Our story so far...
Darren & Emma Smith founded 9 for 9 in March 2017. Darren competes in powerlifting but is taking time out of competition to gain additional muscle mass. Being out of competition also gives more time and energy for developing 9 for 9. Emma also powerlifts but does not currently compete. That could change!
Here is how we started. Darren saw a positive review online for the SABO Deadlift shoes and imported a pair (at great cost). We realised other fellow lifters would also love them. Quick access for a fair price was the goal. Hence our relationship and journey with SABO began. Since 2017 we established ourselves as a leading SABO supplier. We re-invested all revenues back into the business so we could expand the SABO range. After some time we stocked every model, every colour and every size.
The vision for the company was to re-invest any revenues and add further quality brands. We focussed on brands that we believed in and that were making products we wanted to use ourselves. We also focussed on working and collaborating with like-minded people. We want to bring you amazing products but we have to believe in the companies that we are working with. We have also always been customer-centric, working hard to add value to every customer. We strive to offer the highest levels of customer service possible. Your experience with us is important and we always want to leave a lasting impression. These fundamental values are in our DNA.
So our journey continued…
w.o.d.welder - We’ve used the w.o.d.welder hand care kit for years. Our interest started with the solid salve which is phenomenal at healing up tears and rips fast! The volcanic pumice is also fantastic. It offers a level of sharpness not seen with conventional pumice and keeps hard calluses at bay. The soap is also superb and we use it all the time. We’ve gone onto expanding the offering of w.o.d.welder products.
Brute Belt - Darren imported a Brute Belt in 2015 (as a typical dip belt with chain ripped a pair of much loved training shorts!) and loved it primarily due to how comfortable it was. Again, importing was costly but the value of the product was clear.
Pioneer Fitness (a.k.a General Leathercraft Manufacturing Inc.) - We have so much respect for Pioneer and are passionate about their products. Renowned for quality and world-class customer service working with Pioneer has been incredible and we are thankful for the partnership. They have been hand-crafting their world-class belts in the USA for three generations. Significant investment has allowed us to offer and stock most of their products.
Squats & Science - We are big fans of Squats & Science since they think out of the box and are always innovating. We stock their INHALE 2.0 Smelling Salts. The pure liquid ammonia with menthol scent - packaged in a convenient flip lid bottle - has been very popular.
Wild Country - We've tried lots of chalk. It is surprising how many we have tried which are slippery! Wild Country has been our favourite. It has no drying agents or additives and is very grippy. With some care the chalk blocks hold their shape and are perfect for chalking up hands, backs and benches.
Warehouse - Due to rapid growth, we secured a small warehouse. Up until then we were managing all the stock from our garage and a spare bedroom at home. Our lounge was our office and packing area!
Frank Daddy - We were super excited to start working with Brandon Franklin(a.k.a. Frank Daddy) adding his Choker wrist wraps, knee wraps and compression cuffs to our portfolio. We also added some of his cool tees too! Late 2019 he launched his Choker knee sleeves which we stock.
Going into 2019 our drive and focus remained unchanged. That is, to bring you more awesome brands and products! We continued to re-invest all revenues back into the business to enable this.
Iron Tanks - This added much asked for IPF Approved products to the focussed product portfolio. Again we knew the company and had owned many of their products ourselves. We will be expanding our range of Iron Tanks products over time.
Feed Me Fight Me - We were very excited about working with FMFM so we could provide you with their quality apparel and work with more like-minded people. FMFM give some of their profits to combat veteran homelessness, addiction and PTSD.
Doughnuts & Deadlifts - This was another exciting partnership since we are big fans of the brand. We have some classic DNDL designs in our wardrobes from back when they started! We hope you will enjoy collecting a design or two along the way with us. DNDL values resonate with us. Misleading unregulated marketing methods that occur in the fitness industry frustrate us. We should eat healthy but there is no need for "clean eating" or other bizarre diets. Moderated indulgence is OK. We can and should enjoy a doughnut or two and then carry on working towards our next personal best.
Obsidian (created by Forest City Barbell) - On first contact, it was clear Obsidian were set on providing the best ammonia in the world. Obsidian Original uses pre-activated dry ingredients. Its shelf life is indefinite but once open it can maintain potency for up to six months. The Ultra formula is the world's first two-part ammonia inhalant. It combines wet and dry ingredients producing rocket fuel in a bottle. Going for a personal best? Try Obsidian Ultra. We added the menthol versions shortly after launching Obsidian.
Debbie - At this point you were keeping us very busy! So we needed some help. Debbie came along to assist us with order processing. This included writing those very important thank you slips, packing your orders and restocking our shelves. She's also a personal trainer and enjoys training herself (with a focus on aesthetics). Debbie is an integral part of the team and is doing great work to help 9 for 9 move forward.
Barbell Bands - We were fortunate to collaborate with more like-minded people who make great products. Barbell Bands provide premium quality silicone rings designed for athletes. They feature a unique knurl pattern and are available in a variety of colours. If you never wear your wedding band when training (ahem Darren) now there's a perfect option for you.
WODROD - Although callus shavers can be useful they can be tricky to use. For example, they are difficult to get in the right position especially when using your non-dominant hand! So we were very excited to start working with WODROD. This innovative little tool will sand your calluses down in no time and it's super easy to use (with either hand)! WODROD is designed and manufactured in the USA.
JUNK Brands - We were very excited to be appointed as an official supplier for JUNK Brands. JUNK design and manufacture the coolest headbands and they do everything under one roof in the USA. There are hundreds of different designs and six different styles to choose from. They do not just look awesome either; the design and fabrics used ensure consistent high-performance even during the hardest of training sessions.
We are always focused on how we can do more for you and provide an even better experience. So 2019 saw us work on lots of new projects and new developments. We launched a free international delivery option (£175+ spend). We launched our Rewards programme to repay your loyalty so you can earn points to spend on money off vouchers. We introduced a free UK returns trial along with a new returns system to make it easy to send items back to us. We also introduced Klarna so you can pay later or slice your payments interest free.
Going into 2020 our drive and focus to bring you more awesome brands and products remained unchanged. We continue to re-invest all revenues back into the business to enable this.February 2020
FLEO - We were super excited to be appointed as an official supplier for FLEO; a strength training apparel brand for women. Designing and manufacturing in-house in the USA, FLEO make the most incredible shorts, leggings, sports bras, crop tops, singlets and joggers. Super-soft fabrics stretch in 4 directions offering unparalleled levels of comfort. Attention to detail is second-to-none. Quality of the end product is exceptional.
Connor - Due to the continued support of our customers keeping us very busy we needed a fourth team member. Connor joined us to help with warehouse operations. Connor is a personal trainer and enjoys regularly training himself (with a focus on building muscle mass and strength). We are excited to have Connor on the team. We are sure that he will be making significant contributions to 9 for 9 in the future.
We are currently working on our philanthropic efforts which you can read about here. We are passionate about giving back and having a positive impact on the wider world so we will be giving a proportion of our revenues to philanthropic and charitable organisations. We also want to continue to support lifting communities and athletes through ongoing initiatives and sponsorship programmes.
We continue to work on many things for you and are very excited about 2020. If you have purchased from us before then we want to say a massive thank you! Also, so many of you keep on coming back to us time and time again which we appreciate. Your support means a lot to us. If you are new to us then thank you so much for taking an interest in what we do.
Thanks again for your support!
Darren & Emma