Title Boxing – Startups: Made in Kansas City

Well, it’s a– it’s a pretty big warehouse and I grew up on roller skates so back in the days when we used to have to count our own inventory before we had all these wonderful people to do it for us, I used to roller skate through these places. Ha-ha-ha! Here we are in our Title Boxing headquarters, our warehouse distribution center right here in good Lenexa, Kansas, and think we’re gonna be shippin’ close to 1,000 orders today.   ♪   When we first decided to get in the equipment business you know, David and I bantered around a couple names and there was an apparel brand called Champion and I’m like, “Oh, Champion, you know, you’re a champion, okay,” and I’m like, “Well, in boxing, you win the– you win the title,” and I’m like, “Oh, you win a title belt, yeah, title.” We ran it through, uh– through our trademark attorney and he’s like, “Yeah,” and that’s how we came up with Title Boxing and– I sometimes like to take credit for the name but he’s actually tellin’ the truth. Fortunately, we’re in the position where Title is popular enough to where, if it says “Title”, we can sell it, so our brand is where we want it to be and we continue to come out with more and more apparel, whether it’s warm-ups or jackets or fight shorts, workout shorts. We continue to come out with more stuff, and the old stuff continues to sell, so we’re– we’re in a good spot right now.   I actually started boxing when I was eight years old. I was small for my age, so I wanted to get into something that went by weight. I went to a boxing workout and the first time I walked in, I was just enamored with boxing, and it’s been a passion of mine ever since I was eight years old. My father has a company that sells roller skates, and he’s been in the distribution business of sporting goods since I was ten years old, so I grew up in a warehouse atmosphere and I worked in sporting goods my whole life. I boxed amateur for ten years, won the Golden Gloves a couple times. I got a Golden Glove scholarship. I was able to attend Kansas State University, and graduated from there. When I got out, I always wanted to try and continue doing something with boxing, ’cause it was a passion of mine. We worked together at another sporting goods place and got together and not only did we become friends but we decided, you know, let’s do something on our own, and I think we can do–we can get into this boxing business and be as big as we can. So this is our, um, our Title Boxing Warehouse. We, uh, we started at less than 3,000 square feet. Now we have 165,000 square feet to house 16,000 different SKUs of inventory. So, you know, each one of these spaces, that means we have 16,000 of these within the walls of this warehouse, um, we’ll have over– over $20 million worth of inventory at the present moment. When we started in 1998, the internet was– really didn’t have shopping carts at that time, so the mail-order business was you produced a catalog, you sent it out to a mailing list and crossed your fingers and hope your phone rang to get some orders. We were hopin’, uh– We were hopin’ to be doin’ 20 orders– 20 orders a day, so, um, Tony and I would answer the phones, and then we’d come back, come back to the warehouse and pull ’em and pack ’em ourselves, and now– and now we do– knock on wood, we’ll do 20 orders in a minute. Our goal at the time was you know, we were just hopin’ that the two of us could make a living selling boxing equipment and that was– you know, that was our goal, that was our dream. You know, I heard Dick Vitale once say, you know, he said, “I’m the most blessed guy in the world ’cause I gotta get up every day and do something that I love, and I get to talk about basketball,” and you know, as soon as he said that, I’m like, “Wow,” I mean– It was the same thing for– It was the same thing for me, same thing for David. It’s like, I get to go every day and go to a job I have a passion for and that I love. And I–I’ve never, ever woke up in the morning and regretted saying, “Boy, I have to go to work today.” One of our very first orders was from Don King Productions, gloves for one of his title fights that he ordered from us. We have a very good relationship, we still– we still work with them, you know, on a continual basis and deal with accounts like Top Rank and UFC and, you know, we supply all kinds of big promotion companies, we supply people that are working out in their basement. Our orders can range from two items for $100 to this is, uh, one big order going out overseas, so, um, it’s all over the map, so– It’s a broad spectrum of customers and, you know, there’s, you know, men that are punching a bag in the garage, you know, to world heavyweight champions. We do, uh– We do belts for, you know, everything from professional fights to, you know, here’s one for, uh, Mid-East Athletic Conference Champions, and we customize ’em and put– we’ll put their medallion, we’ll put their logos, put ’em, and… You know, these belts weigh about five pounds and these are the same belts that, you know, world champions receive.   ♪   And one of our claim to fame is we’ve done, uh, a lot of belts for the Green Bay Packers, and they’ve, uh– they do it for, like, the Special Teams Player of the Week or– And we’re almost positive that’s where– That’s where they got the “Discount Double Check”.   ♪ In regards to one of our first customers, Don King, he was famous for ordering last-minute, and we would ship everything next-day air, and it would always make it. There was one time when it was just way too late. He ordered it way too late, and we literally put one of our guys on an airplane with a bag of fight gloves for a huge Pay-Per-View event, and made it in just the nick of time and– He landed and literally got off the plane, got in a cab, walked in to the MGM Grand, holdin’ the bag, walked into the– they were having the weigh-ins, and they always inspect the gloves at weigh-ins, both camps, so– inspect the gloves. He comes walking in with the bag, like, “Oh, that’s perfect timing,” and comin’ in, you know, he puts them out there and– Twenty-year-old guy. We’re back here sweatin’ bullets and, “Oh, no,” you know. We were wait–you know, HBO’s gonna come on tomorrow and say, “Fight’s cancelled, there’s no gloves, there was no gloves for the fight,” you know. How could that happen? It all worked out. Five, four, three, two, and turn it out. Let’s go, pick it up. High knees, high knees. In 2008–actually it was, uh, November of 2007, Tom Lyons came to us with an idea to start Title Boxing Club, and Title Boxing Club sounded like a decent idea. We thought maybe a club could work in Overland Park, Kansas, and said to Tom, “Yeah, let’s try it out.” Our initial goal was to open we didn’t know, maybe three or four in Kansas