FitDeck – where it all began
FitDeck was created in 2005 by Phil Black from San Diego, California, an entrepreneur who had a love for fitness. Phil had a very varied and interesting career before he created this brand. He graduated from both Yale University and Harvard Business School. He was a Navy SEAL, a firefighter and a Goldman Sachs investment banker. Further to those qualifications he trained as a certified fitness instructor as well being a motivational speaker, and that was just in his professional life. In his home life, he’s a loving husband as well as father to four boys – no mean feat in itself. Phil’s resumé made for such good reading it was no great surprise that when he created the brand Fit Deck in 2005, it was a moderate success in the US market.
FitDeck is a customized deck of playing cards which have varied exercises on them. By shuffling the cards you create a brand new work-out, meaning you never get stuck with one monotonous routine. Each card in the FitDeck has both an illustration and written instructions, making it simple to use. In a way, Phil was ahead of the game in terms of creating a product that got people moving and encouraged activity and exercise in a fun way in their daily lives. Fast forward to now in 2018 and the problem of obesity and lack of activity has reached epidemic like proportions, not only in the US but worldwide.
FitDeck was a success for a wide variety of reasons. For one, it allowed you to work-out from wherever you were in the world – all you needed was your FitDeck. This meant for those who did not want to commit or could not afford gym memberships, these cards could create their own workouts by simply shuffling their FitDeck cards. Another unique feature this product had was the fact that no two workouts were the same. Each time you shuffled the FitDeck, you created a brand new work-out routine. This was a particularly appealing feature to those whom tended to be easily bored with their work-out routines.
Once FitDeck had become an established brand, Phil decided to create more specific FitDeck cards tailored to suit pretty much everybody. The Prenatal FitDeck is aimed at pregnant women helping them to stay fit and active throughout their pregnancies. The Junior FitDeck is aimed at the kids, encouraging them to be more active and helping to prevent childhood obesity, a problem faced by many children. The Golf FitDeck is aimed at all the men and women who are looking to keep fit while playing a round of golf and FitDeck Senior is aimed at the older people, encouraging them to keep fit and active. For Phil, he wanted FitDeck to focus on three main things – exercise, sports training and nutrition. Phil’s goal was to make those three elements simple and accessible for the whole family, young and old. Overall, no matter what your interests Phil has created a FitDeck title that will suit you!
Although FitDeck was successful as a brand, Phil felt like he could break the digital world and create an app which would make FitDeck even more accessible – Having a FitDeck app would ensure you could always have the FitDeck with you on your smart phone and have a varied work-out at your fingertips. Although a very accomplished man, Phil felt that he could not break into the digital world and further develop the FitDeck app alone so he decided to entered the Shark Tank with his product.
Entering the Shark Tank
Phil entered the Shark Tank looking for an investment of $300,000 for an equity share of 20% of his company. After Phil introduced himself and the concept behind his brand, Lori asked to view the product. Phil, ever the fitness entrepreneur had a FitDeck ready for each of the sharks that were most suited to their personal tastes and interests. Phil went on to explain that the FitDeck retails for $14.95 on the website and costs about $2 to produce the set. When Phil announced that he had sold half a million of the FitDecks, the sharks seemed extremely impressed until Phil announced the impressive sales had occurred over a period of seven years, with the majority of sales being in the previous four years. Although Phil was making profits almost year on year, the sharks struggled to understand where all the money from the sales of the FitDeck products have gone. Phil explained how he had made many online videos and further to that, he was investing the money available to develop the FitDeck app. He explained to the sharks that the app was selling for $9.99 and was being downloaded 1000 times per month by various users.
The shark found Phil and his life story as to how he had reached this point in the shark tank, both interesting and endearing. However, they could not see past the fact that Phil wanted to invest in a fitness app in such a saturated market. Mark Cuban referred to the mobile digital world as “the most brutal business in the world” citing the high number of apps that fail, he decided to declare himself out. Kevin O’Leary was of a similar opinion but remained impressed that Phil had created not just a product but a brand. Phil then showed the sharks how passionate he is about his brand and how he really feels it is worth fighting for. Daymond John agreed that the app was a risky business to be venturing into before he also declared himself out. Robert Herjavec on the other hand told Phil that he loved the product but for him the lack of profitability is a big problem before bowing out as well. Lori too loved Phil’s story but felt that it was impossible to break into the digital market, which was completely saturated with fitness apps already. This left Phil with Kevin who seemed very impressed with Phil’s resumé and felt like he should amount to more than just ‘a deck of cards’. Kevin ended by saying he felt there was some more great products for Phil to offer before declaring himself out. All of the sharks agreed they would love to see Phil return with another product someday.
FitDeck Now in 2018 – Shark Tank Update
Although Phil did not succeed in convincing any of the sharks to come on board with his business idea, he continues to sell FitDeck. FitDeck is available to buy through the website and from other online retailers such as Amazon. The journey to the shark tank was not a wasted one as the media coverage created a lot of hype around the FitDeck brand. Phil decided to capitalize on this new found hype by creating the ‘Shark Tank Bundle’ – a three deck package that retails at $39.95. That said you can actually get FitDeck at a substanial discount at Amazon.com by clicking here for the discounted prices. It is difficult to predict which direction this brand will take in the future however with Phil’s unending passion and determination, there is no doubt he will succeed no matter what he does