Peter Keller is the founder and CEO of Fringe Sport, one of the largest retailers of home workout equipment. He is quoted as saying “Our business was built on content and copy” so I wanted to find out how he did it!
Watch the full Peter Keller interview:
Fringe Sport specializes in selling equipment for home gyms. They were already a big company, but the pandemic hit, and Peter said he hasn’t seen demand for workout equipment like this in all his 20 years in the industry.
Listen to the Peter Keller interview here:
Selling Gym Equipment – This Business Side
- How much are people generally ordering? Average order value?
- Is it like 1 dumbbell, or a whole gym, or big companies?
- Pandemic hit, results?
- Did sales go up?
- Shipping container costs?
- How much did a dumbbell cost in 2018 vs 2020?
Email Marketing Is King + The biggest seasons for selling gym stuff
- Is email the big daddy of your channels?
- How do you approach it? Just send out good stuff, or sales?
- What is your biggest month or season?
- How do you get people to buy gym equipment on a random April?
Content Marketing: “Our business was built on content and copy”
- “Our business was built on content and copy”
- No paid advertising?
- Social Media: What channels are best for you?
- SEO: How do ya’ll approach this?
- Is this traffic good?
- Your brand name gets like 80% of the traffic which seems amazing.
Training your copywriters and marketing people
- How do you train your marketing people to be great copywriters?
- What do you look for in a good writer or video maker?
- Is it mainly you doing the content marketing?
Selling gym equipment through affiliates, how does that work?
- How does it work?
- This is where most of your rev comes from?
- Are these bloggers, YouTubers, TikTokers etc?
Physical Business Logistics for shipping 1,000’s of pounds of gym equipment
- How do you ship this heavy ass stuff??
- Where do you store all this crap?
- Buying an $8m warehouse.
- Warehouse pics?
- Don’t you have to spend money upfront, only to make money later?
- Do you have a physical location people can buy?
Lightning Round with Peter Keller of Fringe Sport (1 min timed questions):
- What is the most popular trend in gym equipment right now?
- How big of a warehouse do you need to sell millions of dollars of equipment?
- How do you ship 2,000 lbs of equipment?
- I can only do 3 exercises ever, what would they be?
Follow Peter Keller and Fringe Sport:
Neville Medhora 0:00
All right, what’s up? So today we got Peter Keller in studio founder of a fringe sport, huh? Yeah. So Peter Keller is the founder and CEO of fringe sport, one of largest retailers of home workout equipment, as you can see over here. He is quoted as saying our business was built on content and copy, which is why I want to speak with them today. And for sport specializes in selling equipment for home gyms, they were already big company and you’ve probably seen their stuff all around those fringe sport bumper plates and stuff. Like Yeah, but after the pandemic hit, Peter said he hadn’t seen demand for workout equipment like this in his all 20 years in the industry. Is that right? That’s right, man. It was like a monster. Oh, man. So let’s go into it right away. I’m gonna stop doing this. Well, thank you for being here, man. Hey, it’s my pleasure. Yeah. So let’s talk about a so selling gym equipment. What are people ordering? I don’t like one dumbbell or like, what have
Peter Keller 0:53
you been ordering? Well, they’re ordering garage gyms. And one of the things that we talked about a lot at fringe is garage gym revolution. ggR. And what happened with the pandemic, is the garage revolution went from this niche thing like you had this like hardcore dude, who was you know, making a gym in his garage, and he was kind of a weirdo to like jumping the chasm, the Geoffrey Moore like chasm thing, and starting to become way more mainstream. So it wasn’t just this hardcore dude. It was like normal people who are decluttering, their garages and then outfitting them with a squat rack, barbell bumper plates, all that stuff.
Neville Medhora 1:30
And this was a trend before the pandemic to like a garage gym. It didn’t seem like super common at first.
Peter Keller 1:36
Yeah, absolutely. So before the pandemic, I was talking about it, there are a few other like, weirdos online, a few companies focusing on it as well. But now, like mid to late two post pandemic, like it is a full blown thing. You know, Forbes is writing about it. And, you know, when I walked through my neighborhood pre pandemic, I would see a few garage jams here and there. But now I’m you know, I live in a suburb of Boston, I see garage gyms, freakin every fifth sixth seventh garage. So like, it’s here, garage gym revolution is here to stay.
Neville Medhora 2:09
I mean, I feel like you almost now have to kind of assume that you’ll be maybe at some point locked down and kind of like have to do a garage gym.
Peter Keller 2:16
Yeah. So one of the things that we saw during the pandemic, is, there was a lot of lack of certainty. You know, gyms were shutting down. You know, sometimes even parks were shutting down, which is crazy, like, you can’t even go out there and run. But if you have your gym in your garage, which by the way, we say garage, gym, but could be apartment gym, it could be like the trunk of your car, it could be your closet could be anywhere. But if you have that, then you can take your fitness and your health into your own hands. So I think that that’s part of the thing is the certainty no matter what I control these like four walls of my house, my apartment, my home, and I can work out there.
Neville Medhora 2:56
So let’s jump straight to like the kind of the pandemic stuff because that’s the most interesting like, you’re already a pretty big name in the fitness world already like fringe sport, like you see it on TV shows and like I know, like on Elon and stuff like that you see your name everywhere? But like, how much did sales go out there need a number anything, but it was like
Peter Keller 3:14
the three extra company or we’re talking like 300% across the industry. And you know, I’m kind of friends or frenemies or whatever with a few other people who are competitors of mine. And we all saw like similar crazy, insane growth. And like you’d mentioned earlier in this podcast, I’ve been in e commerce for 20 years. And I have never seen demand like this, like I personified it, or animalized. it in my mind is like a dragon that was just trying to eat dumbbells and kettlebells. And if you could get dumbbells and kettlebells to feed it, it would just eat and then be hungry for more and more and more like it was in sane.
Neville Medhora 3:53
So obviously costs went up. Everyone knows like costs especially like for shipping for raw materials, the whole supply chain was like down needed to start up like no one predicted they would go this high for these types of things. How much should have dumbbell cost, like 2008? So like totally pre pandemic to start 2018 versus like 2020.
Peter Keller 4:14
Yeah, so there’s a few things going on here. And I don’t know how much to get into this. I’m really a big believer that inflation is here. And it’s real and it’s being underreported. So let me just tell you what I’m seeing from like my side of the industry. So we’re making dumbbells, weight plates, squat racks. So iron ore, or like raw iron is a component of a lot because that goes into steel, it goes into an iron plate and iron dumbbell and iron, whatever. iron ore like three or 4x from I think like it’s like 85 bucks a ton or something like that, to you know, well over, you know, the high reaches of the like $200 a ton. So You know, pretty crazy there. And then the other issue that happened during the pandemic is that everyone thought, Hey, this is just going to be a very short period of time. Like there’s some panic buying right now, but then it’s going to go away. And that panic buying basically sustain from like march of 2020. Until basically like march of 2021. Like it was a whole 12 months of just absolutely insane panic buying. So what happened is the panic buying at the very start, cause basically everyone to go to stock. So again, back to like media reports, you were seeing these media reports of like, the great kettlebell shortage of 2020, you know, want a dumbbell, you know, you can’t buy one, and then also on Facebook marketplace and kind of the secondary markets, we would be selling a dumbbell for, like a buck 50 a pound, maybe for these rubber coated hex dumbbells that we sell. And then on marketplace, people would be selling them for like six bucks a pound, holy crap. And some of the people that were doing that would be buying them from us. Pound, and then they’d be just reselling them. And so that was, you know, something that we had to look at as a company. But so, raw materials have gone up just massively. And then shipping containers have gone up massively as well. used to cost me $2,500 to land a shipping container. So
Neville Medhora 6:16
shipping continue to talk about like a truck size thing.
Peter Keller 6:18
Yeah, a truckload size of product. 18 Wheeler with that drugs behind? Exactly. So and by the way, almost everything that’s imported comes on a shipping container. So if you just kind of look around your home, and you’re like, hey, what was made in the USA versus imported, if it was imported from anywhere outside the US, it almost certainly came in a shipping container. And shipping containers went from about $2,500 to get here to most recently, I’m paying like $17,000 to get here. So it’s some pretty crazy, crazy inflation.
