With their unique name and a simple but unique style, RollJunkie is looking to make waves this coming year with a collection that is geared not only towards “roll junkies” but the casual grappler as well.
The Grapplers Review got a chance to sit down with the owners and go over a few details regarding their choice of name, products, and what we can expect from the company in the coming year.
We’ll also be looking at one of their products, The Grapplehead Shirt after the interview.
RollJunkie. Unique name, how did you come up with it?
When my brother Ed and I started the company we wanted a name that is unique but has real meaning. When we came up Rolljunkie, we thought it fit perfectly. Most people outside of BJJ may not realize what the name means, but if you train, you know exactly what it means the moment you see it. And everyone I know is a complete BJJ addict!
How long have you been in business?
We first had the idea for the business in early 2012 and started exploring the market then, but really did not start making and selling our own products until late 2012.
Any prior business experience before RJ?
For me, Rolljunkie is my first serious business venture.
Where are you located at?
We are located in New Jersey, and we have really seen BJJ grow in popularity around here over the last few years. Not only are there a ton of great MMA guys from this area but there are world class jiu jitsu guys too.
The logo is a pretty subtle design, what made you choose it?
We wanted something that was simple, memorable, and looked good. We went through many iterations before we settled on the final one and are very happy with it.
How long have you been training?
I’ve been training BJJ for about 5 years now. Ed has been training for about 8. I also wrestled competitively since grade school so I’ve been involved in grappling for a long time now.
What got you on your path to being a Jiu Jitsu addict?
Ed was the first to start training BJJ. He started out at Renzo’s in New York in 2005. When he moved to NJ in 2006, he found a Renzo affiliate and has been there ever since. As soon as he started, he kept telling me I had to check it out. He knew with my grappling background I’d become hooked. There were no schools near me back in 2005 but when I moved in 2008 I was able to train at with Renzo’s cousin, Romulo Bittencourt in Newark. I moved again a few years ago and am now at one of Ricardo Almeida’s schools.
Are you an avid competitor like myself?
I’ve done a few tournaments here and there but my brother is the more active competitor between the two of us. He took a break for a while but now is trying to compete as much as he reasonably can. Right now we’re gearing up for the IBJJF New York Open in April. Then, of course, the No Gi Pan Ams in the fall.
You just got started online, how long have you been selling locally?
We started selling shirts and rash guards at our own academies in October and really got some positive feedback. After that we decided to expand our product line, take our business online and see if others liked it as well.
Hows the creative process go for you?
I love design, and when something pops into my head I just create an image of it, see how it looks, and then go from there. Some designs we love right away, others need tweaking, and still others never make it off the drawing board. In addition, we’re always trying to get feedback and fresh ideas from our customers and those around us.
You use the old school Run DMC logo for one of your shirts? Did you like the look of the shirt or are you a fan?
Both. When I was growing up Run DMC was huge. I can’t tell you how many times we listened to those tapes (yes I know – tapes!). And even today, years later, their logo is instantly recognizable. It’s a classic and obviously inspiration for our Roll This Way T which is one of our popular items. We’ve also been playing around with a Beastie Boys shirt inspired by their Licensed To Ill logo.
What inspires your shirts? I like the head and the cauliflower ear (Grapplehead) I got. It’s super soft and comfortable.
That’s awesome, I’m glad you like it. The quality of all our products is something that is very important to us. When we made our shirts, we tried to use the best material and fit we could find. For the designs, we try to make a wide variety so there is something for everyone. We have very clean and simple shirts, and we also have shirts like our Walk Out T that have a little more flash to it. Our Grapplehead logo with the cauliflower ear has been one of our most popular, and you can expect to see more designs featuring that logo in the future.
Your shirts are more of an athletic type of fit, what made you want to go with that type of cut?
We liked the way that cut fit when we tried them and we have also received a lot of positive feedback on it. Most of our customers actively train so I guess the athletic fit just made sense.
What are your fight shorts made of?
Our shorts are 100% polyester and the logos are sublimated so they will never crack, fade, or peel. They are extremely durable and we have additional styles and colors coming soon.
Did you completely build them from the ground up or did you base them off another design?
The way our Classic Fight Shorts are made is different from anything else we have seen on the market. It features a fitted waistband and smaller Velcro front. The stitching and material are also top quality. For the prints, we’re certainly not the first company to write their name on the front of the shorts, however, we did design them with the idea that we wanted to make them stand out from other shorts on the market. We feel like the coloring and cut does just that.
