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Leading the recovery: MYO Master shows how retail innovation can drive new product categories
Not all businesses launch out of personal necessity – but sports recovery brand MYO Master was born after former Harlequins rugby player Joe Gray sought to resolve a repeated personal injury. Together with his partner Lottie Whyte, they created a tool to relieve his pain – attaching a stool leg onto a dismantled drill to release muscular tension. This became the first unofficial prototype for the brand’s now renowned high-quality massage guns, and it wasn’t long before Gray brought the product into the Harlequins’ changing room for his teammates to try out.
Gray’s story is that of a professional sportsman, but Whyte approaches the company’s mission from the perspective of an everyday athlete. Their experiences made the pair realise how much the sports market prioritised nutrition and practice over recovery.
“Recovery just wasn’t considered,” says Whyte, co-founder and CEO at MYO Master. “It became clear that there’s a knowledge gap for everyday athletes like myself, who want to achieve results quickly. Keeping my body in optimal form through proper rest is crucial for continuing to do the sport I love.”
The couple sought to combine tech with science to develop standout recovery tools that are accessible and suitable for anyone in training.
The reality of launching mid-pandemic
MYO Master launched in January 2021 during the pandemic, making the brand’s launch more complicated than anticipated.
“Supply chains were immensely disrupted when we started,” says Whyte. “We’re a small business, and at one point, I had to personally call 300 customers to tell them that their products would be delayed – which was not ideal when average basket orders are well over £250.”
But these challenges, though frustrating, were exacerbated by COVID and affected all retailers, so consumers were empathetic of sudden unexpected changes. Besides these, Whyte and Gray were expecting a baby, working from the kitchen table and trying to keep the business afloat.
As a small and agile brand, it could be transparent and directly communicate with its customers to manage expectations.
Despite these difficulties, the brand’s launch was fitting because many people became more fitness-focused during lockdowns.
“Everyone in the country was training. Even people who hadn’t run before were suddenly doing Couch To 5k,” says Whyte. “In that regard, it was an opportunistic time for us to launch, and we really capitalised on that trend.”
Embedding education within brand strategy
“The home of sports recovery didn’t exist,” says Whyte. “You have people selling sports tech and supplements or protein on the side, but it’s not their core focus. No one is advising people on how to take care of their body post-training or in-between sessions. There wasn’t a catch-all place for that information.”
The brand offers a range of products that target specific sports-related ails. Still, it’s also working to establish itself as a respected voice within the sports recovery space so people can find out about solutions and connect with professionals.
By partnering with elite physios and sports nutritionists – many of whom Gray knew during his rugby career –MYO Master offers bespoke training programmes, products and tips for people wanting more holistic training programmes.
“We want to make athletes better,” says Whyte. “We want to inspire them to truly understand how they can unlock even greater performance through proper recovery.”
The MYO Master website asks users what users are looking for – whether they’re seeking to train pain-free, wanting to recover from an injury or optimise their performance. Their response will trigger a series of products with personalised solutions related to their symptoms.
The brand offers supportive educational resources alongside its products and access to physios to empower athletes to pursue a recovery programme that works for them.
The brand’s products are developed in response to feedback from professional athletes, proving MYO Master’s versatility for people of all sporting capabilities.
“We work with a group of elite athletes who are our official ambassadors,” says Whyte. “These include British triathlete Alex Lee and footballer Raheem Sterling, so everything we come up with, we test by them first. We’re fanatical about releasing products that are genuinely going to make a difference and improve performance. Everything we do is by athletes for athletes.”
Evolution of sports recovery
As the UK’s fastest-growing recovery tech company, MYO Master is emerging as a category leader thanks to its democratisation of product and making information around recovery accessible to athletes of all levels.
“Recovery is the second fastest growing category in sports,” says Whyte. “When Joe started playing rugby some 20 years ago, the recovery process involved a few cool-down stretches on the side. However, throughout his career, the focus on recovery has evolved, and now people are more aware of its power, which is filtering down to the everyday athlete.”
As the recovery category becomes more sophisticated, Whyte hopes there’s scope to develop products that track athlete progress and collect training information so that athletes can adjust their training according to their body needs.
MYO Master now has a core team of six and has come out thriving after facing various macroeconomic challenges such as COVID, Brexit and the cost of living crisis. They’ve got clear on their delivery pillars, prioritising innovation, community and education to stand out within the sports recovery category.
The brand plans to continue expanding and building its community this year, setting up recovery hubs at various UK triathlons to provide information and resource for those completing the event. And it’s opening concessions at ten sports retailers to make its products accessible to athletes.
“For us, we’re trying to bring athletes into our community,” concludes Whyte. “We want to play an active part in their fitness goals and actually help people reach them.”