you're missing out on a lot. Let tell me about tell me about what else you they have there that you don't buy there that you bought somewhere else subs, oh,

John Fairbanks 42:03

They have supplements there. I think they're on the shelf, kind of they're just sitting when I walk through the front door, they just sit to the left. And there's a big thing away and a smaller thing of something else. And it's the same to do bottles that are always sitting there. They've never talked to me about them. They very well could just be one of the coach's own stash that's always sitting there that hasn't moved. But the fact is because they sent you an email about it. They've never said a word. No forms that are on the wall. No QR code from here, learn more, know nothing about anything. So sure enough, when I was like, Hey, I've used up all the supplements we had in the house. And my wife's like we need to get some way or we need to get whatever I'm like okay, I didn't go to the gym to figure it out because they made it so inaccessible that there was nothing for me to do. So immediately. I'm like, Well hey, one of the guys that we work with we've just got them rollin with a company you don't fuck I'm gonna go I'm gonna go buy supplements from him

Tyler 43:08

from their affiliate link so they get some money with that. How crazy is that? The tourist spot in Virginia. All they had to do is ever say anything to me once like, Hey, did you know you can buy this machine if you ever want some just let us know. They've said so little about it that you order via an affiliate link from a gym in South Dakota. Just because it's like they have it, you know them? That that's what that's and by the way, the

John Fairbanks 43:31

pictures I saw the ads I saw you guys I saw us put out like the ads and we're like, hey, they got the new supplement launched. I'm like, hey, that's no supplements.

Tyler 43:39

Yeah, and so. So those are the things that you need to understand. It's not about apparel, right? Everything I've laid out of course, it's about apparel and efficiency and profit margins and time in and time out and finding the best way to fulfill but all of those everything that leads up to that is just a way to like set yourself up to maximize on a simple thing about human buying human behavior and their buying habits. And that by habit is just like I like you, you do good for me, I'd like to let me buy some stuff. I'll wrap it or wear it around. It's a very American thing, by the way that every shirt we wear as a brand on every shirt, is Nike or it is my gym, or it says a thing. And when I moved overseas, there's a lot less of them. I realized there's people like my friends that have a nice blue shirt, and then a nice red shirt. You know what I'm saying? Like, it was just like, but I'm like, I realized that being a human billboard is a very Idiocracy American thing that I really identified with when I lived overseas because everything I couldn't just have a nice fitting shirt with a robe on it. It said I lift weights, all my stuff, all my shirts, say I lift weights. Sometimes I party. And then every once in a while there's a dress up nice as what the shirt says. But most of them just say, I lift weights, I buy this product. I do this. You're always saying something about yourself. I go to this gym. I like to have these interests. The weird thing, but it's a part of culture, it's part of human nature. So let people spend money with your gym, just let them and do this in a way that I think the biggest takeaway from here is, make sure you know that this will be a time and money suck, and it won't be super rewarding as long as it is inefficient. And so find a way to make it efficient if you've got interns who need to fold shirts and check through stuff and want to make the phone calls back or like, hey, yeah, five of these gotta go back the fucking scraping off, okay. You know, that's, you can do that. I've got two interns, you got people you need to fill their day. If it's you as a gym owner doing it. That's rough, you're folding shirts. As a business owner, you're folding shirts to make if you're lucky, three to $8 of shirts, depending on how many you buy, it might be two or three, if you're not by fine 25 at a time you're gonna eat your hat, or your clients are going to be paying through the roof. So I don't know, that's my experience in the apparel business, I guess. And there's a lot more, maybe at some point we'll have, maybe we'll bring tanner on or something to talk to him about that side of it in the distant future because they run at a much larger scale. But there's lessons to be learned there that are beyond, you know, like literally how he manages inventory. How he does this process beginning to end is a lot and how it started from then to now is a pretty interesting story. So maybe we'll roll that out at some point. So but that's got us wrapped up for today guys, join the Facebook group, tell us about the apparel you sell. Tell us your successes. Tell us your failures. Tell us the coolest designs you've had. Yeah, let's, let's hear but I'd love to hear about it as a business. I'm very passionate about it because having spent some time there, I've seen a lot of people of every brand. Here's the thing I learned in podcasting: to every brand that starts a podcast that can't figure out how to make money on their podcast, what they start doing is start selling shirts. Like Alright, you're gonna be fucking poor for a long time. This is not gonna work. It's just not gonna like it can but it doesn't know. So everybody's like short term things like short, short sighted solutions, what a start selling apparel is like, nobody's interested in your brand. So they're gonna buy apparel from you, you better get real good at design then. And so anyway. Yeah, so that's a rough business. You don't want it to be the centerpiece of your thing. This is why I always discourage podcasters from getting too excited about it when there's so when they're doing their launch stuff once again, just be a part of a thing like I don't you know, but for you as a gym, it shouldn't be a part of your thing because you got people in there they want to spend give some to spend it on it's a viable option for the fitness business. Follow the Facebook group and join the Facebook group links in the description the gym owners revolution link is in the description. Follow the show at the gym owners podcast and Instagram you follow me at Tyler F and stone that's how the E F F I N stone John,

John Fairbanks 47:46

you follow me at J banks FL on Instagram groovy. Thanks for

Tyler 47:51

Listen everybody and we'll see you next week.

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