Rugby Warfare was founded in 2012 by myself Scott Flear after realising there was a shortage of information on the web for articles about rugby specific training and nutrition. I was still at University when building the site and over the years started adding content backed by research on how to improve your game. It started off as a blank website and over the years grew into a site with more than 50,000 visitors each month.
Early Growth & Development
During my final year in University I wanted to grow Rugby Warfare into a household name. I attended 2 University business competitions to try and figure out what it was that Rugby Warfare should be.
The first idea was that it should be a magazine on the app store, I placed 2nd for this idea and we actually developed the app as a team during my time at the Spider Hack EU event.
It wasn’t until one of the panellists told me at the end that I should stick to the clothing of the site.
At the time I did a live presentation of the website and had built a mini-store with concept designs for Rugby Warfare.
I knew there was a demand for stylish and premium quality rugby apparel. I was at University and wished I could have purchased some decent rugby clothing.
All that was available was 100% cotton tees and baggy joggers from the rugby brands. No innovation, no desire to improve and the same old.
Countdown to Launch
Forward 1 week later I entered the Countdown to launch competition at University with my new refreshed look at the brand.
It was more than just training advice, it was a rugby lifestyle brand, it was the training, nutrition, clothing and representation of who you are through rugby. Some switch flipped.
Here I was, at the start of the 5 day competition learning about how to do accounting, marketing and create a pitch for funding. There was over 25 people at the event and only a handful of winners.
I pitched for £1000 to start a clothing line. I had ZERO money at University, so this was needed to create the first batch otherwise I couldn’t start.
Luckily, I won and got awarded £1000 to start.
The Early Days of The New Vision
It wasn’t easy, that summer in 2015 I spent the £1000 on a few items
– Red t-shirt with Rugby Warfare grenade logo
– Blue t-shirt with Rugby Warfare grenade logo
– Grey Hoodie with black print
It was expensive.
And they didn’t sell. Money down the drain. We even went to a 7s festival in the middle of Wales.
We might have sold £100 worth, nothing major. We gave most of our products away at the winners for brand exposure! Was quite a big loss at the time.
I then started my job as Head of SEO for Home Leisure Direct that year.
I had been doing SEO for years and knew how to build websites and market.
I worked on Rugby Warfare every night and spent all my spare money on samples from the Far East and Turkey.
Sample after sample came back horrible. The material wasn’t what I wanted and the fit was terrible.
This was a sharp learning curve, I spent over £2000 on trying to find a manufacturer that understood what I wanted to build.
Luckily, a breakthrough.
I managed to find a manufacturer that would create our first batch of performance tees, Spartan shirts and Maori shirts.
These sold. I was on to something.
Why We Are Different
I quickly realised I was on to something with the designs we were making and the material and fit.
All the other rugby brands create the same old items, year after year.
I wanted to know why.
After a little research it was no shock to me why these brands didn’t innovate anymore.
Kooga, once a household name and creator of many top rugby products was bought by JD Sports.
JD Sports a low cost retailer now being the owners likely resulted in their downfall. Innovation had died.
Another shock, Canterbury, the brand known across the globe for rugby has also lost its roots.
Sold in 2009 to JD Sports too after disappointing results in Europe. The sold again in 2012 from JD Sports to the majority shareholder of the group for £1 due to massive amounts of debt.
Sports direct have now purchased Lovell Rugby too.
I could go on (many other rugby brands have gone down the same path).
These brands have lost their original identity. They are now owned by massive retailers that care only for profits and not for rugby.
They don’t care or want to understand what the market wants and needs.
They do supply kit to England, Ireland and big clubs, they put the effort in for them.
But, what about the products all the fans and players want to wear? It seems like they lack innovation and vision for these products. It’s easy to create quality products for elite teams, the average rugby fan wants the same.
That’s the fundamental difference, with Rugby Warfare we are passionate rugby fans and players.
We love the sport and want this brand to be the one to represent the Rugby lifestyle.
We put money and time into tweaking designs to improve them for players even as tall as 6ft 6 or as heavy as 16st at 5ft 9. Rugby physiques are different.
We are slowly working through the rugby product range, taking them apart and rebuilding them for today’s world. Making them out of better fabrics, giving them our own unique design spin and selling them direct to consumer at a fair price.
We don’t just buy blank garments from wholesalers and put our name on it.
You’ll find brands popping up all across the UK these days. They all claim to be innovating but the base of their products is a wholesale garment intented to be used to brand and sell for a profit.
We focus on technical & functional fabrics. We source these ourselves through our network and take the time and money out to travel the world to meet with suppliers to source the best products. You can see this Behind The Brand Episode 3.
Our designs always have a purpose. We look at a product from a new angle, we design it from the ground up and products go through months of testing before we release them.
All details and design tweaks are there for a purpose. Our fabrics have been chosen specifically for a purpose out of 100s.
With Rugby Warfare, you get a product that’s been years in the making. Products that use premium quality fabrics that are technical, functional and stylish. All made for the rugby lifestyle. We got you covered from the gym, to the lounge and to the pitch. Our products are made for the athletic individual that wants more from his/her clothing than the market currently offers.
Multi-functional, stylish, unique & premium.
We will continue to build our product range and improve them each time.
The brand has come a long way, from nothing to now being worn by Professional players across the globe.
New ranges are being built every month and we listen to you.
Our next step is to launch our on-the-field products and then our playing kits which will be available for all clubs.
We have developed our own hex silicone grip technology that will be added to all playing jerseys to give you that extra edge.
The story continues and we are looking forward to seeing where this goes.
We are still a small brand, grown from Wales. Our promise to you is that we will always improve and keep our roots in rugby by bringing out new fresh designs that you’ll be proud to wear anywhere.
You can represent Rugby in style.