2020 may not seem like the year to start a new business, but that’s exactly what former baseball player, coach, and UTRGV business alumnus Mike McCarthy did when he launched Netix, the world’s first magnetic gym bag. “As cliché as it sounds, we only get one shot at this life,” he said. “So it’s imperative that we take calculated risks for our passion, which is what I did with Netix.”
McCarthy says that he always knew he wanted to launch a business, but for years he didn’t know what kind of business it would be. “I have always had a passion for entrepreneurship. The idea that anyone can create something from nothing is fascinating to me,” he said.
It wasn’t until he had a small mishap at the gym that he had his lightbulb moment. “I was performing a set of hang cleans during my workout. As I finished my last rep, I dropped the barbell and the bumper plate awkwardly hit an ident in the platform. This redirected the barbell and sent it landing right on top of my gym bag,” McCarthy said, explaining what sparked his idea for Netix, a magnetic gym bag that sticks to vertical surfaces instead of laying on the floor. “I was too excited to finish my workout and rushed home to get started.”
While news of the coronavirus spreading overseas and creeping closer to home played on TV for months, McCarthy was still able to get his product line developed and the company ready to go. “Typically, one of the first hurdles that startups run into is capital. For Netix, it was a global pandemic,” he joked.
“I launched Netix the week prior to COVID becoming a true concern here in the U.S.,” he said. “I would hear things on the news that made me feel uneasy, but I never second-guessed the launch. To tell you the truth, even if I wanted to postpone the launch there was nothing I could do. I put everything I had into inventory, and the only option I had was to put my head down, get creative, and fight. Rolling over and giving in just wasn’t an option.
“Unfortunately, a week after the launch, every gym in America shut down,” he added, explaining that this drastically impacted sales at first. However, the Netix brand was able to pull through and make enough sales to overcome 2020’s unprecedented challenges for modern-day business.
The new company continues to see growth.
“As of today, we have customers in 40-plus states across the U.S. and are continuously seeing sales increase month over month, which is extremely exciting,” McCarthy said. Netix was even mentioned online as “Best Gym Bags to Carry Your Gear in Style” by Fitness Gear for Guys back in July.
The unique gym bag is the first of its kind that gives users full, secure, and sanitary access to all of their necessary gym gear like cellphones, wallets, car keys, chalk, wraps, straps, belts, foam rollers, water bottles, gloves, and more throughout their workout while also keeping them out from underfoot (and barbell). The bag also has a built-in transparent, touch-sensitive mobile pocket so users can adjust their music, record their workouts, send texts, or take selfies.
McCarthy said that Netix was able to be so successful thanks to the support of the Rio Grande Valley. “There are many local RGV businesses that really stepped up and supported Netix over the past few months, including Aaron T Productions, UFC Gym, Kiss My Crossfit (Pharr), Gold’s Gym – McAllen, Gold’s Gym – Mission, Anytime Fitness (Edinburg) and Alpha Fit (Edinburg),” he said. “These businesses have been an integral part of our success, and it means a lot to myself and the Netix brand to have their support.”
Netix is only getting started, especially as gyms have reopened with more stringent rules regarding gym bags and gear in order to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Many gyms no longer allow bags to be placed on the floor or set on top of benches or other equipment, making Netix bags the ideal way to still have access to gym gear without violating new sanitation protocols.
The new company has a bright future ahead of it given its strength, flexibility, and endurance as a startup in 2020. “The possibilities are endless at this point. In the short term, we’d like to get Netix into the hands of as many fitness enthusiasts as possible and keep growing the brand,” McCarthy said. “We are thrilled to continue bringing innovative fitness gear to the industry and cannot wait to see what the future holds.”