Matt Olen

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Twitter – @grip_spritz

Matt Olen is the Co-owner and Director of Marketing at Grip Spritz.  Matt is a Finance and Economics double major from John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Grip Spritz is a basketball company with the goal of providing athletes better traction on the court.

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Listen and learn from Matt Olen, Co-owner and Director of Marketing at Grip Spritz.

What We Discuss with Matt Olen

  • The downside of using traditional sticky sheets to increase your traction on the court
  • The benefits of Grip Spritz and how it can help your team
  • Playing multiple sports growing up
  • The joys of pickup basketball
  • His original goal of working on Wall Street when he first entered college at John Carroll University in Cleveland
  • How he almost left for California to work in the music industry before being approached by his neighbor Tom to get involved with Grip Spritz
  • The product originally being invented for use on golf clubs
  • Starting out in basketball by pitching the product at local AAU tournaments
  • Adding a pad players can step on to the original spray product
  • Connecting with players of all ages from youth to professional that loved their product and the results it produced
  • The manufacturing process for Grip Spritz
  • How the NCAA NIL Rules have impacted the business
  • How their affiliate relationship with players works to benefit both sides
  • Connecting with high school coaches through state coaching clinics
  • Partnering with other entrepreneurs and basketball businesses

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[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: Hello and welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here without my co-host Jason Sunkle tonight who had to jump off because his wife just arrived back home from Pennsylvania. She’d been out visiting our mom. So I am going on solo tonight, but I am pleased to be joined by Matt Olen from Grip Spritz, Matt, welcome to the Hoop Heads Pod.

[00:00:18] Matt Olen: How’s it going? Thank you for having me, Mike. I really look forward to this episode, man.

[00:00:22] Mike Klinzing: Absolutely looking forward to getting a chance to chat with you and kind of hear the origin story. Behind grip, spritz, how you got involved and just what the product is all about. So let’s start there for people who maybe aren’t familiar with grips Brits, tell us a little bit about what the product is, what it does and why coaches and our audience should be interested in it.

[00:00:42] Matt Olen: I think every coach is pretty familiar with you never really know what kind of court your players are going to step on. It could be it could be dusty, it could be dirty. And your best solution right now is they’re spitting on the floor, like in your hand, or using those traction pads.

Yeah. Yeah, the sticky sheets and every coach is pretty accustomed to you know, growing up, I was really familiar with those. It was always cool to have them, but you felt like you were constantly the scores table ripping one off, ripping two off, and every kid wanted that fresh one. And it really wasn’t until I got in the other side of the business where I realized how incredibly expensive these products were as well as kind of what their suggestion is and kind of the long-term effects it has on shoes, which for a lot of kids, it’s an expensive product. We initially got started in golf and through a different, the wide variety of reasons. We ended up getting the basketball and we started with some two ounce bottles. So you spray on the bottom of your shoes, wipe it, dry, the cotton towel.

And you know, you got at least a game of grip. Through that we kind of invented new products, got team-based solutions and the biggest difference is there’s no adhesives in grip spritz. When you got eases, like you have in those sticky pads, you step on those, you step on the court and where’s all that dust and dirt that’s currently on the court going to go, it’s going to go to the bottom of your shoes and you got dirt magnets.

And then you’re right back to the scorers table a couple of possessions later. So our biggest thing was finding a way to make that product work without having the adverse effects and through different partnerships with semi-pro leagues, high schools, colleges, G League guys, NCAA guys. We kind of started to put the product out there.

Our main goal is making sure that even your worst defender doesn’t have an excuse on the court, but if he gets his ankles broken, that’s not on us, don’t come to us. So that’s kind of how we want to do things and just make sure every it might not be your that’s worse, but it could be a gym in your conference.

Or you might be at a a venue where you got four or five courts that they had indoor baseball on that week and you just never really know what you had to step onto in the end. The biggest. Making sure you got good grip, making sure everything stays underneath you and just making sure you could pull at the peak of your game without having to worry about potentially getting injured or anything along those lines.

So that’s where we’re at.

[00:02:47] Mike Klinzing: Matt and I got connected this summer and he brought some of the product to our Head Start Basketball Camps this summer and kids were using it all the time. Got great reviews. My son is a sophomore in high school. He’s been using it, carries it in his bag and I always see him getting it out and spraying it.

So it is a product that I myself have seen, put to great use. And it’s something that if you’re a coach out there, I think it’s a product that you definitely want to consider. We’re going to hear a little bit of Matt’s backstory and kind of get the story of where Griff’s Fritz came from. We’re going to get into a little bit more detail with him.

