Former competitors are now teammates following the merger of a local sportswear provider and a Seattle rival.
Savage Apparel Co., based in Richmond’s Northside, now operates alongside Seattle-based Five Ultimate under a new parent company, XII Brands. The merger, announced this week, took effect Jan. 1.
Savage co-owner Todd Curran will serve as CEO of XII Brands, which will be based in Richmond. XII Brands is also the parent company of Aria Discs, an ultimate frisbee brand established by Five’s founders.
Curran, who owns Savage with brother Dan and Dan Lee, said the merger was prompted by their desire to expand to the West Coast as Savage hit 10 years in business. He said Savage reached out to Five, which Curran described as having a “friendly rivalry” with, to get the latter’s opinion on such a move, and conversations turned to a merger.
“It was a perfect opportunity for them and for us,” Curran said.
Savage makes custom-printed apparel for sports such as ultimate frisbee, dodgeball and other nontraditional team sports. The company moved into its current headquarters at 2923 North Ave. in Brookland Park about a year after moving into the neighborhood in 2017.
Savage, Five Ultimate and Aria will continue to exist as distinct brands, retaining their own sales, marketing and design teams but sharing other resources. Since all the brands have created distinct identities, Curran said the leadership felt it made more sense to maintain those identities, hence the grouping under a shared parent company versus a combined brand.
Curran said the merger also allows the brands to zero in on different segments of the market. In addition to ultimate frisbee gear, he said Savage will continue its drive to expand into other sports such as dodgeball, disc golf and quidditch, while Five and Aria will remain focused on ultimate frisbee.
Overall, XII Brands has about 25 employees, with about eight of them at Savage. Production for Five and Aria products will move to Richmond. Both of those companies remain based in Seattle.
Savage moved to Richmond in 2015. It was originally based in Charleston, South Carolina.