IAM1645 – CEO Creates a Rugby Brand Delivering Content, Community & Clothing

Podcast Interview with Scott Flear

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”: It was awesome to hear Scott's approach to community and his 3 C's (content, community & clothing) that I think we all can learn from. I think it's in alignment with “Being Your Own Media Company.” It was also great to hear how he uniquely approached and executed in his business.

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Scott Flear Teaser 00:00

So, obviously the design is unique, custom, massive selling point, but I just think the community and the content is unique as well. Having all of that together, bringing people into the design process, and also we let people speak one-to-one with professional rugby players. In our private Facebook group.

Intro 00:19

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I am CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:43

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and we're doing something a little bit different this year with some of our episodes. We're repurposing some of our favorite episodes around specific topics related to entrepreneurship. This month we're focusing on entrepreneurship and community. Us. we, our, together and we're gonna look at entrepreneurship and industries in different types of entrepreneurship and ultimately what that really means. But we're also gonna delve deeper into the importance of community, networking, niche communities and how that supports being a CEO, entrepreneur, and business owner. So sit back and enjoy these special episodes around entrepreneurship and community.

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today, I have Scott Flear of Rugby Warfare. Scott, it is awesome to have you on the show.

Scott Flear 01:30

It's going to be here, hopefully, your guests can understand the Welsh accent.

Gresham Harkless 01:35

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. We'll try to make it work. Well, I appreciate you for being on the show again, Scott. And what I wanted to do was just read a little bit more about you so people can get a better idea of all the awesome things that you're doing. Scott Flear is the CEO of Rugby Warfare, which is a rugby clothing company based in the UK. Scott, as a self-taught internet marketer, having built and sold his first fitness site by the age of 19. Rugby warfare started as a side hustle while he was working as the head of CEO for a luxury games rooms retailer, and then performance marketing manager for a social sports club in London. He's an avid rugby fan and player and saw a gap in the market for a rugby brand to deliver the three Cs. Content, community, and clothing. Scott, are you ready to speak to the I am CEO community?

Scott Flear 02:21

Yeah, man let's do it.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 02:22

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Well, I wanted to ask you for your CEO story and for you to drill down a little bit more, and to tell us what exactly led you to start your business.

Scott Flear 02:29

Yeah, so like you said just now about how I got to rugby warfare back when I was about 17 or 18 studying for exams. I just got kind of deep-dived into the world of forums and there's a forum on where a lot of people are building their own websites and making money. And I was like, you know, this is amazing. So, at 18, I was curious. I went into the forum, I was like learning how to build websites and at the time I loved health and fitness and the gym and rugby. I always had a business mind and I thought this is like a way to get a skill that nobody else will have when you graduate from university. So yeah, I self-taught to build websites with the help of the black community and, built my first site, and learned about SEO back then, which was proper dodgy, like black hat SEO stuff.

Thank God it's moved on from that. And then, yeah I just loved it and I was doing more of that than studying and I kind of built my site. And as I went to university, I got a job doing SEO for a local supplement company through the website I built. I'm explaining this story because when I look back at all the things that link up, it's amazing how it's all linked up to where I am now. When I got introduced to people in the fitness industry and worked for more websites, I sold that website while at university because I had no money and I was in Nandos at the time. Someone offered me a few thousands and, I took it. I lost interest in it, and then that's how I came up with the idea for the rugby warfare because I realized, what I did for the fitness industry with the website about information, training, nutrition, and stuff. Nobody was doing this for rugby. It was kind of closed off. So I thought, let's start doing it for rugby, let's start writing content, let's Use the connections I've built over the last three years to get coaches and players interviewed and stuff. I built rugby in 2012, 2013. Obviously learned SEO by now and rugby warfare at the time was my kind of case study of SEO and that's how I landed my job as a head of SEO post-University, it had nothing to do with my degree. My degree was business oriented, but I could show results I did on my own from my own website, and that's how I landed my job as head of SEO and then Performance Marketing Manager. Obviously learning the ins and outs of other companies helped me grow Rugby Warfare as a side hustle. And then as I grew as a person and professional and stuff, and in marketing, I kind of then changed the side hustle into a full-time thing about two years ago. So yeah, that's the story.

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Gresham Harkless 04:46

Awesome, awesome, awesome. So I wanted to drill down a little bit deeper into rugby warfare and hear a little bit more about how you serve your clients and what exactly you have on your site.

Scott Flear 04:54

Yeah, so like when I started, again, it was like you mentioned the three C's. It was about content and educating players on how to get better at rugby. This grew like an authority in the industry. It grew into a community, and about 2015 is like, there's been a huge shift in the last five or 10 years for the athleisure kind of clothing. So people are starting to wear their gym kit socially. And people wear clothing to represent who they are. End of the day, you wear the clothing that you kind of say who you are via what you wear. And rugby are really proud community like people are really proud of being a rugby player. It's a really respectful sport. So, you know, in my head I was like, this has to be done. I kind of got feedback from the community I built and the designs we wanted to bring stuff out that you could wear in the gym, out the gym, on the field, and for it to be complimentary to the physique. Rugby players' physiques are also bigger in general than kind of the normal gym goer, I'd say. But we didn't want to bring out flashy stuff. It was more about, again, rugby and respect going hand in hand, so the clothing had to be smart as you are. So yeah, that's how I just started thinking we need to bring out the clothing range to represent the rugby, the rugby boys, and people loved it and they just grew from there.

