By P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff
Once upon a time, three lads in Vermont set out to master the sport of disc golf with the hopes of rising to the top of the professional ranks.
Try as they might, however, reality took hold and this fairy tale wasn’t going to have the normal ending.
Instead, it led to something different, yet still connected to the sport of disc golf in a positive way.
In 2011, Bachnein was formed by friends James Sweat, Taylor Johnson and Justin Kaulius. The trio, based in Burlington, Vermont, worked on creating original disc golf apparel and heavily promoting the game. Some past products include shirts, hats and disc dyes.
The goals were simple — organize sports, grow the sport in the state (and beyond) and create merchandise that would appeal to the masses.
“Bachnein was created to apply more passion to a sport we already loved,” Johnson said. “And yes, we’re still looking to go pro.”
So maybe the fairy tale will eventually have that ending? Who can tell. But for now, Bachnein is focusing on merchandise and apparel, graphic design, directing tournaments and promoting the sport.
The name is interesting. It has a definite disc golf feel, though the spelling seems a little different than many would normally see.
Sweat said he’s always been a fan of funky spellings and word play.
“When I was younger, I would find myself in a dive bar called the “Bach dür,” which I thought was great,” he said. “A number of years later, I was in traffic and spotted my favorite sports car — the Porche 928 — with a license plate that read “NEIN28,” which I thought was awesome.”
A pattern was forming. A few years later, Sweat was getting into disc golf and when the idea for the apparel line first came about, he said there was only one name for him — Bachnein.
“I tossed the idea around with a few friends and decided the funky spelling may make thing twice about it and it will hopefully stick with them,” he said. “I also love to see people’s faces when they say ‘Oh! I get it … back nine,’ which is usually followed by ‘that’s cool’ or ‘that’s stupid.’”
Though the company promotes the sport through events and media and work locally to build the sport, the merchandise designed is something they are building as well. Johnson said the company designs “tasteful and eye-catching apparel for disc golf enthusiasts.”
Some of the designs are really interesting and some give an outdoor feel, which considering where disc golf is played, is a smart move.
“The designs have come from sketches and ideas from all partners,” said Johnson, who handles the graphic work.
The three owners go through the process of narrowing down concepts and refining versions.
“Many of the design concepts are based on the connection between nature and disc golf,” Johnson said. “We are currently brainstorming our line for 2013 and will continue to push our limits in creating disc golf artwork.”
Still, there are a lot of companies who design and sell disc golf apparel. Therefore, companies need to find a way to step out and be noticed if they want to appeal to everyday golfers.
“We feel we offer apparel that disc golfers will enjoy wearing to show off their sport,” Johnson said. “Many customers have relayed the positive feedback they receive when wearing Bachnein gear. … Bachnein also makes you look sharp on tourney day. Our current designs offer something new to the scene and the designs in process are sure to please.”
Johnson also noted they have received feedback saying some non-disc golfers have asked about the shirts and designs.
The company continues to grow. Still being relatively new to the scene, Johnson said the company has been pleased with the response from the local scene, as well as the rest of the country. He said they have shipped products to several states.
“It’s fun to be a growing company in a sport that is also growing,” he said.
Being a part of the sport is a strong point in pushing forward, too. Johnson noted the trip has enjoyed spending weekends at events and helping the spot grow.
“The best part has been meeting people in the scene,” he said. “We have met disc golfers all over the country through social media and it’s been great learning more about the different disc golf communities. It’s also great having met top professionals and others who hold disc golf as their main focus.”
Bachnein plans on continuing to grow with the sport. The company is working on several new concepts and will be offering new products soon, including specialized dry-fits and disc dyes. Bachnein has several tournaments lined up and will continue to plan events.
“Our goal is to be part of larger events in the coming years and building our name on the scene,” Johnson said. “In five to 10 years, we hope to be directing national events in Vermont and being part of others regionally. We will work to enhance the awareness of disc golf with others in the industry and in five to 10 years, I think we will all notice the growth of the sport.”
On the net:
P.J. Harmer is the founder and executive editor for Rattling Chains. E-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.