Matt, let’s start out by. Having you just kind of share your story. What’s your athletic background? Just give us an idea of. Who you are, where you came from, and then we’ll get into how you got connected to grip spritz and how you and Tom put this whole thing.

[00:03:40] Matt Olen: Absolutely. Yeah. So kinda like any kid, when you grow up you want to play every sport?

I played everything ran track. I played baseball, football, soccer, basketball, and kind of through just what you enjoy and what you naturally know have, find yourself succeeding as which kind of stick to. So from a very young age, I kinda got mainly involved in soccer and basketball.

And it’s just growing up until I got to pretty much fourth grade. It was, I was you played rec basketball and you’re here the creme de LA creme and on every team. And then you kind of step into that travel world and see what else is out there. And then you get involved in the AAU circuits and really just from a young age, I enjoyed the sport.

I feel like all the kids I met. You and in school and everything, it was always that common interest of sports. And growing up in Parma we have three middle schools, three high schools. It’s a, it’s a really big city. And it was nice when I got to middle school, you kind of know four or five kids already just from, from playing sports, growing up, playing basketball specific.

So I worked through the AAU circuit you know, pulling a little bit in high school. A lot of when I quit at middle school, I kinda just realized were where I actually see the most, and that was actually soccer. But I still love basketball. I still play to this day, obviously. Once I got to high school, I kind of took a step back for a couple of years focused, mainly on soccer before getting back into it for two of my four years there.

And there’s kind of the same kids. I always knew growing up same exact environment and just something I always enjoyed when I got to college, I ended up going to John Carroll had the initial plans to play soccer there. Went to one off-season workout right after school started. And you know, just go with public school to a private school.

School got a lot, lot harder. It kinda just, I was like, you know what, D three, let me take a step back, enjoy intramurals, enjoy college, enjoy just going to school and getting a degree. And I’m counting to step back from sports. And surprisingly that’s when I got my best at basketball.

When I kind of was able to go out and just have fun with it and not being underneath the guy, coach, you kind of had a free for all when you’re running your murals, you’re on open gyms. And so yeah, it’s, it’s just been a constant. My life has been been sports and specifically basketball. She had, we worked through that and I said, thankfully, growing up, playing in my backyard every day with friends over it’s what got me a career now.

[00:05:47] Mike Klinzing: So it’s funny that you say that because talking about just playing basketball. And an intramural setting on a pickup setting. And I was having this conversation with somebody the other day, thinking about if I was a basketball player growing up today and, or I think about myself when I was a kid and I ended up going and was fortunate enough to play at a division one school.

But there’s a part of me that wonders that if I hadn’t been able to reach that dream and I would have had a choice of. Whether I go and maybe I play at a division three school, or maybe I go to school at Ohio state. And I just play pickup basketball, where I had some friends that went there that basically you could find a pickup game, 24 hours a day.

There was always some gym somewhere on the campus that if you wanted to get a 2:00 AM running, there was a 2:00 AM run that you could, that you could find. And I think that I’ve said it a bunch of different times on this podcast that some of my best basketball memories. R from the playground or from the rec park in the city where I grew up.

And I just think that the game of basketball is so it’s just so much fun. And I think sometimes we get caught up in all this other stuff that we forget, that the reason why a kid picks up a basketball is to make it fun. And I think the best coaches understand the balance between. Making sure that the game stays fun and giving their players a positive, positive experience.

Not I would get done with the season when I was playing at Kent state and the next day I’d want to be in the gym, just playing pickup because that was where I really found a lot of joy in my life when I was a kid is just going out and playing on the playground. Sounds like for you that it’s a similar thing where you pick up the game first, when you’re young, just to have fun.

And then at some point, if you start to take a little bit more seriously, not that it’s still not fun, but it becomes, it becomes work. And you got to put some time in if you want to have success. And then eventually you can get back to playing that game, playing that game for fun. And it sounds like that’s kind of where you got.

[00:08:02] Matt Olen: Yeah, I think it’s a kind of multifaceted like that. Me and my friends talk about it a lot. A lot of it too. I know I listened to one of your previous podcasts where you kind of just, I think it was one of your round tables where you kind of spoke about just players having conflicts. And you know, what a coach can do to make players more comfortable on the court.

And I think a lot of us, me and my friends, especially when we got to middle school, it was almost like we all kind of came from that AAU travel background where, I mean, it’s a free for all. Like, do you have kids, especially when you’re in like six, seventh grade, like kids are finally. They’re going into their bodies and they can do some crazy athletic things.

