Hey all, this is Cody with FightTrends.com and I am going to be talking with Vince Quitugua, owner and founder of Shoyoroll.
Cody: Tell me a bit about yourself and Shoyoroll.
Vince: Shoyoroll started back in 2000. It started as a hobby with myself and a bunch of friends. We were all fans of the UFC in the 90’s. Royce Gracie got us inspired to learn jiu-jitsu after we watched the Rickson Gracie choke video and old school Gracie Torrance challenge matches. We then began training jiu-jitsu in the late 90’s. We were a bunch of friends from the islands, Guam to be exact, learning armbars and triangles. After you learn a few moves, you get inspired real quick and you get hooked on the lifestyle. That is how we got linked to the sport.
Cody: There must not have been too many places to train Jiu-Jitsu in Guam back then right?
Vince: No. Guam only had 1 or 2 schools back in the 90’s. A Purebred gym and a Relson Gracie affiliate school. It was not until I moved to Los Angeles in ’99 that I really got to train and experience Jiu-Jitsu to the fullest.
Our roots are in surfing. So we got inspired by that industry since surfing and skating sets the standard for apparel in extreme sports. I’m a normal Jiu-Jitsu geek that loves the sport and MMA. I’m a normal dude like most people, just enjoying both sports grow and evolve. I feel blessed that I’m able to be a part of the industry.
Cody: Give me a little more background on Shoyoroll and how it started.
Vince: Shoyoroll Brand started as a very small company. We started with 5-10 iron on t-shirts printed from my friends HP printer. No real demand… just a cool name and I always wanted to start a clothing company. Coming out of high school, you never know what you’re really doing. So we gave it a shot and started very slow. We were inspired by Jiu-Jitsu and that is where the word Shoyoroll originated from, get on the mat and SHOw YOur ROLL.
For the longest time we made zero money. To be honest, we struggled for probably the first 6 years to try to even break even on our investment. We had stuff out there, but it was never enough to keep the brand going and it was only known in certain areas where friends could push and promote the product. We were kids that knew nothing about business and were just trying our best to understand it. All we knew is we liked the sport and we were not going to give up on our label and our movement.
Cody: And now you have one of the most popular gis out there. I even heard of people buying them on Ebay for close to $300. What is it about the Shoyoroll gis that people go crazy for?
Vince: Wow, that’s a bold statement lol. There are so many kimono companies out there now-a-days.
Cody: A little bold maybe lol.
Vince: Our gi’s are getting popular and are in high demand. I guess it’s because we don’t mass produce kimonos like other companies. Gi’s selling on EBAY for $300 plus…unreal. I just feel blessed that people are liking the product we are putting out.
To answer the question of why people like SYR gi’s and going crazy, I think its a few things…
1. We listen to our customers and welcome feedback. All feedback is taken into consideration, everything is taken to the drawing board.
2. We believe in customer service.
3. We provide the best possible product to the market.
4. We are consistently looking at better ways to improve our product for our consumers.
Those are probably the ones that stand out.
Cody: Do you have plans to release a new run of gis anytime soon?
Vince: We just finalized two new models for the winter season. They will be a limited edition release with a few extra cool features from our previous batch. We are accepting preorders now at www.Shoyoroll.com.
Cody: Can’t wait. Any idea how many will be released in the US? Gotta make sure I buy one quick this time.
Vince: We are looking to up our quantities just a little bit because we know we have missed a ton of people who just can’t get their hands on the product. We are looking to release 300 in the US on our next run. Not finalized yet, but should get the exact number soon. About 50-100 extra per style than our previous batch.
We will also send some GI’s out to people who support our MOVEMENT.
Cody: You want to elaborate on the Shoyoroll Movement?
Vince: Sure. The Shoyoroll MOVEMENT is a group of people who push and promote the brand in one way or another. Anybody who has worn our product at one time or another, they are a form of our movement.
We also have an active team that pushes our MOVEMENT and helps promote our product.
From friends of the brand like Kenny & Keith Florian, JT Torres, Ryan Hall, Bill Cooper, Jeff Glover, Darren U., Abe Ane, Luke Stewert, Chris C., Mendes Bros, Braga Neto, Sim Go, Nohara, Crazy Tim, Drysdale, H-Worth, Jared W., Scully, Kayron Gracie, Popovitch, Rani, Gil Melendez… Just to name a few man. The list goes on and on….. anybody who wears SYR product. We appreciate each and every one of you. One person does not make our brand, It’s our customers and the movement behind it.
Cody: Pretty awesome group of guys in that list. SYR really seems to be taking off.
So what is next for Shoyoroll?
Vince: We are designing a few new products for next year. We are working on some new cool shorts, new concepts on kimonos, new shirt designs and concepts and new bags. Hopefully, a full line in 2010. We are also planning to open our first design studio in Los Angeles County early next year. We want to continue to push the standards of kimonos and also introduce different products for our customers on a regular basis.
Cody: I know everyone is looking forward to your next run of kimonos. You are going to have people beating down the doors when you open your design studio. You better not release that address!
Vince: lol. We try to get to all our customers as fast as possible. We hope our next kimonos will make our existing customers and our new customers happy. We are excited for the new batch coming out. We are releasing belts and stand alone pants, customers have been screaming for these products and we are finally able to meet the demand. We are also introducing another brand new size to the industry
Cody: What size is that?
Vince: A2H (Husky) for guys around 5’6-5’10 / 210-240.
Cody: That should be a popular size. There are a lot of those guys out there for sure.
Vince: Our A3 slim was a success, so we are trying to make one more size that is lacking in the kimono industry. We hope it works for the guys out there that are a bit huskier and not tall. This hopefully prevents them from having to buy an A4 and take it to the tailor because it’s too long
Cody: They can’t wait, I am sure. Thanks for taking the time to talk with us today. Anything you want to say to the Shoyoroll supporters out there?
Vince: Thank you to FightTrends.com for offering our industry a site to go and check out all the new cool products on the market. Thank you to all our customers who have purchased our products in the past. We appreciated your support. If you don’t know be sure to check out our products at BUDOVIDEOS.COM , NHBGEAR.COM, AND FIGHTPLANET.CA (EXCLUSIVE CANADA) retailer. Look for Shoyoroll Brand to make a splash in 2010 with some new products. We are also looking to get our product out to Japan, UK, Spain, and Australia in 2010 as well. Be sure to check out our new and improved site at WWW.SHOYOROLL.COM.
Cody: That’s all she wrote fight fans. Keep your head on a swivel for our upcoming interviews with Tri-Coasta and Nogi.
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