gloveglu’s Winning Strategy in Mastering Wholesale, D2C, and Marketplaces + Scaling to 8 Figures (episode 486)

Paul Sherratt is the founder and CEO of gloveglu, a global sports brand specialising in goalkeeper products and services. Founded in 2010, they now sell via their Shopify store, marketplaces, and wholesale. In 2023, gloveglu sold to over 80 countries, growing at 45% year on year with annual sales on track for £2.5 million in total, with 20% via the eCommerce store. 

Paul Sherratt gloveglu on eCommerce MasterPlan Podcast

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Dive in: 

[05:58] gloveglu idea stemmed from working with Ulsport. 
[09:09] Shopify technology facilitates global b2b and b2c. 
[12:29] Core products produced in-house, b2b distribution. 
[14:43] Gloveglu offers grippy, wash, and refresh options. 
[16:49] Soccer stores upsold Glove Group products effectively. 
[20:14] Considering expansion in sporting niche market focus. 
[23:00] Keeping it simple and focused. 
[24:14] Listen to Paul’s Top Tips! 

Paul’s eCommerce Journey 

Paul’s eCommerce adventure started back in 1999 with sweatband.com, the UK’s pioneer multi-sport website, during the dotcom boom. This period was marked by rapid growth and the classic startup culture of innovation mixed with high expenditure. Despite initial success, many associated ventures failed as the market realized the actual costs of building an online business. Reflecting on those times, Paul sees the era as a learning curve that demonstrated both the potential and pitfalls of eCommerce, informing his later success with gloveglu. 

Founding gloveglu 

Paul founded gloveglu after noticing a gap in the market for improving the grip on goalkeeper gloves. Working with sports brands and being part of a goalkeeping brand’s development team, he saw the obsession with enhancing grip through latex. Realizing there might be a simpler solution, he devised a spray that could make any goalkeeper gloves grippy. Initially, gloveglu targeted the B2B market, using Paul’s existing contacts. The move to focus more on selling directly to consumers through eCommerce came later, growing to become a significant part of the business. 

Strategic Focus on eCommerce and Social Media 

The decision to expand gloveglu into marketplaces and eCommerce was driven by several factors, including advancements and improvements in technology. With the brand’s presence in around 44 countries, the move to D2C sales was a strategic step to further globalize the brand and take advantage of its established B2B network. The growth of their social media presence, gaining over a million followers across platforms, necessitated a direct channel to serve these customers effectively. By directing social media followers to their eCommerce site, gloveglu could offer the full product range without any dilution of brand or message, showcasing the synergy between their social media efforts and eCommerce strategy. 

Operational Adaptation and Outsourcing 

Paul explains that gloveglu operates with a small but efficient team, focusing on in-house production while outsourcing specific tasks like advertising and design to expert agencies. They plan to outsource their shipping and handling to a third-party logistics provider to better manage seasonal demands without needing to hire temporary staff. This change will mainly affect their D2C sales, keeping B2B distribution under their control. Paul also mentions the possibility of extending their 3PL strategy to the U.S. to support their expanding market, illustrating gloveglu’s strategic approach to scaling their operations while maintaining quality and efficiency. 

Market Expansion and Staying Focused 

Despite the temptation to expand into other sports or product lines, gloveglu’s focused strategy on goalkeeper glove care has been instrumental in its success. This focus has allowed the company to build a strong brand, establish itself as a market leader in a niche category, and achieve significant growth. Entrepreneurs face challenges and considerations when deciding on expansion, but for Paul, there are more benefits to maintaining a focused approach to business development. 

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Organic social media. For gloveglu, not only boosts its eCommerce traffic but also attracts B2B customers who discover gloveglu through platforms like TikTok. 

Tool Top Tip

  • Trello project management tool

Growth Top Tip

  • At gloveglu, they’ve partnered with Ecologi, a platform aimed at supporting climate change projects and tree planting. While acknowledging that this is just a starting point and more can be done, Paul says transparency in their environmental efforts is important.  

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