Hawaiian Clothing Brand, Kekoa Collective, Gives Back To BJJ Community

Let’s face the facts: many businesses are pretty greedy. They pay their employees as little as possible — sometimes even using sweatshop labor — and charge customers as much as they can.

The Hawaiian clothing brand, Kekoa Collective, is a wonderful exception, though.

Launched in 2009 by Dewey Doan and Aubrey Koenig, Kekoa was not only founded on the idea that surfing, traveling, jiu-jitsu, and yoga could be a way of life, but that business was about helping the community, rather than bleeding it dry.

The Jiu-Jitsu Times had the chance to talk to Jeffrey Huang, one of Kekoa’s community leaders, via Facebook PM to learn more about this product and what it is doing for the jiu-jitsu community.

“Kekoa Collective’s success will not be measured in dollars alone, but also by what we contribute to the local community, and to our students, customers, suppliers and employees,” Huang told us. “We aim to reshape the traditional business model and become a force for positive change. We want to abandon the ‘anything for a buck’ business mantra and replace it with a balanced approach of for-profit, for-humanity, and for-community. This is our differentiation, and our formula for success.”

Real serious about mindful living. || #livekekoa — Products shown: Mindful Boys and Script Unstructured Strapback.

Posted by Kekoa Collective on Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Sounds all well and good, but we wanted specific examples.  Huang was happy to give them to us.

“The most tangible example would have to be our Revenue Share Program (Rev-share),” Huang said. “It’s intended to give back to any BJJ academy or yoga studio who partners up with the brand.  So, for any purchases made by students of these academies or studios, 10% goes back to said academy. We simple write out a check to the academy owner, keeping it anonymous, in the hope that the academy will use the money to help sponsor a student for, say, competing in a tournament, purchasing new equipment, new gis, or anything the owner would like. They could even just pocket the money – we wouldn’t know. Our intention is for us to try and help these student fulfill their dreams in BJJ, yoga, or surfing. All participating Rev-share partners are already listed on the website.”

We simple write out a check to the academy owner, keeping it anonymous, in hope that the academy will use the monies to help sponsor a student for say, competing in a tournament, or purchasing new equipment, new gis, anything the owner would like. They could even just pocket the money – we wouldn’t know.

That sounds like one hell of a deal to us!

But we had another question on our minds: why jiu-jitsu, surfing, and yoga. What could those activities possibly have had in common?

Again, Jeffrey had a great answer:

“We believe they couldn’t be more related to each other,” he said. “With surfing and BJJ, its all about living in the present moment. You experience that with a hard roll, and all other thoughts, stresses, daily worries disappear. The same can be said with surfing as well. Both give you different kinds of highs and euphoric feelings, and both quickly become a not just a hobby, or passion, but a lifestyle. And people travel to experience these things and share these moments all around the world.”

Posted by Kekoa Collective on Thursday, June 1, 2017

We were also curious to know about Kekoa’s design. Was it just a bunch of cool looking patterns and symbols with little meaning and influence, or was there something to deeper to it?

“When Dewey and Aubrey first started BJJ around 2000, there were not a lot of BJJ clothing brand out there at the time,” said Huang. “You mostly saw TapOut, Affliction, etc, and these were brands that portrayed this tough guy (skulls, chains, loud shirts) persona, and that’s not what Dewey and Aubrey were about. They both grew up in the water with surfing, and that aloha spirit was very real and tangible to them. So they wanted to start a brand that was focused on the gentle art, the lifestyle, the love that people feel when they connect in the surfing community, and just the same as in the jiu-jitsu community.”

Women's D Dog Tank

Posted by Kekoa Collective on Sunday, July 9, 2017

If you are interested in their products, you can check them out here. You will also be able to see them at the World Master Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship this month.



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