Rachel Rice (left) and Amber Arvidson (right) are two of PRx Performance’s heavy hitters when it comes to day-to-day operations.
Unfortunately for many, their sanctuaries of fitness are currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Health clubs across the state of North Dakota were ordered to close by Governor Doug Burgum on March 19 as part of an executive order that also closed bars, restaurants, cafes and other places of large gatherings. Many other states have been forced to put the same restrictions in place, putting one local company on the front lines of delivering people the ability to workout at home.
PRx Performance, a home fitness company that took off after appearing on Shark Tank and getting an investment from Kevin O’Leary, was already experiencing tremendous growth over the last couple of years before seeing an uptick in demand due to the current need for at home exercise equipment. The company, which has been named to the Inc. 5000 fastest growing companies list multiple times, has been so busy filling orders for their exercise equipment lately that they’ve had to shut off the checkout on their website during the day to keep up with demand. The checkout is turned on briefly at noon every day until their daily maximum of 200 units are sold. At the height of demand, the checkout was only on for about 40 seconds each day before the maximum was hit and sales on the site shut back down.
While many retailers would be tempted to sell as many units as possible every single day, PRx Performance CEO Brian Brasch and president Erik Hopperstad quickly realized that setting realistic expectations for customers was the best course of action and agreed that trying to keep shipping times on schedule was their best move.
That sort of commitment to customer service and convenience is one of many factors that has landed PRx in the position of strength it is in currently. As of right now, PRx is experiencing so much demand that they are looking to grow their current staff of 25 employees by 20 as soon as possible.
“A little over a year ago, we bought a building with 20,000 square feet of space and now we’re busting at the seams over there,” said Hopperstad. “Hopefully, if all goes well, we’ll be breaking ground on a 60,000 to 100,000 square foot building this summer.”
Although commitment to customer service and convenience are extremely important to a business’s success, many other businesses also have great attention to detail in these areas without having the success that PRx has had. Because of this, we took a larger look at what makes the PRx team tick.
“The people we’ve hired are typically fitness enthusiasts,” said Brasch. “They wake up early, workout hard, they’re community focused and want better for themselves and their peers. We bring in these amazing people who are ‘all in’ that we don’t need to micromanage. We empower them.”
The PRx leadership team wholeheartedly believes that the type of people they have hired have been extremely influential in the success of their company. VP and the third employee ever hired to the PRx team, Rachel Rice, is a clear example of hiring the right person. During her time with PRx, Rice has worn just about every hat possible at the company, even though she was supposed to only handle the marketing when she came on. Rice has seen the value in this and has tried to apply it in the hiring process.
“We’ve always tried to find people who are a good fit for our culture,” said Rice. “So, not necessarily someone who is excited about the position, but somebody who is really excited to work for PRx. If they’re excited to work for PRx, they’ll pitch in pretty much wherever we need them.” This allows the company to remain flexible while also allowing employees the ability to advance their careers within the company.
The company’s culture even extends to their ‘happy hours’, which, after the last Fed Ex pick-up of the day consists of the employees joking around and “chugging” pre-workout.
2. Unique Retail Tactics
PRx made the intentional decision to ship its unique products directly to the consumer. While many retail businesses nowadays choose to sell their products through the likes of Amazon for the increased exposure, Brasch and Hopperstad believe that one important advantage of going directly to the consumer is the ability to actually own the data that comes along with their sales, allowing them the ability to retarget their market when advertising.
“It’s so efficient to start a business right now and go direct to consumer,” said CEO Brian Brasch. “It’s like everybody wins. The consumer gets the product faster and probably at a better price. It cuts out the middleman.”
Brasch also encourages other businesses to “charge what you’re worth.” PRx used to offer a standard 15 percent discount but sales continued to rise as they cut that discount to 10 percent and 5 percent and finally sales continued to rise when they were charging for shipping. It may seem counterintuitive, but your business can actually help its bottom line this way.
3. Strong Marketing
“Our team is amazing at reaching people,” said Brasch. Prior to the pandemic and the increase in demand for at home fitness equipment, PRx was posting anywhere between 8:1 to 10:1 for Return on Advertising Spend. Now they’re at 30:1 plus. According to a Nielsen study the average is 2.87:1.
“One of the positives of all of this is that a lot of the large advertisers have really pulled back with the pandemic and even stopped,” said Erik Hopperstad. “So, the actual cost to acquire advertising has dropped significantly. If you want to build a brand and have a little extra cash lying around, now is the time to do it.”
Of course, a far-reaching company like PRx advertises in a number of ways, however, Rice says that the company mainly markets through Facebook and Instagram using a healthy mix of cold traffic and retargeting. One of the things the company does best is drive engagement. They’re commonly posting fitness hacks and at home setups sent to them by previous customers on their Instagram account that has 111 thousand followers.
4. The Shark Tank Bump
“We wouldn’t trade the Shark Tank experience for anything,” said Hopperstad. “It’s been amazing to have access to that type of network. Kevin [O’Leary] has been a phenomenal partner for us. He’s such a visionary and such a forward thinker.” Brasch and Hopperstad both went further to say that they would recommend local businesses go for it and try to get on the show. Especially if they can’t figure out the marketing on their own.
Hopperstad and Brasch were featured on an episode of Shark Tank back in 2016. At the time, the show averaged 6 million viewers per episode, making an appearance extremely valuable in its own right. However, an $80,000 investment from “Mr. Wonderful” Kevin O’Leary for a 20 percent stake in the company has taken PRx Performance to the next level.
“PRx is a marketer’s dream. It’s pretty amazing to have a product that nobody else really has,” said Rice. “It’s patented, has a great back story with Shark Tank, and is truly a wonderful solution for space-constrained fitness enthusiasts. As an employee, PRx is pretty amazing too. It’s got great leadership, a ‘we’re all in this together’ attitude, and a really fun culture. While the last couple of months have been stressful, they’ve also been extremely fulfilling and satisfying as we help people retain their sanity in quarantine.”