Welcome to the first blog entry of GORNATION. My name is Phil and I'm the founder of probably the best and truest calisthenics and street workout brand worldwide. ;)
What makes calisthenics the best sport in the world? Why does it change so many lifes and how can we make this sport big and available to everyone? These are the questions we began with. Truth be told, we didn't have all the answers and still don't have them today. But what makes calisthenics and street workout big is not just moving your body outside and then go home and live a normal life. It's the lifestyle and the mindset to live every day with.
In the end of 2015 my workout partner Daniel and me started to think about building a calisthenics brand during every workout. I still remember us in the dark park every night where there was no light and it was raining or snowing mostly in winter. Between the sets we collected ideas and made plans how and when we can start to make calisthenics big through a brand that unites every athlete and is not about hate between the different groups and parties. We decided to do one thing: release the first calisthenics calendar. We contacted many famous and strong athletes like Vadym Oleynik, Melanie Driessen and Philippe Scofield if they could send us photos of them. We built a calendar out of it and a website to offer it. We made several mistakes that let our costs explode. Additionally we didn't sell well because we had no experience in selling and no were to late in the year for a calendar for 2016.
We lost a lot of money and time doing this project and in March 2016 Daniel decided to quit. He had not enough time to put in the business and we both knew that it needed a lot of time to become big. I was student and hated my studies so I had a lot of time for it and invested every second. With a small broken heart we separated and I continued The project GORNATION alone. I always knew that it will be worth it. Always.
The GORNATION logo was my idea in one night where we needed a logo that was not like all the big groups' logos like Baristi or Barstarzz. It was created spontaneously but it represented the back of a calisthenics athlete. Big upper back and a small waist. GORNATION means GORilla NATION and was named after our favourite animal that represents the sport. It is a social, strong and peaceful animal. Not like many brands use it as a brutal animal. We saw the real nature of Gorillas and also their natural movements have similarities with our sport. Like this, everything was set.
2016 was a really difficult year but I learned so much during this period where I got so much help from people inwards and outwards of the street workout and calisthenics scene. I found an amazing t-shirt printer next to my city who had a special printing method which we still use today. He gave me his expertise and the whole team who usually works for but big companies gave 100% to support my vision. With Daniel I still designed the "Never Give Up Only Pull Up" design and selected the shirt to print it on. Also the support from athletes like Ivan Markioli, Hannibal 4 King and Melanie Driessen. They all wore my shirts and I was so proud to see that. It was a big thing for my 20 year old me and still is. Also without my friends from school I would have not been able to start that easily. They preordered the first shirts without having seen them and gave me the security to start off with a small shirt order. Also groups like "Main Calisthenics" from Germany or the "Goal Trainers" from the Netherlands supported me so much and gave me the possibility to print their team clothing.
2016 consisted about giving shirts away, spending money for advertisements, connecting with athletes and reinvesting because I didn't make any profits. 2017 had to be different. I knew it. A good friend of mine, another Daniel told me at new year's eve: "Philipp, stop thinking small, small and start thinking BIG now!".
In the beginning of 2017 two beautiful people came into my life that changed everything. My girlfriend Lissi and my old classmate from school, Henning decided to join this adventure and make my vision their vision and then reality. The first impacts of Lissi were that we suddenly were structured and we had a working tax system. She stopped the small business registration that I had and made it a regular one. A big step for me. Also she decided to call the organisators of the FIBO, the biggest fitness exposition at the moment and connected us to Barzflex from Austria, who organized the calisthenics competition this year. And all of a sudden, also thanks to Floh from Barzflex, we had a small edge of the calisthenics booth at the FIBO. I never thought this was possible so quickly. From there we got invitations to other expositions and competitions to represent our lifestyle with our shirts.
Henning joined just before the FIBO and took the role of the head of design. He designed so many cool things we use every day, made and still makes the nicest calisthenics videos I know personally and puts every second of his spare time at the computer in our project. With these two crazy and smart heads I knew that it's possible to build something big.
And here we are, end of 2017, with sometimes more revenue through the online shop on one day than two months combined when these two weren't in the team. Still, there are challenges. Even bigger challenges than before but now I know that I have two people who give 100% for our mission and who "Never Give Up Only Pull Up".
Since there are too many people that were and still are important for the brand I will stop here and continue with another blog entry. I hope you like it and I'm looking forward to your reactions. What is something that would interest you? You're welcome to send me your questions. Thanks for reading this long text and have a great day! And don't forget: Never Give Up Only Pull Up!