Earlier this month John Wiehe from Baseball Monkey interviewed my dad and me. It was the first time we were able to share our story. It was great experience. Baseball Monkey is made up of a lot of solid people. We are really lucky to work with them. Here's the interview:
BASEBALL MONKEY BLOG 9.9.18
A brand new company based out of Austin, TX, BRUCE+BOLT believes in taking no shortcuts on its way to making the game’s premium batting gloves. Founded in November 2017, BRUCE+BOLT’s dedication to high-quality materials and expert craftsmanship makes it easy to understand how their batting gloves have quickly become a favorite among select and high school baseball players across the state of Texas.
We recently had a chance to catch up with the founders of BRUCE+BOLT, Gard Mayer and his 16-year old son, Bear, to learn more about their company and the story behind their mission of making the game’s premier batting glove.
What inspired the creation of Bruce+Bolt?
GARD: Bear needed gas money.
BEAR: Actually, I was tired of paying $40 and $50 for batting gloves and then they would rip after 3 or 4 weeks. I kept complaining about it to my dad and one day he said, "Then start a company and make better gloves."
I had just turned 16, and I bought my first truck so I did need the gas money, but I also had been thinking about ways I could make money. Finding a job with school and baseball was really hard. So I asked my dad if he would help me start BRUCE+BOLT. That was in November of 2017.
What kind of truck?
BEAR: ‘93 Landcruiser with a snorkel. Badass. Her name is Jennifer.
What factors help create your batting gloves durability?
GARD: It's 3 things. The materials, the design and the construction.
First, we use 0.9mm Cabretta leather which is sheep leather. It's the highest quality, softest and most durable leather in the world. It's the same type of leather they use on premium golf gloves but twice as thick.
Next, we designed the gloves with a physiologist who also played D1 baseball. For both the short cuff and long cuff gloves, there are design features that are the same in both. One is that we cut the pattern to follow the conical shape of the human finger. The second is that we cut the palm to follow the medial articulation (the curve) of the wrist. This makes the fit perfect and stops it from moving on your hand and creating wear spots.
Last, each glove is made by hand. We use double and single outseam stitching so you only feel the soft Cabretta leather on your hand, but also to reduce any weak stress points on the glove especially near the base of the hand which is where you see most of the holes, rips and tears in gloves.
When you combine all 3 things you get amazing durability. In fact, this spring we had about 15 of my friends who all play high school and select baseball try the gloves. They all wore their one pair of prototypes for 4 months of high school and 2 months of select ball and not one pair had any significant wear.
BEAR: Midland, Zac Brown Band, George Strait and John Denver
What’s the difference between the Long Cuff gloves and the Short Cuff Gloves?
BEAR: The Short Cuff glove design is based on Franklin CFX Pros except we improved the design, we use better materials and each glove is made by hand.
The Long Cuff design is really different. I tried taping my wrists a couple of times and I really liked the support, but it was a pain if I got called in to pitch in relief because I had to take the tape off. Basically, I had an idea on how to make a cuff that did the same thing as taping your wrists. I designed a triangular “stabilizing” cuff to secure the wrist around the back the hand and then we added a 2” heavy duty elastic strap for support and power. My dad called it a “double inverse cuff” and it was different enough that we applied for a patent.
GARD: I was actually really proud when Bear came to me with his first design for the long cuff glove - it was really interesting. We made a prototype out of some old gloves he had and the second I put it on I knew he had something. What’s interesting to me is that every one of Bear’s teammates who have tried the Long Cuff gloves won’t wear anything else, but I think it’s hard for someone who hasn’t tried them to make the leap.
BEAR: I really like the apparel brand - Birddogs. Their marketing is awesome. I found out they were former Lululemon guys and now they don’t give a crap - it’s pretty awesome.
GARD: I like brands that know who they are, believe in quality and won’t compromise. Ferreri is one. Lululemon might be another one. KUIU hunting gear makes incredible stuff.
Where did the name “Bruce+Bolt” come from?
BEAR: It's BRUCE because the company is named after my grandfather who was a great football, hockey and baseball player in college, but my dad's real name is Bruce too, my middle name is Bruce and my cousin's name is Bruce, so it's kind of a family name. The BOLT comes from the fact that, believe it or not, my grandfather has been struck by lightning twice and lived to tell about it. I thought it was a cool name and it made deciding on a logo pretty easy.
What separates Bruce+Bolt from its competition?
GARD: I've designed a number of ice hockey products for my company, Smarthockey, and some that I've licensed to Nike and Bauer hockey. That experience taught me that you can either design products to hit a price point, or you can design for quality.
When Bear and I started discussing what he wanted BRUCE+BOLT to be known for, he said he simply wanted to produce the best products in baseball. So we made a decision to use only the highest quality materials and craftsmanship for every product we make and worry about the costs later.
I really believe if you make great products, there's a market for them no matter what the price is.
BEAR: When we started researching what the competition was doing, we realized that all the biggest brands were using synthetic leathers, lycra, mesh and liteprene. Although they claim to do it for performance, everything is done to cut costs, not to make the best product possible. All you have to do is look at how their gloves are stitched together and how poor the construction is.
We want to be proud of our products. We want BRUCE+BOLT to be known for making the highest quality products in baseball. We want players, no matter what level, to use our products because they're better than anything else out there.
So, a $100 batting glove?
BEAR: Well it’s not exactly $100, it’s $89 for the Long Cuff glove and $69 for the Short Cuff gloves. But yeah, they’re a little more than normal batting gloves, but they are designed to last longer and fit better than any other glove out there. And when you think about it, serious high school and select players spend up to $500 on fielder’s mitts and there’s no guarantee you’ll even have a ball hit to you. I actually had a stretch this summer playing 2nd where a ball wasn’t hit to me for almost 3 games, but I got up to bat 10 times. If you think about it, if you’re playing, you’re going to bat at least 3 times a game, but most players are wearing batting gloves that are dried out, stiff and torn. Your gloves and your bat grip are the only feedback you have when you hit the ball with the bat you probably spent $400 on. If you ask me, batting gloves that feel great and give you confidence at the plate can really make a huge difference in your overall performance.
GARD: Actually there’s one really big thing in my opinion. Part of this is that I’m trying to teach Bear about starting a company. Part of starting a sustainable company is creating a profit so we can continue to invest in R&D, develop new products and provide income for employees, but I also believe that companies have a responsibility to give back too. As Bear and I talked about what we wanted BRUCE+BOLT to be known for, we decided we wanted to be known as a premium baseball brand and we wanted to be known for giving back in a meaningful way. We aren’t exactly sure what that means right now, but as we are launching the brand we’re talking to a number of national and international non-profit baseball organizations that we intend to work with meaningful way.
BEAR: I’d just say that we are working on some new products. We have some socks that I really think are going to be a big deal. They’re extra long for players who wear short pants. I designed them because I kept getting turf burn every time I slid into 2nd. Everyone who has tried them really likes them. I’m hoping we’ll have the first production run by spring season.
GARD: Also, I just wanted to say thank you to BaseballMonkey for giving us a platform to introduce our brand and our products.
BEAR: Thank you. I hope everyone likes the gloves.
The all-new BRUCE+BOLT batting gloves are built with premium materials and an innovative design, making them ideal for the hitter who likes a batting glove with an ultra-comfortable feel and unmatched durability.
If you have any questions regarding BRUCE+BOLT batting gloves, please contact BaseballMonkey Customer Service at (888)-771-3111.