And when he got to middle school, it became kind of like confided in, in all. Like I had a couple of buddies who were like, oh, you’re technically a big man. We don’t want you shooting threes. And all of a sudden that we’re, we’re in the open gyms and those kids have some of the best, some of the best jumpers on the court.

So it’s like, they just became so like just confided in those roles where when you could play for fun and you’re start, you can explore and do everything you want to do on the basketball court. Play comfortably without having to worry about getting subbed out. You’re running next practice. All of a sudden the game is it’s a, it’s a joy again, it’s a it’s Pandora’s box.

What you kind of try and do on the court. And I said, once we got to college and we started doing intramurals and it was like, oh man, this is a Thursday night and we’re going to play a bunch of just it’s  11 college guys 10 guys in a run on the court, all, all there for the same reason, just loving the game and having fun.

Like there’s nothing like it really, nothing like it.

[00:09:24] Mike Klinzing: It’s so true. I think pickup basketball. It’s one of the things that I always feel bad for. Kids that are grown up today. Cause they don’t get the same opportunity to play pickup basketball. The way that I did, I would get in the car and drive to this gym or that gym where this playground or that playground.

Then of course I had the local playground that I used to ride my bike to. From the time I was 13 or 14 years old. And just, you could always find quality games, kids today. I’m not sure that they ever play basketball outdoors anymore. They, they look at you cross-eyed and you say, Hey, we used to do. I spent a bunch of time running up and down on the asphalt plan, playing basketball and have to deal with the wind and crooked rims.

Yeah, that’s all that, all that good stuff that just kids don’t experience that anymore today. And there’s obviously a ton of positives to the way the system is designed. But I always feel like the way that I grew up is, is the way that if I had it to do over again, I certainly, I think just the opportunity to play pickup pickup basket.

Nothing, nothing beats it. And I’m sad that the pickup basketball. Has largely disappeared. I mean, you could still find it, I’m sure in pockets across the country, but for the most part as a, as a staple of American culture, I don’t think it’s there in the same way.

[00:10:38] Matt Olen:  I mean, like I know there was a park week property much at the tail end of it.

This part got, they took the hoops down. We were probably ninth or 10th grade. It was walking distance from my house. And you went up there and I mean, you’re in ninth, 10th grade, and you’re playing guys who are in their twenties. They toughened you up and it made you play. You had to grow. And I mean, I think it just made kids better players.

It made you just work hard and it was it was always fun, but you go up there and you could get three of your buddies picking up two randoms and you can run for four or five hours, but it’s an, it’s an endless cycle of people coming through. And you know, now I kind of look at it like, and I just joined a rec center down, down where I’m at now.

And I go on there and there’s two or three guys, one guy training, a little kid like that seeks out of the entire gym. And like, you can’t, you can’t get a run in anymore. It’s different.

[00:11:24] Mike Klinzing: It definitely is. I think it’s, it’s just not, it’s just not the same. You can’t find, you can’t find a pickup game the same way you could back in the day.

It’s just you know, you go to an AAU tournament and you, you mentioned playing for four or five hours in a row and nobody does that anymore. You play for an hour. Then you sit for an hour on each or lunch or go to McDonald’s or run a subway in between AAU games. Then you come back or you’re sitting in some random cafeteria.

Look, I get the benefits of it. I understand it. And there’s a lot of people that are doing a really great job with a few. And there’s some really good, outstanding AAU coaches and AA programs out there. But I do think that you said it best when you talked about playing against guys who were older guys who were better than you on the playground to me.

That’s something that was invaluable. I know in my development as a basketball player, and it’s a theme that we’ve talked about on the podcast, a bunch of times with lots of different people, especially guys who were my age, I’m 51 now. So players guys that grew up in my era, I think all sort of lament the passing of that playground basketball culture, but I don’t think we’re going back.

The other way. Part of it is just the way the system is set up in terms of how people make money off of a U and youth basketball. And then by the same token, I think. You also have the factor that you have access to gyms, as you said, in lots of places, those playgrounds have been ribs have been taken down and just, it’s just not available anymore.

And so it’s, I guess it is what it is. You have to, you have to live with it and move on and adjust the times. And we’ve all obviously done that, but I still, when I look back on my life, I think about those playground basketball moments and there’s some of the fondest memories that I have of the game.

When you were talking earlier, you mentioned. If you went to John, John Carroll, and you decided to take a step back from sports and focus on your classes and academics. When you went to college, what did you think what’d you think you want to do? Where did you think you were going to end up? What was your, what was your plan as you entered college?

[00:13:23] Matt Olen: My journey of colleges is wild, so I started them. I knew I was gonna be a double major in finance and economics, and I had one goal and that was to make it to wall street. And we had a pretty good pipeline from John Carroll that a couple of kids every year were in there and they did a fabulous job.

