Grivet Outdoors has become one of the largest sellers of the cult favorite ‘On Cloud’ shoes in the US, and it all started with Coleman Whitsitt’s side gig back in 2015. Leveraging the underused power of e-commerce, what started as a side job quickly turned into a profitable venture. In their first year, Coleman and the team accumulated over $100,000 worth of sales and grew 300% every year for the next seven years. This past year, Grivet Outdoors reached an impressive $65 million in sales.
While the $65 million in yearly sales is huge, Coleman Whitsitt’s journey from a basement side project to a multi-million dollar company is even more remarkable. This American entrepreneur was living in Mexico at the time, working as a professional online poker player. Despite his initial success in the world of online gaming, Whitsitt soon realized he had a passion for entrepreneurship that he couldn’t ignore.
In 2015, Whitsitt stumbled upon an opportunity that would completely change the course of his life.
“My story started in the basement of my home,” he reflects. “But it has since evolved into something beyond my wildest dreams.”
Initially, Whitsitt started by making online clearance purchases of various products, which he then resold through eBay. However, Whitsitt soon realized that he could purchase products directly from the manufacturer and sell them at a higher price.
“Essentially, I was buying products on clearance for $60 and reselling them on eBay for $80,” he explains. This shift in strategy allowed him to increase his profit margins and expand his business beyond a mere side hustle.
Whitsitt then took the bold step of approaching brands with an offer to increase the number of products they sold on Amazon. “We don’t use my first software anymore. Our new algorithm gives us a distinct advantage over our competitors,” Whitsitt explains. By using an algorithm to determine seasonal opportunities, he was able to identify products that would best meet the needs of his clients, making the sales process much smoother.
While Whitsitt had originally planned to conduct his business solely online, hoping to capture a share of the e-commerce market, he decided to take a step back and reassess his approach. “Everyone was saying that brick-and-mortar retail was dying, but I’m always willing to take risks,” he explains. This willingness to take risks led him to open a traditional brick-and-mortar store, a move that would prove to be instrumental in the growth and success of his company.
Whitsitt was pleasantly surprised by the rapid success of his brick-and-mortar store, which allowed his company to connect with the local community in ways that online sales never could.
“The most rewarding aspect has been the interactions with our community,” he reflects. Since Grivet’s launch in 2019, his innovative approach has earned him collaborations with big brands such as North Face, further cementing his position as a leading entrepreneur in the outdoor industry.
Building on the success of his first store, Whitsitt’s Grivet Outdoors business began expanding its footprint in the retail industry by opening additional stores. In early March, Whitsitt also completed the purchase of one of his brand’s competitors by buying Bink’s Outfitters in Nashville, TN, bringing Grivet’s total store count to seven stores.
“In this business, everything happened unexpectedly,” he remarks. “Despite the fact that we constantly hear that 90% of business ideas fail when things don’t go according to the plan, that has not been the case with my company.” Through his unique approach and unwavering commitment to taking risks, Whitsitt has defied the odds and established himself as a trailblazer in the world of entrepreneurship.
The rapid expansion of his company created an increased demand for employees, and today he has a team of around 100 individuals who share his values of building strong relationships, trust, and achieving excellence in performance.
“We are passionate about providing our customers with quality products that meet their needs while also delivering excellent customer service that is unmatched in our industry,” says Coleman, highlighting the importance of teamwork and collaboration in achieving his company’s goals. “That wouldn’t be possible without the team effort. We all work together with one goal in mind — improve our customers’ experience and the level of service that we provide.”
Coleman Whitsitt’s story is a powerful reminder of the importance of recognizing opportunities and being willing to pivot from one’s original plans. By taking calculated risks and being willing to adapt to changing circumstances, Whitsitt has built a thriving business that continues to expand and reach new heights.
His story demonstrates that anyone can find success in unexpected places and serves as an inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs everywhere, proving that with the right mindset and approach, anything is possible.
“Consistent effort, dedication, and determination are essential, but adding a little risk to that formula can lead to significant growth,” he says. “One more thing. You have to be patient. You have to believe in your idea even when it seems that nothing is going according to plan. After all, the only time when an entrepreneur truly fails is when they give up.”
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