April 28, 2018
To all my online friends and customers:
It’s been a great ride and I’ve enjoyed it tremendously, but it’s time for this Piranha to swim off into the sunset.
Not everyone gets to leverage their hobby into a profession, but I did for well over a decade and had a great time. Not only did I make a decent living, hire some absolutely wonderful employees, and design some pretty neat uniforms and t-shirts, I got to have quality time with my family – especially as my boys grew up.
I’ve had the privilege of sponsoring people, events and podcasts (looking especially at YOU Karate Café ) – that gave me an excuse to talk with people whose work I enjoyed and help them back a little bit.
Overall I’ve had a chance to meet and work with some wonderful people that will no doubt remain friends for a long time.
Unfortunately the last few years have seen tougher competition and tighter margins. However the biggest challenge turned out to be Chinese counterfeit products. Over a year of legal battles and countless hours of “having dialogs” with Amazon, it has become obvious that you can’t fight a dragon that moves like the wind… and is a zaabillion times your size. And the time and money spent in the fight was… well at least it helped pay for some nice furniture at the legal office… and I hear my attorney is getting a new boat too… 😉
If you want to read one of the better explanations about counterfeit products, read this as we’re definitely not the only ones impacted and the Atlantic just did an “expose” article on it too.
But all good things must end and now so too shall Piranha Gear…
I found a couple of charities to give away most of the remaining inventory. And pleasantly they were actual “non-profit” kinds of stuff like Guardian Gym (teaching kids martial arts in Oakland CA) or Grateful Garments (providing clothes to victims of sexual assaults when leaving the hospital). Or even something like a BJJ school at a Uganda orphanage. Kind of like this one…
So that turned out pretty cool! 😉
Perhaps the best thing is that I will NEVER have to go back to those old stupid foot pads that Century Martial Arts foisted on us for decades!!! Paint covered, foam crap that always twisted up under the ball of your foot. I’ve got my stash now HAHAHAH! Take that Century!
My employees are all setup and found good places (they were super troopers) and negotiations with the landlord went WAY better than I expected (they were super cool about it – or I would have been in for some serious hurt).
As for me, the owner, I was approached with “an offer I couldn’t refuse” and rather than go through the work of trying to sell the company and then try to look for something next year, I’ve begun work at the new position and I’m looking forward to the challenge.
So while the water in the tank is still sweet, this Piranha is done swimming… So long and thanks for all the fish!