Neville Medhora 6:49
So on that note, it’s hard to know, because everyone says like, Oh, it’s transitory, which basically means like, inflation is like just the supply chain kinks. And it takes a long time for the system to go up. So obviously, no one thought shipping would be a big thing. And then all of a sudden, it was like the hugest thing in the world. So they shut everything down. They took all the chips off the market, and now they’re slowly getting back. And that’s a big process to start. Yeah. So it probably takes like a year for it to really kick up or possibly even several years. Oh, okay. So so from your point of view, it’s mostly like an inflation thing, not just like this temporary supply problem.
Peter Keller 7:25
I think that there’s inflation that’s here to stay. I personally believe on the shipping side of it, that prices will eventually go back down, but never reached the lows of say, 2019. I have been in e commerce for 20 years now. And I’ve been moving containers around the world for 17 years, maybe. And I’ve seen prices fluctuate up and down. But they’ve never just gone this crazy high. And so I do think that they’re going to eventually come back down to some level, but I don’t think
Neville Medhora 7:58
they’re usually a word for like the wavy elevator or something like that. It’s like It’s like an elevator going up or escalator. But it’s it’s always kind of like, yeah, like this, but always on the uptrend overall.
Peter Keller 8:08
Yeah. So you can talk about like stochastic movements like saccadic movements, or like wavy, like you mentioned, but generally, if you were to lay a trend line, they’re going in a specific direction. So I think the trend line and shipping is stochastic, but the trend line is up
Neville Medhora 8:21
so much like there’s like a consumer price index, what was the dumbbell Price Index? I love that 2018. Yeah, okay, so we’re talking before pandemic and not even like, at the end of the year, I think this is the thing, how much did a 25this dumbbell cost?
Peter Keller 8:37
I would probably be selling that pre pandemic for like 25 bucks to somebody. So basically a buck a pound. Oh, really, pre pandemic, is because it’s a rubber coated hex dumbbell, so it’s not kind of like the lowest end. But now post pandemic, we’re at like $2 to 250 a pound.
Neville Medhora 8:51
So you’re talking like 5060 bucks kind of range? For the pair. You mean? Yeah. Oh, sorry. Sorry for the single Yeah. 5060 bucks for a single one for a single. Oh, I forgot that. It comes in pairs. Yeah. Oh, so you’re talking about 100 bucks for 25 pound weights? Yeah. Oh my god. Yeah, it’s pretty. It’s pretty crazy. Yeah. Oh, wow. I think I bought these little 20 pound weights like, I don’t know, 10 years ago or something like that. And I remember paying like nothing for them. Yeah. 50 cents a pound or something. Yeah. Oh my god. Okay, so I recently bought a 35 pound dumbbell from Target and I paid $85 for it. There you go. And I was just like, I can’t find it anywhere cheaper. So yeah, I guess this is just what I pay now.
Peter Keller 9:28
I mean, this this rash. Yeah, there you go. Oh, my God. Okay. So overall, that’s the thing is the demand is so strong. I’m assuming you just raise prices and like people kind of still pay we did raise prices in the face of demand. And you know, I almost man that was we always try to keep our prices as low and fair and appropriate for our customers. But it was just such a crazy time, with costs rising so fast. And such uncertainty. Like I don’t know if you remember, well, the early stages of the pandemic but I had 25 employees? And I’m like, are we even going to be allowed to work? And so what do I do for these 25 employees that depend on me to or any old fringe to provide, you know, wage to keep the lights on and keep a roof over their head? And now I’m trying to figure it out. So, so yeah, we did raise prices in the face of the pandemic. It was really, I think, you can tell tell, like, not not not a fan of it. But you know, it kept us going. And, you know, we are where we are.
Neville Medhora 10:31
That’s awesome. Well, congrats. I always like it when like, I don’t like it. But it’s kind of neat when someone likes something big like this happens. And then like some people like succeed. I know. There’s also some losers on it. But at the same time, it’s kind of cool. Let’s talk about email marketing. It sounds like right now, so long as you have a dumbbell in stock. You could probably sell it. Oh, yeah. But you’ve also been in business for what? 17 years? 11 years with fringe 11 years, but then like 1720 years in the fitness industry?
Peter Keller 11:00
Well, so actually, I was in e commerce but appliances, ice makers, air conditioner, stuff like that before fringe?
Neville Medhora 11:06
Oh, no. Okay, so you damn, you’ve been an eco? You’ve been shipping stuff around for a long time. Yeah. So is let me get his email the Big Daddy of your channels, lab marketing. Lee, I freakin love email. Are you talking about like 30%? You’re like, or 50% or 80%? Like, wow, well, it’s less than that.
Peter Keller 11:23
So we’re talking more like 30% of revenue. So I like that. But I love email.
Neville Medhora 11:27
So you can send an email out and generate sales?
Peter Keller 11:30
Absolutely. Okay, every single email we send out, you know, generate sales.
Neville Medhora 11:34
Wow. Okay, so email is good. How do you how do you approach it? Like, if I get a fringe sport email, I’ve been on the list for three months. Is it like buy dumbbells?
Peter Keller 11:45
or What does it say? So right now, it’s more promotional focused than I would like our list to be. And then it was than the list was pre pandemic. But one of the things that you mentioned right now is the market is still up. And people are still opening our emails, they’re still clicking, they’re still buying. So the emails are relevant to our list. And so we’re a little bit more promotional now than we used to be. But pre pandemic, we were very, very content focused. And so what we did is we had the schedule of, you know, we’ve got a few buyer personas of people who like to shop for us, and then we do some brainstorming. What would I if I were to this person, what would I love to receive in my email? Because I’m sure that you’re on email lists that you love to be on. Like, can you shout them out? What are a few ones that usually love the emails? The hustle
Neville Medhora 12:34
is, is of course what help kind of right. I love a bunch. There’s a biology, biology is basically the ones that send me good information. Yeah, it’s not trying to like buy, buy, buy, it’s like, hey, check out all this cool stuff. Those are the things I really love about Chevy’s young Chevy’s email list, I tamma wasn’t where my job is right now. But I do have them on their email list. And I collect their emails because they’re so good.
Peter Keller 12:56
I freakin love Chevy’s list. I’m also on the hustle list. There’s another list called the morning chalk up that’s within our space. And that’s a really great list. So one of the things that I tried to talk to because now I’ve got employees who are managing most of our email, and I try to talk to them, and I say, hey, these are the email lists that I love. They don’t have to be the same ones that you love. But sign up for some email lists, and then start delving in yourself and figuring out why do I love to read these emails, then look at our buyer personas. And try to put yourself in their shoes, and try to make our list similar to that, to where it’s a joy for them to receive it in their email, and then open it up and read it. So to mention a few other things that we did, pre pandemic, when we were much more content focused than we are now is, we would do a workout of the week. And we would invite like a bunch of our different so we would announce it on email, but then follow it on social so that people could read it in their email, and it was a Saturday morning thing. And so it’s like, hey, do this workout sometime over the weekend, and then post on our socials, your time, or your weight lifted or how you did and trying to bring the community and as far as that goes, another two email content pieces that were really popular for us is we would have our LCG lcgs. local community gym. It’s like your little. I know you said that you love squatch you’re in Austin, Texas. That’s an LCG a local community gym. So we would focus on one local community gym per week, and we would do an interview with the owner. Why is your gym different? Because for example, I go to atomic athlete to train despite the fact that I own a gym at fringe. And I own a awesome garage gym. There’s a reason that I go to atomic. It’s different than other gyms here in Austin. But I know some people love central athlete. Some people love CrossFit Central. Some people love CrossFit Cedar Park. There’s outsiders here on the east side. That’s amazing. swatch is awesome as well. So there’s some reason that those gyms are awesome. And we try to talk with their owners and figure out what that reason is, and then share it with our community, which is all throughout the US. And so we’re focusing on gyms all throughout the US. So that was one piece of content that did really well for us. Another piece of content is we would do garage gym of the week. And so we would pull our clients and say, Hey, who wants to show you know the world or the fringe sport email list, your garage gym and talk about it a little bit. And one of the things that we got feedback from our clients that they really loved, is that we would feature people who didn’t only have fringe sport gear, because the reality is many people I mean, we got a lot of awesome people that only outfit with fringe. And if that’s you out there listening, yeah, you’re my favorite person. No, I’m just kidding. But we’re good for whatever, like, who has, you know, whatever gear you have, that’s helping you get to a goal. And so we would talk with them, interview them about what’s their goal? Why do they have the equipment that they have? Is there a particular famous study famous, favorite piece of equipment? So for example, we’ve got a sandbag sitting here. a sandbag is one of my favorite pieces of equipment. And I love to talk to people about why I love sandbag training, and why they might move it into their regimen. But it’s not for everybody.
