News, Culture & Society

How two mates built up Brisbane $27million active wear company from a desk in their spare bedroom

Don’t reward yourself too soon and remember it’s not a typical 9 to 5: Best friends who built a $27million-a-year activewear brand out of a spare bedroom share their best tips for building a successful company

  • Two friends have built $27million activewear company from scratch from a desk 
  • Began packing orders from home back in 2016 but now hire more than 100 staff 
  • During Black Friday sales alone clothing retailer turned over almost $10million  

Two friends built a multi-million dollar activewear company from scratch after they started selling gym clothing from a spare bedroom – and have given their tips to other Australians starting a business.

Mates Nathaniel Anthony and Chris Anastasi turned Muscle Nation into one of Australia’s biggest retail brands – earning $27million in the past financial year alone.

The pair started packing orders from Mr Anastasi’s home desk in 2016 but now boast a 1,700sqm facility in suburban Brisbane and a client base of more than 300 outlets in Australia and New Zealand.

During the Black Friday sales last year, the retailer turned over almost $10million as they dispatched 300,000 items across 50,000 orders in one day.

Mates Nathaniel Anthony and Chris Anastasi (left and right) have turned Muscle Nation into one of Australia’s biggest retail brands after starting out selling activewear from a spare bedroom

The pair have given their top tips to budding entrepreneurs trying to emulate their success

The pair have given their top tips to budding entrepreneurs trying to emulate their success 

Mr Anthony (right) said the key to their brand when they first launched was creating a community of gym-goers under one name. He is pictured at the company's Brisbane warehouse

Mr Anthony (right) said the key to their brand when they first launched was creating a community of gym-goers under one name. He is pictured at the company’s Brisbane warehouse

What was once a two-man operation now employs more than 100 staff and operates around the clock at their Tingalpa packing centre.

Last year, their sales tripled as their social media reach grew to two million followers.

Mr Anthony said the brand was launched to help build a community of gym-goers under one name.

‘When we launched Muscle Nation it wasn’t just about being a fashion, activewear or supplements brand,’ he said. 

‘We wanted to build a brand that could connect a community of like-minded people who are passionate about the same goals, and who uplift and support one another.’

The co-founders shared with Daily Mail Australia their key advice to budding entrepreneurs keen to emulate their success.

Mr Anastasi said it was important for those launching a startup not to expect a big salary in the early days.

‘Don’t be tempted to reward yourself too soon. Understand that building long-term foundations requires financial sacrifice,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

‘Investing smartly in maintaining and stabilising your business works in hand with investing for the future and growth.’

After starting out with humble beginnings, Mr Anthony and Mr Anastasi now employ more than 100 staff

After starting out with humble beginnings, Mr Anthony and Mr Anastasi now employ more than 100 staff 

CO-FOUNDERS’ TIPS FOR OTHERS ENTREPRENEURS  

Focus on your own personal development:  

‘You might not have the money at the start to hire people to do your marketing, graphics, videos, and so much more, but you will need to learn as many skills as possible to add to your workload so you are able to invest money in other areas,’ Chris Anastasi said.

Build a customer base who are with you for the ride:

‘Focus on building a community instead of focusing on just selling a product. It takes a lot of time, effort & money to create a community of people who will trust you and support your vision,’ Nathaniel Anthony said. 

Live lean at first:

‘Understand that building long term foundations requires financial sacrifice. Investing smartly in maintaining and stabilising your business works in hand with investing for the future and growth,’ Chris Anastasi said.

The business needs to be your passion:

‘Fascinate over the idea, the project, the prospect, you need to really go all in and understand it’s not just a job, or a 9-5 vibe,’ Chris Anastasi said.

‘Starting and running a business is like having a needy baby, which doesn’t grow up, but it definitely makes the heart happy.’

Effectiveness over efficiency:

‘Efficient vs Effective… being efficient without being effective sometimes is the default,’ Chris Anastasi said.

‘Try to change that, effectiveness is doing the things that get you closer to your goals. 

‘I read this in a book, and it stuck with me. I would also recommend taking the time to read personal development books (or audiobooks).

‘It’s something I personally did a lot before I started my business, and only a few years later, started again. I highlight key things which I read, and at times refer back to them.’

He added starting a business consumed much of his life and didn’t recommend it to those who wanted the lifestyle of a standard office worker.

‘Fascinate over the idea, the project, the prospect, you need to really go all in and understand it’s not just a job, or a 9-5 vibe,’ he said.

‘Starting and running a business is like having a needy baby, which doesn’t grow up, but it definitely makes the heart happy.’

Muscle Nation has also teamed up with influential champion bodybuilder Hattie Boydle to increase brand awareness. 

The pair regularly pose with expensive cars on their Instagram pages. Mr Anastasi is pictured with his Lamborghini Huracan EVO - which markets in Australia for approximately $450,000

The pair regularly pose with expensive cars on their Instagram pages. Mr Anastasi is pictured with his Lamborghini Huracan EVO – which markets in Australia for approximately $450,000

Muscle Nation teamed up with champion bodybuilder Hattie Boydle to increase brand awareness

Muscle Nation teamed up with champion bodybuilder Hattie Boydle to increase brand awareness

Last month, the company announced its expansion into sustainable activewear in collaboration with the fashion identity.

Included in the new clothing line are bike shorts, sports bras, and mesh crop tops.

The apparel is made from at least 75 per cent recycled polyester from consumer waste like plastic bottles.

Muscle Nation also distributes to their customer-base – most of whom are in the female 21-35 age bracket – from a warehouse that is almost completely digitised to reduce paper waste. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk