Grivet Outdoors is nothing short of an anomaly. Founded by Coleman Whitsitt as a side project run from his home in 2015, the company has experienced growth of an unprecedented variety.
In just seven years, Grivet Outdoors has gone from $100,000 in sales annually to $65 million in 2022.
For any company, 200% growth year after year is undeniably extraordinary, so it should come as no surprise that the man behind Grivet Outdoors is also extraordinary.
“Growing up, [owning a business] was always something I wanted to do. I always had this idea for some reason that every business is run by some super genius; that it was going to be really competitive and hard, and that I may never be able to do it. I don't know where that came from. But certainly, I found that that's not the case.”
It was clear from an early age that Whitsitt was equally creative as he was motivated.
While his fellow high school classmates studied math and science, Coleman Whitsitt studied poker. In the early days of online poker, Whitsitt was determined to ‘win’ the hand, but also focused on developing his strategy.
At the time, he had no idea that what began as a way to save money for college would provide the foundation for his online retail empire.
“I set up an account under my dad's name, and somehow got a free roll. There are these tournaments you can get into for free and win $20. And so I won one of those. I was a senior in high school and quickly had $10,000 on this poker website. I put all the money in my dad’s name and never told him. When I turned 18, I set up my own account, and I just sent it to myself.”
Playing online poker was lucrative, but ever the entrepreneur, Whitsitt had his eye on a new side hustle: dropshipping. So he took some money he’d earned in poker tournaments and slowly began investing it in a brand-new venture.
“I started this on the side and did not really ever expect it to be what it's become. I was just dabbling in it a little bit, buying stuff on clearance, essentially, online.”
He never imagined the outcome would be an eight-figure business with over one hundred employees.
“There were products that were listed on Amazon that were not listed on eBay. And I was essentially recreating all those on eBay. The customer would come on eBay and buy it from us. And we'd go to Amazon and ship it straight to them.”
Cut Out The Middleman
Over time, Whitsitt began seeing the flaws in his early business model and started developing strategies to overcome them, essentially cutting out the middleman altogether.
“I said, ‘Hey, I'm paying Amazon $80 for this product and selling it to this guy on eBay for $83. Why don't I just go to the manufacturer, and say, “Hey, I can buy this from you for 40 and sell it on eBay for 83?” And then I'll make $40 a pop,” he recounts.
Whitsitt’s original software gave him a critical competitive advantage; he used it to find the product categories on eBay with the greatest demand, enabling him to cater to customers’ needs.
“It started to give us opportunities to go to brands and say, ‘We can help you sell more products. Let us show you what we can do,’” he says.
“Early on, it was just one or two small ones and as we proved ourselves to them, we were able to go to bigger brands and replicate that.”
Top Online Seller
Grivet Outdoors is now one of the largest online sellers of some of the hottest outdoor apparel in the country. Brands on Grivet’s roster include The North Face, Hoka One One, Brooks, Patagonia, On Cloud, and so on.
While ingenuity and persistence were some of the building blocks for Grivet’s growth, Whitsitt attributes the brand’s staying power to qualities he holds in the utmost regard: relationships, trust, and performance.
“We have competitors who go into meetings with brands, trying to get the business on Amazon. And they're in a suit and tie. I'm usually wearing a North Face pullover and a pair of Vuori pants. We're just outdoorsmen, like standard, normal regular guys going into these meetings. And it's not about pitching and selling. It's about old-school business.”
Optimizing The Platform
For Grivet Outdoors, business shows no signs of slowing down. On the contrary, as online commerce thrives, Whitsitt finds that the brands he’s partnered with rely more on him than ever.
“Because top-line numbers are important for brands, selling the most they possibly can is a major focus. And so, that's what we're doing. We're accelerating the platform for them, we're optimizing the platform for them.”
Brands that have yet to call upon Coleman Whitsitt’s expertise may need to reach out soon to stay in the game and stay competitive. If Grivet Outdoors’ last seven years have demonstrated anything, the next seven years are bound to be its biggest.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.