Do you ever
Neville Medhora 16:19
crazy idea Third World gym. You go to like a village and they have like, like, instead of like, a 50 pound bag of sand. They’re just like, Oh, we have actual bags of sand laying around that I always love those those videos of like a village people or there’s like a bodybuilder that comes from like a small Yeah, Russia or something like that. And he’s using like, you know, milk jugs and like weird stuff like that. Well, I imagine is captivates people the same as home offices, home offices, I remember like when the especially the pandemic hit, everyone’s like home office stuff is similar to that.
Peter Keller 16:52
Yeah, for sure. And actually, so I want to call something out there. I had mentioned before that garage gyms started mainstreaming in the pandemic, one of the really interesting things that we saw is pre pandemic. Most garage gyms or what I called pain caves. So pain, you know, hurts, like go there and you suffer you sweat, and you come out stronger. During the pandemic, we saw this rise of what I call man cave, garage gyms, or like, rate my setup garage gyms. Because pre pandemic, I had never seen anybody go on Instagram, take a picture of their garage gym and be like, rate my setup. And to me that was it was so crazy, that guides me like, excuse me, like a crisis of confidence at that point. Or I was like, what are we doing, man, if somebody is just outfitting their garage gym, and they just want people on Instagram to like, you know, do it for the likes. I was like, oh boy, I’m not in love with this. But I eventually came around, I’m like, Hey, I get it, you can build an amazing body in a pain cave, or man cave. So now my whole thing is use it as long as you use it. Um, cool.
Neville Medhora 18:00
So previously, like, so we do email stuff to like, do promotions and everything. And like, what what is the biggest month or season that you see? I’m assuming for gyms I know. It’s like January, right? Everyone’s got the new BOD. You got the new year’s resolution, I’m gonna lose weight. Is there like a specific season is this is a seasonal business, I’m assuming
Peter Keller 18:18
it is seasonal. And what we see actually is Black Friday, Cyber Monday, is just massive in this space, like Black Friday through Cyber Monday is worth about a month worth of sales for me. And I think just kind of in space. Because I think that people have got this idea of January coming. And they’re to some extent buying for themselves. There’s some extent buying for gifts, and it’s just kind of a buying season. So that’s a really big high season. Then, of course you’ve got January, especially early January, we’ve got the new year’s resolution crowd, then you’ve got late spring as another busy season, because people are starting to think about summer and they want to get that summer body. And so they start doing that. And then this summer, we actually get a little lull, like January this January, we’re missing. July, there’s a little bit of a lull. And I think people are generally speaking like getting outdoors and doing stuff and thinking less about their garage gym. Then August starts to come around, people start thinking about school again. I know like teenagers are, you know, training for football and stuff like that. And I think adults who have kids are like, hey, my kids are going back to school, I’m gonna have a little more free time. Maybe I’ll outfit the gym.
Neville Medhora 19:27
So whenever Okay, so let’s say it’s one of those low ones, right? And you’ve got you’re fired up the old email marketing stuff. And you’re just like, what do we sell? Or what how do you how do you approach that? Because sometimes, like, for example, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, we know what to do. It’s a discount time, right? We offer a biggest discount people buy. It’s pretty simple. But then if it’s like a random August like right now or something, you’re just like, how do you get people to buy it’s not the end of q1, q2, q3 q4. There’s no real reason right now. How do you like what do you do to drum up sales and those weird months or even try?
Peter Keller 19:59
Well, yeah, we definitely Right, sometimes more successfully than others. But what we try to do is we try to think about, hey, what are some trends that we can kind of piggyback on or what’s going on? You know, weirdly, Texas does a I don’t know, weirdly, but Texas does a tax free weekend in preparation of the kids going back to school. And we always get hit up by local customers. Could we have a retail shop here in Austin, we always get hit up by local customers saying, Hey, are you guys doing tax free weekend? Now the reality is tax free weekend is for like shirts and choose not barbells. But we usually run a sale, piggybacking on that, where we eat the tax. So we basically like make it a tax free weekend for local. But then beyond that, we try to key into various different things. For example, there’s a workout, this is not late summer, but early summer, for Memorial Day. It’s called Memorial Day, Murph, and it honors a Navy SEAL who was killed in Afghanistan, the workout for Memorial Day, Murph requires you to wear a weight vest, 14 pound females 20 pound for males. And so we always key into that and say, Hey, this is a great way to test your fitness, and to kind of honor the fallen and like think a little bit about what your freedoms cost. And here’s a weight vest that we sell that you can use with that, that can be a little, you know, we’re trying not to, you know, be like, hey, this dude died, you know, by a weight vest. So you have to handle that little bit delicately. But I think that we do, and we honor somebody’s memory, while at the same time, you know, selling his product. I
Neville Medhora 21:30
like that. piggybacking on other trends, it’s a actually never really thought of that. That’s it. Thank you, for that little idea wrote down over here. So let’s get on to content marketing. So you were quoted as saying, like our business was built on content and copy. You said, you I don’t know if you never had done paid advertising. But it sounds like it’s not most of your business. We’ve done it now. And again, throughout the history of fringe, but right now, we do know PPC like $0 you probably just don’t need to right now especially to I mean, right now, we
Peter Keller 21:58
don’t need to the dynamics are changing a little bit. And so definitely didn’t supply is equilibrating coming equal basic demand. And so things are changing rapidly. I will say that almost all my friend Actually, I was telling you this when we were by a pool last week, and there’s another e commerce guy that was with us. And he was like, I told you that some of my friends think I’m stupid. And he immediately is like, yes, you need to be doing paid spend. So I hear that from a lot of people. That said, again, just like I told you, my business was built on content and copy. And to talk a little bit more about that. I love to read. And I’ve always loved to write. Back in college, I took way more writing component courses than I was required to. And all of my friends who were taking the writing component courses, were complaining about them, I got to write all these papers. And I was like, I love writing these papers, like I get great grades on these papers. And it’s like, you know, actually enjoyable to me. So I’ve always loved writing and reading. And so when I started fringe, I actually I made a bunch of mistakes. Like we had crappy photos, we had, you know, maybe not doing PPC was a mistake, I don’t know, crappy social, all that stuff. But from the beginning, I always focused on product pages and emails. And I was writing all of them. So I’ve been doing fringe for 11 years, I was writing every email and every product page for the first six or seven years of our existence. And I don’t do that anymore. But I miss it badly. Honestly, I love writing that stuff. And I’m looking behind you and I see like breakthrough advertising on your bookshelf. And I am also a customer of of copywriting course. Yeah, of course. And I think you were the one who recommended in copywriting course the boron letters do you recommend that all time so so I read the boron letters pretty sure you had recommended it to me. And that’s where I read it. And then you also recommend Ogilvy on advertising
Neville Medhora 24:12
that those are my top three Halbert letters, Ogilvy on advertising and then Joseph Sugarman, his book, advertising Secrets of the written word, my top three,
Peter Keller 24:21
I’m gonna check out secrets that are written works. I’m not read that one. But so I always love to write, and I was always writing all this stuff for friends. And then whenever I heard about copywriting course or met you I immediately bought the boron letters. Then the other two that I had mentioned, and they changed my approach to content and copy and I started to get more I start to understand more how to write hooky, and how to write better CTAs that are also really interesting to read. And so one of the things that I get is, when I used to send out emails, people would reply back to me and sometimes they would like a lot of times people would say, I didn’t buy buy anything, but I loved reading this email. I was like, why don’t you buy something, but at the same time, like, I loved hearing that from them. And so that just caused me to double down because I was getting, I already loved to write. We were growing in revenue and profitability and all this stuff like that. And I was getting people would just talk to me and be like, Hey, I love your emails. And so that was something that we just flowed through fringe. And now that’s something that I try to teach my content people is one of the big things that I try to teach them the difference between content, which I view as more top of funnel, more educated education, and awareness related, and then copy, which I view is more mid funnel to bottom funnel, which is more in my mind, conversion related. And then at what point do you write content? And at what point do you write copy? And how do you kind of crossover between the 270 30?
