I was a tennis player disguised as an office worker.
While my coworkers were analyzing financial spreadsheets, I was analyzing strokes and string tension data. And while they had aspirations of becoming a CFO or managing director, mine were to have a heavy forehand, big serve, and to play tennis - every single day.
Imagining a day when I could do exactly that I went along quietly, with the rest of the crowd. Because that's what it means to be an adult, right?
I worked the overnight shift for years so I could play tennis during the daytime with my friends.
But I couldn't find any tennis clothes that allowed me to express the tennis player inside. Growing up as a skateboarder I was used to creative, edgy designs, artistic expression and cult-like followings - the tennis industry is outdated, boring, and jock-ish in comparison as the big brands stay within their lines. Rolling up in full athletic gear wasn't me, but it was my only option.
One day after tennis I was grabbing some dinner at my local pho spot in San Diego and couldn't believe it.
I was sitting next to Chris Cole - one of the greatest skateboarders of all time and a childhood hero of mine.
We had a thoughtful conversation on the similarities between the sports and their extremely technical nature, both taking incredible personal dedication - endless hours spent alone to learn and develop technique. Chris said his young daughter was in tennis classes and how hard it is to get good at at.
There he was decked out in his pro model signature shoes, custom hoody and beanie - you could tell he was part of a special group. Then I looked at me in my athletic "track suit" and accepted I just looked like another random walking out of JC Penny. It was time for a change.
I imagined my own company. A new perspective on tennis where we aren't afraid to cross lines, take risks, and be different
But there was a deeper internal struggle before this could happen. People don't quit perfectly good careers to start a t-shirt company, do they? You'd never be accepted back into that world after such a move - your professional resume would be tarnished. What if you failed?
But what if it was the smartest move you've ever made? No following to leverage from, no industry connections. Just a dream.
So I quit, and started to live my own dream. Vacation Tennis Company was born.
This spirit is captured in the latest release, check out the Out of Office shirt