Well fight fashion enthusiasts, today we have Egor, founder and CEO of Redstar Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Fighgear. Redstar is a newer company specializing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Gis that has really taken off. He has stupidly agreed to let me pick his brain and annoy him for a while so here goes.
Egor, why don’t you give us the sob story of how Redstar got started and what it is all about.
Redstar BJJ and Fightwear is a child of my passion to the sport of Brazilian jiu jitsu and mma born and raised in Toronto, Canada. I have done a few different styles of martial arts since I was 12 years old including sambo, judo, boxing, krav maga; but when I started practicing BJJ it changed…well, not my life…but a lot in my life. I fell in love with the sport, with its uniqueness, with its complexity, with its history. I do remember watching a VHS tape rented at Blockbuster with some skinny dude from Brazil wearing a full kimono going against a giant guy, and I did bet $20 against him – we all know now, it was a bad move by me. That night stuck in my head for years to come. Years later I started training BJJ and never stopped.
I’ve always had passion for something new, something that makes me get up in the morning and go to work, and something that makes me tick. I’ve been in the creative and marketing business for many years, and one day after evening BJJ practice, about 3 years ago, I got home and told my wife that I want to start Kimura Fightwear (yes, Jeff, true story). Her response was – yeah sure, with your 2 other businesses you have ”enough” time. But I thought why not. I love the sport and I want to be part of the community. The sport is still relatively young, especially in Canada, and why do the most popular brands have to come from Brazil and not North America? I blindly thought – how hard can it be? Come up with a cool name, design a cool logo, get some manufacturer from Pakistan or China, copy someone else’s kimono and there ya go. Well, I could not be more wrong!
And how wrong I was. Oh my…. It was crazy, dozens of samples from different manufacturers, hundreds and hundreds of dollars spent on what I called later – short sleeve pajamas. So, I quit the whole idea and decided to start from scratch, from my house. I bought a sewing machine and started making my own patterns. You should have seen it – it was comedy. First versions were just terrible. But with time, and with great help from my wife the 1st real prototype was born. It took “only” about 14 months. Good thing about it is that it went across the world to the 1st Abu Dhabi Pro World Cup worn by a good friend of mine, world silver medalist, the winner of Canadian Abu Dhabi qualifiers Louie Cerqua. Great guy, great friend and most importantly he gave me great reviews of the gi.
From that moment I knew that there is no way back and I really want to continue this.
Where did Redstars name come from?
Well, I wanted it to be something simple and unique; and make sure it represented something significant from my life. I grew up in the country where we saw red stars everywhere. It represented many things. Not the propaganda crap which I grew up with, and believe me I grew up in the world where Rambo movies were blacklisted, and where a daily drill on how to avoid nuclear blast by jumping under the school desk were normal….give me a break. To me it represented strength, honor, respect, blood and discipline. There are lots of different stars around the world, around the world of brands and teams – for me it was REDSTAR.
What sets Redstar apart from other BJJ kimono companies out there?
Commitment to quality and true satisfaction of our clients. Men and women whom wear our product and use it on daily basis. These are “2+2”s in any business. If your customer is not satisfied, your business is going to fail, guaranteed. I am here not for a quick buck. Redstar is here to stay for years to come. To make sure it happens we have to make sure, you, the readers of this are happy, which will make us happy. I also try to be a big part of community.
We try sponsoring young and upcoming athletes who believe in the sport, try hard to make sport grow, try to compete and win. You don’t have to be world champion black belt to be on our team. Show us that you care, show us that you serious and we’ll help you out with gear as much as we can. People that know me well will tell you that that’s exactly what I do.
We try to make sure that our gis fit you perfectly. We do our best at custom tailoring sleeves and pants for all our customers.
For such a new company, what is it that has made Redstar gain traction so quickly?
Again… I’d say quality of product and our commitment to be part of the community. And remember it wasn’t such short period of time. From the start to the first batch of 400+ gis sold and given for free, mostly in Canada, took almost 2 years of hard work, thousands of dollars, research, testing and production.
So, that’s pretty much it – the balance between hard work, quality and pricing. And believe me it’s not easy to maintain the quality and our pricing. I promise we’ll do our best to make sure our customers are happy.
Oh yeah…I guess the design had to do something with success too… haha.
What is in the works for Redstar? Any plans to expand beyond just Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gis?
Yes absolutely. I am working very hard on all no-gi gear. Shorts, rashguards – long and short sleeve, and IBJJF approved rashguards are coming soon. Like gis, I am not taking an easy road I am investing my time and money into it, and my sponsored fighters, friends and me are testing the prototypes. They’re giving me their feedback and based on that I try to improve the product. So far I went through 3 rounds of shorts and 4 rounds of rashguards. We’re very close.
A new model of the gi is coming out soon as well. It’s going to be called … stay tuned for this. Light and improved pearl weave fabric with light but strong pants. Improved fit and design, like no others.
We’re also working on tshirts. Unique styles for our tshirts are a must. Anyone these days can draw couple of skulls and barbwire and print a shirt. We really try to communicate a true spirit of Redstar in our designs – unique designs reflecting soviet ideology in a non propaganda way. Strength, pride, respect – that’s’ what the Redstar is all about. We want to stay away from the skull-othon mainstream and give our customers something unique and stylish.
Anything else you would like to mention?
Well, I would like to express special thanks to my wife for the enormous support and help during the start of Redstar. Without her it would never have happened.
I would like to thank everyone who supported me in the beginning. Special thanks go to Nova Uniao Budokan BJJ team and my instructor Cesar Rezek; Mark Stables and MECCA gym; Alaina Hardie and of course Fight Planet Canada.
If you want to talk to me, order product or any other inquiries email me at email@example.com. Or join us on Facebook, just search for Redstar BJJ.
Big ups to Egor for wasting his time speaking with me. Be on the lookout for a new website from Egor as well. Let us know who you would like to see interviewed and we will do our best to make that happen.