Neville Medhora 25:58
Yeah, I always have an answer for that. 70% content, 30% sales. I love it ever. So obviously, with App Sumo, like you remember that Sumo emails, we used to get that exact same type of thing, where it was like, people are like, I don’t need this right now. But this was really fun to read, like, thanks for this. And then people be like, why am I reading your emails, you’re literally trying to sell me something every day. I’m just like, Well, it’s because I give you 70% actual good content, and then about 30 times 30% of the email, I’m trying to sell you something or less, where you can make that 90% content 10% sales. And that is that was my ratio, that if you stay about 30% sales or less on every most of your emails, you’ll not piss people off enough to get them to leave. So if they’re still learning something, but they’re just like, oh, there’s a little bit of sales. And usually you can make the sales fun, too. Yeah, you don’t have to just be like, bye, bye, bye. There’s other ways you can sell people on stuff. You can show them why it’s good for them why they help? I totally agree. People like hearing that kind of stuff.
Peter Keller 26:55
Yeah. Well, and to delve a little bit more into that. So we sell about 15 barbells on fringe sport. And if you’re not really into that, so one thing I tell people at parties, if they asked me to do a one line, what do you do? I tell them, I sell barbells to people who care a little bit too much about barbells. Okay, and so either you get it or you don’t, it’s kind of like I used to be a top status on United Airlines. And when you hang out with other of these people who are, you know, these road warriors who are top status, almost everyone has a tumi bag. And a tumi bag costs 10 times as much as a almost equivalent bag that you could buy at Costco, Costco had like a Victoria Knox like similar model, and the people who are the road warriors, that slight subtle difference, or the way that to me was better was worth to them 10x, because they were so into it. So to take this back to barbells, anybody can walk into Dick’s Sporting Goods, or a local played against sports or something like that, and buy a barbell that costs 50% to 75%. of my cheapest barbell on fringe sport, it’s going to weigh the same amount. And then generally speaking, it’s going to lift the same amount of weight. But for our customers, there’s a reason to spend more like at minimum kind of twice as much more to maybe 567 times as much more. And so when it comes back to like writing the copy, it’s not only trying to get somebody to want to buy a better barbell, it’s also actually to discourage people for whom this barbell is not for you. So for example, a powerlifting bar, a dedicated powerlifting bar has this really aggressive cross hatching or knurling on the shaft. So if you are a power lifter, it’s like, I want to lift as much weight as possible in squat deadlift, and bench and that’s all I care about. You want that super aggressive neural. But if you’re almost any other type of lifter, you’re the neural is going to just chew up your hands, like it’s going to create these big calluses, it’s going to tear these calluses on your hand. And it’s a terrible bar for you. So one of the things that we try to say is like, Don’t buy this barbell. Unless, bah, bah, bah, and that we’re providing education, but also, you know, back to, you know, the making it fun to read, like we can provide humor. Like we can make fun of power lifters in a loving way.
Neville Medhora 29:33
Yeah, I always tell people like don’t call it content marketing, call it education, marketing. I love that. Just educate them. Like you don’t have to sell anything. If you educate them enough, they will internally want that product. Absolutely. Yeah. So that’s, that’s a great thing. So instead of being like, buy this barbell, you show them like, you talked about the gnarling on the thing, and then they’re like, Oh, that’s me or not me. Yeah. That’s awesome. What is this true with all the marketers are sort of the founders, you’ve seen the company But he’s got a really good at content marketing generally have a founder that was interested in content. I’ve never, I dare say never have seen it the other way around. So you think about something like HubSpot or something the founder Dharmesh is like really good at writing videos and content, and giving presentations, or like Steve Jobs or something was as good as like presenting, like, those types of founders are good at content. Have you seen it like that? Or have you ever seen like the founder, like, never puts out content, but it’s like somehow really good at hiring people?
Peter Keller 30:29
I agree. 100%. And I would actually even go slightly further to the founder is typically a fan of a specific channel or type of content. So to bring this back, huh, yes, every time I run it, I’m friends with Eric Bandholz from beard brand, which love Eric love
Neville Medhora 30:47
beer. Huge YouTube channel million.
Peter Keller 30:48
Yes. Huge YouTube channel. Every time I see Eric, he’s like Pete, you are missing the boat on YouTube. Because our YouTube channel for friends is pretty small. And he’s 100%. Right? But Eric is really into that YouTube channel. I have not ever really been into that YouTube channel. And so fringe, I’ve like handicap fringe on that. So fringe is not really done well on that channel. But I think that if I were a more natural, like YouTube type YouTube type of person, then we would probably do better.
Neville Medhora 31:22
So I totally agree with what you said. That’s a great point. Like sometimes the founders are really good at writing. So they’re writing stuff tends to be good. And then when they hire writers, they tend to hire writers that are kind of like them, and they train them. So those writers are good at writing. Okay? Very interesting. Also, Eric Bandholz is like a really, really good looking man. So, you know, for us, or I’ll speak for myself six is over here. We can’t compete with Jesus. He’s a tall drink of water. Yeah, exactly. You know, YouTube, you could tell that he’s huge. Like, he’s so big. So social media, then. So you’re saying YouTube is not your strongest point, because that wasn’t like your thing. So what what social media channel is or what Mark man?
Peter Keller 32:00
So right now, Instagram is decent for fringe. But we’re also so one of the things. I don’t know if you heard of this before. But the Well, I guess he’s into what we were just mentioning earlier. I’m not very social. And that has kind of bled into the company a little bit, because I’m just not enthusiastic about Instagram, or even Facebook or YouTube. And so our biggest like social channel is email right now, basically, like that is how we know emails, not a social channel, quote, unquote. But like, that’s how we communicate most effectively with our customers. I’m trying to get better because I see, you know, trying to push fringe to get better, because I see so many brands that are doing well on a YouTube be Instagram and then see like, tick tock is like this dark horse coming out of nowhere. Yeah, when somebody features our barbell, or usually it’s some bumper plates on Tick tock, like we see this, it goes viral, of course, we see this massive spike of traffic, and it actually converts mean low conversion rate, but it does convert whereas previously, sometimes Reddit for example, can send massive spikes of traffic that don’t convert. So it’s, it’s pretty crazy. So Instagrams our best quote unquote, social channel right now. But even then, it’s a little bit handicapped, because it’s not something that I’m personally really interested in. And I think that we’re struggling on that channel as a company as a result.
Neville Medhora 33:29
So So then what about SEO? Seo? Okay, so I did a quick may we’ll put up a screenshot or something. I did a quick little h refs.com. Have a look at fringe sport. So you’ll have a lot of SEO traffic, you’ll get a ton of search engine optimization, of course. Is this something you focus on? And I’ll tell you, the thing I found is surgeon Patel, another entrepreneur guy runs a ton of software companies, he was talking about SEO, he’s known for SEO. He’s like, I really don’t care about like someone searching for the term, like follow up email. And we’re number one, like, that’s cool. But most of those people just kind of like what is a follow up, they’re not really ready to buy. Whereas if they type in like mailshake, one of his companies follow up email. He’s like, that’s what we want the branded search. So on yours, you have a lot of traffic. But the granddaddy biggest, biggest biggest keyword by like, night like a mile like 90% or something is fringe sport. So people I was almost jealous because like I think I get more SEO traffic than you overall for all the different keywords. But you murder on just people looking up your brand name, which is the best because they’re just like, they’re like, I don’t care what else is out there. I’m going for in sport, is that I mean, is that is that accurate? From my spying on your?
Peter Keller 34:43
Yeah, that’s totally accurate. And I think that a lot of people because if you look at it, of course fringe sport fringe sports, and then very various other derivations, like there’s a lot of fringe fitness. There’s like fringe bumper play Google
Neville Medhora 34:57
knows that’s all the same, right? Yeah.
Peter Keller 34:59
So So I actually think part of it is because we’re not doing paid spend like other people are. And so maybe they’re having trouble finding us in like, you know, the top of the search or something like that. Or maybe we just have a name that people somewhat forget, you know what exactly the name is. They just like go to Google and be like, Hey, I’ll type in the branded keyword to get
Neville Medhora 35:18
I don’t know the reason. So I remember like, even before I met you, I would see fringe sports, like on bumper plates, right? And it’s a fringe sport, and then it’d be like, Oh, if I want gym equipment, I guess I type in the name of a brand. I’m not trying to think like, what brand are kettlebells? I don’t even know. So I just type in like fringe sport. So I assume that’s part of your branding is everywhere.