Just helping you make those connections from the second, you were a freshmen, the guys who were four or 5, 6, 7 years older than you and starting you could kind of shadow them for a day or get on the phone with them for an hour and kinda just learn about what they do. And that’s actually really, really what I wanted to go in.

Until about April of my senior year, which is not a good time to decide you don’t want to do what you went to college for. So I actually took decided I didn’t wanna do that anymore. I I had accepted a job immediately told them as soon as I had it, it was about to start taking my series seven and 63.

No. I said, I don’t this isn’t what I want to do anymore. I’m actually going to move on from this I’m sorry. And accepted a job as a touring manager for enrage music group in Los Angeles, California, because the way. Life at that point, as I said, all right, I knew I didn’t wanna do this.

It was boring. I went to four years. I was like, man, I hated every class. Why do I want to do this forever? And I looked at two things. I said, I like sports and I like music. And I think they kind of go hand in hand. Right? If you know your, no matter what, no matter what mood. If you like sports, you’re down to do something sports related.

And if you’re doing homework, you’re working out your, whatever you may be doing, you’re probably always listening to music. So I said, these are the two things that have been constant. I truly, truly enjoy what am I going to do? So I accepted that job. I was supposed to leave labor day weekend of 2018.

My grandma got sick. I had to stay home. And two weeks later, Tom comes up to me with the, a startup idea. And here we are.

[00:15:09] Mike Klinzing: All right. So let people know who’s Tom, how do you know Tom? Just give people his background so they can kind of put it in context?

[00:15:15] Matt Olen: Yeah. So Tom is the inventor Grip Spritz. He invented it for golf, like I mentioned in our opening.

And he had been grinding at since 2014. And I remember the most I knew about Tom was. Four or five houses down from me around the corner. And the most I ever saw him was if I was outside, my buddies were playing basketball in the driveway. He’d come by. You know, he had a big dog and he walked with a cat at the same time.

And he’d always just say hi to us. He’s an older guy. He’s about to be in a seventies, upper sixties. And it was an old, old guy saw in the neighborhood. You said what’s up too. And that was really it. And he comes up to me in 2018 and he basically says, Hey, I have this product. I invented it for golf.

Just go out and take out your golf grips and, and let me know. So I do that. And you know, just through the neighborhood, you, you kind of hear stuff. And I remember our mailman saying, he’s like, oh man, this guy’s into the LPGA. Like he’s going to make a big time. Like he had this crazy invention that worked out and you can’t lets me, he said, Hey, I’m not doing golf anymore.

I want to change to basketball. Let me know what you think. And I took it out and used on golf and me and my buddies used it. We all enjoyed it. And he called me over like the next week. And he’s like, Hey, I know you tried it that you liked it. Like, here’s what I’m thinking of doing. And. I guess, yeah, the rest is the rest is history.

So he was at it for four years before I even got involved. And I’m 52 layers and the LPGA tour he’s been to golf shows. He did the whole, the whole circuit for that. And I guess the, the biggest thing it came down to is he kind of got into the Ryder cup and his big joke is he always says is golfers won’t use toilet paper unless they’re paying them to sponsor them.

And, and he had offers to do stuff with Brent Snedeker or in different, different PGA guys. And it just really came down to just capital and how much they want it and it wasn’t there. And on top of that, we also says when you golf, I mean, you might use your driver 14 to 18 holes. You know, it’s their rate of consumption isn’t there, whereas in basketball was in your shoes, every game, every practice.

So as we started to transition and He’s he’s an old, I said an older guy and he did motocross and he played golf and he just basically said, I don’t know anything about basketball. You know, let’s see what we can do together. And that was creeping up on what, three years now? A little over three years.

[00:17:28] Mike Klinzing: S what did that look like? So he has that initial conversation with you. Hey, I want to go into basketball. You want to partner up with me. Do you want to make, see if we can make a go of this thing? What were some of those first conversations, like in terms of. You guys brainstorming how to get this out in front of people?

[00:17:43] Matt Olen: So I basically said, no, I got a couple buddies who, nor are they their coach at a freshmen JV level, maybe middle school. You know,  my old day program at that point had they had shut down. I said, I know a couple people that were coaches. My one buddy is starting a training business, just different things like that.

And out of the blue, he goes, oh, I met this guy the other day who runs a Ohio basketball. And I was down to Louisville and I’m like, we should have started with that. And you obviously know Ohio Basketball is a large AAU group up here in Cleveland. And he said I got down there and we’re able to come to all of his events and market the product and do stuff like that.

