It is now two years since I started working with my good friend and partner Gregory van der Wiel. Looking back it’s already been one hell of a ride and we are just getting started. Fucked up a lot, learned even more. You know what they say; if it feels like you have everything under control, you are not going fast enough! After launching Block Party, three beautiful investments and a move to Toronto, why launch a second company? Because we want more.
We helped our investments get started or helped them forward, something we will do forever. But as an investor you are not the entrepreneur and you definitely should not try to act that way. To me personally that was/is hard sometimes, as I am still a very young and hungry entrepreneur myself. Always trying to do new stuff, break things and go harder.
Secondly, when we moved to Toronto we saw a gap in the sports industry. A gap that needs to be filled. Some of the worlds leading and biggest athletes don’t have an actual visual identity. Yes they are brands, they have major influence and have some of the biggest online platforms out there. But how come when you visit their different off/online platforms, things aren’t aligned?
Let’s look at the biggest company brands out there. Why do all Apple Stores look the same? Why does the Apple website look the same as their product packages? Have you ever gone to a Nike entity that didn’t look and feel like Nike? Never. The biggest companies in the world all do it. They have a visual identity, a brand book and a clear vision. But almost no major athlete has it. Athletes and other personal brands have become so big that they are companies too. But on this part, creative direction, they don’t act like the big brands do. This is what needs to be changed and we want to be that change.
We started by creating an identity for Gregory, as an example of what we could do. Biggest goal was to make him feel comfortable being himself, show the world who he really is. We created a visual identity that represents; him. To sum it all up; we created cool shit. The self confidence that he has in real life is now also represented online. That boosted his confidence even more.
Now it’s time to put ourselves out there. Create more cool shit for others. Bare Knuckle is the outlet that I have wanted personally. An outlet to do things by the vision I formed over the last 10 years. Something I formed with the help of lots of, too me, very important people. I will probably face a lot of things I have never done before or don’t know how to do. That is exactly what excites me. I am ready to break some more, learn, do cool shit and have lots of fun doing it.