Peter Keller 35:36
Yeah. But we actually don’t do any SEO, we don’t have any internal focus on our own branded keyword search. So we’re not trying to like manipulate the results or do anything like that. I just view that as a some sort of like measure of brand strength. I guess, like the better that we’re doing just kind of generically as a brand, the more our branded keyword is going to be searched for in Google.
Neville Medhora 35:59
Well, fringe sport, the correct spelling had 10,000 a month volume and usually on a dress. So multiply that by three is my rough metrics, those 30,000 plus all the longtail ones. So I’m suspecting there’s like 50,000 plus people searching you a month just for fringe sport. Yeah. Or some derivation like fringes sport or something like that. Yeah, that’s, well, congrats. That’s, that’s awesome. You’re not even trying, but you’re killing it.
Peter Keller 36:21
I hate Well, we, we do try it SEO, we just don’t try it necessarily the branded SEO, let’s say. And what we try it at SEO is we try to produce a lot of a lot of content that is really helping people. And we’ve even kind of pivoted slightly as the garage gym revolution ggR has mainstreamed because one of the things that we found is that our previous customers who were building garage gyms, what they were doing is they were high school or collegiate athletes, who post collegiate or post high school or whatever, join a gym. And in many cases, it’s what we call LCG, local community gym, like squat or something like that. And then they decide to build a gym in their garage, which they may keep their gym membership, or they may not. But they’re, they’re having this, they’ve been steeped in athletics, and in gym culture before they build the gym. However, now what we’re seeing with this mainstreaming of Crossing the Chasm of the garage and revolution is that there are a lot of people who aren’t steeped in that athletic background, and or that gym background, who then decide to build a gym, and then they don’t know what to do with it. And so we’re producing a lot of educational content around things, you know, how do you use a gym to lose weight? How do you use a gym to get stronger? And then even like micro things like, and this is maybe sound silly to you, but like, how do you load plates on a barbell, because one of the things that hardcore gym rat or meathead would know is that you load the heavier weights to the inside. And if the weights are double side, sorry, if the weights have one side that’s blank, and one side that’s branded, the branded side faces away from you being in the middle of the barbell, that’s just like a normal gym thing. So for example, if I was at the gym, and I saw someone loading plates, and they put the lighter plates on the inside, and the heavier plates on the outside, I’ll be like, what the hell is that person doing? But But nobody ever teaches people like that. Right? Nobody says do that. They just see what people are doing at the gym. And then they emulate. So if you’re building a gym in your garage, and you’re not getting this, like learning by osmosis, like you just don’t know this stuff, and so we try to help educate people on that.
Neville Medhora 38:41
Nice. So first of all, um, I need a little bit of pump up here. Yeah, go for it. Let’s see. I was just like, I got I got the the guns out. I need to get them pumped up. Okay, so next question. So training your writers and marketing people on all this. So how do you go about training your marketing people to be good writers good content. So you’re already good at making content? Like, what do you do to train them? I’m just curious.
Peter Keller 39:09
Yeah, absolutely. So I was listening to one of your YouTube videos over the weekend, which I love, by the way. Oh, thanks. And one of the things I’m trying to remember which one I listened to, but it was kind of like 10 signs that you’re you’re not going to be a good copywriter or maybe 10 things you need to be a copywriter or something like that. And one of the things that you mentioned is have you ever Okay, you want to be a copywriter? Have you ever written anything? Yeah. And so you expound upon that. And you’re like, Look, if you want to be a copywriter because somebody on you know, an Instagram ad said that you can make, you know, six figures being a copywriter, but you, you just don’t write things and you don’t enjoy writing things like it’s not for you. So very first, I try to find writers to work for me, who are passionate about writing and that could be like they have a blog, even The blog is not well traffic or something like that. But they have to basically do writing for fun, or somehow enjoy the process. Otherwise, it’s just gonna be a grind, and it’s gonna be a waste of my time. And there’s so my most recent copywriter who’s working with me who’s awesome, shout out, Katie. Hey, hello,
Neville Medhora 40:18
Peter Keller 40:19
Yeah, so Katie is a journalism school grad. And I freaking love journalism school grads. So I have actually a film degree, which is humorous to me. But I started out, yeah, I don’t use it at all. And I’m terrible at YouTube. So like, I should be good. But I have a film degree. But I started out college, in j school. And in journalism school, they make you write, like, you freakin write so many words, to get out of j school. And so when she applied, and I saw that she had a journalism school degree, I was like, Oh, I don’t even need to check if this person has a blog or doesn’t have a blog. They are just steeped in producing words. So so that’s where we try to start, Chris, start with somebody who’s already a writer, hopefully enjoys it, you know, has a blog, I mean, even like, look at their Instagram posts. Are they just posting like one picture then looking amazing? And then it’s like, last in the caption? Or Yeah? Or are they the person that’s writing a caption that is at risk of running out of the characters in in the Instagram. So I start there, somebody who likes to write, the next thing that I do is say, can you get someone to do something based on your writing? Because I can help teach you to have better CTAs? And you know, to write in the fringe style, which we call fringe English, around the office. There you go. So good, but so good. But can you make somebody do something through your writing? And then if the answer is yes, then we can kind of move on from there. And then what I actually do now is I enroll them in copywriting course.
Neville Medhora 41:55
Oh, cool. A free promo,
Peter Keller 41:57
which is just absolutely amazing, amazing training. And I love it. And we’ll just review it for them.
Neville Medhora 42:03
Yeah, there you go. We just review the page or the email for you.
Peter Keller 42:05
I love it. Then what I do is I buy them the boron letters first. And the reason that I buy the boron letters first is because it’s really a short book. I can’t remember how many pages it is 126 chapters, each page, each chapter, like two pages, three pages. Yeah. So it’s a really short book. And it’s really great. And so I start getting him to read the boron letters, and I start getting him to take the course. And then I start talking to them about how to write for fringe, when to educate, and when to do that sales pitch. And, you know, ultimately, we got to make revenue to keep the lights on keep them employed, stuff like that. But making them understand that, Oh, actually, I was talking with my my surrogate Katie yesterday. And I was saying, okay, the email list is like a fishing hole. And you can pull so many fish out of that fishing hole, and maybe keep going back to that for the rest of your life. If you don’t overfish the hole. But if you overfish the hole, you might pull out a ton of fish on one day. And you might even pull out a ton of fish the next week. But then pretty soon, that hole is going to be overfished and you’re not going to pull anything else out anymore. And so what we want to do to not over fish the hole is to provide value through education through humor through something and that, you know, attracts more fish, like the fish, tell their friends to come to the hole, and then you can keep pulling a few fish out here in their dam.
Neville Medhora 43:30
That’s it. That’s a great analogy. Can you mark that, please? Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. Fish fishing hole tm. Yeah, I’ve never heard it described like that. That is a great analogy. By the way, one of the one of my favorite things of good storytellers like good analogies, someone like Elon Musk will discuss like orbital physics. But like with great analogies, that’s awesome. So you hire other people to do the content marketing. You’re you have a film school degree yet aren’t on YouTube, do you think, but here’s. So I kind of like this to some degree. You know, you should probably do YouTube, but like anything, it’s not like, you’re just gonna put up videos and like all of a sudden make a ton. It’s like a long term game. I mean, this isn’t like maybe the early days of tic Tock or YouTube, you get on these platforms, you get really popular just by the fact that you’re very early. But on YouTube digs out, like everyone knows, everyone knows, like, major networks are on YouTube. So I kind of like they’re not just jumping on the bandwagon, but at the same time, like, that’s a tough call, like, do you do it? Do you not do it? Like, what’s the upside? what’s the downside?
Peter Keller 44:36
I don’t know. How do you think about so we just don’t do YouTube? Well, I actually. So Eric had record Eric Bandholz from beardbrand. had recommended to me one of his friends who does YouTube well, and so I actually hired him and so we are slow rolling on YouTube. But where and we are putting out several videos a week and we’re kind of like getting there and we see that our are climbing and stuff like that. One of the things though, is, I don’t get wildly excited about YouTube. I actually, when I told you that, you know, I built my business on content and copy. I geek out on this stuff. I love it like talking with you just right now talking with you Like last week when we’re talking about it, talking with Katie and like teaching her this stuff. I love it. YouTube, I do feel that we that it is or could be a great channel for us. I do feel that we should grow it. I don’t get like just giddy, like talking about you don’t sound jazzed
Neville Medhora 45:35
Peter Keller 45:36
I mean, I’m excited but not not jazzed. And one of the things actually is I’m told I love to write, but I don’t love. And actually I do love to talk as well. But I’ve been worried and I noticed putting the cart before the horse. But I’ve been worried that if we grow really successfully on YouTube, then it’s going to put me as kind of an influencer. And I’ve mentioned before that I’m not really very much on Instagram. I’m not really very much on Facebook. I love interpersonal connecting with people and I love connecting with people through writing, but I don’t love feeling like an influencer.
