of GB Wear
It all started with a simple t-shirt, bearing the name the name of the student. Back then, money was scarce, and this humble t-shirt served as a litmus test for the interest within the GB community to wear their team's flag. To the team’s delight, those first 50 units of shirts vanished from the shelves in a mere couple of days.
But this was just the beginning. In 2003, the iconic Red Shield and Equipe GB emerged, accompanied by the birth of our very first kimono. The Red Shield gave GB its identity, a rallying point for the team.
Fast forward to 2006 when GB Wear USA took its first steps, with a solitary desk nestled within the Lake Forest headquarters. These were very long days, when those involved tried to do a lot, with very little. Professor Marco remembers a story:
It bears repeating that this was a time when resources were scarce, but the vision and philosophy drove Master Carlos, Professors Marcio, Flavio, and Marco to accomplish a mission.
The early years…
Let’s set this scene to bring into the early years of GB and GB Wear. Professors Marcio and Flavio were working on systems and procedures, and Professor Marco was doing the branding and digital marketing. They were working and living together with Master Carlos. After being at the HQ all day, they would go home and have long dinners discussing every detail, such as, what are the procedures for bowing, warm-up, and all the GB Method guidelines that we know today. The dinners began around 10 p.m. on most nights and went until 2 a.m. Then they woke each day to do it all again.
The first GB Wear office spaces
A New Era
The new facility's grand opening
In mid-November, GBW hosted a grand opening event to share this milestone with local and global leaders. Master Carlos Gracie Jr., Professors Marcio Feitosa, and Flavio Almeida joined Professor Marco Joca, Nicole Pham, and the team of GBW to celebrate the occasion. The reactions in the room were amazing. From the pro shop to the design center to the beautifully decorated and inspiring warehouse space, the 100+ attendees were in awe at how perfectly this new space embodied the values of Gracie Barra.
A few key moments from the event were some heartfelt words from Marco Joca,
We then got to hear from Professor Flavio and Professor Marcio about their thoughts about GBW:
“It’s quite something to stand here tonight with people that I have admired my whole life and have the privilege of serving by their side has definitely been one of the biggest blessings that Jiu-Jitsu has brought to my life. And starting from a place of gratitude, I am so grateful for what Gracie Barra Wear has brought to our team … I’m grateful for GB Wear for the opportunity to wear my pride. The pride to compete and represent this team first as an athlete, and now to wear my pride to the world because 99% of my closet is GB Wear.” Professor Flavio.
“I’m so grateful for this gathering to celebrate this huge step forward that GB Wear did, accepted the responsibility and challenges to build a huge base like this one. There is a lot of hard work that goes into this, and a lot of tough battles won in order to move forward to have this building that stands tall and really honors what Gracie Barra is about.” Professor Marcio.
And then, finally Master Carlos Gracie Jr. offered his inspiring words:
“Sometimes people ask me, ‘Hey Carlos, how did you find those guys that work so hard with you and are always there through everything with you? How can you trust them so much?’ Well, I believe in these guys 100%. We have been together for over 30 years. Actually, they are capable of doing whatever they want, they don’t need me anymore. But they are still there, and I know they will always be there as long as I am here. When we all started, they were Jiu-Jitsu students, and I was a Jiu-Jitsu professor. We were not businessmen. I saw in them the value that they believe... I had been watching them since they were kids. And when I knew I needed partners, I needed someone to help me because I couldn’t do this by myself. These are the guys I saw in them how they think, and the principles to take care of each other…They believed in the Gracie Barra philosophy. Many years ago these guys were not businessmen. They were Jiu-Jitsu practitioners. Today they are business specialists. Look what they have achieved. And this is just the beginning. Do I feel proud of myself, no, I feel proud of them because they are doing this. What I feel proud of is that I chose right.”
The event was not only a celebration of the progress of GB Wear but also a symbol and celebration of the overall dedication and commitment to the Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone mission. If you happen to be close enough to stop by and pick up your next order, we recommend that you drop by and say hello to the awesome team of people who allow us all to wear our pride!