Smart50 Retail Champion Award winner: Muscle Nation

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Co-founders Chris Anastasi and Nathaniel Anthony have come a long way since they launched Muscle Nation in 2016, packing orders from Anthony’s grandmother’s house in Brisbane.

Fast forward five years and the gym apparel and supplements business has recorded $51.3 million in revenue in the 12 months to July 2021.

But it’s not only Muscle Nation’s rapid growth in sales that has earned it the top spot in the Retail Champion category. It also comes down to the founders’ ability to build such a strong social media community around their brand.

“We have an online community of over two million like-minded people who are passionate about health and fitness,” the founders said.

Muscle Nation’s focus on social media is inseparable from its commitment to offering high quality customer service.

The business has a dedicated social media team that responds to every comment and direct message across its platforms.

There’s also a ‘members only’ Facebook page that has 25,700 members.

“We have a team of eight people who sift through threads and respond to members, and we often make improvements to products or offerings based on what people suggest,” the founders said.

Muscle Nation sells gym wear and supplements via its online store and through a range of stockists. It ships to over 150 countries worldwide, and recently began selling protein food products in Coles.

Since July, Coles has stocked Muscle Nation’s custard protein bars and powders in 833 stores nation-wide. And the founders are already in talks with more supermarket chains, service stations and chemists for national deals with Muscle Nation products.

Expanding the supplement range is one of many projects the founders are currently working on; they’re also busy creating more activewear products, ahead of finalising a deal for their $8 million dollar headquarters in Brisbane.

The Smart50 judges were impressed by Muscle Nation’s understanding of its customers, with one judge saying the fast-growing business “puts its customers in the front seat” by using their feedback to develop new products.

Another judge said the business shows a genuine interest in their customers, which has helped it build a “highly engaged” community.

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