Buzz Plug: Dressing football's top stars

Luka Ouzounis and Moritz Bäumel fly around the world as personal shoppers and generate millions of revenue in the process.

Table of contents
  1. From side hustle to full-time gig
  2. "We know what makes them tick"
  3. At home customer service—or at the racetrack
  4. 2m plus revenue
  5. Repurposing business trips as social content

Moritz Bäumel and Luka Ouzounis once harbored aspirations of becoming professional footballers. While their playing career never materialized, the two lads from Darmstadt, Germany scored big with a personal shopping service that leveraged their network from their soccer days. By 2023, their venture Buzz Plug had generated more than EUR 2m in turnover. OMR spoke to the founders about their atypical business, how their celebrity clientele massively impacts reach and their plans for leveraging social media content to scale up.

The realization of what they had achieved was too good to be true. A few weeks ago sitting in the lobby at Real Madrid’s training grounds ahead of a Champions League match versus Leipzig, Moritz Bäumel and Luka Ouzounis had to pinch themselves. While they’ve already had the chance to parlay with top footballers since founding Buzz Plus in 2021, Madrid just hits harder. Today’s orders were placed by Jude Bellingham, Antonio Rüdiger, Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni—footballing royalty. Bäumel, in particular, has been a huge Real Madrid fan since childhood. Going from admiring his idols on television to a face-to-face sit down, outfitting and chatting with these superstars about fashion and everything else. "That was the moment when we knew that we, two boys from Dieburg (a small town outside of Darmstadt) with a population of 15,000, had made it. And made it to Real Madrid, the biggest club in the world," says Luka Ouzounis. "It’s impossible to top that in football."

From side hustle to full-time gig

The genesis is, of course, much less glamorous. During the pandemic, the two have a lot of time to kill. Luka Ouzounis is finishing up his bachelor's degree, studying soccer and sports business. And Bäumel, who held on to his dream of going pro for even longer, had a cup of coffee in the youth teams at Mainz 05, is now doing something completely different: studying civil engineering. The two have been friends since they were 11, have a shared passion for fashion and were often asked by friends where they got their threads and kicks. The two think they can use their expertise to earn some extra cash. Thus began Buzz Plug. "In the beginning, it wasn't primarily about making lots of money, but more about earning a bit on the side so that you could afford a vacation," says Luka Ouzounis. It quickly became clear, however, that they could earn some serious money.

In 2021, they launched their Instagram page and registered their personal shopping service. Their business model: procure exclusive items of clothing on demand, which they obtain through contacts at popular brands or with the help of middlemen in Germany and abroad. The designer articles typically cost several thousand euros. Customers then pay a surcharge for the Buzz Plug service. "They simply appreciate the service: They sit on the couch at night, say this, this, this is what I want, how much does it cost? Then we give them a total price. And then we take care of the things, it takes two or three days, and then the guys have it all in the comfort of their own homes," explains Ouzounis.

Bäumel and Ouzounis buy everything - from rare vintage pieces to new limited-edition releases, for which they sometimes have to wait in long queues. They are not alone in this: Although there is no direct competition in their field in Germany, says Luka Ouzounis, there is in England. Plug Leon (read the OMR profile here) has a similar business model, and with around 94,000 followers, the account is significantly larger than that of Buzz Plug (31.3 thousand followers). But Ouzounis and Bäumel are primarily interested in their customers. And they want to offer them a particularly fast service: "The secret of our success is that, unlike others, we already have a lot of clothes in stock, thanks to which we can immediately set off with four or five suitcases when someone calls us and says: Hey, I need something today." And there's something else the two consider to be their unique selling point: their football network.

