Gym idea sparks $400,000 empire
When these two house mates decided to launch a business in the midst of a pandemic, they had no idea it was going to see them through $400,000 in profits.
Dhilukshan Ramalingam, 26 and Justin Riley, 26, saw a gap in the market to sell gym equipment and while they had high hopes of success, they didn't know quick it was going to happen.
At the beginning of March when the coronavirus pandemic hit Australia, like most gym junkies, the boys were on a mission to continue their training and looked to converting their garage into a home gym.
After visiting their local retail store, the Brisbane boys, who are both accountants for major corporate firms, managed to nab the last remaining squat rack.
"That night I was sitting on the couch and just thought that if there is such a huge demand for them, and everyone is obviously on a hunt for equipment, why don't we do a small shipment," Dhilulkshan told news.com.au
"I then found someone who is reputable supplier who also supplies to a few large brands."
After having a chat to Justin about the idea, the boys decided to invest $10,000 to kick start their business idea.
When they listed their first shipment of about 50 plates, 20 barbells and 20 squat racks on eBay, it almost instantly sold out, prompting the boys to invest a further $15,000 to buy more units.
"The entire first batch sold out within one week of listing," Dhilulkshan said.
"We did another shipment and the same thing happened and even that pre-sold before it arrived in the country from China."
That's when they knew things were getting serious and needed to formulate a business plan and construct a website to effectively keep up with demand.
In the first week of business, the house mates made about $15,000 to $20,000 in revenue, and since then they have managed to secure up to $400,000 in profits.
"The business has absolutely taken off," Dhilulkshan said.
"Even coming out of lockdown, we are seeing some good sales and growing month on month."
Originally, all the equipment - which sells between $100 for a plate set to $2500 for a rack, bench and barbell set - was stocked at the boys' garage.
But due to rapid sales, they have since hired a third party logistics company to store and ship future stock.
"We're definitely still shocked by its success. It's been really surprising as we didn't expect it to sell this quickly."
After developing their website, the boys then came up with the brand name Vulcan, which Justin explains came to him randomly after Googling Latin gods.
As for marketing, it's all been word of mouth, together with some social media advertising to generate traffic to their site.
"We still get excited when a notification pops up for a sale. That feeling is still there and it's been the same from day one until now," Dhilukshan said.
The pair have now expanded on various marketplace platforms including Amazon and Catch of the Day.
But the quick success of the business hasn't come without its challenges.
"We're stoked with how well it's done which we didn't expect - it's just been fun going from working out in the garage of our house and seeing it grow to a fully fledged business," Justin said.
"So that's been cool and obviously working through the challenges from doing everything yourself from the packaging to shipping to dealing with the thousands of orders.
"You learn to be bloody efficient and also have to put in a lot of hours of work, which is a lot after coming home from your day job."
In terms of monetary value compared to their accountancy jobs, the boys said they make more in their business, but have no plans of quitting their day jobs anytime soon.
"Right now there has been a lot of rush and demand for gym equipment but next year will be interesting - we don't know things will be as we have only been in operation for less than 12 months."
Originally published as Gym idea sparks $400,000 empire