So here we are with our second instalment of the Brand Spotlight, A new section on our site which will put the spotlight on the Brands we love. We will be interviewing the faces behind the brands and find out what drives them to do what they do. We aim to have a brand a month, so if you are or know someone running a BJJ brand that you think deserves some recognition then get at us Luke@openguard.com.au
With is edition we have chosen a relatively fresh brand to the scene with some super exciting designs and a big vision for the future, I would like to introduce Nathan ‘Bof’ Hughes from Continuous Flow BJJ.
OG – Welcome to Open Guard Bof hope you’re smashing shit today and feeling good. As always mate would you mind starting by telling our readers a little bit about your personal BJJ journey and the How Continuous Flow came to be?
CF – Cheers mate and thanks for having me. I grew up doing a variety of martial arts and even into my 30’s I was still very stand up orientated. I had this delusional belief that due to me being a big, in shape, guy who knew how to look after himself if the fight ever went to the ground I’d be OK. Eventually, as I aged, I got tired of getting punched in the face so I thought I’ll have a look at this BJJ stuff. That was in 2010 and I was amazed that guys literally half my size could just dominate me and there was nothing I could do about it from that moment I was sold.
In terms of the business itself, it really started with a pretty simple concept that I had some BJJ related ideas for shirts and rashguards that I wanted to wear personally. I was lucky enough to know a world class illustrator who I went to with the Predator Proof brief and within a day he had me a rough proof that’s pretty much what you see on our clothes today.
Funnily enough that was in 2014 and I was ready to launch the brand when I ruptured my ACL at the ABJJF Adelaide Cup and needed a full recon and a year off the mats. It felt weird launching a BJJ brand when I wasn’t actually training BJJ and I actually got a bit depressed about the whole thing so put it on the shelf until late 2016 when I got the spark back.
OG – One of the things I have noticed with the brand is the sneaky little references thrown back to old school hip hop and the Basketballesque tag on the bottom of your rash guards, care to tell us why you have gone down this path? I feel like I should say this is one of the things that has drawn me into the brand, being a massive hip hop fan myself.
CF – I’m glad someone noticed lol.
Basically everything I release is a reference to something I like or have a passion for. So the hip hop references go back to the 80’s & 90’s Hip Hop I listened to throughout High School and then my late teens and 20’s when I worked at Central Station Records here in Adelaide.
The Jersey tags actually weren’t my idea (wish I could claim it lol). Nahum, the illustrator I mentioned earlier, is a friend of mine from when we played basketball together and he thought it was a cool, unique touch to kind of set the brand apart and I agreed.
OG – Having first coming across you and your brand on social media one thing that stood out to me was you are very active in promoting through social media channels how have you found the reception to the Australian BJJ market?
CF – Social media is definitely the key to growing a brand in a niche industry in my opinion. I spent 7 years working in marketing so I’ve been exposed to a lot of different marketing channels but nothing is as cheap and effective as social media. It can be time consuming but I love doing it so I don’t find it to be a hassle, plus these days you can basically run a business off your phone.
The response within Australia has been phenomenal. It’s crazy to think that a brand that no one had heard of a year ago has over 3000 people following it and the majority of those are here in Australia.
OG – One thing I ask all of our guests is the plans for the future? Do you have any exciting collaborations or projects on the horizon that you can talk about?
CF – We have a lot happening for the Australian summer. We just released the artwork for our Pennywise jITs collection which has received a massive response and is on sale now.
We are also doing a colab with the one and only Classy Grappler which people who follow him may have seen mentioned on his Facebook page.
Apart from that we have 2 new Hip Hop inspired rashguards, new hemp gi’s, and a full range of brand new T-shirt and Tank top designs all of which will be available in the next couple of months and much, much more.
OG – What has been one of your biggest challenges in establishing yourself in your local BJJ Community and the national scene, with new brands popping up almost daily how do you try to stand out from your competitors?
CF – I’d be lying if I didn’t say money was my biggest hurdle, if I won lotto tomorrow the brand would explode lol.
Securing a quality product at a good price can be challenging at times too. Part of my plan was always to be offering top quality products at a reasonable price.
Finally the biggest thing I struggle with is being patient. I move quickly when I come up with an idea and I needed to learn that not everyone works at the same pace and sometimes things take a while to develop which can be frustrating but patience is a virtue so they say J.
OG – Tell us about your team of sponsored athletes, who excites you the most to be a part of the team, do you look for personalities, competitors active social media people?
CF – The team currently comprises Peter Gaul, a blue belt from Sydney & number 1 ranked in his masters division, Laurino Scriva, a purple belt from Adelaide and number one ranked in his masters division and Vitor Ribiero, a brown belt from Sydney who is a beast.
I’m excited by what all of these guys do. They’re all so talented and dedicated and I’m proud and honoured to have them as part of the team.
We also just reached an agreement with Meagan Evans, a brown belt from Melbourne, who took double gold at the recent Masters Worlds in Las Vegas. I’m really happy to have a female competitor on the team and to secure someone of her calibre is even nicer. Meagan will also be helping me out as we develop a more female orientated line of apparel so stay tuned for that.
OG – Thanks for joining us Bof, and before I let you go why “Bof” how did you earn that nickname. You must be well liked, having such a short nick name?
CF – So BOF has had many meanings over the years starting way back in high school but the one that has stuck for the past 20 odd years is Big Orange Fucker due to me being a 6’3” 110kg ginger lol
OG – Hahaha that is brilliant! Anyway mate thanks again if you have anything you would like to add please feel free.
CF – Cheers for the opportunity Luke, I appreciate you giving me the time. If the readers want to stay up to date with what we are doing, new releases, discount codes, as well as a plethora of BJJ & MMA memes and the like give us a follow on Instagram and Facebook, just search Continuous Flow BJJ and you’ll find us.
Well there you have it ladies and gentleman if you want to follow the Big Orange Fucker and his brand Continuous Flow BJJ be sure to head to their social media accounts and give them a like I will link them below to make it a hell of a lot easier for you.
Until next time.
@continuousflowbjj – IG
Continuous Flow BJJ – FB