The Official Barbeller Interview

Change the game is more than an old Jay-z record. Barbeller has made it a part of their mission in the fitness equipment industry. Interested in having a custom bar with your logo on it? Maybe you want to commemorate an event or give a personalized gift.  Time to learn about the company that’s poised to give you what no other barbell manufacturer to date has offered. 

The home gym equipment industry is booming with lots of new companies diving in to produce products specific to the home-based end user. With such a cluttered business landscape, what does Barbeller hope to provide as a Unique Value Proposition to their target market?

Scrolling through other businesses’ websites and products allows you to purchase bars and accessories made for the fittest people alive. The “Mat Fraser” bar, the ‘Katrin Davidsdottir” bar— I want people to be able to design and orchestrate a bar specifically for themselves. We aren’t all games athletes. We aren’t all professionals. What drives you to keep picking up the barbell? What drives you to be a better athlete than you were yesterday? We are allowing people to showcase themselves and their own gyms on their barbells, instead of asking us all to be something we are not.  We are providing people a phenomenal barbell with their own desires, thoughts and logos permanently displayed on their bar!

The idea of a customized barbell makes sense for the individual home gym owner looking for something unique to them. It’s probably the home gym equivalent of an engraved rifle or pistol. But do you envision this as something that a group exercise facility might want to do? Say a garage gym based coaching facility or even a small warehouse gym?

Not only does that make complete sense to me, but on a much higher scale. Let us take a typical crossfit gym, which runs through sub par equipment because it is not taken care of properly, and quite frankly, isn’t the best equipment to begin with. When the owners of those boxes start to showcase their barbells as a branding piece for their gym, people take care of the equipment more, and showcase their boxes dedication to making them a better athlete day by day. If you’re going to buy a beautiful piece of equipment, why not make it a branding tool for your gym as well, regardless of size and domain?

Barbeller meets the needs of athletes regardless of their fitness goalStartups often sponsor athletic events as a way to raise visibility, but the most obvious options for Barbeller seem to be Crossfit competitions, powerlifting meets or strongman events. At the local level, that probably won’t matter much, but the two largest powerlifting feds, USAPL and USPA both have pretty strict requirements when it comes to the weight of their bars.  How can Barbeller convince these potential partners that the engraving process won’t alter the bars so much that they are no longer in spec?

Extensive testing has gone into the process that we use to customize barbells in order to ensure that the weight keeps our bars a standard 15 and 20 kg weight, respectively.  We have proven time and time again that the most altered bars we can possibly manipulate take off fractions of thousands of ounces, keeping them well within the range of where bar weights must be to meet ALL STANDARDS. At best, the weight taken off of these bars can be considered “inconsequential.”

I brought up gun engraving. The gun industry has a rich history of customizing weapons with cerakote. Is that similar to the process you use for your barbells?

John, I would rather not get into the exact specifications of the process we are using to customize bars.  The longer I can keep it out of public knowledge through breaking down details for them, the longer it takes for a major brand like Rogue to pick up something similar.  I hope you understand.

Oh definitely! Your reasoning is sound given what’s happened to other innovators in the fitness industry. They create a breakthrough product and someone like Rogue or Titan comes along and takes the idea.  Because Rogue/Titan et al have a bigger brand identity, people assume that they came upAssorted bars engraved by Barbeller with the idea first.

HOWEVER, we are working with a company right now for a year two rollout of cerakote bars to add color into our bars that we are providing.

The patent process can be grueling. Now that you’re on the other side of it, do you have any lessons learned that you’d care to share with our readers?

Don’t ever trust anyone without a clear-cut signed NDA in front of them, and don’t listen to the first attorney you speak with regarding your product. They all will have different answers. Find the one that works best for you and helps you in your case the most.

Talk about your team members. What were the skills sets you looked for when trying to assemble the group that would help you make Barbeller a reality?

Everyone I work with has extensive knowledge of their department. I am of the opinion that you should do what you are best at, and trust those you have put around you to do what they excel at. I don’t pretend to be a wizard when it comes to graphics and manipulations of files. That’s why I have a gifted art team. I don’t pretend to be the be all end all of marketing strategies, that’s why I have a marketing brander. Stick with what you’re good at, focus on how you can make your product better, and use the team you assemble to excel at what they bring to the table.

Are these people on staff, or do you use a mix of contractors and staff?

There are permanent members of the team accompanied by “specialists” that we utilize in order to make sure all of the behind the scenes stuff works seamlessly. As we expand, I’m sure the need for more permanent roles will expand as well, but for now we like to stay close knit and dedicated to the few that we surround ourselves with.

Barbeller offers bars to fit multiple consumer needsWhat’s the expected average lifespan of your bars?

If properly maintained and taken care of, with cleaning and attention paid to the bars’ wellbeing, we fully expect to see our original bars going to market September 1st being utilized and performing exceptionally ten years from now.

I see that you’ve got Olympic lifting, powerlifting and general purpose bars. What’s the knurling like for your powerlifting bars?

We have developed a new knurling for all bars, which equates to a diamond cut responsive design. The idea was for all bars. You can use them from executing a heavy snatch in a weightlifting session, to a high volume rep count movement in the middle of a Crossfit style wod.

As for the powerlifting bar,  we are using the same design but with a deep cut knurling, perfect for your bench and deadlift high weight sessions.  We expect the community as a whole to be very responsive to the designs we have created.

