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Inside Bulloch Business with DeWayne Grice: 'Battlbox' takes off for Boro entrepreneurs
W biz
Daniel Dabbs, left, and Patrick Kelley

Statesboro entrepreneur Daniel Dabbs was amazed at how excited his girlfriend Stephanie Howell gets every month when she receives her Birchbox delivery.

Birchbox is a New York City based online monthly subscription service. For $10 per month, subscribers receive a box of four to five selected samples of makeup or other beauty related products. Dabbs wondered what type of product he could create that men would get equally excited about receiving.

Dabbs has owned Varsity Ink with partner Patrick Kelley of Milledgeville since 2008. They have grown the business through natural growth and through acquisitions. They acquired Hattaway Screen-printing of Milledgeville and Boanart Graphic in Statesboro.

The Varsity Ink business is now more established with a strong client base, so the two entrepreneurs were looking for a way to expand the business or possibly venture into other areas. In a brain storming session, inspired by the Birchbox concept, Dabbs and Kelley came up with an idea to launch an online subscription service targeting men. The company, "Battlbox" (Battle without the e") was the brainchild of their research.

With a subscription to Battlbox, clients receive a monthly delivery of survival and tactical gear. The subscription service begins at $24.99 per month and has four levels of options with the top box priced at $149.99 per month. The $149.99 box includes the "knife of the month," in which they receive a high quality knife each month in addition to the gear.

"Each month we have a theme which we define as a ‘mission.'" Dabbs said. "Some of our missions have included, ‘Lost in the Woods,' ‘Hiking,' ‘Emergency Vehicle Preparedness,' ‘Marine Survival' and ‘Emergency Food Prep and Supply.' Our team works hard to locate high quality, unique survival and tactical gear. We package it together and deliver it to our subscribers much more affordably than if they purchased each piece individually."

Dabbs launched the business via a website on Feb. 10, 2015. They had purchased enough product to fulfill 100 orders the first month. They sold that many in the first few days. The web traffic and interest was so strong that they decided to shut the website down for a few days to regroup and make sure they could handle the demand. The idea has gone viral and has literally become an overnight success.

Exposure on popular media outlets like CNBC and MSNBC in addition to a feature in the "American Survival Guide" magazine helped to jump start their idea. Dabbs and Kelley expanded their leadership team bringing onboard John Roman who serves as the special projects manager and oversees marketing and David Cawley who is an outdoor enthusiast to test the products and help develop the missions.

"Since we launched we have grown to over 7,000 monthly subscribers," Dabbs said. "The biggest surprise is that a majority of them subscribe to the largest package. We exceeded $5 million in sales in 2015 and are projecting $12 million in sales in 2016."

Dabbs and his team have discovered a unique niche. If you google their product, there are tons of YouTube videos and testimonials from all over the country from successful clients who love the product and can't wait for their next "mission" to arrive. Dabbs and Kelley have quickly tapped into an unfulfilled market and filled a need. With more than 15 employees in two cities, the future growth potential for this company is exciting.

With the success of this idea and having the infrastructure in place they are now looking for other areas in which they can expand to similar monthly subscription ideas that will fill even larger niches.

This is definitely a company to watch. Check them out at www.battlbox.com.

Please email DeWayne at dgrice@statesboroherald.com or give him a call at (912) 489-9499.

 

 

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