A story on how Size Up Supplements and Size Up Apparel started. This is our way of introducing our brand and what we're made of.
Long read ahead, you've been warned!
2011 - How Tragedy Became The Game Changer
Back in 2011, while I was in high school, my father’s job in Detroit, MI suddenly got outsourced overseas and he was left with no job. This was when the auto industry crashed and many others who were in the auto industry were left jobless. A few months later, we lost our house because we were not able to make regular payments since my dad was the only one with a Full Time Job.
This led our family to be homeless having to bounce around to relatives houses. To date this was one of the toughest times in my life but also a very big pivotal point. I knew I had to make money to help my family out and get us back in a house but didn't no what to do. and make it fast so I hustled.
Initially I was considering doing what everyone does who needs money fast and sell drugs but the risks outweigh the benefits to me and I knew I was better than that. I took the concept of “Drug Dealing” and started brainstorming ways I could do something similar but legal.
At the time all my friends worked out and were into fitness, this led me to the idea of selling them supplements. Growing up my parents always beat 3 things in my head.
1.Never Give Up.
2. Be your own person.
3. Do what makes you happy.
I was always good at finding deals and making my dollar stretch as much as possible so what I began to do the is find out what supplements each of my friends took and find them at a better price than what they were currently paying. Basically I would buy the product and mark it up accordingly depending on how much they paid previously. Mostly all young kids are all about saving money so for the most part when I told them how much I could get it to them for, they would get more excited than me knowing they would save a few bucks. I went to 2 different high schools and played sports growing up so I had a pretty decent size network of people I could sell to.
However, one thing that always bothered me were the fees associated with the platforms, this is what lead me into creating my own site to sell the supplements (www.sizeupsupplements.com). Initially the site got little to no traffic at all and I almost dropped it but instead I had the idea of putting a postcard with a coupon code in every ebay and amazon order I shipped out that contained a very aggressive deal for the same product on my website which almost forced people to make a purchase from the site next time they needed to re-up on supplements. I also started to run banner ads on various forums and that really seemed to help.
(Top- Size Up OG HeadQuarters at my parents house 2011, Bottom- Size Up Shelby the Day we Got the Keys 2012)
Eventually, it came to the point where I did not have enough space to store all the inventory and started thinking of options. Initially, I was set on getting a storage unit and running everything out of there but after weighing out the Pros and Cons it would have been a burden to do so and all the units that had AC built in costed a fortune.
This lead me to shift my mindset to finding a warehouse but out of luck, the father of one of my classmates from high school had a vacant lot at one of the plazzas he owned that had been vacant for quite some time. He wanted to get someone to move in so he offered me a deal I could not pass up.
Everything was looking good and I was expecting to get the keys in the next few weeks when one morning I got a call from him saying; “Sorry for the bad news but we can't lease the unit out to you, your credit score is nonexistent". At the time I was 19 years old, never had a credit card in my life, paid for everything cash which meant I had no established credit. He told me I could get my parents to co-sign on the lease it should work but what he didn't no was their credit was worse then mine from the foreclosure.
I was pretty beat down over the whole situation and thought it wasn't going to happen anymore. That's when Kristjan came along - Kristjan was one of my good friends at the time. We both transferred to a new high school at the same time and both played football so we shared some common traits.
I used to drive Kristjan home from Football practice everyday since at the time he did not have his driver's license then. After High School we both initially tried the whole “College” thing but that didn't last long. Kristjan knew all about my dreams an visions and saw the position I was in.
Being the great person he is, as a last resort he offered to put the lease in his name since he had established credit and proof of income. One month later I got the keys. Size Up Supplements would of never became what it was today if it wasn't for Kristjan doing this.
At first I only planned on having the space for the online orders and for local friends/customers to pick up their orders so I did not have to drive around and deliver anymore. The space had no sign or store hours. What started happening was when I would leave for food or whatever I had to do for the day people would leave notes on the door saying we needed to have set hours and such. I didn't consider this before because I didn't want to work there 7 days a week at all times but eventually after numerous notes and emails I said screw it and announced we would be open to the public. I moved an old couch I had to the back room, bought a fridge and microwave and ended up moving in and living there. I gave my car to my mom at the time since I was there 7 days a week and everything I needed was within walking distance. The Shelby Location is right in front of a Life Time Fitness so I would shower and freshen up there whenever I needed to.
The first few months were rough. I would see a few people all day if I was lucky. However I always tried to keep a positive mindset and never stopped believing. I eventually decided to have a “Grand Opening” which was a way to show people there was a new local supplement store.
It was announced that any customer who came that day was given the now called “Size Up OG Tee” a Size Up shaker cup, Size Up Sticker and samples provided by companies I sold. Not thinking much of it I thought maybe I would get 25-50 people all day, majority of them being friends or current customers.
The day of the “Grand Opening” I remember waking up at 8:30 to go to the bathroom and there was already a line of people at the door waiting for the store to open at 10. I was shocked.
The day ended up finishing up with 310 total customers with a line out the door almost all day long, that was the turning point for Size Up. This is also when I hired my first employee Eric, another friend who was a hard worker with a good heart.
The Start of a New Era
The days following I got a steady flow of new customers saying they saw half there gym wearing a Size Up shirt and wanted to see what all the hype was about. I continued giving all customers who made a purchase a Free Size Up shirt for the next 3 or 4 months. To this day this is one of the main reason why I believe I was getting the traffic I was getting.
it was Free stuff makes people happy, very happy so how can I do something to make it work out for both of us and I came to conclusion that a Free shirt was my best option. In my opinion when someone is wearing a Size Up shirt they are a walking billboard everywhere they go.
If enough walking billboards are out there, it will cause hype and curiosity to customers who don’t know about the company already and to top it off, whenever I gave them a shirt they acted like I was giving them a bar of gold. This lead them to telling their friends and family how cool and different Size Up was. At the 8th month mark I was doing almost the same amount in store as I was online in sales which lead me to opening my second Michigan location- Size Up Supplements of Auburn Hills. After Auburn Hills came Chesterfield, MI. Fast forward to now and there are 8 Size Up Supplements in 3 different states with a total of 24 employees. A lot has changed since the OG days but the vision and mindset has remained the same. I don't get to spend as much time at the storefronts as I used to because of all the backend work that needs to get done but my childhood friend Len took over the reins to focus on the store’s growth and employee relationships. Me and Len played basketball together going all the way back to Kindergarten. We lost touch for a few years but when we reunited it was like we never missed a beat and we picked up where we left off. Len managed a chain of corporate supplement stores in our area for a few years but after they all closed down I got him to come join the Size Up Family..
I am beyond thankful for what everyone has done for me in helping Size Up grow. As much as I obsess with work most of the time, I truly feel like I haven't worked a day in my life. I am thankful I get to go to work and genuinely be happy with what I do and who I'm around.Family
Also, a girlfriend who supports my dreams and ambitions, not giving me a hard time waking up at 7am every morning and working until 11pm everyday throughout the week. I've got to meet some beautiful people all across the world over the years who I never would have got to get so close with if it wasn't for Size Up. 641146
I'm thankful for all the times it didn't come easy. And thankful for the ability to find and create new barriers because really, great things never come easy.
I'm thankful for the people I call my friends and family today because without them none of this would be possible and more importantly this journey would not have been what it is without them.
My journey is still continuing and it's not going to end any time soon! I can't imagine doing anything and be as passionate or happy as I am with what I do now.
Thank you to everyone who supported Size Up over the years form the bottom of my heart I love you all 🙌