Chill 002

#002 : Dion Roosenbrand @ NZ Muscle

We talk with Dion Roosenbrand – founder and CEO of NZ Muscle – about the company’s growth, risk-taking, the impact of Covid-19, the role of influencers in the marketing arena and how to achieve a good work/life balance.

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Dion Roosenbrand @ NZ Muscle

#002 : NZ Muscle retails high-quality nutritional supplements, health foods, vitamins, weight loss products, clothing, accessories, and sports equipment; all sourced from across the globe and available from a gym, four retail stores located across Auckland, and via an online shop to consumers throughout New Zealand.  The company caters to male and female customers of all shapes and sizes; from the hardcore bodybuilder to the everyday gym-goer, and is proud to be an organic New Zealand retailer.

When Dion Roosenbrand was a student and spending a lot of his time working out at the gym with friends, he realised that there was a limited choice of sports supplements available locally. From sourcing international products for his own personal use, the idea grew that the NZ gym community might also be interested in a better choice of products.  He was right, and the company that he started operating out of his parent’s garage in 2006 has since grown to be the NZ Muscle brand that we know today with four stores across Auckland.

Growth

NZ Muscle has experienced steady growth over the past fourteen years; expanding from a couple of garage shelves where a restricted line of products was stored, to its current position with four retail stores, a gym, and 1,800 square meters of warehouse which is required to supply the huge online market that wants to buy everything that the brand has to offer.   The team too has grown, and their CEO is noticeably proud, describing them as “motivated and passionate individuals” who each have an interest in training, exercise, or supplements.

The company has been sourcing and formulating its own products for a number of years, all of which have recently benefited from a logo refresh, which has further enhanced their visual appeal.  As protein is a consumable commodity, Dion’s buying power increases with large orders which enables him to price his own products more competitively. While there is the potential to wholesale these home-grown products in the future, they will continue to be an exclusive NZ Muscle offering in the medium term.

Four years ago, Dion acquired the Shotgun Supplements brand, which he quickly integrated into the Muscle brand to ensure that all site traffic and customer data was managed efficiently from one central location. The main day-to-day business for all online products is managed from the NZ Muscle website, while bulk orders and special promotions can be found on their WheyDeals sister website.

Dion agrees that the company benefits very much from brand loyalty, which he feels is driven firstly by the quality of the products sold to the niche health and fitness community and also the fact the New Zealanders are extremely proactive in supporting home-grown businesses.  This he intends to build upon in future by broadening Muscle’s online offering and possibly extending delivery to the Australian market.

Covid-19

As was the case for many businesses deemed to be “non-essential,” the company reluctantly had to shut up shop during the Covid-19 lockdown.  When online sales dwindled to zero, Dion responded by marketing a huge online sale with a promise to ship items immediately after lock-down.  This generated much-needed revenue while the brick and mortar shops and gym remained closed and also provided a positive focus for the team when they were able to return to the warehouse.  With the immediate future looking uncertain for retail stores and gyms, the company’s current focus is very much on ecommerce.

Influencers

NZ Muscle promotes its products by regularly exposing the brand to its target audience via influencers who personally use the products and are genuinely passionate about them.  While not entirely quantifiable, Dion feels that this modern marketing approach definitely contributes to revenue by consistently maintaining the brand’s visibility to a wide audience across social media.

Overdose x NZ Muscle

The team at NZ Muscle partnered with Overdose over the last few years to develop an integrated, omnichannel digital offering initially on Magento 1, and subsequently Magento 2 in 2020. NZ Muscle aspires to deliver an intuitive, personalized shopping experience for their disconcerting and loyal customers across channels, whilst continuing to test and refine new innovative ecommerce models, brands, and offerings.

The NZ Muscle site is integrated with Vend for the bidirectional flow of inventory, product, and pricing data, and boasts a handful of selected plugins to aid user experience and accelerate the path to purchase. The site leverages Nosto to produce AI-generated product recommendations with cross-selling and up-selling optimization, advanced search and merchandise capabilities through the implementation of Algolia, and integrated reviews and UGC through Stamped.

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