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Savage Check-in: Working through the pandemic

Savage Check-in: Working through the pandemic

A lot has happened in the nearly two months since we first posted about the effect of COVID-19 on Savage and XII Brands (which includes partner companies Five Ultimate and ARIA Discs). Like large and small business around the world, our operations have been deeply impacted by the pandemic. Like others, we have been struggling to survive.

There were definitely moments when we didn't know if we could get through this. As sporting events were canceled around the world, we recognized there would not be a need for our services for the foreseeable future. Incoming orders dried up almost immediately, and we were forced to lay off a large portion of our staff. We simply did not have the revenue to pay them anymore. 

Since March, we have been forging ahead with a dramatically reduced number of team members. We implemented new safety and sanitation measures in our production facility to keep our remaining staffers healthy while catching up with remaining orders. Things slowed down, but with our reduced staff, we still struggled to keep up.

We also had to think of new ways to make money in order to pay our bills and our skeleton crew's salaries. We started pushing our Neckies, and prioritizing those orders, knowing that our customers needed face coverings ASAP. Our sewing team started making masks to donate to local healthcare workers. We sorted through old merch stored away at HQ and hosted sales to try to bring in some money. We even started to explore new markets, including making scrubs. 

Still, our money was running out, and we got to the point where we wondered if we'd have to close our doors completely. Then just in time, in late April we received our PPP loan as well as a grant to help us not only keep the lights on, but also bring back many of our team members. 

What's next for Savage and XII Brands?

The future is still uncertain for our industry and the sports that we work with, but we are forging ahead with the hope that things will return to normal in the not-so-distant future. We are thrilled to have so many of our team members back working for Savage and XII Brands, and to finally have the staff we need to be able to catch up on outstanding orders.

To our customers who have been so very patient and understanding as we work through this, we want to extend our deepest gratitude. It's because of you that we have remained functioning, and will hopefully continue to do so as we figure out what life looks like in a post-pandemic world.

For those of you asking where your late orders are, we are happy to report that we can finally give you some answers, thanks to our recently replenished workforce:

  • Where's my High Tide back-ordered gear? After High Tide was cancelled halfway through the tournament, we had a huge clearance sale to try to at least break even with all of the leftover merchandise we had. We also made some of the more popular, sold-out gear available as back-ordered merchandise to be made on-demand, noting that those items would take eight weeks to produce and deliver. Well, that deadline is fast approaching and most of these orders won't be ready for shipping. Rest assured that these aren't forgotten, and we're in a much better situation to catch up quickly. Our goal is to have all of these orders to you by June 1, if not sooner.
  • Where's my AUDL gear? Savage is proud to be the official apparel partner of the AUDL, and we have continued working on their uniforms and fan gear through the pandemic. However, as the league has been adjusting their season plans, we have adjusted our own production timeline as well, and some other orders have taken priority as a result. Our goal is now to have all AUDL orders shipped by June 15, with the oldest orders taking priority and shipping out within 7-10 days. 
  • Where's my Team Marketplace order? Our typical turnaround time for Team Marketplace orders is 4-6 weeks from the closure of each Team Marketplace. We have a handful of TMP orders now that are overdue or approaching their shipping deadline. Our goal is to have all of these orders shipped by the end of May. 
  • Other orders: When will I get my stuff? We totally get it. You're anxious to receive the order you paid for, and you're wondering where the heck it is. It's taken longer than we promised, and that is frustrating — for you as well as for us. Please know that we haven't forgotten about you. Our crew is working hard to get back on track, prioritizing any outstanding orders in the order that they were received. Our goal is to have all outstanding orders shipped over the next three weeks.

Again, we thank each and every one of you for your orders, your support, and your patience. Your kind emails and tweets and Instagram messages have added some brightness to this dark time, and served as a much-needed reminder of why we do what we do. We think of you as family, and we're excited to get through this together and move on to the other side.

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10 Fun Ways to Stay Connected to Your Friends and Teammates While Social Distancing (That Aren’t Just Skype)

10 Fun Ways to Stay Connected to Your Friends and Teammates While Social Distancing (That Aren’t Just Skype)

In the span of just a few tumultuous days, the sports world ground to a halt and social distancing became the norm — leaving many of us feeling unmoored. Humans are social beings, and sports are truly about so much more than the game itself. While we love the intensity and fun of playing, the community and social aspects are just as important — and one of the main reasons why we love sports like Ultimate Frisbee, Spikeball, Quidditch, Disc Golf, and Dodgeball so much.