We brought out designs. How we got the first customers, though, like this is probably important like there are minimum order quantities in clothing and to get over that, what we did was we got a design, got a sample, put some photos up, and then started taking pre-orders. And how it works as you put a 30% deposit upfront for bulk orders and then 70% on delivery. Between that timeframe of 30% deposit and 70%, we took the pre-orders, made the profit, and then paid it. So the risk was really low. So we only released products that sold for the first five or six product launches. And then once we got the money, we were able to do bigger launches, more products, and be riskier. But yeah, that's how we got the first customers, we got feedback from the community, new designs out, photos of the design, and then we took pre-orders.

Gresham Harkless 06:46

I love that kind of like a reverse way of thinking because most people will build it first and then try to sell it when in reality you figure out what the market wants and fulfill that.

Scott Flear 06:54

Yeah, exactly. And also don't underestimate how bringing the community into the kind of product design actually gets them involved. They start to like the brand model involved in the products being made. They're part of the entire process and it just builds brand loyalty. And just a quick, quick story, you know, like a year and a half after this we had enough money to do bulk orders and what we didn't do for this, we didn't do pre-orders. We just thought we'd bring out the range of eight to 10 products. and you know, we thought they'd sell, but they didn't. So we went away from what we built the company on because we had the finance to do it, and it just flopped. So that was a massive lesson, just because you can then buy bulk orders without taking pre-orders or feedback doesn't mean you should do it. So that was a big lesson, you know.

Gresham Harkless 07:42

Yeah, those are always good to be reminded of. So you might have already touched on it, but I wanted to ask you now for what I call your secret sauce or what you feel kind of differentiates you from other people that might be within your industry.

Scott Flear 07:53

Yeah, so like I said the three Cs we're content, community, and clothing. I think a lot of people don't really bring all of that together. Our design are unique compared to the competitors. You know, the designer we use, exclusively designs for us. And we've got a specific look to the brand that the brands don't have, and this is because we're a younger brand compared to the older rugby brands. They're probably run by older men and they stick to the classic doable stuff while we're using new fabrics and like we're pushing the designs out there. We're using different kind of cuts and stuff. So, obviously the design is unique, custom, a massive selling point. I just think the community and the content are unique as well.

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Having all of that together, bringing people into the design process and also we let people speak one-to-one with professional rugby players in our private Facebook group. And if you look at other sports, this doesn't happen. If you try to get a football fan, soccer, to have a one-to-one conversation with Cristiano Ronaldo on Facebook, you know it's not possible. With us, you know, we've got a former player over the year. Shane William, he's one of the best rugby players ever to play. He's in the group. We've got Ross Moriarty, who's a Welsh International, and he played for the British and Irish Lions, which is the top of the top. You can ask him directly one to one questions. There are other players from New Zealand and Fiji you can do the same with. I think that just adds this extra special touch to that, you know, we're not just asking people for money to buy stuff we're giving them this meant really crazy value back that you can't really just buy.

Gresham Harkless 09:26

Exactly. Exactly. Now, I wanted to switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a CEO hack, and this might be a resource, like an app or a book, or maybe it's a habit that you lean on that makes you more effective and efficient as a business owner.

Scott Flear 09:39

Yeah, this is easy. It's got to be podcasts and audiobooks. You know, you spend a lot of time alone as a CEO of a company. You might travel a lot. I think like listening to podcasts are some of my favorites. How I built this speaks to other founders of companies like Instagram, Starbucks, where there is five guys and you just kind of, you know, they ask the questions you wanna know, and it's like speaking to someone who's in the same kind of position as you. Obviously different revenue streams, but having that daily is key because you're speaking, you're on your own basically. And being able to just get new ideas and listening to air while traveling, insights of like-minded people just get you in the zone every day. I think that's the best thing I've done is listen to audiobooks or podcasts daily.

Gresham Harkless 10:21

Yeah, I love that. And, being able to kind of fit that in, especially if you're on the go often to be able to just pop on your earphones and be able to take in that content or information for whatever it is that you're looking for insight about is phenomenal. So I think that's, a great CEO hack. And now I wanted to ask you what I call…

Scott Flear 10:37

Just 1 more one. If someone's listening to this, a new podcast I listened to is called Business Welsh, and it's absolutely amazing. It's about like, Nike versus Adidas Marvel versus DC and it just goes in depth in between Sony versus Nintendo.

Gresham Harkless 10:51


Scott Flear 10:51

And you just see everything that goes behind the scenes of these companies, and it just makes you realize that the finished product you see is nowhere near what's actually happened. So, yeah, that's a good one.