Your rash guards look nice, are they a heavier material?
Our Classic rashguards are made out of 88% polyester and 12% spandex. Our Elite rashguards are made out of 82% polyester and 18% spandex. Neither are any heavier than most BJJ rashguards, but both are comfortable and great to roll in.
Besides the design, what sets the classic rash guard from the Elite rash guard?
The biggest difference between the two other than the design is the cut. The Elite rashguard has side panels that extend through the Torso through the upper arm. This means no stitching in the armpits for more comfort and durability. It also means there is more room for better mobility. In addition, the Elite rash guard has a longer torso that you can pull down so it is a little less likely to ride up on you while rolling.
What kind of a cut would you say it is?
The Elite rashguard is cut for those who want the best in comfort, mobility, and durability.
You mentioned to me that you should have some new products in soon, what kind of things are you planning on dropping?
We have a lot of stuff coming in late April/early May. This includes kimonos, multiple rashguard designs and fits – short sleeve, long sleeve, and loose fit. We also have additional shorts and T’s on the way.
You also mentioned that you made some improvements to your current products, care to enlighten us?
We made some adjustments to our rash guards and shorts that will give our customers more options in our product line. We will be releasing shorts with a more traditional style waist band, elastic with a larger Velcro closure. This will be more forgiving than our fitted shorts for those that fluctuate in weight. We’re trying several things with our rash guards including a long sleeve version with more form fitting arm pits which we think will be better for competition and a loose fit rashguard that will fit a looser around the waist.
Kimonos….what can we expect from those and when will be able to see some mock ups/product pictures? Any teaser shots?
This is our first kimono design so we are going to keep it clean and traditional. We’re going with a white kimono and staying away from the contrast stitching for this release. Don’t get us wrong, we like the contrast stitching if it’s done right, but there is also something about your traditional all white kimono that we just love. Not a lot of flash on this one, just a quality kimono that looks good. In the future, we hope to release additional colors and designs. We have even posted some concept designs on our Facebook page. We’ll be releasing a couple of teaser pics to Grapplers Review in a couple of weeks, well before we officially release the kimonos.
What can we expect from RollJunkie this year? What should we be keeping our eyes open for, any revolutionary changes to the market?
Look for us to continue releasing several new products and designs into our lineup throughout the year. We have a huge focus on design and have some that we are really excited to release. We think people will really find our designs, approach, and brand refreshing.
I’ll give you three words to describe your company as best as you can…..GO!
Fresh, Quality, Committed
Where can we buy the RollJunkie collection at?
Most of our products are available through our online store at http://www.rolljunkie.com. We will also be setting up merchandise stands at jiu-jitsu events in the NJ area throughout the year. Follow us on Facebook for more info on what events will be attending.
Any final words to leave our fellow Jiu Jitsu addicts?
Thanks to everyone for taking the time to check us out. Keep training, keep learning, and above all, FEED YOUR ADDICTION! We’ll see you on the mats!
Now lets take a gander at their shirt!
A head with cauliflower ears and “RollJunkie Grappling” logo mixed with two lightning bolts and EST. 2012 with a vintage fade on the screen print mark this shirt.
It’s a size Large but is an athletic fit so it’s a bit smaller in the torso and chest.
I like my shirts this type of cut so it fits perfect for me.
Simple RJ logo on the back below the collar. Nothing too over the top, just a subtle logo.
The shirt is a 60% cotton, 40% poly blend, and is super soft and comfortable.
Also there is no tag to irritate the back of your neck. Love it when companies do that.
I’ve worn this shirt a few times and it’s only gotten softer. It has that “worn in” feel to it.
As you can see to the left, we have the RollJunkie shirt and two other pictures….Those would be stickers.
Pretty good quality, being a vinyl die cut Head sticker that peels away and the other a standard rectangle vinyl sticker.
I’ve had some pretty crappy shirts from BJJ companies, shirts that stretch a ridiculous amount or shrink down to a size small after one wash and dry. Some shirts that the second you pull it out of the package you can tell the screen print is garbage.
That isn’t the case with RollJunkies Grapplehead shirt. It’s a soft, lightweight shirt with a good screenprint on it that seems like it’s gonna last a while. I hope it lasts a while because I like the comfort and design of the shirt.