We kind of start traveling pretty locally to Cleveland. We were in independence and Lodi, the local terms here four core venues. You got about 80 to a hundred teams and just basically grabbing kids shoes while they’re wearing them, cleaning them like. I’m working 12 hour days working for you’re up at you’re there before they even get in at seven in the morning.

And you’re there until 10 at night. And just like long, long days number, we were making hardly any money, but every kid loved it. And then we realized our biggest problem was if we keep giving it to them for free, they’re never going to buy it. So we give them the one demo and then basically said, Hey if you like it, send the rest of your team over.

And what we realized is one kid buys it on the bench, all of a sudden he’s everybody’s best friend, everybody. It’s taken his bottle or split it up. One kid is buying it for, we’re selling a tournament for 10 bucks. The rest of the teams come back 10 minutes later after their game saying, Hey, we need let’s just get a whole box.

And that’s when we kind of started to realize that we’re, we’re onto something, right. And. There there’s a marketer. Did we looked at him? I know he looked up before I even got involved with you know, the us census census data on how many kids play core sports, volleyball, basketball, et cetera.

And he was looking at it’s we’re creeping up on seven, 8 million kids. And then and that’s just up until the middle school age. So we’re like, yeah, there’s a, there’s a crazy market out there. Like at these events, we’re going to you know, there’s small scale, third to sixth grade you know, let’s keep, let’s keep doing this.

So for probably six months, eight months, we just grind it out where small events, we’re a big events, wherever where you can name pretty much from Louisville, Atlanta, we’re in Pittsburgh, Detroit, we’re, we’re all over. And you know, our, our goal was just get it in front of many, as many people as possible and see what we can do.

And then, like I said, it went well enough to continue to help. So we were at a event on the east side of Cleveland and you know, we hear two kids were talking that one kid says what is that? And he said, he did like a little dance. And he said it’s a thing. You scrubbed your shoes on, but it’s an, a.

So at the same time we’re, we’re starting to get as we’re, we’re demoing it, we’re basically saying, Hey, tell us what you don’t like, so we can fix it. And a couple of parents come to us and basically we had our kid, our kids too lazy to use it. If we don’t spray it on his shoes before he goes on.

You know, he’s just, he’s like, oh, they’re already on, I’m sitting on the court and whatever. Right. Imagine that third, sixth grade kid being too lazy to do something

[00:20:52] Mike Klinzing: I’ve never experienced that. Matt, as an elementary physical education teacher, I’ve never seen a kid too lazy to participate in something, never happened.

[00:21:02] Matt Olen: I’m 25. I’m still lazy. So trust me, I can imagine they’re gonna be lazy all the way through. So we basically said, all right, well, if they’re too lazy and he’s doing that dance, so, you know what the sticky pad would be let’s, let’s make something that can sound the court sitting right next to the bench market at the teams.

So Tom is a blacksmith metal fabricator by trade. So he can, he can do stuff that is it’s. We joke that when he talks engineering and. You know, production things. To me, it’s me explaining a one to two zone to doing right. We’re different wavelengths. So we’re not going to try and understand each other.

So he comes out the next weekend and he’s got this foam pad stitched together and he taught himself how to sew on YouTube. And he’s like, I was doing dishes. I saw a sponge, I thought of this. This is what we need to do. So like, all right, let’s just see what works. So we throw it down. We’re basically given it.

It’s like if a whole group of team, a whole group of kids can work from one team, we’re saying like you guys like this, we’re spraying your shoes. What if we just take this, put it next to your bench, see how you like it. And you know, they’re all, they’re all really enjoying it. And we basically said, all right, this is our, our differentiate.

Like we have we have the individual player, let’s make them a full, a full team product. So we started production on that. We did. Almost like six months of just demoing it and basically seeing how long can it last, where we’re letting every team every player, every team in a venue, in an AAU tournament, try it.

And seeing if the sow in tears, if this breaks down, whatever it may be. And you know, it probably lasted seven, seven, 8,000 scrubs. So it wasn’t broken down. So like, alright this, this will last. Now we shouldn’t make it more appeasing to the eye because the old ones were, they were tough looking.

They were green and gray and they were talking. And you know, we basically said, all right, this is the design we’re going to run with. Let’s just now make it appealing. And that’s what we did. And we ended up getting a north American patent for it, filed for it, and we brought it to market the first weekend of March of 2020.

And COVID hit so very poor timing. But thankfully for us, we took. We took advantage of it to its absolute fullest. We were working strictly Ohio basketball, U tournaments, which was, it was great. But that was never going to be there’s more basketball than that. Right. And we kind of took that time to say where can we go next?

