This eCom Brand Turned Over $5M In The First Year
"We make sure that our customers not only fall in love with our brand but also STAY in love"
Who are you and what do you do?
I'm Dan Nikas, founder of GearBunch. Prior to getting involved in e-commerce I had a successful career as a Police Officer in Australia. I joined the Police when I was only 19 years old and over 17 years, I climb the ranks to eventually become a Detective Sergeant in the Homicide Unit.
Unfortunately, the job took its toll on me resulting in my being medically retired at the age of 36. Fortunately, in my spare time, I had been doing a bit of online marketing and found that I had a real knack for it.
My primary goal as a Detective was to find people who didn’t want to be found, further to that I had an ability to get people to do what I wanted them to do whilst have them believe that it was their idea. Turns out both of those skills translate really well to marketing, the added bonus is people were no longer trying to hide from me, they leave trails everywhere for me to find them.
I turned my Policing skillset to eCommerce full-time in 2016 when I founded & run GearBunch turning over US$4m in its first year.
What is GearBunch?
GearBunch was founded at the end of 2016 and achieved instant success.
It all started with the idea to combine fashion with activewear that is beautifully designed. GearBunch is coveted by those in both the fitness and fashion industries. It is now positioned as an iconic brand specialized in women’s workout leggings, featuring women’s gym leggings, women’s yoga leggings and all kind of lady’s workout tights, as well as women’s pattern leggings that can be worn as a bold staple for casual everyday outfits too.
We offer all day activewear that can seamlessly transition throughout the different phases of the day, irresistible to those who want to make a statement in their sport wear.
We currently sell leggings, sports bras, yoga pants and bike shorts. Prior to GearBunch, I was doing pretty well selling t-shirts, but we weren’t the only ones. The market was quickly becoming saturated, and we were finding it more difficult to stand out. So I started to look into other apparel.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I knew the market and knew I could sell pretty much any clothing item. But we wanted to find the right product to stop hitting the same problem I had with the t-shirts.
I looked into big sellers of apparel and noticed a growing trend for active gear. What we realized is these major players all only offered general items. What I mean is they designed the items to fit their brand. It means you just end up with, like Adidas/Nike/Under Armor’s summer/winter/fall/spring collection.
It creates a boring selection, and it’s actually pretty backward when you think about. So, I flipped it on its head. I instead decided to put the customer first. Rather than trying to fit products to the brand, we created customer avatars and created specific items to appeal to that demographic.
By turning things on their head and putting the customer first, we saw our stock literally fly off the shelves. In our first month of operation, we were achieving $100,000 in revenue. After just one year, we hit nearly $5,000,000 in total sales.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product
We launch approximately 10 new designs per week when we launch a new design. We also make it available across all of our product lines.
Our design team is constantly looking at current trends around the world to determine if we can create a design that could complement the trend piggyback on it.
We also listen very closely to what our customers are saying either through our support desk or various social media channels. We have actually had some great ideas for designs suggested to us by customers.
Describe the process of launching the business
Most of our customers come from Facebook, where we have a large presence, followed by Instagram and Google (both organic and paid). We are also starting to see a rise in the amount of traffic that we get from Pinterest.
Omnipresence is the key to scaling. Far too often I see marketers pouring a shit ton of money into individual ads that they have running to try and get as much reach and sales as possible off a particular product. What I like to do is hit them from every angle on as many platforms as possible.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Take Facebook ads as an example. You launch a Website Conversion video campaign, the product takes off, so the general advice is to duplicate the ad set with a bigger budget. Whilst that is a way to scale, it’s not the only way.
You need to be present everywhere on the platform (both Instagram and Facebook), and guess what that strategy won’t get you appearing everywhere, no matter how much money you spend on it. If you want to hit every placement, you will need to launch ads with different creatives (carousel, canvas, collections, static images).
What's the reason customers pick GearBunch over your competitors?
You then need to speak to the different segments of your target audience to get those sales. Instagram people use a different language to Facebook users. Men also talk/respond differently to women, and different ages are motivated by different things or have a totally separate set of pain points.
The key is to be a beautiful fucking snowflake and not another copycat dickhead who follows the latest advice from every marketing group out there.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
In the beginning, we would do it all ourselves. Support, designing ads, running ad campaigns, managing the store, keeping on top of inventory, and we were burning out.
The biggest move we made that helped us provide a better service was to take a step back from all this. To work on the business instead of in the business, this way we can spend more time building the brand instead of being the brand.
It’s an interesting definition, being vs growing your brand; but it’s one that really makes all the difference. By stepping back from the day to day actions, We have more time to spot the shortfalls of our strategy and devise fixes.
Since starting the business, what's the number 1 thing you have learned?
We split-test as many things as we can to see if we can up the conversion of our store. Most marketers don’t really do that, they talk about it, but never actually follow through.
They pick things like prices based on their own profit margins and what they think it’s worth. But that’s something you need to test. We started with a minimum for what we needed to make a small profit, $49.99 and tested all the way from there up to $99.99.
If we didn’t test, we’d still be charging $49.99. But the tests proved that the overall most profitable price was $87.99 which is what we now sell our leggings for. If we’d never tested, we’d have lost heaps of profit.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
We run our store on Shopify. These are essential apps that I recommend to use:
• Aftership Returns Center (For returns)
• Facebook Product Feed by Flexify
• Loox (For reviews)
• Recart (For Abandoned Carts)
• Recent Sales & Recommendation Popup/Notification (For Social Proof)
• Sezzle (For Payment Plans)
• Trackr – Shipping Tracking Page (For Customer Shipping Inquiries)
• Traffic Booster by StoreYa (For Youtube, Google and Bing Ads)
• Wheelio (For Lead Gen)
• Zen Desk (For Support)
• Zipify OneClickUpsell (For Increasing AOV)
• I use Klaviyo for our email marketing and Hootsuite for scheduling posts to our social media accounts.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
My tip for people getting into the industry is “Quality, quality, quality”.
We make sure that our customers not only fall in love with our brand but also STAY in love. We’ve got customers who’ve spent over $10,000 on our items because they love the brand and product.
I’m pretty sure those customers must only wear our leggings! But seriously, our highest profit action is building a brand instead of hunting for single sales.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Growing a brand consumers love, one that treats them more like they’re family than a simple customer is one of the best ways to attract repeat business.
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Frequently Asked Questions about GearBunch
What print on demand does GearBunch use?
We use Printful for all our products.
GearBunch - Customer Reviews
GearBunch Care has a rating of 4.9 out of 5.0 based on 2208 customer reviews.
I love when fashion meets comfort and Gearbunch always does !!! Thank you
Love gear bunch! Amazingly comfortable! Perfect! Who says guys can’t wear capris
GB has a design for every mood! These are very pretty and feminine; the usual perfect fit, and the material is moisture wicking and very comfortable to work out in!
I LOVE your products! The fit, fabric, wearablity, and fun factor keep me coming back for more! They also wash up beautifully!
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