"We know what makes them tick"

Immediately after founding the company, they benefited from contacts from their own active footballing days to acquire their first players as customers. Because a good friend of theirs moved to Wolfsburg at the time, they suddenly had contact with Bundesliga players such as Maximilian Arnold and Maxence Lacroix. A stroke of luck. Anyone scrolling through their Instagram feed today will come across many familiar faces: Rafael Leão (AC Milan), Mohammed Salisu (AS Monaco), David Alaba (Real Madrid) and Hugo Ekitiké (Eintracht Frankfurt), all of whom have ordered from Buzz Plug. "Because we both come from the world of football, we know what makes these guys tick," says Bäumel. You have to deal with public figures a little differently than with normies, "They have so many people around them who always want something from them. And with us, it's the other way around. They want something from us. And we use that to our advantage by simply treating them as normal and as equals, which they appreciate in the end." Of course, the reach of the stars is also worth its weight in gold for Buzz Plug: when they post pictures with Buzz Plug shopping bags on their accounts, some of which have millions of followers, it's jackpot for Bäumel and Ouzounis—just like the Kansas City Chiefs recently did.

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In addition to footballers, their customers now include female players, streamers such as Elias Nerlich and rappers such as Luciano, Central Cee and Reezy. The personal shoppers can be reached around the clock on WhatsApp. The fact that big names pop up on their smartphones is now normal for the two 24-year-olds: "We used to get a bit star struck when footballers contacted us. We were nervous, didn't know what to say," says Bäumel. "Now our favorite artists are suddenly writing to us on Instagram. I wouldn't say it's become commonplace, but it's no longer out of the ordinary."

At home customer service—or at the racetrack

The two of them can hardly manage it on their own these days. An employee now takes care of the organizational side of things for them, booking flights and writing invoices. They also want to hire one or two friends soon. But their business is also largely based on the direct contact they maintain with their customers, meaning they “have” to party in Paris or invite prospective clientele to an expensive restaurant in London, attend Formula 1 in Monaco, meet new people, etc., all to delivering exclusive items directly to the players' homes, hotels or training grounds. Sending employees to “drop off” orders may not sit well with exclusive clientele, after all.

Paris, London, Madrid, New York, Monaco or to Milan for Fashion Week. "Of course, there are sometimes times when you think to yourself: how are you supposed to manage it all? When you have four or five flights a week," says Bäumel. At the same time, their jet-set life also has many aspects that the two of them enjoy to the full: Spending time together as buddies, being invited to football matches or concerts that others pay a lot of money for, going out to dinner with stars and showing them their clothes the next day. "It's not primarily work for us now and we really appreciate that," says Ouzounis. "But of course you're on call 24/7, because someone can call you at any time and say, ‘Hey, I need this or that.’"

2m plus revenue

In 2023, Buzz Plug generated revenue north of EUR 2m, Bäumel and Ouzounis say. The margins vary between 30 and 50% per order, depending on the work involved. And the company is showing strong growth. It is not the number of orders, per sé, that has risen sharply, but their exclusivity. "We used to do ten orders that generated turnover of 100,000 euros, for example. Today, we do ten orders and sometimes reach 300,000," explains Bäumel. As their clientele fares, so fares the company. "If one of our clients has a good season, makes the move to a bigger club, then they also have a different budget that they have at their disposal to spend."

In order to grow even further, they are working on expanding their business model. Through personal shopping, they have built up a network that they also want to use increasingly for concierge services and arrange private jet service, make table reservations in trendy restaurants or book services at hip night clubs, in addition to sneakers, bags and hoodies.

Repurposing business trips as social content

They’re also aiming to increase their social media presence. "We don't want to be direct influencers and advertise products, we want it to fit in with our brand," says Ouzounis. In concrete terms, they want to film their business trips and repurpose them as YouTube and Instagram content. "Our job enables us to do so many things that other people find exciting and that would work well as content. This would also allow us to monetize our personal shopping trips." Ten months ago, they therefore started publishing vlogs on their YouTube account to provide insights into their day-to-day routine. And at Buzz Plug, this includes a private concert by Travis Scott at Formula 1, for example, with their most successful video of their visit to Real Madrid notching almost 50,000 views. "This is definitely a topic we want to develop further in the coming years," says Moritz Bäumel.

Speaking of Travis Scott: His name on their client list would perhaps make them as nervous as meeting their Real Madrid idols. And who knows, say Ouzounis, "He's coming to Europe soon. We've already made initial contact, so maybe it's not all that unlikely." 

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Scott Peterson
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