So we looked at, it, looked at it, you look at all basketball. And if you look outside just 36, right. There’s about 25 million people who play the sport of basketball every year in the United States. So we said, where’s it going to be? What’s going to come back from COVID first. And we knew it was gonna be third to sixth grade.

We knew we weren’t gonna be able to get into schools and et cetera, because it was kind of some mandates that were in place. And we said what’s, what’s the first one. We ended up finding some semi-professional leagues. And this is really the first time we kind of. The product to people that have been around the game for so long, you know?

Right. If I were to got approached with this, when I was in third grade, out of a happy that someone’s giving me something for free, I don’t even know if we don’t know what to them, if it actually works or if they’re just giddy. Cause it’s all right. So we’re like, all right, we’re going to go we’re going to go down and we’re going to be in semi-professional guys who.

Done this for 20 years now, they’ve been through it. You know, they put a, you, they pry point D one ball. They probably played overseas and you know, they’re still hanging on to that dream. And we got down to Akron with this team and we kind of threw it down and our a one player it’s, his eyes just lit up and he looked at us and said like, oh man, that works, adapt us up.

I looked at Tom and I said, we just got the same reaction from a 32 year old guy that we got from a third grade girl. Like we’re on, this is, this makes sense now. And we kind of worked through that. And after that, just through different people, I mean that like anything, once you kind of start plant some roots and getting to meet people word of mouth is, oh, you should travel here.

You should do this. And next thing you know, we’re in front of high schools and. We’re showing them basically a breakdown of the sticky pad you currently use. Now. Here’s why it doesn’t work. There’s adhesives in, it makes your shoe sticky. If you read the fine print, the two options are either supposed to sand down the shoes to expose new rubber or rub and dry with a or cleanup with rubbing alcohol.

And I mean, if you’re paying any, any pair of shoes now basketball wise is a hundred to 120 bucks. To pay that much money to sit there and treat the shoes like that. When in reality, it just, it’s, it’s simple. It just don’t use that product. And you’re probably gonna be better off than if you actually use that product.

Once we kind of put that information in front of them, show that we are more cost efficient and in the long-term, instead of buying those sticky sheets, you’re going to be buying a solution. That’s going to be almost 50% cheaper. It started, just clicked for them. And then it kind of started to sprout and you have coaches that are at scrimmages and if someone’s compensating, Hey, what’s that?

And just word of mouth then, and just growing like that now. So it was, we said COVID was a blessing almost to us in a weird way, because it helped us get out from under our umbrella and plant a ton of seeds at with NCAA guys, G League guys, by just sending them a bottle. And then the support that they gave from us kind of was that, that walking testimonial of, Hey, this new product is it can’t be worse, so let’s try it.

And you know, now that those seeds are starting to sprout and you know, we’re hopeful for this next season and then kind of looking forward even next year when we’re, we’re a little more established and we’re traveling to new states and, and just doing different things. You know, we’re, we’re looking forward to kind of expand to that high school market.

[00:26:32] Mike Klinzing: All right. One manufacturing process. Obviously, there has to be a way that you’ve got to create packaging. And you mentioned that you tried to redesign it because the first iteration of it, maybe wasn’t as aesthetically pleasing as you hoped it would be. So just what’s the process for obviously Tom has the idea, he has the formula, but you still have to get it into.

Some packaging and get it, get it manufactured. So what’s that process like? And then I’ll jump in with my second question.

[00:27:05] Matt Olen: It’s funny. It’s all time. Tom will come bought a sewing machine, watched YouTube taught himself how to show. Had enough friends in the business just from, from working in whether it be a welding or die-casting all the different things he was in.

He had suppliers for our foam, our Terry cloth, our mesh the stiffening boards you put in. So they don’t flip up on the sides tote bags. So we get our logo on them. Basically everything through and through is being produced by him. And he said, he always just tells me, go out there and see if you can outsell my hand, my selling hands.

And then. That’s just him and I and our, and our lawyer that keep us legal.

[00:27:42] Mike Klinzing: So throwing down the gauntlet on you Matt.

[00:27:42] Matt Olen: Exactly. He basically says try not sell.

[00:27:48] Mike Klinzing: That’s good. All right. Second question is, so you get connected to these guys that are semi-pro players, and you start looking at connecting with high schools and then the NCAA passed The NIL will. And I know that you and I had talked a little bit, that you were trying to bring some guys on under that banner of NIL.

Just tell me a little bit about where you guys are with that, and maybe how that fits into. Your future or what you see that man, maybe it doesn’t anymore, but just where are you guys at with that and the possibility of getting involved in  that area.