Gresham Harkless 11:01

Yeah, I haven't heard of that one. That's a really good one. Now, I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget, and this might be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice you have for entrepreneurs and business owners.

Scott Flear 11:09

Yeah. So like, I don't if this is a general one, but listen to advice from someone that's been through something similar. I say this because. I don't how many times I've actually offered advice to friends or other people I've known through friends who will connect me with someone and say like, look, this is Scott. He's got his own clothing brand if you wanna do something similar, and I'll give him my advice. Basically, it's mixed mistakes, I've done, sorry. So they don't do, but they never take the advice cause they think they know better, blah, blah, blah. They come back three to four months later. Oh, who's that person you told me about? Or what's the resource? You said they've? It's too late. So, you know, always be open to advise from people who have gone down the path you're looking to go down, don't think you're too good because you're doing your own thing. You know, you're own boss. It means nothing end of the day.

They like, just listen to advice. And I always listen to advice, to people if they're given. Some people really zone out when someone tries to give them advice. I think it got to be ego or they just think they know everything. But at the end of the day, just listen to advice from people who have been through things. Because that's the quickest way to learn. What's the quote someone said? Anyway, there's a quote. You know, you don't need to do the same mistakes as someone else because they've already done the mistakes. So learn from their mistakes. You can do less mistakes. You don't have to do all the same mistakes as other people have done. They've already done it.

Gresham Harkless 12:25

Exactly. Yeah. And this idea of like standing on the shoulders of giants, so to speak. So you have somebody that's already been successful, you're gonna learn as much as you can from what they've done so that you're able to  reach farther and see farther. So I love that.

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Scott Flear 12:37


Gresham Harkless 12:37

So now I wanted to ask you my favorite question, for the definition of what it means to be a CEO and we're hoping to have different CEOs on this podcast. So I wanted to ask you specifically, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Scott Flear 12:49

Yeah, I've got to think. It's like three or four things. It's one freedom. Obviously, ultimately you're in control of your own life and destiny. That's number one. Loneliness. That's a huge one. You are gonna be very, very, very, very lonely. You're in your own head. You've got no boss to ask stuff to. You might have a mentor. End of the day, it's on your head. And then unstable. You're gonna literally need to get used to going through ups and downs and new territories every month, every week. So those three things are really things that stand out to me when I think about my own journey and being a CEO. Also as well, like CEOs, I think it's more of an American term to UK if they're in the UK, people may use managing director, but I think CEOs is just a term someone should use if even if you're a one-person organization or a hundred if you are hiring freelancers or affiliates or brand ambassadors. You're essentially running a little sales team as the ambassadors. An affiliate is kind of like, you know, again, a little sales team or freelancers is your own content team. You know, back in the day, you might have to hire them full-time yourself, but this new world, you don't need to hire people full-time. You can do freelancers and brand ambassadors are your sales guys. So you know, we are basically running a ship and you are bringing all of this together to kind of bring your vision to life. I think that's what role of CEO is. It's not about how many people you employ or how much money you make. It's about bringing loads of things together to deliver your vision, essentially. So that's what it means to me anyway.

Gresham Harkless 14:17

I love it. I love that definition. I love those three aspects you talked about, freedom, loneliness, and stability to some degree, because there are a lot of aspects of that when you're running a business, no matter how big or how small. So Scott, I truly appreciate you for taking some time out of your schedule to speak with us. What I wanted to do was pass you to the mic so to speak, to see if there's anything additional you want to let our readers and our listeners know, and then also how best people can get ahold of you.

Scott Flear 14:40

Just got some advice. Like I read a lot of books and one of my favorite authors is Ryan Holiday. He's an author. He's got a book called Ego as the Enemy and The obstacle is the way, which is used by lots of NFL teams. And you kind of base these books off stoicism, which is like a philosophy. One thing in those books that really stood out to me was this saying Amor Fati which means love of faith or love your faith. And you know, when I was going through a really bad time when I, when I studied earlier, but a massive mistake I did. Amor fati means to just love everything that happens to you. And, you know, basically, take it on your shoulders and say, you know, I got to deal with this. I'm the person to deal with this. I think that's important as an entrepreneur, CEO, that if you're going through bad times, just understand you're going through it for a reason. You're gonna come out better for it. Don't get into a negative suck. You know, why me? why me? Just think having these kind of sayings to kind of guide you every day is important. So I'd recommend it. Reading those books.

Gresham Harkless 15:38

Awesome. Awesome. Yeah. We'll try to put those in the show notes as well. And then, if someone wants to reach out to you, Scott, what's the best way for them to hear from you?

Scott Flear 15:45

If you want any questions, they can email me at You can go follow me on Instagram, ScottFlear or Twitter, and I'll get to you. For any questions there, those are the easiest ways.

Gresham Harkless 15:56

Scott, thank you so much again for taking some time out of your schedule and I just hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Scott Flear 16:00

Nice one, nice to be on here. Speak to you soon.

Outro 16:03

Thank you for listening to the I am CEO podcast, powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at I am CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts. Subscribe and leave us a five-star rating. Grab CEO gear at

This has been the I am CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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