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. If for some reason you need to reach me, the only active email address is “Closed2018” with the domain name after it: @PiranhaGear.com
So while the water in the tank is still sweet, this Piranha is done swimming… So long and thanks for all the fish!
11 thoughts on “So Long and Thanks for all the Fish!”
Farewell, Bill! Best wishes and you will be missed.
Practical Defense Podcast
I am sorry to hear you have closed your doors and wish you the best of luck in you next endeavor. Between my wife and I, we recently bought 5 or 6 of your gi’s. (Off Amazon, sorry) Anyway, I liked them so much I was coming back to pay full price. That said, we are part of a community Judo program in Louisville, Ky. The gi’s definitely went to kids you needed them and could not have afforded them otherwise. Thank you, Donald Vish.
sorry to hear the news about Piranha gear, you guys had the best knee pads ever!! Good luck on whatever you undertake in the future. Good guys like you will always succeed!
Sorry to hear about Piranha closing. When I first began cross-training in jiu-jitsu I bought some stuff from you years ago. Your belts were definitely better quality than most I’ve seen in nearly 30 years of training. For the past 2 or 3 years I had been contemplating opening up a martial arts supply store of my own. But with the closing of a well-known brand like Piranha, now I’m having second thoughts. Whatever your next endeavor is, I wish you the best of luck.
It’s great to hear from those that enjoyed my brand of products, but (after your second thoughts) don’t be scared off from doing your “own thing”. I found it tremendously rewarding and have no regrets at all. Just be sure you know what you’re getting into and be ready to adapt to changes. 😉
Thank you for the advice. Although slightly hesitant, I’m am determined to one day have my own shop, whether buying an existing one or starting fresh. I have nearly 30 years of martial arts experience along with previous retail and customer service experience and my family have been business owners in the past (granted in a different industry) so that does help a bit I believe. But still definitely a lot of things I’ll need to learn beforehand and along the way especially if I go the startup route.
Your gear was superb, Bill! Quality and design matters, I hope this wave dissolves and who knows, maybe we will see piranha swimming again.
The nice thing about the ocean is that there’s always another wave. As long as you can swim, you can always find something to play in… 😉 But thanks for the kind words. Always nice to hear from someone that enjoyed the gear!
I was just going to reorder some VT shorts, your company had some of the best ones out there. Can I still buy some? Sorry just had to ask. Good luck with your future projects.
I’t always great to hear that people like the gear, especially when it was something like these shorts that I had made “different” because I didn’t like the regular ones that other companies sold… 😉 I did keep a couple bins of “just can’t bear to get rid of it” stuff and there are some VT shorts. Contact me directly at Customer Service at Piranha Gear dot com as it’s a little easier to do a “back-and-forth” for your size and style.
Damn! So sorry to hear you had to close your doors. My Piranha Gear uniform was seriously the best quality uniform I have used in just over 30 years in the MA….its still alive and kicking after 10 years!
Thanks for the awesome gear, curse you for setting the bar so high lol
All the best for the future!