One Year of Juiced BJJ

One year ago (and some change) I started Juiced BJJ (https://juicedbjj.com) with the goal of being able to pay for the store’s initial costs which at the time was a Shopify subscription ($350/yr), product design and manufacturing costs. Shopify was running a promotion at the time offering 3 months for $1/month which gave me the confidence to take that first leap on the store.

Quick background: Juiced BJJ is an ecommerce store selling jiu jitsu themed t-shirts and rashguards. What sets Juiced apart is the focus on graphics, higher quality materials and that it is Australian owned and operated. I have spent over a decade in the sport, know the community and it’s needs well. Now I am making the gear that I would want to buy.

My plan was and remains to keep costs low particularly around stock. I wanted to make sure I did not over purchase since I have seen people close out a brand idea and have their garage filled with old stock for years. When finding suppliers I was very picky after purchasing from other micro brands who send products that tear, are too tight in the seams or my least favourite was one that made rashguards out of wetsuit material, trapping sweat inside the rashguard and leading to the grossest change room experience of my life as the sweat flooded onto the ground. People are taking a chance by supporting Juiced BJJ and I want to make sure their experience is a good one.

The hardest part of this project has been learning digital marketing particularly Facebook/Instagram ads and social media in general. I don’t post much on my own social accounts and never have so there has been a steep learning curve in brand building including new habits like posting regularly and figuring out what lands with my audience.

I have had good success with Instagram reels with several landing in the 15,000 – 20,000 view range with thousands of likes. Unsurprisingly this engagement has not seen a notable increase in sales, I suspect this is because the algorithm is pushing the content to people in the same demographic (BJJ practitioners) but not those looking to purchase or even in Australia. I had a couple of absolute bangers (+30,000 views/likes) that saw zero additional customers.

When it came to setting up my campaigns I have tried to leverage what I picked up working in agencies for so long. I have sufficiently narrowed my audience to deep dive into jiu jitsu practitioners with interests in the style of brand and products I have. I originally advertised only in Melbourne and Sydney since I believed that was the biggest market, I expanded the range to include Adelaide and Brisbane shortly afterwards but the biggest bump in sales has come from Western Australia and Queensland (outside of Brisbane) which I suspect is related to the free shipping on all orders that Juiced BJJ offers as typically sending packages to remote areas in Australia costs more than the capital cities.

A decision I made about 6 months in was to get proper product photos taken. I had photos that I had taken of the products myself and some that customers, friends and my wife had shared but nothing that looked professional enough to draw customers. I hired a photographer from Airtasker, asked two friends to be models and we took some photos on a Sunday afternoon. I feel that these photos levelled up the website’s content, Instagram and advertising. This felt like a big investment at the time but has already paid itself off in terms of sales and content for marketing collateral.

There have been a few product decisions I have made that were very successful such offering Bundles. A Juiced BJJ bundle includes a t-shirt and rashguard for a ~15% discount. The idea worked well and bundles are the second most popular product on my site since launch. I initially set bundles to be two of the same designs e.g. Juiced character rashguard and Juiced character t-shirt but then expanded the offer to be a mix-and-match of any design t-shirt/rashguard combination.

The second interesting product idea that I have started but not yet been able to implement is the “Downsize Discount”. This discount is for anyone that purchases a product then loses enough weight that they no longer fit into the product, if they reach out to me I will give them a 10% discount on a purchase of the same product in a lower size. The brand is so new that I don’t think customers are able to take advantage of this yet but I hope people are able to use it in the future.

I found very strong community support after starting Juiced BJJ and the people following the brand are believers who love the fun aspect of the brand while taking their jiu jitsu journey seriously. The mission and values of the company are my own values and things that I deeply believe in. Jiu jitsu should be fun, we should enjoy ourselves and having a good time can include competing at all levels of the sport. Every week or so, I receive a message from someone who discovers the brand on Instagram and tells me that they love what I’m doing, it’s a really interesting and rewarding thing to have happen.

You can hear me talk about my own jiu jitsu journey including Juiced BJJ on the Roll or Die podcast.

Going Forward

I am happy to say that Juiced reached it’s goal of paying down the website costs and initial product costs. The brand is not profitable at this stage and the goal now is to focus on marketing efficiency, growing audience channels and increasing the conversion rate.

Will I do it for another year? Yes.

I have set new goals going into this year, the first is that I believe it is possible to see a 100% increase in revenue through brand development and marketing efficiency. I have updated my inventory so the same six SKUs have a deeper count which will prevent out-of-stock events that caused issues last year. Selling this current amount of inventory over the next 12 months while reducing ad-spend should bring the brand to profitability.

My goal for this business is not necessarily to have the largest brand in the world and make millions but what I do want to develop is an independent source of income and explore different brand concepts, marketing and ecommerce strategies that I am not always able to do at work or through consulting. It would be a dream to work on Juiced full time but we are many years away from that. I am not spending hours and hours working on Juiced BJJ which allows me to be present for my family, hobbies and my actual job.

A longer term goal in the 3-5 year range is that Juiced could run itself and I can hire experts particularly in marketing. It has been interesting to develop my skills and something I continue to enjoy but my passion in this business is the product and technology. I am passionate about the product and enjoy the creativity of design.

I have my goals for 2024 and am set up to take the business further. Running an apparel company has been difficult with many learnings. If this project fails I will still come away with a lot of learning.

If you are interested in following my journey you can subscribe to my blog and YouTube channel. My other links are available on My Linktree and you can check out the Juiced BJJ Website.

0 Shares:
You May Also Like
Title card for blog article
Read More

Give Juniors a Shot

I’ve been going through a pretty big hiring process at work lately, it’s not the first time I’ve…
Read More

Playing the Right Game

In jiu jitsu there’s a training method called positional sparring, sometimes called specific training. These two names refer…