When the pandemic put him out of labor, this welder and health buff started producing condo-size fitness center gear
When non-essential building websites closed in the beginning of the pandemic, welder Mike Kaufmann was uncertain of his subsequent transfer. A health buff, he didn’t need to miss out on exercises, and with further time on his arms, he put his welding expertise to make use of and constructed heavy-duty health gear for his condominium. Quickly after, he started making squat racks to hawk on Kijiji and now sells them throughout Canada by his web site, Squat6Stands. Right here’s how he obtained his enterprise began.
—As advised to Andrea Yu
“My dad has owned a metallic fabrication enterprise in Vaughan known as Concise Customized Metallic for 20 years, and I began working with him on weekends once I was 14. After highschool, I needed to develop into a trainer, so I went to the College of Guelph to check historical past. I graduated in 2012, however the job market was aggressive, and my dad’s work was choosing up, so I joined his enterprise full time as a substitute. I went to nighttime lessons at Seneca in 2012 and 2013 and have become an authorized welder and weld inspector. My dad and I work within the towers downtown, like First Canadian Place and Scotia Plaza. We do customized fabrication and set up—meaning the whole lot from constructing metallic staircases and railings to reinforcing cement slabs with structural metal.
“I cherished how lively my job was. I’m into health, so I joined a power and conditioning fitness center in Vaughan and went 5 – 6 instances every week to coach. I additionally performed rugby in a males’s league just a few instances every week. In 2015, I met my spouse Hailey, a registered kinesiologist and holistic nutritionist—we have been each members on the fitness center—and in 2017, we moved right into a condominium collectively in Vaughan.
“When the pandemic occurred, our metallic fabrication enterprise slowed down—we principally labored on business building contracts, and so they weren’t deemed important. On the similar time, our fitness center closed down. Hailey and I purchased some dumbbells and tried to coach the most effective we might in our condominium, nevertheless it wasn’t fairly the identical as squatting, bench urgent and circuit coaching with heavy gear. In late March, a weightlifting pal prompt I construct my very own squat rack at dwelling. I assumed, that’s genius. I used to be educating myself to make use of a building and engineering design program known as AutoCAD on the time, so I sat down on the laptop for eight or 9 hours proper after our dialog and stayed up late sketching plans. I designed a stand fabricated from two items that I might disassemble and retailer so it will match on our small condominium balcony.
“A couple of days later, I went to one among my firm’s metallic suppliers in North York and picked up some metal. Then I drove again to my store in Vaughan and began constructing it out. I spent about 25 hours over two days on the primary rack, drilling a whole lot of holes by hand—because it wants to regulate to the person’s peak and the train they’re doing. When it was achieved, I spray-painted it black and examined it out within the store—and it labored. I felt completed and proud. On the similar time, I immediately began considering of the way to enhance the design.
“I instantly set to work on a second design and requested Paolo, an engineer I do know by my dad’s firm, to have a look at my work. He verified the burden capability, which was 800 kilos, and cross-checked that there weren’t any faults earlier than giving it his stamp of approval. The second rack took a bit much less time to complete. I used to be a lot happier with the brand new model and took it dwelling to the condominium. Hailey was the one who got here up with the concept of creating extra of them: on the time, fitness center gear had develop into scarce, and whoever had gear was promoting it at outrageous costs. We put the squat rack up on Kijiji for $550 and every week later, somebody from the west finish reached out asking to purchase it.
“From there, I constructed the racks on demand every time somebody reached out by Kijiji or Fb Market and needed to purchase one. That first rack become two, and two become eight. By June, I had reached out to a pal to assist out a few days every week within the store. Drilling the holes took a extremely very long time, and I used to be getting increasingly orders. I spent 12 hours within the store, from round 6 a.m. to six p.m., seven days every week. In June, Hailey started an Instagram account, and the next month, she constructed me an internet site on Shopify.
“Quickly I launched a second design, which was bigger and extra sturdy. I additionally began designing equipment like spotter arms—as a result of lots of people don’t have someone there to identify them after they’re understanding from dwelling—plus a pull-up bar and a dip bar.
“I saved considering of the way to streamline my manufacturing course of. For instance, I started utilizing a laser-cutting service close to my store in Vaughan to hurry up fabrication. By August, I used to be promoting 4 or 5 squat stands every week. I used to be often in manufacturing for one week a month, constructing about 16 stands. Then I spent the remainder of the time managing the enterprise and answering buyer emails. A few of our business enterprise began to return again within the fall, so I started engaged on tasks with my dad from Monday to Thursday, then I’d spend Friday to Sunday engaged on squat racks. I additionally began providing delivery throughout Canada, though nearly all of my prospects are within the GTA and do curbside pickup from my store.
“Loads of my enterprise has been word-of-mouth. Prospects are actually proud of their squat racks and equipment and go away me nice evaluations on Google. Folks inform me that is the heaviest-duty and highest-quality gear they’ve owned. I nonetheless miss going to the fitness center, and I’m planning on going again to a fitness center as soon as they’re allowed to open once more. It’s simply good to hang around along with your buddies. However on the similar time, folks just like the comfort of a house fitness center. I really like what I do, and I’m not planning on stopping manufacturing as soon as gyms reopen.
“It’s been such a rewarding expertise. I’m proud to say that I’ve a product that’s produced domestically, and it’s cool to have my very own enterprise alongside my father’s. Metallic fabrication is in my blood, and I really like understanding—now I get to place these two passions collectively.”