How a Fitness Brand went from Zero to $50+ Million in Their First Year … During the Pandemic

Tru Grit’s co-founders, Brandon Hearn and Matt Piva, joined our host Rob Campbell to give a candid, exclusive look inside their brand. Starting with the original concept and launch, you’ll hear how they overcame numerous challenges, including supply chain, financing, and building relationships with big-box retailers, to quickly grow a community of loyal followers.

Tru Grit Fitness was created in Las Vegas, Nevada by Matt Piva fall of 2019. After ascending the ranks of multiple premium brands in the marketing space, it was time for something to call his own. Lifelong friend and business partner, Brandon Hearn knew there was a need for a brand that produced fitness products for consumers and athletes who refused to quit. Brandon has a solid history of building businesses and with the knowledge to incorporate the marketing and branding ideas provided by Matt, a new premium brand was born. A brand for those who are passionate about what they do. A brand to identify with for those who strive to be best in their class. With the unknown state of the world in early 2020, Tru Grit Fitness knew they needed to react and help supply the world with products to stay healthy and fit. Best Buy, Target and Walmart came into the picture midyear 2020 as Tru Grit Fitness launched it’s first line of fitness equipment into all three big box retailers.

Fueled by a passion for fitness and innovation, our team set out to create professional grade fitness equipment at an affordable price. From the local big box gym to your personal workout space, we have created a diverse line of fitness products for all skill levels. The goal was to create a premium line of functional products that surpass the durability requirements of even the most challenging conditions. We know every fitness journey has a different starting point or reason behind it. We only care that our products are designed to be as resilient as the human spirit. For those who refuse to quit.

0:54 Idea of the brand creation
1:22 Early days working together at No Fear
2:55 Brand launch
3:40 Best Buy interest in fitness equipment
5:20 Competitive advantage of launching the brand
8:14 Refusing To Quit brand motto & targeted audience
9:35 The next steps / beginning by utilizing relationships
11:50 Financing a startup
12:50 Self-funded first PO from Best Buy, then Target PO came in
15:47 Raising capital for additional PO’s w/ 37% interest
18:32 Largest importer of barbell equipment
18:58 Owning majority of equity
20:07 What they attribute the revenue growth
20:51 First warehouse, eventually maxing out on space
20:37 moving up to 40k sq ft office and multiple warehouses
23:07 Having the right team to support all parts of the business
24:14 Onboarding staff and company culture – hiring “superpowers”
26:03 Warehouse employees making $70k per year
27:28 Employees having personal success and being empowered to make it or not
28:35 Branding, Content, Influencers & Partnerships
31:19 Home Gym is the new wine cellar
31:50 Storytelling
32:36 Maximizing Marketing spend, Stay on brand, and inspire consumers – Innovate on marketing and product side
33:03 Attributes of a partnership
34:04 Pat Tenore / RVCA
35:20 3 Parts of Business – Big Box Retail, D2C & Gyms
35:55 Burning $50k / day in storage fees at LA port
38:09 New version of “Smoke Breaks”
41:40 Future of Tru Grit
43:16 70% of production in Mexico
43:55 new product coming; Modular on-wall storage solution
45:38 Advice for others
45:58 Talent around you that trust and lean into
46:28 Keep showing back up
47:11 Have a plan