Neville Medhora 46:16
Hmm, okay, fair enough. So counterpoint to this. One of our buddies, I don’t think he cares. We mentioned it, but I won’t say it. But he has a big office around here. It’s a dog company. He is barely on social media doesn’t do any influencing or anything, but their company has like the largest followings in like the dog space. And so he’s very good at hiring others to do it, which is kind of interesting. So I think there is a world where you can hire have influence and videos and stuff and you not be the star of it. interest. I think it’s it’s possible. I’ve seen it happen. It’s rare, like we said, like, generally the founder is good at whatever. But I have seen it very, very rarely in some people. So that’s kind of neat. I have to follow up off the air. Well, so how about this? So you said something interesting. So content copy. And the only I guess paid I didn’t notice is pay channel? affiliates? Yes. You’re a lot of affiliates. Can you explain like how, when you say affiliates? What do you mean? Like who’s promoting this?
Peter Keller 47:12
Yeah, absolutely. So we do work with affiliates. affiliate marketers. And so typically, the profile and affiliate that we work with, is someone who’s really into the garage, gym space, and who genuinely loves it on their own. They’re already doing, they’re already doing it. And then they review products and help people build awesome garage gyms. And we work with those affiliates. And of course, the affiliate market space is that we pay them a commission. And so I do enjoy working with affiliates. Part of the reason why I enjoy working with affiliates is because it’s a bunch of like minded people. Every affiliate that we do well with genuinely cares about this stuff. They care about fitness and health and working out. They care about you know, they may not think about it as ggR garage and revolution like I do, but they really care about people working out in their garage and getting healthy and improving lives through strength.
Neville Medhora 48:05
So are these like bloggers, youtubers tick talkers, like like SEO review sites? like where do you mostly review sites at this point? So people are like best dumbbell 2020? Exactly. Okay, got it.
Peter Keller 48:19
And I get I do have a little bit of a quibble about it. Because remember, earlier, I had mentioned the pain cave versus man cave dichotomy. And I’m a little bit down on the man cave dichotomy. I do find or the man cave side, let’s say but as long as you use it, I’m like, totally cool. So I find that there’s an over intellectualizing of the barbell sometimes, you know, some people will be like, I want the absolute perfect barbell for me. And sometimes I want to say, bro, good or Okay, barbell is going to be absolutely amazing for you. If you just use it, stop thinking about it, just buy a barbell, whether it be for me or for someone else, and learn how to use it. And let me go, I’m gonna go off in a quick rant. So we’re in the Renaissance or the second golden age of the barbell right now, the first golden age of the barbell was in the mid 70s. And so you had this explosion of bodybuilding. That Arnold Yeah, basically was the tip of the spear on. And so in that golden age of bodybuilding, you had a golden age of barbells. And so you saw a lot of development of barbell styles of quality of things, increasing quality, increasing availability, increasing popularity of increasing and then in the mid to late 70s, came what call what are called the selectorized machines, which are, were invented by the Nautilus company. And basically selectorized machine is one of those isolation mystic machines where you You pull a pin, put it somewhere else, and then you’re whoops, sorry about that, where you’re then doing bicep curls or something like that. But the machine only allows you to have a very strict range of motion that killed the first golden age of the barbell. And the reason it did so is that you actually have to learn a little bit about physical culture, and Kinesiology and how to move your body how to manipulate your body with a barbell. However, if you go to a gym that has all those selectorized machines that force the patterns of your body into only strict movement patterns, you don’t have to learn how to manipulate a barbell, so the learning curve is very low. But even more important to why this killed the barbell, or the first golden age of the barbell is it allowed gyms to hire fewer personal trainers, because prior to this, they’d had a higher excuse me have to hire personal trainers, who knew very well can museology how to move the body and could relate to people and teach them how to move and utilize that barbell. After the selectorized machines became popular, they only had to hire pin setters or babysitters that just say okay, you know, last time you did curls on with the pin at 20. This time do it at 25. And so there’s this whole generation or like two generations that probably ended around the Second Age, second golden age of the barbell started around 2005. And I think CrossFit really ushered that in, where people basically lost the ability to know how to manipulate a barbell to achieve results. And you can actually reel it back in a minute. You can look at the US his performance in the Olympic Games and Olympic weightlifting. And you can see that it all went to hell for a long period of time. And we’re only now rebuilding because we’re only now starting to get enough people young enough who learn how to manipulate a barbell. So
Neville Medhora 52:03
well also those What do you call them? The small gyms local lcgs LCL community gym so I go one called squatch over here, which is like I don’t even think it’s licensed as a gym. It’s just a warehouse. I mean, I mean, I supposedly it’s probably appropriately licensed. Yeah. Okay. But but like a lot of them are just like, it’s like a shed like a big shed with stuff in it. Yeah. And you’re allowed to go because you’re a member or whatever, actually, you probably walk if you really wanted to. But But the point is, they don’t have any this this machine stuff. It’s like, I know, like, I go to Gold’s and there’s just like a ton of different like, little like, you specifically do this one, I feel like I was getting hurt on those. And I think that’s the thing. I personally feel like I get more hurt on those than just lifting a regular barbell. But a lot of these newer gyms like I feel like they’ve got like hammers and tires and stuff like that. The guy was like random equipment, where it’s just like more about moving the body rather than trying to strengthen this one very specific chain of muscles. So it sounds like barbells are coming back. And there’s like deadlifts and stuff. I think CrossFit really kind of put everything on the map. Was that the second Renaissance that it start with that?
Peter Keller 53:09
Yeah, so there’s a gentleman here in Texas, he’s a little bit controversial. His name’s Mark rippetoe. Have you ever heard of Mark rippetoe? I don’t think I know,
Neville Medhora 53:17
I’ve never looked at me, come on. Oh, yeah.
Peter Keller 53:18
I’ve never met the man. And he’s not the biggest fan of CrossFit. But one of the things that he says is he says, CrossFit put more hands on barbells, than anything else, since the invention of the barbell. And although he has some, he dislikes, the methodology and a few things about it, he thinks that that is a massive, massive net positive of putting more hands on more barbells and encouraging more people to learn physical culture. Now, one of the things that you mentioned about, you know, getting hurt more often on machines. I’m speaking from a slight point of ignorance here, because I don’t have the science necessarily on that up here to back this up. But when you use a barbell to work out in some way, you are not only working the specific muscles that the barbell is working, but you’re working all of these stabilizer muscles in your body, because the body is a system. And so when you are working out on a machine, like sitting down, the machine is holding your back in the appropriate position, it’s forcing your arms in the appropriate position, and then it’s isolating the workout only on the muscle that you want to isolate. By the way, there are some situations in which this is a good thing. Some body builders need it for reaching high levels of their sport, people who are injured and can’t work some other parts of the body. But when you when a normal healthy person is isolating away, then they’re robbing themselves of a variety of other benefits that that weightlifting exercise could have. Now the other thing is and there’s a I’m gonna butcher this, but there’s a quote, I think it’s from Aristotle. And it says something like No man deserves to be a ignorant of physical culture or something like that. When you start learning to use a barbell or even dumbbells to do various types of training, you’re learning about your own body. And there’s something called the Oh shoot, I’m forgetting the scientific name for it. But it’s basically your interior understanding of how to move your body through space. And when you lift weights, you’re getting more feedback on how your body moves through space. And the height of learning that stuff is actually not weight related. It’s probably gymnastics, because if you look at a high level gymnast, they know you know, to within, you know, fractions of a centimeter where their body are diverse. That’s another great one where their body exists in space. And with the most recent Olympics, and you talked about, there’s a lot of talk about Simone Biles and the twisties. And so that’s one of the things that she was saying that she lost is that she had an exquisite idea of how her body moved through space, for example, when she’s in a vault, and then she she had some issue possibly mental or otherwise, I don’t know that she lost that. And so she’s like, I can’t compete. So I’m not anywhere near Simone Biles level, of course. But by dedicating the last 15 years of my life to training with the barbell, I have a really good understanding of how my body moves through space, and how to manipulate my body to accomplish various goals, which are mostly athletic in nature.
