Competidor Brand Interview
There isn’t a ton of information out there about the kimono and gear company Competidor Brand, so we here at Grappling Reviews set out to learn more about the company. The owner of the Competidor Brand, Marvin Manibusan, was kind enough to have a chat with us and give us an insight to the brand, how they got started, what drives them, the “KIDGATE” kimono scandal, GUAM culture, and much more.
First off there isn’t much info about Competidor Brand out there with the exception of your about page, what’s your name and position in the company?
My name is Marvin Manibusan. I am the Founder / Creative Director.
How long have you been training?
I wrestled in high school and had a couple of MMA fights from 17 – 21. However, I didn’t really do to much “gi” until about 2007.
Out of the many gyms on GUAM, who do you train under?
I train under my uncle, Melchor Manibusan at his gym “Spike 22 Academy” Spike 22 gym homewhich is a Nova Uniao affiliate here on island. We have three black belts Joey Calvo, Mike Ulloa and Eli Monge.
I got my blue belt in 2009 from “Charuto” Verissimo (Nova Uniao Hawaii). I now have 4 stripes with my eye on that PURPS!
What made you want to start Competidor Brand?
After college, I started off my career as the in-house creative for Dizzy Inc. Which runs and operates DNA Evolution (Surf Shop) and KICKS/HI (KicksHawaii/Guam), as well as a bunch of other shops. So I was doing a bunch of cool things for the company, such as designing flyers, gift boxes, photo shoots, ads, t shirts, shoes, etc. I had the opportunity to work on some really cool local projects for companies like Vans, Stussy and LRG. At the time I was also freelancing for local brands Fokai Industries, Affiliated Lifestyles and Rush Gear. So, it was only a matter of time until I would move on to do my own thing. I loved to design. I loved Jiu Jitsu. It only made sense to merge the two… And here we are today… COMPETIDOR!
On your about page you say Competidor was inspired by a plethora of different cultures and sub cultures, what cultures inspires the minds behind Competidor brand?
I consider myself very eclectic. I like almost everything and appreciate good design, good music and good people. I was military brat, so I had the opportunity to travel all over the world at a young age. So we’re inspired by almost everything around us. Surf, Skateboarding, Grappling, Football (American and Euro), Wrestling, Fight culture, Harajuku shops, lizards, hip hop, electronica, reggae, G shock, Cannabis culture, Vitamin Water, New Era, and the list goes on! We pull inspiration from absolutely anywhere and truly appreciate the complexity of life and the human race.
When was Competidor Brand established and how did it start?
We launched our full website Nov 2011, with two sample kimonos and a dream!
Your first two gi’s were The Guardian Series, Super Clean and Charcoal Haze, what made you want to go against the grain and make a grey gi?
Man, we figured we’d have to really storm out of the gates and really do something different to stand out. We didn’t care if it was an illegal gi or not. We just fell in love with that color way and went for it.
We’ve heard a lot about Guam’s Jiu Jitsu culture/scene lately, what is it about Guam that makes it such a hot spot for Jiu Jitsu?
Fight culture in general has become part of Guam. We had local MMA events here since the 90’s and the island truly embraced the sport. I believe there is a lot of factors that can contribute to our love for MMA. The Chamorro people are very respectful and kind, but then again proud and tough. So to find a sport that embodies both toughness and respect, is a huge factor in drawing us toward the sport. Another factor may be that we are an island. We don’t have a Six flags or anything like that, we just have the beach and the gym. Train train train! Plus, we are very competitive and to see an island boy go out there and win tournaments in the mainland gives the island both hope and pride. I think that is something that holds close to home for a lot of the guys that are from Guam and train. They want nothing more than to hold that flag up on the podium. Small island. Big heart.
I would have to say… only that we make the GREATEST kimonos ever known to man! 😉 LOL. Honestly, there are so many great gi companies out there, and we really just want to make some cool products and roll Jiu Jitsu. Bottom line.
Who all are your sponsored athletes whether it be grappling or otherwise, and do you have any upcoming prospects that we should be looking out for?
We’re a really small company and do not have a marketing budget at all. So can’t really come out and say, “Oh we sponsor this fighter and he’s exclusive to Competidor.” We do however support a couple of guys that show love and support for the company. Look out for Ryan Bigler! He just lost his fight to one of the Korean Top Team guys at 170lbs in PXC (Pacific Xtreme Combat). The guy he lost to just got signed by the UFC and is one tough mofo. After the loss Ryan is on a vengeful rampage at the gym, so I wouldn’t want to be the next guy he’s fighting. Look out for him.
Also, Jon Tuck. He lost to last season’s TUF winner in the fight to make it into the house. He broke his toe in an exchange and fought his way through the whole fight with a broken toe. Tuck has some good things lined up, so definitely watch out for him! Otherwise, there are so many guys that show love and support for the brand and we will continue to grow with them!
Lots of people love your apparel and kimono’s and want to know about sponsorship, what does one need to do to get sponsored by a company like yours..any tips for the hopefuls out there?
We are working on a lot of things to better the brand and grow our company. So just please be patient with us and continue to go hard. We’ll have our eyes open!
Here lately there has been some negative feedback regarding customer service, kidcompetidor patch mishaps, Vader taping mishaps…besides the customer service part we can all understand factory mistakes but perhaps you should have let people know about these things before they ordered?
Ah yes, the ‘KIDGATE.” WE ABSOLUTELY TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY ON THE MATTERand understand everyone’s concerns. We had our samples come back with KIDCOMPETIDOR on the sleeves. We told our manufacture to CHANGE CHANGE CHANGE CHANGE! We couldn’t have stressed it enough. So we tried to hide the misprint from our photo shoot as much as possible and release the pre-order. Sure enough, our manufacturer sent them with KID on it! What could we do? We had a bunch of pre-orders waiting for there gi. We had to send them out. Fast forward toady. We are making a bunch of embroidered patches that are big enough to cover over the sleeve embroidery and will be free to those who purchased the kimono. We are also refunding those unhappy customers that just can’t get over it. We’ve so far only had about one. So that’s good. The patches are in production and we will let everyone know once available.
If you could go back and restart Competidor Brand, would you and what would you do to change things?
There’s a bunch of things that come to mind. But, when I really think about it. I would have to say “Nothing.” Every Jiu Jitsu player knows, that you “Live and Learn.” We are learning from our mistakes and we are only going to grow from them.
What can we expect from Competidor Brand in the future?
Great things. We have really cool projects in mind and can’t wait to bring them to fruition. We are working on supplying more man power to our force, so you can expect better customer service and faster kimono drops!
Thanks again for answering these questions for the masses, anything you’d like to say to everyone out there?
We’d like to give a huge huge huge huge huge huge thanks to absolutely everyone who has supported the brand. We appreciate each and everyone of you. We are excited for the future and look forward to growing with you on your journey to Black Belt!!! OSS!
With the exception of the KIDCOMPETIDOR patch, which honestly I really don’t even mind but lots of other people do, Competidor Brand has dropped some great gi’s with the GROUND WARS series and the fact that they are making good with the customers who are unhappy with the logo mishap shows that they do care what their customers say and want to continue their success as a growing business with future releases.
Trying to survive and be original in a business like the Jiu Jitsu Gi market right now is a tiresome and a true test of patience. One minute you’re hot and the next minute you’re out to a brand new company that’s the next “it gi”. It’s this writer and grapplers opinion that Competidor Brand will continue to strive and be successful in this ever growing market.
Look out for Competidor Brand in the near future as they’re planning on releasing some fresh new gear and strive to be the best company they can on the isle of Guam.