[00:28:24] Matt Olen: No, definitely. And it was, it was something for us that as soon as that came out you know, we’re in a group text, Tom, our lawyer, Jeff, and myself.

And as soon as it passed I started texting him and I said, Hey, this is something we really need to think about. And that was, I said, like you said, pretty much, right when you and I got, got in touch and we came out there and the thought to us. This is a gold mine. And while we may not be able to provide.

You know, the financial compensation allowed these guys are having, we can work with D3 to NAIA guys. You could work with you know, the last player on the bench at any big school. And basically say here’s an opportunity for you to leverage you’re following your fan base your, your hometown, especially now, because with the NFL passing, they could become trainers, right?

You can say you put out a message says, Hey, who wants to when I’m home, Christmas break, whatever. Summer break, who wants to train with a a player on Ohio state, Youngstown, state, whatever it may be. You’re going to draw that local crowd. We basically said to them we can’t give you, we can’t pay you out.

What we can do is we can make sure that you’re supplied with grip spritz for the entire season. And at the same time sets you up, that if you recommend it to someone, you’re going to get paid. You’re going to get paid a portion of that sale award, a profit share with you. And the way we looked at it was at Ohio State at anywhere.

If you get in the locker room, like any player, they’re going to share it. And you don’t know where that bottle is going to travel to hand whose hand it’s going to get into stuff like that. And at the same time you have guys, I mean, one of the, one of the best ones we’ve kind of started working with is Dwayne, Coldwell, how to Youngstown.

And guys like that he’s from the Cleveland area you know, it was one of the biggest recruits to things he didn’t in high school were, were insane. And you know, when he comes back and if he wants to train you know, he works for the group of kids. His weight, his word is going to carry it’s way to go.

If he tells kids, Hey, this is the product values you should, that you should, I’ll let you try it. Then if you want it, you go to their website and buy it. And then he’s going to get a portion of that sale. And you know, we’re not, we’re not here providing them. We’re not going to help them buy their first car, but we’re going to help them have enough money that if they want to go out on a weekend and go grab dinner with their teammates, like they can do that.

So for the future, I think I think this is the baseline for us is no art. We can. We can help get the product in their hand and let them do what they may with it. And I think a lot of kids are just especially that age, when you have that following they’re naturally marketers. And if they don’t know it and they can kind of step out and basically say, I said, Hey, this is the product I use.

I enjoy this level I play at, you should check it out. And you know, those kids have tens of thousands, tens of thousands of followers. And if 1% buys the rate, we’re giving them and they got, they got some pocket money to go run around and have their fun.

[00:31:12] Mike Klinzing: Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s a great strategy and it’s a good way again, to tap into what’s an untapped market is clearly something that within IOL coming in that five years ago, nobody was even considering it as a potential source or a potential way of promoting a product.

And at the same time, now here it is when NIL gets here. And I think a lot of companies initially, and people who are reading about it, we obviously think about it. The big division one school power, five conferences. Those guys have tons and tons of opportunities, but some of these athletes at smaller schools can be, as you said, just as influential and yet are a little bit on recognized by maybe the greater market.

So you guys have kind of stepped in to that area and been able to take advantage of that. You and I were talking a little bit, Matt, before we jumped on about what you guys have been doing with some of the local state coach’s clinics. Talk about the success that you’ve been able to have. Putting the product in front of those state coaches clinics and just what the strategy is there.

[00:32:14] Matt Olen: Yeah, definitely. I mean, I think let me say that, that was our biggest thing is when we first started talking about high schools, it was you know, I know I listened to one podcast and it was with Paul down in Columbus O’Connor and he referred to AAU as the wild, wild west, which it is right?

You have kids bouncing around, you have dads coaching. And for us, it was like, we invented this team product for. Those markets. And then all of a sudden parents were like, oh, I can only poise here. You know, two weekends a year, then he’s out. Maybe it’s Indiana playing out there. So we’re not gonna, we’re not looking for that.

We’ll just take a bottle still. So for us, when we got into there, it was like, all right, well, these high schools were established. They’re using the same thing every single season. And on top of that, they’re not spending. They’re spending the athletic department’s money. So we said, all right, well it’s kind of focused there and we got there, we got down to Columbus number was about 700 schools and.

We had, there were, there was, it was a carpet of flourish. We had to bring down a section of our own court. And Tom developed the genius tagline of everyone that walked by, instead of trying to hand them a sheet or just say, Hey, do I have a second to talk to you? He was just telling people, Hey, can I borrow your feet?

