Curated product discovery experiences.









Finding great fitness products is not easy.

The industry is notorious for its shady advertising tactics and debatably effective products. I was shopping for a product that solved this problem in my natural bodybuilding niche and couldn't find anything even close to what I was looking for. So, I started GymBag with the goal of creating a trustworthy product discovery experience that gave bodybuilders something to look forward to each month.




End-to-end Product Design, Brand Design and Strategy, E-Commerce and Digital Marketing, Web Design & Development




1 year


I founded GymBag in 2015 with the goal of building a business. I never intended to become a designer...


Rapid testing with concept photos

As soon as I hatched the idea, I grabbed the nearest shoebox, filled it with fitness products, and sent pictures to 5-10 of my friends. Without giving any context, I asked what they thought of it. Some thought it was a real product I had purchased. Their reactions were overwhelmingly positive and sufficiently validating: "That's sweet, where did you get that?"


logo & Packaging

Crafting a STRONG brand

Without a proprietary product, brand was crucial to GymBag's success. I couldn't afford to hire a designer so I designed the brand myself. I tested different fonts, colours, and taglines but settled on a simple, flat logo, a slightly blocky font, and a bold orange to communicate trust, athleticism, and sophistication. 'Embrace The Journey' positively enforced a difficult and endless, but worthwhile fitness journey while being a nudge to stay subscribed.


Web Design & CRO

Building trust through design

Selling online as a new business necessitated a trustworthy website, especially since we wanted to be the trusted source for discovering great products in an often shady space. I launched via Cratejoy in 2015 (left) which was the best platform at the time for subscription boxes, but it didn't have a drag-and-drop designer yet, just rigid templates.

With a specific creative vision in my mind, I learned HTML/CSS as I went, (breaking a lot of stuff along the way) ultimately improving the design enough to increase conversions to 2.5%. That was substantial for a brand new business without much social proof, especially as the highest priced subscription in the niche doing organic-only marketing.

Earlier iterations (template)

Later iterations (custom HTML/CSS)

Later iterations (custom HTML/CSS)


insert cards

Creating a delightful and informative unboxing experience

Aside from packaging, the unboxing experience was our main opportunity to turn a service into a product of its own. So, I did my best to create a memorable experience through the use of insert cards. Each primary card included a note from the curator (me) describing the theme, information about each product, and a chance to win a free box by posting yourself with your box on social media, which:
  • Developed a connection with subscribers over time
  • Grew brand by leveraging customer social networks
  • Painted GymBag as a marketing opportunity to other brands: ↓COGS


Marketing Design

Reaching the fitness community with no budget

At the time, fitness enthusiasts were on Instagram and YouTube; brands like GymShark were new and growing explosively. As one guy with no budget, YouTube seemed like an inefficient use of my time (post-Vine/pre-TikTok), so I focused primarily on growing our Instagram presence organically. I repurposed creative for emails, influencer posts, and more. I also leveraged my sunk costs on any leftover boxes and sent these out for free to influencers and bloggers for exposure and back links.



Sold $30,000


Supported by industry-leading partners


Garnered attention from some pretty cool people

CEO @ Sumo | #30 @ Facebook


Encouraged me to keep at it, rather than taking a job at SumoMe.

#1 Brand in the niche


Earned a cease and desist letter for doing a good job marketing concept photos!


250+ Happy Customers Worldwide


An intensive learning experience

Solve a problem you care deeply about —  When I started GymBag, my thought process was simple: I'm interested in fitness and business and I've found a gap in the market so this makes sense to pursue. The missing piece was that I didn't have a strong personal connection to the problem. The valleys of a startup are not for the faint of heart, so be sure to select a problem so motivating that you will be able to continue working at max capacity through the toughest of times.
Ideas are worthless on their own —  Whether or not you have the right idea from the get-go, building it is always going to be 99% of the challenge. Over time, through much trial and error, your solution is going to morph into something completely alien to many of your initial ideas anyway. So, start with a high-level vision, take the leap, and you will figure much of it out along the way.
Be customer-focused  —  Being a fitness person, I naturally connected more with my customers, so talking to them and working to meet their needs came naturally. Solving problems for people you connect with is intrinsically rewarding, and a genuine desire to be of service to them will always yield a better product.