If you've read our blog for any amount of time, you know that we love fitness entrepreneurs. There's something inspiring about small business owners rolling up their sleeves and taking on the big name gym chains, apparel companies and supplement makers. That's why we jumped at the chance to interview John Ciurcia, the owner and founder of the Rare Breed apparel company. He is a hard working fitness professional who is doing his best to build a great apparel company with a positive message. Oh yeah, and he played football for Rutgers and had a tryout with the Jets. Yeah New Jersey!
What is your background (fitness and non-fitness)?
I've been in the fitness industry for over 15 years, starting in 1998. I broke into the business as a Sports Performance Coach for the Parisi Speed School. Then became the Strength and Conditioning Coach for Don Bosco Prep High School. As one of the top 50 high school strength coaches in the US I have been recognized by Nike high school football as an ambassador. I have trained athletes in the NFL, NBA, MLB and over 100 college athletes. I am a Performance Specialist at Lifetime Athletics. CrossFit is my preference of workout and I have participated in many competitive powerlifting meets.
I have been a football coach at the high school and college level for 16 years and was an athletic director for 7 years. I have run high school football camps around the state. I played college football for Rutgers University from 1998-2000. In 2000 I went to training camp with the New York Jets.
What initially gave you the idea to start Rare Breed Lifestyle, Co.? Was it hard getting off the ground?
I was given the nickname Rare Breed in college and thought at the time it would be cool to put it on a shirt. I messed around for years with artwork and designs and came up with the Rare Breed logo. At first, it was I thought it was hard to put everything in order in regards to creating a brand, website, design work, and ecommerce. Once I had that in order, I realized the more challenging part was getting it out to the public.
What differentiates your brand from others out there in the fitness world?
We feel the biggest difference between our brand and other brands that are currently selling is, our message. We believe that no matter what, who, and where you are from, the rare breed athlete or the rare breed person will find a way to be successful in life, on the field, or whatever they're doing. Our message, our creed and our way of living are the biggest difference between us and other brands.
Who do you view as competition?
Our competition can really be anyone selling t-shirts. More directly in the athletic apparel business because that’s where we started but eventually, we want all people to want to be apart of our brand and the Rare Breed team.
What has been the biggest challenge in developing your business?
The biggest challenge in developing my business was and is to keep focused on why you create your business. A lot of companies tend to rebrand midway through their business plan, you have to stay focused you have to be driven and commit to the idea. I think the other thing that people might find challenging, which we did, was finances. Financing is something that is difficult for many startups. A lot of people must use their own money
If there was anything you could do differently (in relation to Rare Breed) what would it be?
Of course answers like having more money, more support, come to mind but honestly, if I had done anything different the brand wouldn’t be where it is today. I am proud of the brand and think it’s on the correct path so all that will come. I wouldn’t change anything.
We first heard about you guys two years ago when some of us when you were a vendor at Mayhem in the Meadowlands. Where do you hope to see your brand in 5 years?
In five years, we hope to be extremely busy on the Internet and possibly selling in some retail stores. We’d love to participate in more and more Crossift events across the country. We are building a department to host football camps, as well as creating multiple platforms to spread our message to athletes and people everywhere. The ultimate 5-year goal is for Rare Breed to be a household name.
Will we be seeing any new products in the near future?
Yes you will. Coming in New Year we will be adding designs and styles to create more of a collection for Rare Breed. Expanding the brand is one of our key focuses and we are very excited about the new product. So keep an eye out!
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs would be to, stay focused, stay hungry, and stay humble. Wen you get knocked down keep going and believe that your product can make a difference, can send a message, and be something good for people. Also, one thing I really truly believe, talk to everyone and tell everyone what you're doing you never know who you're going to run into that can help you make your dream a reality.
Website: Rare Breed Lifestyle
Facebook: Rare Breed Facebook