This is a follow up story for Bare Performance Nutrition. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published almost 4 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
My name is Nick Bare and I am the founder & CEO of Bare Performance Nutrition (BPN). We create effective health and performance supplements, you can trust. What started as a bootstrapped business out of my college apartment in 2012, with a $20,000 loan and a burning passion for health, fitness, and nutrition, has evolved into a brand with a strong movement, community, and product line. The company started to see growth opportunities during my time as an Active Duty Infantry Officer and in 2017 I transitioned out of the US Army to double down on BPN.
The brand originally launched with a focus on workout performance supplements, such as pre-workout, branched-chain amino acids, and creatine, but over the years has moved more into the health space. We offer a wide range of products to help our customers reach their desired levels of fitness and health, but our best-selling supplements are our Strong Reds (red superfood powder), Flight (pre-workout), Whey Protein, and G.1.M Sport (superior endurance formula).
Our first 3 years of business were tough, barely managing to drive $20,000 in revenue each year, however after transitioning out of the military we have been able to scale the brand to about $30 million in revenue and occupy 45,000 square feet in Round Rock, Texas.
HQ gym, warehouse, and fulfillment center. We currently lease 45,000 square feet in Round Rock, Texas:
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
This past year has been filled with amazing opportunities, growth, learning experiences, and leadership development. We experienced many supply chain shortages from raw ingredients, plastic bottles, scoopers, lids, and extended lead times for production orders. This resulted in our inventory levels being left diminished and half of our products were out of stock for many months out of the year. Despite these challenges, we still managed to grow from about $22 Million in revenue (2020).
Now that production lead times are returning to normal and we have a better handle on inventory projections, we can prepare for a big year in 2022. We have scaled our team over the last couple of months with some very talented and experienced professionals. To bring as much of our staff in-house, we have left most of the agencies we were previously working with and started building out internal teams. This has been one of the most powerful things we have done, with the greatest ROI.
We launched a new brand initiative earlier this year called, The Bare Standard. This is our commitment to helping you feel and perform at your highest level - built on quality and proven by results, without compromise. This standard encompasses our company's three core pillars of transparency, service, and integrity. These pillars guide every decision we make here at Bare Performance Nutrition and hold us accountable for the commitment to helping you become the best version of yourself. The Bare Standard puts our customers first from banned substance testing, how we serve our community and the code of ethics that we follow.
This past fall was spent in a massive community activation. We were a sponsor for the Rogue Invitational, which was hosted at Dell Diamond Stadium in Round Rock, we released a documentary called “Leadville 100 Ultramarathon | More Than The Miles” and premiered the film at the Violet Crown Theatre in Austin, Texas. These events are a great way to build brand awareness, share our story and connect with our current customer base. It is also strategic as we ramp up operations and marketing with many new products launching in the new year.
Over the past 18+ months, we have been working through research and development on a series of new products. In the next 6 months, we will be launching our sleep aid, called Peak Sleep, a new version of our nutrition bars, called the Field Bar, a fish oil soft-gel, called Strong Omega, Collagen Protein, and a whole-food meal replacement powder, called Bare Food.
Our goal in 2022 is to drive more people to our website through social media marketing campaigns, as well as continue to improve our customer experience and return customer rate. Right now our website (hosted through Shopify Plus) has a return customer rate of 72% and a conversion rate of 6.29%, which we are proud of, but still want to improve. We are also moving some of our sales channels to in-store distribution. Right now we are about 85% direct-to-consumer but are hoping to sell our products in HEB, Vitamin Shop, and on military installations by the end of 2022.
The Rogue Invitational at Dell Diamond Stadium (Round Rock, Texas):
The Leadville 100 film premiere:
Here is the link to the Leadville 100 video:
Here is the link for The Bare Standard video:
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
This last year was quite a learning experience. One of the biggest things that I took away is the concept that “advertising and marketing are not the same things”. Seth Godin talks a lot about this in “Purple Cow”, but it’s so true. Our brand loves to tell stories and the story is marketing. Advertising is usually expensive, hard to track, and has a low conversion and high acquisition. We pulled back from advertising and are learning how to refine our marketing skills.
This last year has also re-confirmed why I love business and the startup space so much. It is full of strong, smart, and passionate people who want to be a part of something larger than themselves that serves others. I am grateful for the team we have built at BPN and am constantly reminded of how strong our culture is.
“If you focus on success over commitment, you will never have either”.
Our team at the Leadville 100 Ultramarathon in Leadville, Colorado:
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
These next 5 years are shaping up to be some good ones right now! This next year we are focusing on new product launches, increasing distribution channels to in-store retail opportunities, improving our marketing funnels, and building brand awareness.
Winning in business is all about consistency.
At the same time, we are also building out the next launch of our iOS and Android app. Right now this is a platform consumers can use to order products faster, however, we are building out fitness training platforms and nutrition tracking within this app to help our customers reach their goals.
As we continue to grow it is important to me that we ensure the foundation is strong and resilient. This means constantly testing and improving our systems, infrastructure, teams, and operations.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
I’m always reading something and truly believe that everybody should be as well. It doesn’t matter if you read 10 minutes or 10 books a day. Just stimulate your brain with something powerful.
Some of my favorite reads this past year include Seth Godin’s “Purple Cow” and “Tribes”, Chip & Dan Heath’s “The Power of Moments”, Tim Grover’s “Winning”, and Ben Horowitz’s “The Hard Thing About Hard Things”.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
A few weeks ago we hired Story Brand, which is one of Donald Miller’s companies, to come into our HQ to host a private workshop for our team. The facilitator, Pete Hixon, helped our team clarify our message, the way we use copy (words), and how we tell our story. It was powerful, to say the least. If you are an entrepreneur or business owner and have the financial ability to do this, I highly recommend it to your team. However, if the private workshop is a bit out of your budget then I recommend the virtual workshop online.
Another piece of advice that I think most entrepreneurs need to hear is that “consistency compounds”. Some of your best ideas, most genius inventions, and powerful marketing plays won’t turn into million-dollar concepts overnight. They need time to develop. Winning in business is all about consistency. Put in the work daily that needs to be done, which is usually the un-sexy stuff, and push the needle a little bit further. You may not see the return after 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, etc but you will see it over the long term. Business is a long-term play.
Photos taken are from our Story Brand private workshop at BPN HQ:
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We are always hiring. There isn’t necessarily always a position available, but if it is the right person that I know needs to be on the team, I will find a position. I believe in people, especially when they come together.
This past year we have lived by the quote, “if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together”.
Our marketing and creative teams are always looking for talented individuals, with experience, who want to be a part of a mission and brand who believes in empowering people.
Where can we go to learn more?
Podcast: The Bare Performance Podcast, which includes interviews with guests like Matthew McConaughey, Dakota Meyer, Courtney Dauwalter, Dr. Will Bulsiewicz, Will Ahmed, Brian Mazza, and many more!
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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