Balancing a first born and a booming business during a pandemic

Ryan and his business partner, Grant.

Ryan and his business partner, Grant. - Credit: Ryan Anthoney

When the UK was plunged into its first lockdown, very few business owners could have predicted the pending hardships. 

Ryan’s Antoney’s travel business, Recharge Travel, was put on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic, but he saw a gap in the market and decided to set up Recharge Fitness with his business partner Grant Polson in April - a venture which has been more successful than they could ever have imagined. 

Ryan and Grant from Recharge Fitness.

Recharge Fitness was founded shortly after the UK entered its first lockdown. - Credit: Ryan Anthoney

Ryan said: "I knew my travel business was going to take a hit. I had to move onto something else, this opportunity presented itself and here we are. 

"In November we sold around three months’ worth of stock in three days. Our online traffic increased 317 per cent compared to an average month.  

"In fact, when the second lockdown was announced, on the morning of October 31, by 10.30am we had already passed our daily sales record." 

With many people furloughed and confined to their homes, there was a huge demand for home gym equipment as many decided to use the lockdown to improve their health and fitness. 

The 33-year-old said: "Me and my business partner, Grant, founded the Recharge Fitness in April - we are the core staff. 

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"The demand has only increased and our team stretches to six at its fullest, including sales and marketing." 

During November, Recharge Fitness broke its record for highest daily, weekend, weekly and monthly sales numbers.  

The companies Instagram account, @Recharge_Fit, has amassed more than 16,000 followers and Ryan plans to release a clothing line for customers. 

Recharge Fitness hoodie

Recharge Fitness' clothing line has proved popular during lockdown. - Credit: Ryan Anthoney

The sudden surge in success has been accompanied by some issues, though.

Notable 'lessons learnt' include a £25,000 stockpile of gym equipment that had to be scrapped due to the quality of the products. 

Ryan said: "We tried a different manufacturer and it did not work - we had to accept the loss because we can only put out quality products we would use ourselves and what our customers expect from us." 

This was coupled with a shipment diverting from its course at the last minute, leaving a cargo container-worth of stock stranded in Rotterdam.

Sandwiched between the blips, though, was the welcome surprise of the brand given a regional gym retailer of the year award. 

Running an ever-expanding business took a backseat when Ryan and his wife Lisa started a family. 

Ryan and his wife

Ryan and his wife, centre, had their first child during lockdown. - Credit: Ryan Anthoney

He said: "My wife and I had our first child during lockdown. 

"I like to think of myself of a capable person.

"To tell the truth; I thought 'this will be a breeze'. But it has been much harder than I expected. 

"The business is getting my attention for four days a week but I also take a whole day off to forget about work and be with my kid. 

“Myself and my wife run a shop called Honey and Ginger in Failand and we are both spinning all these plates at once.

"Lockdown has enabled us to stay at home and spend time as a family." 

Becoming a parent has kept Ryan's feet firmly on the ground as Recharge's numbers continue to rise - though he is aware of the pitfalls that lie in wait. 

He said: "The current level of growth is not sustainable and we expect it to slow down as the pandemic continues. 

"Although, the majority of our growth has come about organically through word of mouth and online posts tagging us. 

"Our latest Christmas deals have gone down well, also. Our customers have created a friendly community filled with people at different stages in their fitness plans." 

Ryan says his positive mindset has helped him to keep going during the challenges. 

He added: “The pandemic started badly for everyone, myself included due to my travel business. 

"It is easy to feel down, to give up, but it is far better to reassess, create a goal, then graft away until it becomes a reality.

"Lots of businesses fail not because they are bad businesses, but because they do not react, or try to adapt."

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