Why We Built This
"After the first 3 months of starting Ghostfit, I realized that I didn't know what the hell I was doing. After all, it started as a bet.”
This is a true story, but let's go back to where it all began. In 2015, in my sophomore year of college, I had gone down the darkest hole of my damn life. 6 months earlier, I was playing football for the University of Minnesota, passing all of my classes, and excited for what the future would hold.
Let's start from the beginning. Growing up was not the easiest, to say the least. I was 10 years old when I first saw my father. I was surrounded by drugs and alcohol and would go see my family in their jail cells yearly.
Most of my friends growing up were living completely different lives than myself, especially my two best friends whose parents owned their businesses. I was constantly struggling with trying to fit in while understanding that my home life was much different than others. I was a very self-conscious kid.
Luckily for me, I had football, it was my getaway. It allowed me to become relatable, to forget about my reality, and to enjoy the people around me. As I got into high school, I began to excel at football. Intrinsically, I was a very competitive person, and growing up in a small town also gave me an upper hand. For the first time, I was a popular kid. Because of my success in football, I was invited to the older parties, I was given privileges that others didn't, and I was treated like someone important. This all seemed to happen so fast for me and it was something I was not use to.
Without realizing it, football wasn't something I played but rather what I was, I thought. The success I had in football gave me an inflated and unrealistic ego. It didn't matter that I grew up on section 8 or had free and reduced lunches all my life. It didn't matter that cops were constantly called to my house. That chaos didn't matter because I no longer had to focus on it. All people saw was football and I ran with it.
After my senior year of high school, I committed to play football at the University of Minnesota, a Division 1 school. I was one of the only kids from my high school to ever play Division 1 football. Going in, I thought everything would be the same. That I would redshirt my first year, become the starter after that, and eventually go pro. That was not the reality at all. Through my high school experience, I lost touch with reality. Instead of only working hard, I was also working for compliments, I lived for someone telling me I did well. College, especially a division 1 college, was a different beast. Everyone on the team was the best player at their high school. This was no longer small-town football and I didn't have the humility to process that. Instead, I made up excuses for why I didn't love football anymore and why I was ready to move on. I was mentally weak.
I ended up quitting football, the one thing that allowed me to flourish. During the weeks after quitting, it all started to catch up to me. I no longer knew who I was. As an individual, I only saw value as a football player, which I was no longer playing. All the promises I made to friends and family about playing in the NFL were a lie. I failed.
6 months later I dropped out of all of my classes. I was constantly filled with anxiety, and I lost my direction in life. Luckily, after months of zero motivation, my entrepreneurial grandmother, without knowing my mental state, introduced me to a book that completely changed my mentality.
The book was called “Money, Master the Game” by Tony Robbins. In his book, Tony talks about raising your standards. This phrase was exactly what I needed to read at the time. Instantly, I thought, expect more from yourself, expect more from others, and be a value-adding individual. It was the first time I understood the importance of relationships. My grandmother, who had no idea what I was going through, wanted the best for me without expecting anything in return. Not that this was the first time I had experienced this, but the first time I appreciated it.
This was the switch for me, it was my motivation! Funny enough, I never actually finished the book because I began doing the things I was missing. I got back into working out, which was always a HUGE passion of mine. I was determined to be one of those guys that becomes an athlete for a big fitness company. So, I started a fitness Instagram account.
After a few months, a company sent me a shirt to promote (I won’t disclose who because they are still in business). After trying on the apparel, I told my girlfriend, “This is such a bad shirt, especially for the cost they sell at.” She replied, “Then make your own.”
And so, it began. Unknowing what I was getting myself into, I started researching fabrics, hot trends, and manufacturers. I started from ground zero!
After 6 months of research, prototypes, testing, and investing my entire bank account of $800, Ghostfit was launched on August 29th, 2017. Our slogan 'Raise Your Standards' was created far before the company was. It was a daily reminder to be the best version of myself that I could. That my passions will always conquer my weaknesses and that a simple shift in mindset can alter your reality.
Through this entire process, and still today, mental health is something that affects me. But my journey has taught me that anxiety doesn't have to be crippling but rather a reason to work harder and help more people. I began to understand the more I cared for others, the more humility and perspective I would gain. Though quitting, I realized that football wasn't who I was but rather would prepare me for what life was. Similar with anxiety, it's not who I am but it does teach me how to become a better me. That is something I will always be thankful for.
Luckily, I had a second shot at football while attending the University of St. Thomas. Not only was I able to continue the sport I loved but I was able to enjoy it for its true values, the appreciation and connectedness to others. Without these experiences, Ghostfit would have never existed. It's a constant reminder that anything worth it takes effort and persistence.
What started as a bet turned into a fulfilling passion. Not because of the clothes we make, but rather the successes and devotion of the individuals in the clothes. We are not a fitness brand. We are individuals from various walks of life, with various triumphs and failures, that just happen to make fitness attire.
This is our story and we are here to help build yours!