Established in 2017 as the UAE’s first premium sports apparel brand, SQUATWOLF has grown into one of the most recognizable gym gear brands in the Middle East. With customers in over 120 countries, SQUATWOLF has managed to grow its customer base year on year by offering high-quality products at competitive price points. We sat down with their Co-Founder and CEO, Wajdan Gul, to find out how many successful funding rounds they have done with Beehive and how the funding helped them amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Using Beehive to Fund your Business
Why did you choose Beehive for your funding?
The reason we chose Beehive was that it was the fastest and easiest way to raise the funds we needed to build inventory for our peak period. The team at Beehive was very helpful and guided us throughout the process to help with the successful rounds. We are very happy with the support and have already done three rounds of funding with Beehive.
What did you use your funding for?
We used the funding to build inventory for peak sale periods.
How did you find the process?
The process was super easy and short as compared to the traditional financing methods through banks and other institutions. The team were very supportive and helpful throughout the process. They set the right expectations and delivered on them throughout the three rounds we have done with Beehive.
The Pandemic Impact
Did COVID-19 affect your business?
Yes, even though we are an e-commerce business, we still felt the impact of the pandemic. The majority of our manufacturing is done in Asia, so our supply chain was heavily impacted due to the lockdown in early 2020. We were short on inventory and couldn’t really deliver on our budgets and demands.
What has been the biggest challenge throughout this period?
Predicting demand has been the biggest challenge and I believe we are getting good at it. The planning team look at hundreds of factors to project what items we need in what colors, what sizes and when exactly we would need them. We are also tackling uncertainty by investing in the planning team and using tools to turn our business into a purely data-driven business.
The Pandemic Pivot
How did you adapt?
We recovered immensely when China reopened and managed to turn the business around from May to December and close the year over budget. We have now diversified our production sources to multiple regions to hedge against the risk of another lockdown in Asia.
How are you operating now and how will you continue in 2022?
In 2021, we are planning to carry inventory for at least four months and focus on building the right foundation for the future growth of the business. We happen to be in the right industry (activewear and e-commerce) at the right time, and we are really using this opportunity to scale the business to new heights and test our limits.
What positives, if any, have you experienced from COVID-19?
Activewear and E-commerce have both boomed during the pandemic. We happened to be operating in both spaces, so we have put resources in place to ride this wave of high interest in the category. We are also using the pandemic as an opportunity to test the resilience of the team and business. We have only gotten better at planning, diversification, extracting the maximum out of limited resources, and creating maximum impact with what we have available.