Warrington star Joe Philbin getting to “Gripz” with new business outside of rugby

Drew Darbyshire

Joe Philbin has spent the lockdown period by getting to “Gripz” with launching a new business outside of his professional rugby league career.

The 25-year-old, who has already made more than 100 career appearances for hometown club Warrington, has teamed up with his good friend Jack Hodgkiss to launch Gripz, a fresh clothing brand.

Philbin has already enjoyed success in rugby league, having represented Great Britain and Ireland at international level, and he now wants to see Gripz thrive in the sporting world.

He said: “I’ve had the idea for years. I’ve always followed a few brands quite closely and I’ve always fancied giving something like this a go.

“Lockdown actually gave me the opportunity to act on it because I was always doing rugby. Myself and my good mate Jack Hodgkiss got together and we spent a good few months putting things in place and it is just about to drop now so this is where the excitement really starts.

“Me and Jack have been friends for a long time. We’ve both had similar ideas with what we wanted to do. He’s already got a successful construction company and I was looking to start this so we got talking to each other, shared ideas and we decided to use his expertise in the business world and my expertise in the sporting world, so we’ve put them ideas together and hopefully it is a good recipe for success.”

The first item of clothing that Gripz will launch is a compression sock, which has been specifically designed to give you that extra boost in your performance – and they are looking to launch an activewear range as well.

Philbin added: “Our first product is going to be a Gripz sock. You would wear them playing any sport, you could wear them walking or going to the gym. I used them for doing some deadlifts in the gym the other day and they really helped me.

“Boots are getting a lot lighter these days and your feet can move around your boot quite a bit so the compression sock will give you that extra boost.

“They have got silicone grips on the bottom of the sock and it gives you that extra 1% in the change of your direction and extra power. The grips we have got go up the back of the sock as well so they help prevent you getting blisters.

“We are then looking to launch an activewear range, which will be gym clothing. There will be some two-piece gym sets for the ladies, tees, hoodies and maybe some shorts and tracksuit pants for men so that will be coming in the not too distant future but the socks are going to be our first product.”

Philbin and Hodgkiss are determined to turn Gripz into a huge success – and they also want to give back to their local community in the process.

Philbin continued: “We want to build a solid brand. We want to do it properly and we want to make this a brand that people want to wear.

“You have to have long-term goals and ours is to become a household brand. We’ve got some great social media content planned so keep your eyes out for it over the next few months.

“We want to let the business grow organically and we’ve set a target that we want to be sponsoring the clubs that we both played for at amateur level within six to 12 months.

“Jack played for Culcheth Football Club and so did I. I played rugby for Culcheth Eagles and Latchford Giants so we want to be sponsoring those teams down the line and give back to the clubs that gave so much to us. One of our main goals is to give back to the community so hopefully it all works out well.”

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