So what happens when high-fives are suddenly forbidden, all social gatherings and games are canceled, local hangouts are temporarily closed, and social distancing becomes a critical part of staying safe and healthy? We get creative and come up with new ways to stay connected to our friends, family, and teammates. Social interaction, bonding, and coming together as a community are probably more important now than ever, which is why we’ve come up with a list of 10 fun and creative ways to help you stay connected. 

Host a Virtual Group Lunch or Coffee — When you’d normally be at practice, do a full-team coffee hour or eat a meal via Skype or Google Hangouts video chat. Having a set time to bring everyone together as a group helps to maintain a routine and stay connected and is a good way to check in on everyone.

Go Outside! — Large social gatherings are off-limits, and maintaining a distance of six feet is encouraged, but unless you’re in a city or state where you’re barred from leaving your house for unnecessary reasons, you should absolutely be going outside and getting some fresh air and a bit of exercise. Take a friend or two and go on a hike or a jog or bike ride (give the handlebars a good wipe with sanitizer before and after). So long as you’re all healthy/asymptomatic, refrain from high-fives, and maintain a safe distance apart, some time outdoors with a couple of friends should be totally okay.

Have a Remote Workout Sesh — Set up a group video chat and have your team captain or another volunteer lead the group in a basic workout or yoga session. Even though you can’t get out and play together, you can still stay in shape and game-ready for when seasons start up again. Group motivation and holding each other accountable is a great way to stay fit and healthy together so you can dominate next season. Stay tuned to the Savage Blog, Facebook, and Instagram for some tips and home exercises to help.

Do a Group Photo Challenge — A photo challenge is a great way to stay busy and have some fun together. Decide on your approach (Googling “photo challenge” will give you plenty of options to choose from, but here’s a good basic one). Every day, you each have to take a photo that fits the theme for that day then share in a group chat or on social with your own hashtag. 

Play Mobile Games — The great thing about mobile games is that everyone has a smartphone, and most of these games are free. Draw Something, Words With Friends, and Drawful are pretty much modern classics at this point. Ever get into a cut-throat game of Draw Something with your grandparents? If not, you have 100% been missing out. 

Host a Virtual Game Night — If you’re more a fan of playing board games and missing your regular Cards Against Humanity throwdown or poker night, there are also plenty of options for playing board and card games online with your mates. Monopoly, UNO, Yahtzee Party, and poker are all solid options for a virtual game night. There’s also a fun Cards Against Humanity clone that includes a very necessary group chat feature since commenting and laughing over the card combos is an essential part of the game. 

Organize a Virtual Book Club — Google Play, Open Library, Free eBooks, and Project Gutenberg offer an extensive array of free eBook options to choose from. If you don’t feel like falling down a black hole of book options, r/freeEBOOKS is a great place to find solid recommendations. Other than entertainment and offering mental escape, plenty of books can also impart valuable lessons in leadership and teamwork. Our friends at Five Ultimate put together this list of great reads that can also sharpen your game. Once everyone decides on a book, set up a reading schedule and video chats to discuss. And yes, it’s totally fair to read Harry Potter again together.

Give Each Other a Little Boost — Sarahah is a site and iOS/Android app that lets you post anonymous messages for your friends. Have everyone on your team sign up and share their links, then go through and leave everyone a nice message telling them something you admire or appreciate about them. It’s totally anonymous, but you can leave your name if you’d like.

Start a D&D Group  There’s a reason why Dungeons & Dragons has been the most popular role-playing game since the 70s — it’s fun! With everything going on right now, this feels like the perfect time to get together with a group of friends and escape into a fantasy world for a few hours. With social distancing, you might not be able to gather around a table to play, but fortunately, there are some really amazing online options. Roll20 is a great way to play D&D together online, either building your own campaign from scratch or using one of their ready-to-play campaigns. Set up a video chat using FaceTime, Skype, or Google Hangouts and get ready to party with rangers and warlocks.

Start Planning for Next Season — It’s a very rough and uncertain time right now, and many of us are mourning our interrupted seasons. Though things can seem pretty grim at the present moment, it’s more important now than ever to keep looking ahead. There will be a light at the end of all this. Sports will come back. Leagues will start up again. Tournaments will be rescheduled. And when they do, it’ll be such an incredibly celebratory moment. The start of next season will likely be the biggest, most exciting start to any season ever. And it’s totally okay to start getting hyped about it now! Skype with your teammates and discuss game strategy and ways to kick more ass than ever next season. Brainstorm ways to introduce new people to your sport and get them excited and involved. Start designing those new uniforms you’ve been talking about for ages. Come up with some cool fundraising ideas. Plan the most epic first-game after-party ever. Because we will all play again. And together, we’ll come back stronger and better than ever.

