After discussing his childhood growing up around the game and more recent Angels news and prospects, Victor talked about his latest passion and our plans to raise money for charity while having a good time.
Here is the transcript of that chat:
You started a clothing line this off season; it’s a family affair. Let’s talk about that a bit. How did that get going? Was it your daughter that was the driving force there, or did you guys just sit down and say, “let’s start a family business?”
“No, it was something I’d been thinking about for the last couple years. Back in late 2017, I got with an Angel fan on Instagram who’s a graphic designer, Bryce Reyes, and I just liked his stuff. I thought he had this old-school vibe to his art and I’ve always dug that stuff, so I reached out to him and told him what I wanted to do. I had been toying with the idea of having a logo made up for Big Fly.
We ended up striking up a nice little friendship, he did a logo for me, I loved it, and I had it in my pocket since September 2017 with really no plans for it. We got to a point last year,late in the season and into October and my wife and I finally decided we were going to do a T-shirt apparel-type business. I didn’t want it to be just another baseball t-shirt company. There are plenty of them out there and I respect anyone who starts and runs a business but I wanted to do something completely different.
And so I came up with this idea where we take a person, group, moment and/or place in baseball’s history revolving around the home run and create a one-of-a-kind graphic that tells the story for us. Big Fly made sense because that’s my call for a home run but I wanted it to be much more than just that call. At the end of the day, we’re storytellers. And that’s kinda what we came up with. Bryce and I have collaborated a lot over the last several months. I have a ton of ideas in my head all of the time regarding potential stories we could tell, the wheels are always churning. I would throw something out there and say this is what I’m thinking. We wanted it to be unique, so-called “piece of art”.
So to give you an example: the bat label graphic. Bryce threw that out at me, and I thought it was cool, and then he had this sunburst thing, these little notches around the bat label, and I’m thinking to myself, ‘wait a second, I remember something about Babe Ruth’, and so I did a little research, and sure enough, Babe Ruth used to notch the bat label of his bat for every home run that he hit for a period of time. And I’m like, ‘there you go, that’s the story for our graphic.’ So we tweaked it a couple of times before I settled on the look and signed off on it and that’s just how it’s all kind of evolved.
Another example is our Military Tee…we wanted to honor those players that put their careers on hold to go serve in WWII or the Korean War… whether it was Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Yogi Berra, Jackie Robinson, Hank Greenberg, any number of players. There’s also a connection for us and the military because of our Big Fly Brigade initiative which involves giving back to veteran’s groups monthly along with our July 4th event where we are sending 10 military families to a baseball game and the cool thing is this year the Angels will be playing in Arlington on July 4th. Our group is already booked and the idea is to one day be able to send at least 10 military families to a game in every MLB ballpark hosting a game on July 4th. We felt this was important to show our kids that as a business, it’s important to be able to give back in some fashion.
The idea is that you wear our product, one because you like it, the garment is unbelievably soft, it’s all tri-blend, and they’re just really cool lifestyle products to wear. But you also have a story to tell: If someone were to come up to and say, ‘Hey, what’s the meaning behind Big Fly?’ Or ‘What’s the meaning behind that graphic of the airplane? That’s cool.’ Now you have a story to tell about the history of the game.
The one thing I told Kim [my wife] in October was ‘we’re not gonna do this in a hurry and to try to get this up by Christmas time. We weren’t focused on the Christmas rush. Let’s take our time, let’s plan this, let’s shoot for mid-February when pitchers and catchers report…essentially when baseball season starts. I can still be home for a while, help her with the business,’ we’re based in Texas and she’s our COO, she operates everything from receiving orders, to pulling inventory, packaging orders and shipping them out. I’m still hands-on even though the season’s begun but from the online store to buying to graphics and social media, I’m handling those functions while she handles the ops side.
The launch in mid-February was planned so I could still be home for at least 6 weeks before I had to be in California and it gave us the chance to watch the process play out and get used to it…make tweaks, etc. It’s been fun watching this unfold and so far, well received.
I mean, the cool thing for me, to be honest with you, Jeff, is one, seeing people wearing our stuff, and putting pictures up, not just family and friends saying ‘oh, this is great stuff’ but people I don’t even know, people from all over the country, non-Angel fans, and I think that’s the really cool thing.
I had no idea the whole Rangers thing that happened last week. I know the strength and conditioning coach in Texas because he was there when I was. I was getting ready to do a game, and I see an order for Jose Vasquez, so I texted my wife that Jose had ended up ordering. I didn’t look at the details of the order but my wife texts back that he ordered six shirts. I’m like ‘what? he did?’ I didn’t think he had that many kids, so what is he gonna need six shirts for? The order was for 3 larges and 3 XL. So I text him and ask him what the deal was…I mean, I was happy he had ordered but that it was odd. He says, ‘oh, I’m giving it to our home run hitters here.’ So I tell him, ‘oh, that’s cool, thanks man, let me know if you grab a picture,’ and all of a sudden I get a picture with all these guys wearing our shirts in the weight room, and I’m like, ‘are you s***ing me, this is really cool.’ I asked for permission to post. He said the guys knew I was doing it. You know, those little things mean a lot especially for a new company.
We’re a startup and we know what we are…we know that our game plan is going to be apparel, so that’s where our focus is. We’re not interested in doing phone cases, or leather goods, or backpacks…we’re a T-shirt company. We’re a vintage T-shirt company that tells stories about games past. Plain and simple, that’s what we are, and that’s what we hope to be for the long term.”
Nice. And it looks like you got a little extra pump before you did the modeling for the web site. You hit the curls before taking those pictures ha ha?
“Man, that’s just how this 51 year old rolls, ha ha.
I knew 50 was coming up on me so several years ago I decided to kind of...I was more or a runner, a straight runner and I never cared much for lifting. But I figured as I get older I want to kind of stay in shape and play tennis and play golf and do all kinds of things. I want to just get a little bit stronger as opposed to being just thin or runner thin type deal.
So I started a program and I’ve just been on it. Just kind of on my own.”
Speaking of golf, who wins you or Finley?
“Fin’s a better golfer than I am. I think if I played...you know what I played twice this off season.
I love the game and I like playing with Finley a lot, but with the business and my wife’s health issues...I think I’m supposedly an 8 handicap but I don’t know about that now.”
Finley actually beat my boss in a closest to the hole and kept him from winning a car at a charity event.
“Ha ha, is that right?”
Yes. And speaking of charity events, shall we let the cat out of the bag about the Halos Heaven dinner with Victor Rojas?
“Yeah, sure, you set the date?”
The last we spoke you gave me a date in September and that is still the plan, right?
“The off day on a Monday, right?”
“Sounds good. I’ll see you there.”
Thanks again for your time, Victor and best of luck to Kim.
I’ll save you the research. Halos Heaven will be hosting a Dinner with Victor Rojas on Monday, September 23rd at Newport Rib Co. Proceeds will benefit a cause near to both Victor and I, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and further details will be released on Halos Heaven as we get closer to that date.
Please leave comments and questions below.