Starting a Jiu Jitsu Brand; How we started a pandemic-proof business for the price of a sandwich and coffee!

Posted by Surya Sharma on

Hi! Thanks for checking us out. My name is Marc, I am the founder of Nation Athletic. I love martial arts, especially Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

bjj brand build a jiu jitsu apparel brand | Nation Athletic   

You Have to Have Passion:

I will never be great at Jiu Jitsu, years ago I had an some health complications leaving me with metal plates in my neck and a full titanium hip. Nonetheless my passion for the art and all it has given me is second to-none.

I knew I had to find a way to stay involved with the community even if my body would not allow me to train as much as I used to. That's why I started Nation Athletic during the pandemic after, like many of us, I was laid off.

During my unemployment I used every spare penny from my unemployment check to get started. I ate rice and beans for months and worked 10 hours daily to get the business foundations down during my unemployment. Then found another corporate job in the middle of the pandemic. Worked 8am-7pm for them, then 7am-1am for me daily.

bjj brand build a jiu jitsu apparel brand | Nation Athletic

Self Learning is Power:

With next to no start up capital or support system there were so many areas of the business that needed developing. I soon learnt I could not afford things like designers or marketing agencies which often charge $1000s. So the early days developing these foundational areas were daunting. 

The one resource I did have was time. While locked up on our tiny NYC apartment I became a crazed animal spending hours self learning what I saw to be the two key building blocks for any new ecommerce business, digital design and Facebook Ads.

After around one and a half years of tinkering with a very small budget of $5 a day I saw the ads getting some traction and the designs started to come together so felt ready to invest in our first 'real' drop.

bjj brand build a jiu jitsu apparel brand | Nation Athletic

Small Sacrifices Add Up:

To fund the brand I stopped buying lunches and Starbucks at work. Saved around $4000 over the course of a year to pump back into the business and buy our first drop. This drop later turned out to be our most popular style, every $1 we made from the drop went right back to development.

bjj brand build a jiu jitsu apparel brand | Nation Athletic

I am now finally starting to see the vision coming to life, and it’s all because of some hard work and the support of every customer and athlete! The motivation is the love of the sport and desire to build a better nation!

I am always happy to chat business and nerd out over the numbers and strategy so don't hesitate to reach out if any of this has been helpful and you want to know more.

Roll on my dudes and dudets!

bjj brand build a jiu jitsu apparel brand | Nation Athletic