Here we go again with the Brand Spotlight. We have been chatting with some amazing guys and girls behind the brands that we are starting to see more and more of on the Aussie BJJ circuit and I am stoked to have the team from Suave Kimonos on Deck for June 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
Suave are somewhat a newcomer to the BJJ Gear/Apparel game having kicked off proceedings in July 2017 but they are already starting to establish a nice presence on the market, I stumbled across these guys when a lady I follow out here in WA unwrapped a package from them on IG, so I decided to take a look and get in touch with them. Take a read of what transpired when I caught up with Raz below.
OG – Welcome to Open Guard Raz hope you’re doing well mate and life is treating you kindly over there in Byron Bay.
As always mate would you mind starting by telling our readers a little bit about your personal BJJ journey and how Suave Kimonos came to be?
SK – I have always been involved with Martial Arts, mainly striking. When they’ve opened the first BJJ gym in Byron in 2012, I was one of the first guys to join. Been training consistently ever since and now am a brown belt under Daniel ‘Jacare’ Almeida.
I am a product designer by trade and have been inspired and interested in the gi industry since I started training, the art of it and the detail.. The different fabrics, cuts, etc.. So my business partner and I have decided to have a go. It took us a whole year to develop the cuts and lock in our manufacturing channels. Once we were happy with the products we’ve launched the brand, in July 2017.
OG – One thing that drew me into the brand was the presence of the lion and although the Lion is present a lot in the BJJ world I love how you played more toward the Rastafari theme with all of your gear, the colours etc all seem to work really well with each other, tell us more about the visual design of Suave?
SK – I’ve been involved in the reggae industry and the Byron Bay music industry as an artist and as a promoter/manager for almost 20 years. I love Reggae music and it’s culture. At Suave, we find that reggae and Jiu Jitsu, the gentle art go great together so we’re just flowing with it.
OG – That’s awesome man! So having first come across your brand on social media and correct me if I am wrong but I assume that you are looking to build a large online presence to get the word of Suave out to the masses?
SK – Sure, same as every business I guess, the more demand, the better. But I feel that our advantage at Suave is that we don’t depend on it financially. Our main focus is on producing high quality products and we’re in no rush and not chasing growth. We just want happy customers. Returning customers is our biggest reward.
OG – One thing I ask all of the guys and girls we get on is what their biggest challenge launching a start up in a what’s fast becoming a heavily contested market of local players amongst the big international guys available, how do you stand out from the pack, how have you been received locally and nationally? Do you have any international plans at this point?
SK – There are a few variables to it with the clothing, kind of the same as with the sport itself. You need to produce good cuts, good quality fabrics and high-end finish. Then there’s the branding; the graphics, style and vibe of your product. We’ve been in the market for less than two years and already selling world-wide. People like the product and we’re happy.
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 personalities or a combination of all?
SK – We sponsor people we know personally, and keep a small tight team. It’s more of a grow together kind of thing than spending the big money on a famous athlete. To me, our most exciting athletes are the up n’ coming kids we have on our team, Chilli Harel, Vegas Latina Castle, Jack Wise, and Okalani Compton are the present and the future of Australian Jiu-Jitsu, and supporting their journey from a young age is very exciting. We also sponsor Juvenile competitor Eshli Kurtz who won the Europeans this year and we expect a bright future for him too.
None of these kids are super influencers on social media, but for us it’s more about us supporting them, then what they can do for us.
OG – Well mate it all signs point to the future being bright for the team at Suave and I want to say thank you very much for your time and sharing some insight to the brand! I am super excited to finalise the review of your Cabeludo travel gi and get that live so if our readers want to take I will put a link up on socials as soon as it`s finished.
Well there you have it ladies and gentlemen another one in the books, be sure to head to their social media accounts and website and give them a like I will link them below to make it a hell of a lot easier for you.
Facebook – SUAVE KIMONOS
IG – SUAVE
Until Next Time Train Hard