Okay this is really hard to write about the history of Phalanx without it being a novel that overwhelms but I'll give it a shot.
I created Phalanx out of a need. I wanted better gear to do Jiu Jitsu in. It's 2011 and everything we rolled in sucked. Also, when I ordered the gear, the customer service was atrocious. It didn't matter what brand it was... it was like they didn't value me. Except I'm the one paying them!? Anyway... so I decided to make a better product and offer way better support.
So I bought a sewing machine, learned how to us it on YouTube, took out all the threads from my Gi and No Gi gear and stapled them to the walls of my living room. (Fortunately at the time I was single and living alone with just my German Shepherd so I could do whatever I wanted to the walls).
Then I got to work sewing away and making prototypes. Rolling in them, splitting the seams at embarrassing times, and doing this over and over until I had something strong. I focused on strength of the fabrics and threads as well as the functionality (movement with the human body's full range of motion).
Eventually product development made sense to me and I faced other challenges like sales. I thought opening up a website and putting a great product out would be enough... it wasn't. I made $300 in the first year (2012), and most of those were my family haha. In fact, I'll never forget the first non-family/friend order. I'll never forget the first person I saw at a tournament wearing Phalanx that I wasn't connected to either. But anyway... so sales sucked but I was making a great product and my customer service was outstanding.
I was fortunate enough to receive guidance from what I call the worlds greatest salesman. Then Phalanx got the attention of Eddie Bravo. To this day he calls my first product, the 1st Lieutenant Gi Pants, "Million dollar Gi pants". It's true, they were a marvel of engineering. If you want to see those badboys you can click here.
After Eddie Bravo was all about the Gi pants, along came Richie and Geo Martinez, the "Freak Bros". Both of them newbies in Jiu Jitsu but masters of body movement. They started rising up... oh and at the same time I garnered the attention of Rener Gracie and I started making all of their rash guards and shorts. They were great the Gi game but needed a lot of help with No Gi.
...I should back up.. why is Phalanx all about No Gi if I started with the gi pants? It was somewhere around the time when the UFC was dropping sponsors and there were rumblings of Reebok getting in the game. At that moment I knew that No Gi would become much bigger than it was. You have to realize, at the time the Gi game was EVERYTHING. There was only one No Gi brand, it was called No Gi Industries for those of you old dogs who remember them. Also, I was personally obsessed with No Gi. I spent the first several years doing nothing but Gi but then I took a No Gi seminar and was in love. So with the UFC Rebook thing popping off and my interest in No Gi building stronger, I knew I could provide a better product. Okay so back to the story....
I started working with the Gracie brothers and the Freak bros. At one time the 10th Planet nation and the Gracie gyms were kinda at odds with each other (although Bravo always seemed to pay mad respect to the Gracie family, and Rener never said anything bad about 10p to me). But you can imagine, working with the Gracie's and the 10 Planets helped a ton. That was the beginning of building a brand.
Over the years I have fallen in love with the community of Jiu Jitsu. I wanted to position Phalanx as the #1 No Gi brand and I think we have done that, but no way will we be caught slipping. Some bigger goals are to make Phalanx the most respected and recognized JJ brand around the world and give away more product than any other Jiu Jitsu brand combined. Actually, at the time of this writing, last year we gave away 531 products! We also donate big time to Autism Awareness and are looking to add in more charities.
Phalanx is now a small family of dedicated employees who truly care about doing the best, giving the most, caring for the fans, and getting on the mat (you'd be surprised how many brands don't roll). We are a family and you are #phalanxfamily. When I started this thing I told you I was treated poorly by other brands... well I'm here to tell you that YOU hold all the power. You are the customer, you are the foundation of the culture, and without you the brands are nothing. We will never forget that. Thank you so much for your support and we will continue to do our best.
Much love and respect,