Where will your ambition take you?
This year Shopify, the most popular ecommerce platform of today, partnered with top notch entrepreneur and life coach Tony Robbins to create a contest that would motivate, inspire, and uplift people to maximize their businesses’ potential.
Shopify and Tony Robbins wanted to focus on existing entrepreneurs and see in what capacity they could build an even bigger and better business than they already have. Hence this year’s competition was called “Build a Bigger Business” and was designed to push entrepreneurs to reach higher.
Business owners and merchants from around the world were invited to participate. Provided with specific coaching and mentoring, elite tools and resources, they were given just a few months for their businesses’ growth to be measured in the following categories:
- Highest Total Gross Sales Gain
- Highest Percentage Growth
- Marketing Strategy
- Scale Strategy
- Fan Culture
- Disruption Model
The competition’s enticing opportunities included ringing the New York Stock Exchange’s opening bell and having their business name displayed on the front of the Wall Street façade. Winners will be coached by top strategists such as Jean-François Bouchard and Sid Lee. Perhaps the most thrilling aspect included a journey to Namale Resort in Fiji under the inspiration of Tony Robbins, Debbie Sterling and other world renowned entrepreneurs.
Let’s meet the winners!
Founded in 2012, Gymshark specializes in fitness clothing and accessories for men and women. The company’s goal is to create the best performance wear on the market. Their online community has upwards of 3 million members to stay connected and also to keep family as a main focus.
Highest Percentage Growth: Skinnymixers, founder Nikalene Riddle
Nikalene Riddle, based in Australia, created a line of cookbooks that include healthy recipes, diet tips and better lifestyle choices. She was motivated when she discovered that after having her baby, there was not enough tips to help her get back into shape. Riddle knows the importance of flavor and taste and did not want to sacrifice its importance. Her company now boasts a Facebook community of over 145,000 members and she hopes to take her small business and convert it into a global empire.
Best Marketing Strategy: BestSelf Co., founders Allen Brouwer and Cathryn Lavery
Winners of Shopify’s 2016 Build a Business competition, Best Self Co. was on point when it came to winning the Best Marketing Strategy category for this year. Their business exhibits innovative and effective marketing tools and tactics. Their growth has increased exponentially with just a subtle idea of providing free journals and productivity planners. They are excited to impress Shopify, heed advice from top entrepreneurs and mentors, and make businesses succeed.
Chris Vaccarino noticed that customers don’t like the idea of being sucked into buying a product or, simply put, being sold to. His innovative thought process has allowed the incorporation of numerous influencers, personalities, and role-models to endorse their products and share what they value and enjoy about it. This new concept is called influencer marketing and allows customers to feel more engaged and and connected when choosing their purchases. Vaccarino is excited to take these next steps in building his business and utilizing this earned mentorship to learn more.
Best Fan Culture: Sand Cloud, Founders, Bruno Aschidamini, Steven Ford, and Brandon Leibel
Sand Cloud is a company based in San Diego, which creates handwoven Turkish beach towels. 10% of their net profits are donated to the cause of protecting beaches, oceans, and marine-life.
Their mission to preserve marine life and commit to this moral cause has increased their fan base and earned respect in their community. It has created a sense of adoration amongst customers who prefer to see proceedings benefit the environment. The company founders are thrilled to have taken part in the contest and to reach further achievements through this opportunity.
Michelle Cordeiro Grant created “Leisurée” – a line of lingerie which caters to and speaks specifically to women. Let’s face it – most lingerie was not only created by men but for them as well. Rather than focusing on sex appeal and fashion, Grant wanted to create a product that was healthy, made women feel confident, smart, and outgoing. The business has reached soaring heights, giving women a sense of community and empowerment. Tony Robbins’ top choice hopes to exceed even further and is proud to have accomplished this goal in just 18 months.
Shopify’s Pick: Kindred Bravely, CEO and CoFounder, Deeanne Akerson
Deeanna Akerson, CEO and CoFounder of Kindred Bravely, sought to create a line of luxury maternity and nursing wear for expectant and new mothers. The company was founded in 2015 with a focus on helping those transition from pregnancy to nursing in comfortable and beautiful wear. While the products are tailored to luxurious comfort, Akerson enjoys performing acts of kindness for consumers that don’t necessarily cater to company profits. As Shopify’s Pick for 2017, Akerson is excited to see this turning point in her business and hopes to increase her wisdom, insight, and strategy.
The Disruptor: Knixwear, Founder, Joanna Griffiths
Knixwear is an active intimates brand that includes leakproof performance underwear and an 8-in-1 bra that happened to be the most-funded fashion on Kickstarter in 2015. Joanna Griffiths aims for women to enjoy functional and fashionable intimate wear so that they feel confident and comfortable. Her company uses customers in ads instead of models, fostering a sense of connectedness to everyday women and to demonstrate that she is indeed listening to the consumer audience. Griffiths can’t wait to pick the brains of her all star mentors.
Shopify was grateful to observe companies around the world rise to meet this challenge of growing their businesses with innovation, motivation, hard-work, sweat, and momentum.
“Hunger is that part of you that says, I will not stop, I will not give, I will not settle for less than I can be or do or share or give.” -Tony Robbins