And he was standing up and throwing our pad down in front of him and kind of before they could even really realize what they were being sold. Tom already had them on our product, trying it, stepping on this court section and You know, seeing the product firsthand, which is a new product with, especially with all the products that are currently in the market be it the sticky pads or the roll on things.

And there’s a handful that kind of came and went and none of them really worked. I think it’s tough to, without demoing it. It’s tough to people to sell people that were different. So him getting them on there and then it kinda just traveled, traveled like wildfire where Okay. They were sending over other coaches.

They’re sending over the radio to try and they’re buying on spot and we’re getting kind of follow up sales that are, that are coming a week or two later. Just from different guys who were in there and basically saying Hey, we tried it. And our ADC or our coach said it was good. I’m the D let’s let’s do that.

And so through the air, we were able to kind of meet up. People who were running the Pennsylvania one. We got into Pennsylvania and it was a smaller crowd, but we ended up actually selling more there because it was almost more of a an intimate feel where we got almost hands on time with every single coach.

And it really just gave us the opportunity to test that market and just kind of continue to further diversify, which, which direction we want to go. And you know, I, I know we’re, we’re talking about going down to the national one in new Orleans early 20, 22, and it’s just we’re already compiling a list of every single state.

So right now the goal is high schools and kind of letting the recipe be gravy on top of that. So yeah, it’s exciting, man.

[00:34:47] Mike Klinzing: Exciting. You think you go from waving to a guy walking his dog and his cat and your neighborhood to suddenly you got an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of something that I think is very interesting.

It’s a great product. And it’s just, again, you never would have guessed that that was the direction that you’re going ahead and, and just exciting for you. I’m sure. And as I said, it’s a product that I’ve seen put to use firsthand. And it’s one that I believe in. And if you’re a coach out there. And you’re looking for a better alternative than the sticky pads are looking at your hand away from the bottom of your shoe.

Grip spritz is definitely something that you want to look into. So before we wrap up, I don’t want to give you a chance to share where people can find out more about your product. How can they get their hands on some, share your website, share how people can reach out to you. And then after you do that, I’ll jump back in and wrap things up.

[00:35:38] Matt Olen: Cool. Yeah, absolutely. So I think the best way, if you’re going to look for kind of how it works or what, what kids are saying or what teams are saying you know, our Instagram, Twitter, any social media tic-tac we’re just going to be @grip_spritz  It’s we basically give how to’s on how to use the product, we give kind of testimonials from a lot of the college kids.

We worked with the NIL stuff, kind of giving their feedback. You know, we have basically every third, fourth, fifth grade team, you can imagine the state of Ohio running around excited. Cause they got to use it for free. We got pretty much every testimony you could think of on there. And then we obviously have other things like Facebook and LinkedIn, where we’re kind of sharing more about our journey.

We want to really shed light into how we’re marketing this thing, how we’re growing to give a bit of cause everyone wants. No, everyone who’s running a small business, kind of wants to see how other people are doing it. So we kind of want to give insight as well to anyone who’s doing anything, whether it be you’re training kids or kind of like yourself PRI like you wish you probably had someone telling you what to do 20 years ago, 30 years ago when you were running the camp.

Absolutely. And kind of, we just wanna help pave the way for other entrepreneurs and other people who are like I have this practice in the basketball space, what makes the most sense? And we’ve seen a lot of when you see those goggles, kids were. And it helps you not look down when you’re dribbling or the shock coach where it keeps your, your form.

Perfect. And there’s a, there’s some mold, two different things out there. And I think that you know, our big thing is none of us are competing. We’re all in the same we’re on the same market, but none of us are fighting for a spot. A kid can use group spritz and also use those goggles. Right.

And I think it’s big to just like, like we did with you. And it’s just big to find opportunities where you can create that synergy and grow together. So, you know what we’re doing, stuff like that on LinkedIn and Facebook, we’re giving a bit of a different approach rather than just testimonials. But other than ads, group you can check it out there.

We have a lot of the same information there and kind of just the end goal, there is show what we do, how we do it and you know why, we’re why we think we’re a little bit better than the sticky pads, a little more effective. And while we can save your program a little bit.

[00:37:37] Mike Klinzing: Absolutely.

Matt cannot. Thank you enough for taking the time out of your schedule to jump out with us tonight. We are very excited and glad here at hoop heads podcast to be partnered up with you guys at grips Brits and for all of our coaches out there, please make sure you give the product, look, check it out. I think if you try it, I think you’ll find that both of you, your program and your players are going to love it.

So thanks for listening. Thanks for checking out the episode and we will catch you on the next one. Thanks.