Photo by Bruno Gomiero for Unsplash

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COVID-19 and Savage Apparel Co.: Our response to Coronavirus

COVID-19 and Savage Apparel Co.: Our response to Coronavirus

Like the rest of the world, XII Brands and its companies — ARIA Discs, Five Ultimate, and Savage Apparel Co. — are closely monitoring the development of COVID-19 in the U.S. and abroad. The sports world is being deeply impacted by event cancellations worldwide, and our hearts go out to our fellow members of this global community as we navigate the weeks ahead. Our priority is always the health and safety of our employees and customers, and we are taking the situation very seriously.

We have been dealing with the effects of COVID-19 in China since the beginning of 2020, when the spread of the disease and resulting factory shut-downs began impacting our supply chain for Five Ultimate products. Unfortunately, this slowed down the production of some of our customers' orders, and we have been working toward remedying these issues. This has also sped up our transition to domestically produced fabrics and gear at XII Brands’ North American production houses. 

At our production headquarters in Richmond, Virginia, we are closely following local, state, and federal guidelines for the health and safety of our workers. For non-production employees in Richmond and Seattle, we are encouraging remote working until further notice.

Many Savage, Five, and ARIA employees have spent the last two weeks on location in North Myrtle Beach for the High Tide Ultimate Tournament. On March 12, tournament director Ed Pulkinen announced that the remainder of the tournament will be cancelled in the interest of the players and the public health. In an effort to clear out our significant remaining stock of High Tide merchandise, Savage will be selling tournament gear at a discounted rate online for players who were unable to attend.

As major sports institution-partners, like USA Ultimate and the American Ultimate Disc League, continue to release announcements regarding cancellations and postponements, all of our brands are working with leaders of these groups to address their apparel needs for the future.

What does this mean for you? 

As a loyal customer of any of the XII Brands, you can feel confident that we’re working diligently to ensure that gear is produced and delivered as expected. Because health and safety are top priorities at this important juncture, limited staffing and supply chain issues could impact our production processes in the future, however we are all being proactive about producing solutions, substitutions, and solving any unforeseen problems as quickly as possible. 

Because colleges and universities are taking precautionary measures to ensure everyone’s health and safety, we recognize that shipping addresses and schedules may change, events may be delayed, or players may end up scattered to different geographies. Please be sure to email with your order # and address as soon as you can so that your gear ends up in the right place at the right time. 

Everyone at our production facility is being vigilant about washing their hands frequently, sanitizing working areas with disinfectant, and monitoring their health. Though we are doing our part, commerce and transit is a multi-step process. We encourage all of our customers to wash their hands and dispose of (recycle!) packaging immediately after receipt of any gear. 

The entire sports world is being affected by COVID-19, but ARIA Discs, Five Ultimate, and Savage Apparel Co. will continue working hard as a team to ensure that you have what you need to be ready to hit the fields when it is safe to do so once again. Stay healthy, look out for each other, and don’t hesitate to reach out if we can help in any way.

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5 Things You Should Know About High Tide 2020

5 Things You Should Know About High Tide 2020

The Savage crew has taken up its annual residence in North Myrtle Beach for the High Tide Ultimate Tournament 2020, and as usual we’re pinching ourselves for being lucky enough to partner with such an incredible event. This hugely popular Spring Break tournament, now in its 24th year, brings together college teams from all over the country, and Savage is proud to be the event’s official apparel partner. We love seeing all of your smiling faces, sharing our gear, and enjoying time in the sun and sand at the end of every day. 

So what’s new for High Tide in 2020? Here are five things we’re excited about:

  1. The High Tide 2020 “Poolside” Theme — The Savage design team put in some long hours creating a brand-new High Tide collection, and we have to say it’s one of our favorites yet. The theme is “Poolside,” and you’ll find everything from Miami Vice-style pastel full-subs to Hamptons/Gatsby-inspired shorts. Really, there’s something for everyone. Keep an eye on the Savage social media accounts for details about when High Tide gear will be available in our online store.

  2. Spreading the GreenLine Gospel — This is a great opportunity for everyone to get up close and personal to our GreenLine, which, if you haven’t heard, is our new fabric made from 100% recycled bottles. All of the fully sublimated merch in our High Tide shop is made from the GreenLine fabric, so check it out and be prepared to be converted. We hope you love it as much as we do, and that you’ll consider going Green for your next team order.

  3. Bringing ARIA into the Fold — We’re working with ARIA Discs to create the official High Tide discs for the first time ever. This is huge not only because ARIA discs were specially formulated for Ultimate players — and we want everyone to give them a try — but also because ARIA is now Savage’s official partner as part of XII Brands. XII Brands is the new parent company of Savage, ARIA, and Five Ultimate. You’ll be seeing a lot more collaboration between these brands in the future as we work together to strengthen the Ultimate community and beyond. Keep an eye out for ARIA and Five Ultimate reps in the Savage tent throughout High Tide. We’ll also have some special promotions and giveaways going with ARIA, so be sure to follow them on social media for updates. 

