October 1, 2023


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

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

  • Seven to 50 members of workers

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

“There’s a philosophy in e-commerce: when you’re generating under 10m it’s about the hustle about your products and internet marketing. When you start out to make in excess of 10m, it’s about procedures and folks. If you really do not change that aim, everything will crack and you are going to by no means scale.”

Kaevon Khoozani, Founder of Bells of Steel

With a enjoy of lifting that seemed to seed right before he was born (his great uncle owned a ‘House of Strength’ in Iran), possibly it is destiny that Kaevon Khoozani turned the self-made founder of a multi-nationwide fitness brand name value $15M. In fact, he owes the phenomenal achievements of his ‘proudly Canadian’ corporation, Bells of Metal, to a established of intelligent business enterprise moves, and an unflinching religion in himself for the duration of times of unprecedented obstacle.


Back again in 2009, Khoozani was supplementing his small business degree with a task in a Calgary exercise store when he noticed a lack of Olympic-stage devices, such as bumper plates and kettlebells. His manager was not interested in stocking it, and so led Khoozani to discover an e-commerce market that would make him $150k in his initially 12 months.

What began with advertising to folks on Craigslist from his Ford Festiva grew to become a whole-time job go for Khoozani. He dropped his plans for a corporate career, established up a BigCommerce e-keep, took on a silent partner and hired workers. An entire at-house gym kit &#8211 full with power rack, barbell, bench and plates &#8211 grew to become their star product or service, and Bells of Metal held its very own as a well-known DTC household-fitness center provider for the subsequent decade.

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

In a similar story to hundreds of stores, the pandemic hit the business enterprise like a storm. A mass change to on-line purchasing, particularly for dwelling health and fitness equipment, meant Bells of Steel’s group of seven couldn’t keep up with surging demand.

Khoozani strike a crossroads. “I was the most miserable I’d at any time been in business. My possibilities were being, offer the organization, keep smaller, or use a larger team and continue to keep scaling till I no for a longer time needed to quit. I chose option a few.”

He hired 39 new staff, opened a bigger warehouse in Toronto and a retail retail outlet in Indianapolis, included 3PL in LA to protect West Coastline need, and entirely overhauled the web page.

The risks linked with speedy scale paid off &#8211 with the enhance in staff-energy, stock stages and channels, Bells of Steel could fulfill need and income soared. But as consumer hunger for kettlebells charged on, the company’s increasingly intricate workflows had been dropping them revenue and triggering them operational head aches.

“I’m a sales male,” Khoozani claims, “So I was fastened on earnings. There is a philosophy in e-commerce: when you’re creating underneath 10m it is about your goods and advertising. When you start out to make more than 10m, it is procedures and persons.

“If you do not switch that emphasis, everything will split and you won’t scale. That is exactly what took place to us.”

As is typically the scenario when companies speedily expand, amplified complexity in the back finish prompted the workforce countless operational difficulties &#8211 and their guide stock management and accounting inaccuracies spiralled out of control.

The organization was made up of ‘a patchwork of software’ with small cross-interaction, and experienced two complete time team focused to holding figures accurate. The lack of visibility, specially in stock, intended Bells of Steel’s margins suffered, and workers weren’t capable to make very well-informed selections.

Nevertheless growing with this sort of pace was the ideal option for the company, Khoozani’s economical companion insisted on a resolution to their breaking infrastructure behind the scenes.

“My CFO explained, ‘This is a mess &#8211 we have to have far more sustainable processes, it turns into much more essential the larger you expand.’

“That’s when the hunt for a acceptable working method started.”


Khoozani wished to stay clear of a classic ERP. “Some friends had presented up on ERPs like Netsuite and Odoo after they took around two decades to deploy,” he stated. “I’d also noticed MS Dynamics in action and was stunned at the difficult back again-stop, which just seemed like a mass of spreadsheets.”

Immediately after remaining turned off by the overly complex and clunky offerings on supply from vintage ERPs, Khoozani started out seeking for options and came throughout Brightpearl’s Retail Running Remedy.

After observing Brightpearl talked about in e-commerce discussion boards and reading through its customer stories, Khoozani was drawn to its retail focus and simplicity-of-use, together with its excellent financials and reporting operation. He shortly signed Bells of Steel with the adaptable Retail Operating Process and was established up in a fast 120 times.

“Brightpearl took only four months to deploy and the UX simply cannot be understated,” he claimed. “It has effortless cross-compatibility with the applications we use like Xero and Freshdesk, and its Plug & Participate in integrations made it the most progressive remedy for us in conditions of connectability.”

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

Their absence of inventory visibility was solved with Brightpearl’s potent Automation Motor, which automates and streamlines procedures such as buying, inventory, warehouse, transport and fulfilment, and provides in-depth stock insights across a number of warehouses and channels. The group can now control and replenish stock in just a number of clicks, preserving them tons of time in handbook processing.

The team also turned to a recreation-transforming forecasting resource to replenish personal elements of its flagship product or service, the at-residence health club package &#8211 as nicely as raise income on their margins with correct, information-driven sales forecasting for all products.

Khoozani states: “There’s so lots of transferring pieces to Bells of Steel, so bringing them together into a single central resource of real truth has not only saved us time on operations and enhanced cross-office conversation, but enabled us to allocate fees appropriately.

“Basically we have comprehensive visibility of what is heading on, hence a tighter grasp on our shell out. The influence of that has been massive for our base line.”

Time unquestionably has been saved with the team&#8217s new tech-led tactic. The two associates of employees employed to double-check out financials are now made use of much more effectively, conserving the enterprise a phenomenal 80 hours a week.

Khoozani’s brave possibility-getting in the face of the pandemic income boom &#8211 choosing to employ employees, open up extra warehouses, and uplevel their tech to help their growing infrastructure &#8211 indicates Bells of Steel has grown 400% in 18 months: from $3m in revenue in 2019, to an extraordinary $15m in 2021.

Improved, More rapidly, More robust

Unsurprisingly, Khoozani says the final couple of yrs have been a huge learning curve.

“One thing I did not anticipate from scaling is just how terribly your infrastructure breaks. Absolutely everyone is often chasing that expansion, but do you have any idea what you have to have to have in put to do that productively?

“Taking on chopping-edge units was a critical aspect of our scaling journey. We’re now producing smarter knowledge-driven conclusions throughout the board, whether or not which is in stock management, product, choosing and a lot more.

“Now all people is targeted on the ideal goals rather than losing time placing out fires.”

The retailer is on track to Develop Fearlessly in the a long time to come. With additional time and resources to spend on products innovation, compensated advertisements and influencer promoting, they’ve even got a few of WWE stars on deck to push the brand name ahead.

Khoozani suggests the initial anxiety of the pandemic couldn’t have been far more worthwhile.

“2020 was lucky for us, but additional so than the massive bump in profits, it opened up a entire world of prospect to retain the momentum heading.

“We want to love that sustainable advancement in 2022 &#8211 placing concentration on Ontario, growing our US profits, then branching into Europe and beyond.&#8221


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