A brief summary of our key successes and lessons learned from 2023 plus an outline of our goals and plans moving into 2024


2023 marked our third year of tremendous growth. Once again we doubled our revenue year over year, an indisputable indication of our continued momentum. Almost no matter what, Gaidama will be a 1 million dollar company next year.

This growth is exciting and rewarding but also keeping us at the edge of our limits as we work around the clock - nights, weekends, and especially hectic holidays - to keep up and maintain the personnel and product now needed to meet demand. My own balance of work with personal life has become more and more challenging.


We added 5 wonderful part-time team members to our payroll in 2023 to help with customer service, packing, shipping, processing returns and exchanges, assisting with booths, and warehouse management, plus a handful more freelance contractors for various forms of content creation from TikTok to blogging.

Up until now, it has been easy to just hire “help” as we needed it - here and there. Now we have wonderful people who work regularly, but only a whisper of organization among them. Even now as I am writing this I’m considering how to add definition and structure to our team in order to create a more cohesive and accountable system.

Global Expansion

At the tail end of 2023, Gaidama began the process of incorporating in Canada. The process is currently underway, and while I have no real idea how long logistics will take to finalize (from what I understand, getting a bank account can take months), I have reasonable cause to believe that we’ll have something ready to launch by the end of 2024.

This expansion would enable our Canadian customers to benefit in many of the same ways that Americans currently do, for instance - free shipping options, faster shipping in general, free returns and exchanges, an ambassador program, and more opportunities for event sponsorships. It also means that we will be looking to hire one - or possibly two - part-time employees in Canada, likely by the end of 2024.

Giving Back

Whenever we have made the decision to invest in our people - even at what would appear to be our expense - it has always paid off dividends. We are a grassroots, bootstrapped, self-funded company that believes in nurturing the roots to harvest the fruits, and our people and our planet are the roots.

Gaidama Ambassador Athletes

We paid our ambassador team a total of nearly $44k in cash and distributed over $25k in gear in 2023, about 3.5x what we paid and offered in 2022. This past year we also added several creative opportunities for our athletes to earn more money, setting a new standard for sponsorship programs with what is undoubtedly one of the most generous programs in our industry - even compared to some of the long-time jiu jitsu “giants.” From my personal point of view, one of the most interesting things we did was change our commission-based approach to a revenue sharing approach, creating a more synergistic and engaged core team of athletes.

In 2023 we also added some incredible men and women to our already star roster, and we could not be more proud of or honored to work with the athletes that we do. With the addition of women’s gis and men’s grappling gear to our catalog, our ambassador team has become more diverse and achieved more ways of earning. Moving into 2024, I anticipate Gaidama paying out more competition bonuses for gi events and recruiting more male athletes as our men’s line grows.

Fox Fam Prizes, MMA Sponsorships, & Event Sponsorships

We gave away roughly $3200 worth of gear to our Fox Fam winners in 2023 and flew in one lucky Fox Fam participant - Vanessa Waltz - to our 3rd Annual Epic Open Mat / Photoshoot / Videoshoot event at Gaidama HQ in early Nov. Furthermore, we sponsored various MMA athletes for a sum of $3400 and donated over $8k in gear and store credits to grappling events, tournaments, camps, and fundraisers worldwide. Moving into 2024, we plan to continue offering our monthly Fox Fam giveaways and continuing to support other athletes and grappling events around the world.

The Ocean Cleanup Project

As we ramped up our sponsorship programs and invested tremendously into the Jiu Jitsu community in 2023, our profit margins narrowed. However, we still maintained a steady drip into the Ocean Cleanup Project as our quarterly, global promise towards a cleaner Earth. Our goal for 2024 is to at least double our contribution to the Ocean Cleanup Project from 2023.


Doing right by our people and our planet will continue to underscore every decision that we make. In 2023 we researched, experimented, manufactured, and learned in the name of sustainability. In 2024 we will continue to build our enterprise on the same principles.