City, if it could hold that many, or afford that many. I thought one. You may have thought three of four, I thought one. And so we opened up two corporate ones, and then, one of our general managers came to us and said, “Boy, I love this concept, I love this idea. I would like to open up a franchise one.” And so our first probably five or six that opened up were all either members or employees that said, “Boy, this is a great concept, this is awesome. I wanna do this,” you know, and “I wanna do this in Belton, I wanna do this in St. Joe, I wanna do this in Topeka.” Currently, we have, uh, just over 400 Title Boxing Club franchises sold and we just opened our 70th of those 400. And we plan to open about two or three every week for the rest of this year. The great thing about the fitness boxing market, you know, the Title Boxing Clubs is it’s probably about 70 percent women– female members, and for us, that’s been kind of our biggest growth. It’s outside of our box, you know, it’s outside of the amateur boxing, the professional boxing, the, you know, male, man boxing. And so that’s been our biggest growth area is the fitness boxing. People that’ll never get into a ring, they’ll never go into a real boxing gym. They just want to go hit the bag and get the best workout possible. Five, four, three– We never thought, you know, to this day, all we thought about was tomorrow, you know, how do we get 20 orders a day where we can each make a living selling boxing equipment, and so, you know, we never thought about the big picture, we just thought about the process. You know, we never had a victory dinner or celebration dinner, or anything else, it’s always– There’s always someone chasing you, there’s always someone trying to get to the top, so we’ve never looked back, we’ve always looked forward. What can we do tomorrow to get 12 orders instead of 10, what can we do– you know, what can we do on Friday to get 15 orders instead of 13, and so it was always about the process and just– just getting bigger or stronger and better every day. You know, win the day. You know, we just always concentrate on what do we do to equipment to make it different, make it better, make it– you know, make people want it? I guess it would be easy just to say, you know, “Here’s the– here’s the boxing gloves that have been used and popular since, you know, 1925,” and people will still buy ’em, people will still want ’em. Our goal obviously was, you know, how do we make ’em better, how do we get different technologies in there, how do we get something that wasn’t available last year into this year, and so, you know, things like the gel, things like, you know, different linings, different leathers. Used to pretty much be boxing gloves were either black or maroon, you know, we came out–we have blue, we have pink, we have white, we have, you know, all different colors so if, you know, if they make tennis shoes in 85 different colors, why shouldn’t you be able to get equipment in 85 different colors? We do a lot of, uh, custom apparel. Whether it’s amateur boxers or professional boxers, most of what you see, either on ESPN or HBO, has actually, probably gone through our warehouse. You can see a few examples of some of the crazy stuff that we’re capable of. You can get trunks, robes, any colors, any styles, any–any– You know, we put the names on ’em, we do, uh… ♪ You know, we just do– we just do different, um– These were– these were Tony’s when he fought. They called me pretty-boy, so. Yeah, the early advice we got from David’s father was that you’ll never have enough money, and you’ll– it’ll be double the amount of work than you’re expecting. I think he told us– When–he wanted to see our business plan before we started, so we took it to him, we were like, “Oh, here’s a guy that’s been in business for 25 years in the same– you know, sporting”– and he looked at it and he said, “I’ll give you two words of advice: Cut your revenue projections in half, and double your expenses.” And he gave it back to us. And I’m like, “You didn’t even read it,” he’s like, “I don’t need to read it,” so that was, uh, those were true and wise words. We always just– we kept reinvesting in the business, so we never– you know, we skimped on ourselves and just always kept puttin’ all the– all the profit back in, and just kept– kept growin’ it and we never– you know, we never took anything– took anything out, to the detriment of our spouses. You know, working with friends, they typically say, “You shouldn’t really do that.” But he’s been a great partner. We, uh–our very first hire was a friend of ours, again, and he’s still with us. He, uh–he runs our warehouse and, you know, funny story. He asked us, he said his mom’s moving into town, and said, “Hey, is there any way that we could hire my mom?” Tony and I are like, “No, we can’t hire your mom, are you serious?” And sure enough, he talked us into it. She’s still working here, too. Hi, Rita. Hi. She’s been here for, uh, 12 years? Thirteen years. What’s it like working with these crazy guys? Oh, it’s awesome, it’s awesome. Great bosses. We’ve got a great staff here. Started off with those two, I think we have– Our third employee was David’s mother-in-law. Yup. And she still works here. And today, we have, I believe, 105 employees, 110 employees. And so we grew from the two of us to… we’re presently at 110. The first employee we ever hired, I probably didn’t sleep for two nights. You know, when it came to a point where, you know, someone’s utility bill or someone’s car payment was reliant on me to make the business successful, I got a little nervous, but that was one of the key hurdles that we got through when we were starting out.   ♪   He actually still has it. I learned that from Sugar Ray Leonard. Fortunately, we’ve been very blessed, you know. We have a national brand now. But that was never our thing that we were striving for. What we did was, we just said, every day, let’s just get a little better. You know, what– do we need to add new product, do we need to make something, you know, put better technology in it, different foams, different colors, different ideas? So ours was kind of about the process, we never had a big vision or big dream of we’re gonna be this big or be that big. It was just, let’s just get better every day and see where that gets us.   A co-production of KCPT. And Outpost Worldwide: at home in Kansas City.   ♪   Captioned by  

4 thoughts on “Title Boxing – Startups: Made in Kansas City

  1. Honestly good boxing brand! Been using ur gloves, heavy bags, workout clothing n chin up bar since years ago, most importantly you guys are the first big brand that is friendly and willing to serve foreign customers since long long time ago !

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