Are they fairly stiff, IPF style bars?

The powerlifting bars do not have a huge amount of whip, as our olympic lifting bars do. They are designed to resemble more of a full Powerlifting style, squat deadlift bench bar.

This was a fed question. Your powerlifting bar sounds like it might be perfect for a USAPL situation but other feds allow you to use different bars for different lifts. The squat bar with longer sleeves, a thicker diameter, slightly heavier and very stiff, a bench bar with moderate knurling and moderate stiffness, a deadlift bar that’s got slightly more whip. Is this something on the radar for down the road?
Have you explored trying to get your Oly bar approved for USAW competition?

Absolutely! We want to expand into a squat bar, children’s bar, cerakote bars, etc. This is just a beginning of our line that we are proud of, but nowhere close to being satisfied with.Barbeller makes bars for powrlifting, Olympic lifting and general fitness

Describe the ordering process. Do you prefer that customers contact you before ordering so you guys can walk them through the process, or is there a predetermined ordering pathway on your website? Say someone wants a powerlifting bar, do they select powerlifting from the bar options, then go to a screen that guides them through adding whatever they want engraved?

Considering you have never done the process, you nailed it pretty much spot on!

Well, in nearly twenty years of owning a home gym, I’ve done a fair amount of ordering from websites. There are a lot of ways to make it frustrating for consumers and only a few ways to streamline it so WHEN someone screws up during the ordering process, it’s easy to fix on the provider end.

Awesome. We are going to handle it as this: you have uploaded all of your information and graphics. You have inserted any necessary information in, with a box for any detailed information we need to know.  Once you have created your bar, and you have selected purchase, put in your info to make the purchase, and then selected and reviewed your purchase, this is the bar you will be ordering.

That sounds easy enough.

Have you ever designed your own hat? Designed your own pair of Metcons online? Made any custom order to t shirts? the idea is similar. we are finalizing the process for our website that allows you to:

  1. Choose your bar type
  2. Upload your images and graphics directly into a “build your own bar” responsive app, place your images and text where you would like them to be and then
  3. Play a “video” of sorts that allows you to see your bar in its entirety before you hit purchase! Don’t forget to choose the color of your band that is inlaid in the sleeves for the Olympic lifitng “PR Bar” and all around style “Elite Performance Bar”!
 Barbeller promo imageWhat’s the average expected turnaround time on a bar?

If you live in…say….Naples, Florida, and you order a bar on our start date which is September 1, it will ship out to you no later than September 3rd, with estimated delivery time of 5 days.

I’ve learned from engraving products with our logo that in a lot of ways, this is sort of like a tattoo; you had better be sure before you give the go ahead. But, there’s always that guy. So, have you had anyone order a bar and then realize after you’ve started the engraving that they want to change something? How do you handle that?

We love answering questions, will help with graphics, and answer any questions to help you get along with ordering your bar, but once you have uploaded all of your content, it is very much like a tattoo in this term, yes. Be sure, because that’s the bar we are going to build for you!!

Do you engrave bars that people already own? Say someone decides to retire a bar, maybe they’ve bent it— now they want to engrave something on it and hang it on their gym wall. Is that an option?

Because of a multitude of reasons, we have decided to only engrave upon Barbeller bars.  We are of the idea that we want to spread quality barbells that are personalized, not become a barbell personalization company. I know it is a slight difference, but we are set on the fact that our bars will provide extremely well for any and all fitness needs.

Where can people follow Barbeller on social media?

Facebook: Barbeller

Instagram: @officialbarbeller

Youtube: Barbeller or search barbeller in search

Website: www.barbeller.com

You’ve begun adding content to your YouTube channel; what’s the goal for that and what sort of content can people expect to see if they subscribe?

Though Instagram is the medium we choose to post to the most, as we grow, our social media responsibilities will include Facebook and Youtube in order to expand our demographics and numbers.  We want people to see the day to day execution of making your bars, lifting with Barbeller bars, and just what it takes to create a personalized piece for you and your loved ones to lift with.

That social media question is important because essentially you’re giving away content for free to build authority and trust in your brand. The reality is that most of the people who followGreg Taylor founder of Barbeller you on social media never become customers. But if you build enough of a following, people who are inclined to become customers are more likely to trust your brand integrity and buy from you when they’re in the market.
Since each social media platform has a slightly different end user personality profile— people go to YouTube for entertainment and to learn, Snapchat is all about what you’re doing right now, IG is look at this cool thing and more recently a blogging platform. You can’t simply repost everything from Instagram to your Facebook page. How do you plan to adjust what you offer on each platform?

This is all very true and will be a learning game for our crew as well as our social media team. No one wants to see the same things posted on YouTube as Facebook as Instagram, etc.  We will work hard to provide our clients and potential customers a diverse view of what they can expect from our company and what we are doing.

Where can people go to order a bar from you?

Until full website release September 4th, we utilize our Instagram as our primary means of communication with clients. Now they can just go to barbeller.com.

About the author

John Greaves III is a writer based in North Georgia with nearly two decades of experience in training at home. A former amateur kickboxing champion, John now competes recreationally in powerlifting. He takes a physical culture approach to training; believing that strength and health need not be mutually exclusive. In addition to his nonfiction work, John has written two fiction books, A Different Kind of Giant and A Little Lesson in Manners that are available on Amazon.com.

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