  4. VIIP Pizza Party — We always love seeing Savage teams sporting their gear IRL, and once again this year we’re inviting all Savage teams to a special VIIP Party in a tent beside the High Tide shop on Wednesdays at 11 a.m. We’ll have pizza and drinks for our Savage teams, and we hope you’ll take a moment to chat with Todd and the Savage crew about your experience working with us and how we can partner in the future. Not a Savage team? We’ll be ready to sign new teams with some special High Tide team deals, and you’ll get some free pizza in the bargain. Win, win.

  5. More High Tide Shenanigans to Come — We’ve got plans for lots of fun promotions over the next few weeks, including a golden egg hunt, disc-throwing competitions, swag bags, and a pretty major raffle that involves a free set of team fully sublimated jerseys. Follow Savage’s Instagram account for all the latest updates on High Tide-related promos.
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XII Brands is ultimately about building community

XII Brands is ultimately about building community

If you’ve ever played Ultimate Frisbee, you know that community is a huge part of the sport. It’s what pushed me to pick up a disc for the first time in high school and to play passionately through college and on into adulthood. 

It may surprise you to learn that that spirit of the game doesn’t just exist between players and teams — it’s also present between many of the companies that have made it their mission to serve the Ultimate community. Over the years, I’ve made connections with the owners of companies that are Savage’s direct competitors. We greet each other warmly at tournaments; we have each other’s numbers in our phones. Their company’s gain sometimes means Savage’s loss — and vice versa — but we recognize that it’s all for the greater good of our beloved sport.

This is why the idea of bringing together two of Ultimate’s biggest brands — and biggest competitors — seemed like the most natural move in the world. I’m thrilled to officially announce that Savage Apparel Co. and Five Ultimate, along with ARIA Discs, are now joined under the umbrella of XII Brands.

I’ve been a fan of Five since before Savage even existed — they’re one of Ultimate’s o.g. brands. I’ve worn their gear and admired their company culture. I’ve also gotten to know the five siblings that founded the company — Zahlen, Xtehn, Vehro, Rohre, and Qxhna. So when I reached out to them with an idea that would bring our businesses together, the conversation was open and productive from day one.

Let me assure you: Savage will always be Savage. Five will always be Five. And ARIA will always be ARIA. All of the current owners of Savage, Five, and ARIA remain key stakeholders in XII Brands. The key difference is, we are now working together as a team. We’re sharing resources, sharing ideas, and growing together for the betterment of our community.

I and the rest of the Savage crew will continue working out of our headquarters in Richmond, Virginia, serving the Ultimate community along with the other sports we’ve added to our roster in recent years, from disc golf and dodgeball to Spikeball, soccer, quidditch, and baseball. We will continue being a full-service company, designing and creating all of our products in-house, with a growing emphasis on our GreenLine of fabric made from 100% recycled bottles. I, along with Dan Lee and my brother Dan Curran, are the co-owners of Savage as well as co-owners of XII Brands.

Five is still based in Seattle, with the same sales/marketing team and designers you know and love. Their focus is and will always be Ultimate Frisbee. The Five siblings are still actively involved as well — and notably, they’re all part owners of XII Brands. We are all invested in the success of this venture.

The biggest change for Five is our goal to produce all U.S. orders domestically and with recycled fabric — at the XII headquarters in Richmond, Virginia — as opposed to overseas. This means a drastically reduced carbon footprint for all domestic orders. Five and Savage are both working with partners in Canada, France, and the Philippines to produce international orders, which will further reduce our collective carbon footprint. 

And let’s not forget ARIA, which brings a disc company under the XII fold. Created by Five’s founders in 2015, ARIA specializes in discs specifically formulated for playing Ultimate. ARIA operations will now be shared between Seattle and Richmond. With our newly expanded resources, we can proudly say that our goal is to take over the Ultimate disc market. If you haven’t been converted, you’ll be hearing from us soon.

The creation of XII Brands has been quietly in the works for over a year, and I’ll admit that it feels cathartic to finally share it with you. I’m sure you’ll have questions (check out the FAQs at for starters), and we’ll all work together to answer those in the coming weeks. But for now, I hope you’ll share in my excitement for this new partnership that I feel confident will bring good things for the communities we’ve made it our mission to serve. We can’t wait to show you what’s in store for the future.

Your Ultimate partner, 

Todd Curran, CEO of XII Brands

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