What if there were a tool or database to allow you to search over all of the gi manufacturers by size, color, or even fit?Well, there is such a tool and I had the chance to snag an email interview with GiFreak.com about this extensive database.
1 JJ360:Let’s begin with a brief introduction? How longhave you trained, current rank and underwhom do you train?
GiFreak:Let’s just say that GiFreak trainsat one of the best MMA teams in the world under the lineage of Carlson Gracie.
2. JJ360:What was the motivation behind Gifreak.com?
GiFreak:It came after hearing people at thegym talking about trying to find gis with certain features and not knowingwhere to get them. The products were out there, people just didn’t know wherethey were. Also, we love small businesses and seeing people trying to breakinto new markets. All the 200+ companies out there--we want them all to findtheir niche base of customers in the BJJ world. That can be hard, so we want tohelp them make that connection by becoming the first place anyone goes beforebuying a gi.
3 JJ360:What are some of the features of Gifreak.com andwhat makes it unique?
GiFreak:Our flagship tool is the GiSearch feature (http://www.gifreak.com/gisearch).It’s basically a place where manufacturers list their gis by all the specificfeatures they have and potential buyers search for them. So, if you’re lookingto spend less than $150 on a camo single weave gi that has knee pads, redstitching and is pre-shrunk…if it exists and the manufacturer is signed on withus, just check off a few boxes and you’ll find it. We don’t believe peopleshould have to go posting on 10 different forums to find out what exists outthere.
We also have the GiReview search (http://www.gifreak.com/gireviews).There are some awesome bloggers and reviewers out there who do some crazyextensive work when it comes to reviewing gis. We wanted that work to be easyto find, so that if you’re wondering what’s up with Tatami’s newest model andto see what people are saying before you put down the cash for the gi, you justcome to the site and search by the brand or product name. We also allow peopleto search by reviewer if they’re interested in seeing someone’s entire body ofreview work.
The GiBlog is pretty straight forward. Wetry to stay away from posting technique and tournament results…so many peopleout there already do a great job of that. We keep our posts focused on gis andthings other people might not be talking about. Stuff you can take back to yourgym that’s not common knowledge. We also announce product premiers, sales andstuff centered around buying gis.
4 JJ360:How do you hope Gifreak.com will be beneficialto the consumers?
Gifreak::It will save them time and money in findingproducts they like and that work for them. BJJ gis are highly functionaluniforms, but at the same time, people that do this do like to have a specificlook. We want them to get the look and function they like with fewer purchasesof products that might not do what they want.
JJ360:How extensive is the database currently? Howmany suppliers or Gi are contained?
GiFreak:We’ve got over 200 brands listed, and about20 manufacturers (including names like Atama, MKimonos, and other newbies tothe game) officially listing their full product catalogue. We’ve got a greatrange of prices and features, but there are a lot more. We’re pushing to get asmany as possible on the site to give a great representation of what’s availableout there.
JJ360:How many search fields are on Gifreak.com? Longlegs, short arms, etc.
GiFreak:125 total possible selections, but thoseare broken into 16 different categories like Construction, Appearance, Price,Weave and Fit by body type. We’ll add anything a manufacturer comes out withthough, so if someone invents a gi that smells like acai, we’ll add a smellcategory.
GiFreak.com utilizes reviews for gis to help apotential buyer come to a decision about the gi they are interested in buying.How do you gather your reviews and can other reviewers submit reviews?
This is the feature we think can really save a user the most money. It’sactually done manually. We got started in the BJJ blog world, so it’s connectedto a lot of the bigger names out there that will let us know when something’sup. Besides that, we keep an ear to the ground for new bloggers and reviewers.If anyone wants to submit a review, just notify us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get it up online.
JJ360: What are some features we can look for in thefuture for Gifreak?
GiFreak:Mostly refinement of the search tool. Wewant to make it as specific as possible, but without becoming overly complex,so look for that, and a mobile site that we’ll likely be premiering soon. We’realso going to be focusing on the blog more, with guest posts, more interviewsand educational materials.
JJ360: Anything else you would like to add?
GiFreak:Justthat we’d ask people to spread the word. It’s a free service and the morepeople we have on the site, the more we’ll know what the BJJ community needsand the better we can grow to serve them.
There it is! A tool that will help with the entire gi selection process that will save you time, money, and frustration. Now you will be able to include all your gis into the rotation and there will be no need to keep them hidden at the back of the closet collecting dust.