How An 8-Figures E-Commerce Company And A Youtuber With 15M Followers Launched A Brand Together
Hey everyone! Greg Meade here, one of the co-founders of the innovative sporting goods company Good Sport.
We’ve been working hard over the past year to bring new and improved games to the world. The first new product we brought to market under the Good Sport brand is SmashNet; a combination of table tennis and roundnet.
What’s interesting about Good Sport is that we’re a creator-led brand with YouTube Star Danny Duncan, who has over 15M social media followers and has done over $60MM in merchandise over the past two years.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
For the past 5 years, I’ve been growing CROSSNET, the fastest-growing backyard game in the world. During the journey, I’ve encountered countless athletes, and influencers and have had hundreds of product ideas come to mind.
One day, our team connected with Danny and his manager, Stefan Toler. We couldn’t get something to work for CROSSNET, but had a bigger idea to create a brand new company. No better combination than creating a new games company with Danny, who is a social media rockstar that has the perfect demographic to fit: followers being mainly males from ages 16-30, and his content being comedy/sport-based.
Paying influencers is harder than ever unless the influencer has an active community/following, which is rare to find for the right price nowadays. We want to keep CAC cost down, no better than doing it with Danny when he can be our marketing engine.
We just launched the business, but are stoked to see the growth over the coming years; Good Sport is already lined up in retail across the country in 2023 with our lead product SmashNet.
Take us through the process of building the first version of your product.
We first started building SmashNet during the summer of 2021. Creating it has been more challenging than we thought. Sample after sample, fix after fix, we finally had something we felt really good about. Our team is still working around the clock to make changes to the current model we have, as we will always aim to improve gameplay for each of our products.
The fun (and not so fun) thing about once you have the game finalized is making the rules. Making the rules for a brand new sport is not something most people will do in their life and is more challenging than one may think. Constantly having to work out kinks with trial games, get constructive feedback from friends and family, and mirroring rules from other sports will get the job done.
The team and I have hundreds of games on the drawing board that we can’t wait to share with the world.
One thing I’ve learned about running my warehouse for years is DON’T DO IT. Unless you’re an expert at it, of course. Running our warehouse was always another entire business that we had to worry about every day. My team should wake up everyday with one goal in mind… selling.
Describe the process of launching the business.
We wanted to launch with three products, Backyard Pong, Bubble Bash, and SmashNet. SmashNet is our main “hero” SKU that we can build a brand around.
Every quarter we are looking to release new products/categories and bring them to market. Some products may only be limited for the first few runs.
Building our website was fun as I got to be hands-on with my vision. The idea of the website was to stand out, be trendy, and have a color scheme that pops. You will see that if you head over to the website.
Good Sport currently has a handful of investors who are in the founders’ close circle. We’re glad we kept it close like this, as each investor brings their value to the table if we ever were to utilize them.
The biggest lesson learned is that we need to create products that will overcome seasonality. Yeah, sure, we can go sell in Australia in the Winter and Northern America in the summer, but our product line needs to be diverse as we continue to release. All seasons, inside and outside.
We want people to play with Good Sport products out and in. You know, on those rainy and snowy days!
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Good organic social content will always attract customers. We try to post high-quality content only, and with our new products that people haven’t seen, they are feed stoppers.
What our team has gotten good at over the past few years is having good email/sms capture and flows. We want our customers to be a part of the journey from when they first see our product on the website.
Right now, the cool thing with Danny on our team, we can do our best to maintain a low CAC as he can be our marketing tool. During the holidays we ran some slight meta ads to test it out which has been successful.
Bringing customers back with a one-trick pony in CROSSNET has been difficult. With Good Sport, it’s going to be much easier after we can constantly release SKU after SKU. These products will all be released on our .com first, then moved to retail and/or Amazon depending on COGS/margins.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
We are looking to be a dominant brick and mortar business starting in 2023, all while maintaining a healthy .com and Amazon business. It will be fun to see where attribution goes as we have Danny directing people to in-store locations as well as the website.
I can’t stay patient enough half the time when I talk about the future products we have coming out. Some innovative products, some products that are in growing sectors of the sports industry that we will be putting our spin on. Our short term goal is to get the brand out there while creating retail connections, while our long term goal will be to have hundreds of products and be a legacy brand for the future kids of the world.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
You can’t predict the future. There will always be something that pops up that will steer you in the wrong direction, but if you have a good team with you, the ship will end up where it needs to be. We wanted to launch before Summer this year, but things out of our control, unfortunately, took place.
Shipping container delays, sample changes, legal delays, etc. As I said, some things are out of your control and the best thing you can do is stay patient and do things at your own pace, there is no need to rush and make mistakes.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
We use Shopify of course, who doesn’t?
Klaviyo, Postscript, Triple Whale, Gorgias, AppStack, are all great to use for your stacks.
We use ShipHero for 3PL fulfillment. One thing I’ve learned about running my warehouse for years is DON’T DO IT. Unless you’re an expert at it of course. Running our warehouse was always another entire business that we had to worry about every day. My team should wake up everyday with one goal in mind…selling.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
As far as influences for Good Sport, there are some definite takeaways from the marketing side that we are looking to accomplish, such as Mr. Beast with Feastibles and their Walmart collaboration.
It’s truly amazing to see how many kids are running to Walmart to buy chocolate bars now. I know the team and I can’t wait until we are doing that with our games and getting kids outdoors again.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
I get this question a lot, but I think the best realist advice I can give you is instead of telling you to “just do it!” or “quit your job” to take advantage of your current situation. Most people are too scared to quit their job or make that leap, and I get it, it’s scary. But if you have an idea, a brand you want to build, or an app you want to launch, you can do it all while having a main job. You need to put in the hours.
Take advantage of the job you’re at. Earn that paycheck and put what you can into the new business you are looking to create. Once you get home from your main job, put in the extra hours. Or most people have a shitty job they hate, most likely online nowadays, so take advantage of that and work on your passion project during work hours until it turns into your main gig.
I also used to be a big video gamer back in the day, the best thing I ever did was turning my video game energy into business energy. I put them down one day and never picked them up again. If you are wondering why you have no time, maybe stop scrolling Instagram, watching Hulu, or playing video games.
Where can we go to learn 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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