Meet the Man Behind the Gainz Box: Helping CrossFit Entrepreneurs since 2015
In 2014, as he frequented the local CrossFit competition scene in the Orange County area, Brian Ellis noticed a trend: There were tons of small entrepreneurs in the CrossFit space, and CrossFit athletes were eager to try whatever they had to offer.
Ellis remembers people going from tent-to-tent in vendor villages buying wrist wraps, supplements, protein bars, whatever they thought might help their performance. That’s when he had the idea for Gainz Box.
- “At that time I was subscribed to a men’s clothing subscription box…and I thought, ‘Why isn’t there a fitness subscription box out there?’” he remembers asking himself.
So Ellis took it upon himself to create a fitness subscription box for the functional fitness athlete—Gainz Box—a company that quickly gained 2,000 subscribers in 2015, and by 2018 they had 8,000 subscribers.
Today, Ellis runs Gainz Box—a company with almost 100,000 followers on Instagram—with his wife Christina Ellis, and their boxes cater not only to the CrossFit athlete, but also to fitness enthusiasts in general.
What is Gainz Box?
Once a quarter, those who subscribe to Gainz Box receive a box with various fitness-related products, between seven and 20 items that are worth more than double the cost of the box. More specifically, a piece of apparel, some kind of equipment, an accessory, a wellness product, a supplement, and some healthy snacks are found in each box, Ellis explained.
While there are other subscription boxes on the market today, what set Gainz Box apart is that each box is curated to the unique individual, so instead of getting a generic unisex large as is often the case with other boxes, Gainz Box keeps a record of the subscriber’s top and bottom size, so the apparel is always sure to fit.
Further, Ellis takes his time to pick out the right companies, companies he knows his subscribers will embrace, which is especially true when it comes to apparel.
- “We are going to have a piece of apparel that you want to wear at the gym,” he said emphatically.
An Entrepreneur Helping Entrepreneurs
Ellis is passionate about introducing CrossFit athletes to new brands and products, but he is even more passionate about helping entrepreneurs build their brands in the fitness space.
This is why he switched his company from a monthly box to a quarterly box a few years ago. When he did, he lost some subscribers, but Ellis knew it was the right decision because “now I had 90 days to promote all these companies,” he said, adding that it has helped him “elevate” each company he works with a lot more effectively than when he put out a box each month.
Through the years, he has worked with big brands such as Reebok and Nike, but Ellis gets particularly excited when he brings on a brand that is just starting out in the fitness space, or a brand that is established but wants to move into the fitness space, such as the men’s underwear company Ethika. They were included in one of his Gainz boxes after they released a new line of underwear designed for fitness enthusiasts.
- “We like to put in brands that are just starting out. That’s something I take pride in as an entrepreneur myself. I want to be able to have somebody who started making wrist wraps in their garage to get in the box and get exposure and that’s what we offer,” he said.
After all, that’s how he started out: Packing and shipping his first Gainz Box out of his friend’s garage. Eventually, Ellis moved his company into a warehouse, and then a bigger warehouse, but today he operates out of a fulfillment center in Chicago and keeps a small warehouse in Orange County.
The Big Picture
Ultimately Ellis feels he is doing for other entrepreneurs what CrossFit and the CrossFit community has done for him since Day 1: provide an opportunity to grow and build his brand and business.
- “Similar to how fellow CrossFitters root you on in class, I’ve had the CrossFit community and business owners root me on, provide me advice, provide me great deals and just help out in general,” Ellis said.
It’s why he’s still around after eight years in business, and why he’s able to continue doing what he does: provide athletes and fitness businesses the Gainz they’re looking for.
This quarter’s Gainz Box—the Fitness Frontier Edition—is on sale now until December 31. It includes a full set of The Barbell Cartel joggers, a custom Gainz shaker bottle, a speed rope from Crossrope and features some new brands CrossFit athletes have likely never heard of. For a 45 percent discount off the box, use code MCU45.