Neville Medhora 56:35
I also think like if you just lift random, heavy crap, like this thing, you get a lot. So I remember like, whenever I lift heavy dumbbells, if I do the isolation machine, you’re done. When you do, you’re done. Yeah, but then I have to go put those 65 pound weights each back on the rack. And I remember thinking like, this is an extra workout. Yeah, like I have to get up and use my whatever thigh muscles, and then have to like walk over there. So my back and cortisol taught, I’m assuming that that probably helps. And also that probably models like picking up a toddler or like, heavy as toddler but like, but like picking up kids and throwing them around it probably more models that kind of activity. So I see like the the free weights coming back into vote also, it just looks cooler. Yeah. Also, you can have more, you can do more exercises in a home gym, than having this giant like gold gym full of random Yeah,
Peter Keller 57:21
exercise. So to speak to that, I think that the minimum viable garage gym is one kettlebell, Bible garage gym is one kettlebell, and a pull up bar. And if you want to go slightly extravagant, on that minimum, viable garage gym, get to kettlebells and a pull up bar, you can build an amazing body, and amazing strength and fitness with one to two kettlebells and a pull up bar. Now, if you wanted to expand, there’s only a few items that are just critical. pull up bar squat rack, barbell plates, preferably bumper plates, and then you know, maybe a bench and then maybe a kettlebell and some dumbbells or something like that. But one of the things that’s actually part of the reason that I’m not in love with these man cave garage gyms is because I have friends who are literal Olympians, who have what you would consider a super Spartan, like, crappy garage gym, and it’s like, oh, well, I went to the Olympics, with this like setup, that wouldn’t rate anything on Instagram. And so then when I see that, like man caves on Instagram, I’m just like, please use it. If you use it. I love you if you don’t use it.
Neville Medhora 58:44
That’s awesome. So okay, so let’s move into physical business logistics. So in the online world, transporting stuff cost $0, essentially, in the offline offline, where the real world moving crap around cost a lot, especially dense iron. Yeah, it’s probably the worst thing to show. Like, unless you’re shipping uranium is probably like, nothing worse than like iron ore to ship around. How do you ship all this heavy ass stuff like that? Okay, if I order $2,000 worth of equipment? Does it come in like a UPS box? Like, what does it come in?
Peter Keller 59:16
Yeah. So one of the things when you ask this, I remember everything that sucks about my business, is why I have a business. And so shipping weights sucks. It’s just hard. That’s your moat? What’s better to other people?
Neville Medhora 59:33
It’s absolutely a nerd like me will be like, I don’t want to deal with this stuff. Nice.
Peter Keller 59:36
Yeah, I mean, yeah, totally. So the way that we do that is moving boxes one on one is touch the boxes as infrequently as possible. Because whenever you touch a box, there’s basically cost involved. Either you know, human cost or machine cost or possible damage or blah, blah, blah, whatever. So rule number one, touch it as infrequently as possible. Rule number two is ship as efficiently as possible. Now, in our case, sometimes that means shipping on LTL or like a freight line to an end user like LTL LTL less than truckload sorry, okay, acronym. But in practice, most consumers are not used to receiving truckload shipments. And truckload shipments are way different than ups. So ups FedEx, the Postal Service used to be DHL as well, they all have or had networks that covered all of the US, which not only included, you know, the hubs to go from hub to hub, but also last mile, which last mile is the biggest problem in shipping anything. So, freight companies are not like that there are a patchwork of free companies all over the place, and they enter line or put freight to each other. Basically, it’s a nightmare for the customer. So anything that we possibly can we ship through ups as our preferred provider. And so does ups damage things. Absolutely. But it’s way easier for you as an end user than for anybody else to show you than a freight line would be. And we basically just go toe to toe with ups in terms of negotiating the rates.
Neville Medhora 1:01:27
Wait, so you’re saying if I order like 1045 pound weights and three barbells or whatever, it just shows up in a UPS box? That’s correct. Multiple boxes to be fair, but yes, so delivery drivers are always like God dammit,
Peter Keller 1:01:40
like me probably hate me say we got the most jacked ups drivers in the business. Oh,
Neville Medhora 1:01:46
do they have to sign like a special driver because like, there must be some sort of like they strength requirement or they
Peter Keller 1:01:51
don’t have to send out a special driver. I will say though, that there have been times where we’ve had drivers who hated us. And then we’d had have had times where we have drivers who think that were cool and love us. And it really is a lot easier when the driver just personally is into what we’re doing. And is you know, a bigger type dude,
Neville Medhora 1:02:11
can you can you send like 1000 pounds into ups is the thing sort of.
Peter Keller 1:02:16
So ups is single box limit is 150 pounds. So you can’t send any single box over 150 pounds. And you start getting into these tiers of higher charge once your box crests, 50 pounds. I think I’m trying to remember I don’t recall exactly off the top of my head what those different tiers are. But ups is trying to encourage you to ship relatively as lightweight boxes as possible, or at least under 50 pounds. And so if you ordered 1045 pound plates, chances are you would get or like, sorry, if you ordered five pairs or 10 singles, you would potentially get 10 different boxes from us delivered by ups. And he just he just bring it up to your door one at a time.
Neville Medhora 1:03:02
Dang. Okay, yeah, because shipping is always a nightmare. And then shipping quick as a nightmare. And then shipping heavy stuff. Oh my god, I can’t imagine. Where do you store all this crap? Like, I imagine you have like a ton of like literally tons of weights. Yeah,
Peter Keller 1:03:16
somewhere. So right now our warehouses in Austin, Texas. We’re always constantly seeing like, Hey, is that a good place to be? I mean, the major benefit of being in Austin, Texas is that I am here in Austin,
Neville Medhora 1:03:27
Texas, in the middle of the country. Yeah, yeah.
Peter Keller 1:03:29
And it’s it’s not that bad. It does take about a day to get out of Texas, if we’re shipping anywhere north. So if anything needs to go basically North Texas takes about
Neville Medhora 1:03:39
a day. It’s always on truck, right? Never plane.
Peter Keller 1:03:41
Yo. Yeah. I mean, very infrequently. Do we ship on a plane very, very, very infrequently. Every now and again. But yeah, it’s almost always on a truck. But yeah, so we’ve got a warehouse here in Austin, Texas. And then we do leverage a little bit of three PL or basically third party logistics or other people’s warehouses.
Neville Medhora 1:03:58
How big are these warehouses?
Peter Keller 1:03:59
My warehouse here in Austin, Texas is about 22,000 square feet. But then again, like I said, we were leveraging third party warehouses as well.
Neville Medhora 1:04:07
Nice. So and you’re buying a bigger warehouse, man, I’m
Peter Keller 1:04:10
trying like how it is. So Austin is a Boomtown right now, and one of the things that Austin’s under resourced for is what’s called light industrial, which is the type of warehouse that I need. heavy industrial would be like the Tesla plant that they’re putting in because it’s got heavy power and all that stuff. Light industrials, like a warehouse that would supply the Tesla plant or store barbells and so Austin is very, very under resourced in light industrial, so I’ve tried to buy five warehouses in the past few months. And Ben, shut down all dang
Neville Medhora 1:04:41
Yeah, I know there’s there’s a ton of light industrial moving here to service like Tesla and all these big factories that are moving here. We’ll probably put some if we have some warehouse pictures or something. I’m just curious, like, because I was in the e commerce. That’s how I started like 2099 or 2001. I was in the e commerce space. And so warehousing was always interesting because it was out of California, San Carlos, California. And we had a third party who sent out all our stuff. But I would go and visit the warehouse. And there’s something cool about just like, yeah, like $5 million worth of stuff here. It’s kind of neat.
Peter Keller 1:05:13
So it’s something to mention about that is I did get very involved. So prior to finish sport, I was an employee at a company called Living direct, where we sold small appliances online. And I did get very involved in the ops side of that business at various different times. And I’ve always found it to be really interesting, the actual physical movement of stuff. I do think that the sales and marketing side is quite a bit more lucrative than the management side. But as management is interesting to me,
Neville Medhora 1:05:40
Well, okay, so on that front with the physical locate, okay, physical goods suck, because one reason they suck, is you have to spend money to make them before you sell them. Yeah. So you have to let’s say, I buy $100 barbell, you had to put up at least 50 bucks or something. A while ago, to make that money. Exactly. So so you have to put up money to make money. Yeah. Whereas in the digital world, it’s kind of like, you don’t really have to put up much money at all, maybe I’m hosting or something. Is does that suck?
Peter Keller 1:06:13
Yeah, it totally sucks. And for the first that is like the devil of an e commerce business there, especially a small e commerce business. I mean, I imagine if you’re Casper or if you’re some other business that’s funded, then it’s not really a big deal, because you do a raise. And then you can probably get a line based on, you know, the investors that have invested in new or something like that. But for a small ecommerce business, it’s really difficult. So I’ve got two two stories about that. Story. Number one is, until I grew to a pretty decent size, I was banking at Chase. And they did not know what to do with me. I mean, God bless our rapid Chase. But she basically dealt with me and then like a bunch of plumbers. And so when I first went to chase for a line, because I had all my business assets there, she was like, Oh, yeah, we can do a line, no problem, you know, $15,000. And I’m like, my Amex card has $100,000, you know, soft limit or whatever on it like 15k. And going to cut it, I’m looking more for like, $500,000. And, you know, her head about flew off like $500,000. You know, what kind of plumber are you? So this is so there was that. However, the other thing, and I love telling this story is a short one, because there’s a lot of antipathy sometimes to dealing with China, in various different spaces. So when I resigned from living direct, where I was an employee previously, and founded fringe, one of my friends that I had dealt with over in China for living direct on the appliance side, he came to me, I didn’t come to him, he came to me. And he said, Peter, it has been so enjoyable for me to work with you for these past five years. I know you’re starting your own business. And I know cash flow is difficult when you start your own business. So I’m going to give you $500,000 in inventory financing. Just pay me back, please. And I said, oh, wow, that’s amazing. His name is Frank. I said, That is amazing. And we shook hands on it. I never once signed a piece of paper, or anything. And he floated me for the first several years of my business $500,000 in inventory financing. And part of the reason I like saying this, I mean, is that an unfair advantage? Sure. It’s an unfair advantage. But I hear about a lot of like, like China, China, or kind of stuff like that, you know, here in America, and I’m like, I’ve lived all over the world. And I’ve met good people all over the world. There’s some assholes in the US. There’s some assholes in China. But fundamentally, we all want better things for our kids, you know, down the road. And that was, you know, just one example of just like a deep friendship, and something that’s not happened to me anywhere else.
Neville Medhora 1:08:58
That’s awesome. That I mean, because getting that upfront money to sell stuff is difficult. Yeah, it’s hard. I used to float my entire I ran a rave company, nobody to read my life, but like, I’ve never been to a rave you write about how to rave so often. That’s funny. I kind of Yeah, I went to Burning Man once in 2014. That counts. That’s I guess that’s a rave. But it was way before that. So yeah, exactly. So there was actually that was like my Christmas. I remember seeing every August and September I’d be like, What are all these giant orders for Burning Man? What is that? And they sued me twice? Actually, that’s different story. But um, so so spending money upfront, kind of sucks. But it’s also your moat. Yeah, it means like less people are gonna get in on that. Also, you sell heavy stuff. So I imagine there’s probably like fewer people that sell barbells and stuff than normal. Now, let me ask you this. So you have a physical location people can actually buy from right? Yep. Okay, if I go there and buy a barbell is it significantly cheaper because I have to pay for shipping. We do a
Peter Keller 1:09:53
10% discount for people who walk in. I will say that the experience is probably as good as we try to make Our experience on our Shopify site is probably better when you walk in. Because every salesperson that I have is like steeped in this stuff. So this is an actual store. It’s not high street retail. But yes, it’s an actual store, you can walk in. Oh, we also we had to shut it down due to COVID. I’m looking when I can reopen it. But pre COVID we ran the only free gym in the United States. And so pre COVID we had hundreds of people a week coming by fringe to work out. And some portion of those, you know, bought something. And that’s how we supported the free gym. But yes, we have a non traditional non High Street.
Neville Medhora 1:10:36
I got it. I gotta come check this out. All right, cool. So the last questions I want to ask you are the lightning round question. Let’s rock so got lightning round questions here. And I’m going to time you so they don’t go over a minute. Cuz you’re a big ramble. I’m just kidding. And I’m trying to figure out what app you use to start up the clock. Oh, shit. Where’s my clock? I don’t think I have a clock on here. matter at this part of the clock and edit this out on the tape drink. Go for my stupid. Oh, I think I don’t think my clocks on weird. Okay, so I got it. But I’m alright. We’ll put a marker there. So, okay, so lightning round with Peter Keller. Let’s go. So what is the most popular trend in gym equipment right now? What are people buying?
Peter Keller 1:11:33
most popular trend is definitely statement pieces for the garage gym. So I talked before about the man cave thing. People want a big statement piece. So one of them could be like a big amazing squat rack. Another one could be like some flashy plates. So we use some plates that look like pizza or weights. And those are just amazingly popular.
Neville Medhora 1:11:55
That’s awesome. All right. Next one. How big of a warehouse Do you need to sell millions of dollars worth of gym equipment.
Peter Keller 1:12:05
When we first crested a million dollars, I had a 7500 square foot warehouse. I think that if I had to restart, now, I would probably try to do something like monkey feet. I don’t know if you’ve seen this product all over Instagram and Joe Rogan’s been talking about it, I’m assuming that they go to third party logistics, or they’re using someone else’s warehouse. So if I had to restart right now, I would probably try to make a compact high margin product, and then just try to blow through the roof.
Neville Medhora 1:12:35
Interesting. All right, and then how do you ship like 2000 pounds of equipment, you just like stick it on a truck? Like what do you do?
Peter Keller 1:12:45
So 2000 pounds is going to be on a truck. But ideally what we would do is we would chunk that down into smaller boxes and put it through ups.
Neville Medhora 1:12:55
And then last question, so I can only do three exercises ever what would they be?
Peter Keller 1:13:03
three exercises ever would be a bodyweight squat a bodyweight push up and then a pull up. I think that if you could only do three exercises, squat push up and pull up would take you pretty far.
Neville Medhora 1:13:20
Nice. Cool. Well, Peter Keller, thanks for being here. Or where can people find you and all your stuff?
Peter Keller 1:13:26
Yeah, so just WWE fringe sport or as we talked about before, just a little fringe sport
Neville Medhora 1:13:31
Yeah, the best way to find us and you’re not you’re not like super big on the socials except on Instagram. I think you have like a pretty good following going on.
Peter Keller 1:13:40
Yeah, Instagram is all is all right. We are trying to build up the YouTube but yeah, we’re not huge on socials. Join our email newsletter like I think it’s fun. Oh, yeah. So you can model your unique exactly that like hey, was he telling the truth or not?
Neville Medhora 1:13:51
That’s what Peter Keller thanks so much for being here. Visit fringe sport comm check it out. If you want to get guns. Actually, I should not be the spokesperson for this. Thanks, Arnold thing. So what’s the Arnold thing from predator? Oh, wait, let’s do it. Let’s do that again when you get a good clap. Nice. Thanks, man. Hey, it’s nevel here. And I’d love to explain for reasons getting on our email list can benefit your life. Number one. Every Friday, we send out the stupid email which is a swipe, thought uplifting picture interesting. And drawing people regularly say this is their most look forward to email they get all week. Number two, we spend a lot of time and money filming great interviews about content marketing, copywriting, communications, growing a business and just figuring out more about how the world works. For example, we’ve interviewed the CEOs of appsumo Udemy, the hustle and many more. There’s so many Golden Nugget lessons we learn from each of them, and I hope you get in on this too. Number three, a single idea can possibly change the trajectory of your life. Just one thing you learn or pick up from these emails can potentially have a gigantic impact on you. And number four, we cover topics On How To Grow a small business from just a side project to becoming something that’s a full time career. And bonus number five, you can unsubscribe at any time one click poof, I am out of your life forever. Losing a subscriber is painful. So I’ve tried to make sure my email list is full of useful information to business owners and people trying to improve their copy and communication skills. So go to copywriting course comm and enter your email. We’ll handle the rest. Thank you