Inner Packaging and Shipping Materials

In early 2023 we discontinued the use of our plastic zip-top inner packaging for our grappling gear and smaller apparel items. Instead we manufactured custom glassine paper inner packaging for our products - a 100% curbside recyclable alternative. This was a huge investment for us and not something that many small businesses would consider. However, due to our commitment to sustainability, we deemed it vital to our integrity and vision.

In mid 2023 we experimented with 100% recycled / 100% curbside recyclable paper mailers in an effort to move towards a totally plastic-free paradigm. However, after several months we decided that the drawbacks of this packaging option outweighed the benefits and shifted back to our 100% recycled / thin film recyclable / reusable poly mailers. For one thing, the paper mailers were too difficult to reseal for returns and exchanges, resulting in consumers buying new plastic or cardboard mailers when sending items back. Secondly, they were getting damaged in transit far too often. This created frustration for both the customers and for ourselves. For these two reasons, we decided to revert back to the poly mailers, which are still 100% recycled, made in the USA, and 100% recyclable - just not curbside.

In 2024 we plan to invest in 100% curbside recyclable glassine paper inner packaging for our larger apparel items and gis as well as for our smaller products.

B Corporation Certification

Gaidama has already begun the process of researching how to earn its B Corp Certification. It’s difficult to say how long the process will take, but we hope that by the end of 2024 we are at least in the middle of a B Corp Certification audit or somewhere else along our way to one of the most prestigious sustainability certifications a company can achieve.

Recycled and Upcycled Materials

We’ve sourced some incredibly comfortable, durable, and functional Repreve fabrics for our Made in America line. These fabrics are woven with polyester fibers that are made from recycled bottles. It’s a win-win for everyone, and we’re so excited to bring them to market.

In the meantime, we’ve collaborated with one of our favorite Houston-based companies - HTX Sewn Goods - to bring some up cycled gi backpacks, fanny packs, and duffel bags to Gaidama. We used jackets from our women’s Perfect Fit Gi line that we accidentally made with way-too-long sleeves and turned them into beautiful, functional BJJ bags. We borrowed the patterns we developed through our sister company, NU/FX, to get the job done. We expect to continue creating small-batch gi bags as Gaidama / HTX Sewn Goods partnership products in 2024 using leftover gi material from our bulk production runs.

Product Development

New Products

In addition to countless women’s Art Wear and Avant Garde nogi grappling sets plus a plethora of apparel options, Gaidama had two huge product releases that took the spotlight in 2023: Our first women’s gi and an introduction to our men’s line.

In 2024, we have more groundbreaking plans. Some stellar new Art Wear sets for both men and women (including some board shorts Art Wear options for women as well) are only the beginning. Premium quality duffel bags and fanny packs in a variety of colors plus some BCI certified cotton tote bags are going to kick off some new accessory options in the early months. Our revolutionary women’s Perfect Fit Gi will soon be offered in black, a long-awaited color way that we’ve been getting questioned about since it’s initial inception. In parallel with the production of the black Perfect Fit Gis, we’re also developing men’s gis and a “comp light” women’s option in royal blue and white to comply with IBJJF’s newest uniform requirements. Fun new graphic tees for men and women, hats for both genders, and an assortment of spring and summer apparel options are also on deck. Women’s double-paneled lifting leggings and wrestling singlets are also on the cusp of finalization, introducing Gaidama’s original double-lining technology into two new markets.

Made in America Line

In 2023, we continued to pursue a Gaidama Made in America line. Though we ran into a lot of hiccups and experienced delays during prototyping and fabric sourcing, late in the year we finally finished prototyping spats and short sleeve rashguards for women. I’m beyond pleased with the fabrics we’ve sourced and the quality of construction of these Made in the US kits. We’re currently working on calibrating the pattern for fabric shrinkage caused during the sublimation dye printing phase, as these first Made in America pieces will likely be an Art Wear installment.

We’ve also begun prototyping men’s short sleeve rashguards and will soon begin working on Made in America Jiu Jitsu board shorts for men and women. I fully anticipate having a true Cut and Sewn in America grappling line introduced before the end of 2024.

Social Media and Community Engagement

Social Media

At the very end of 2023 our Instagram hit the 20k followers landmark, which we celebrated with a $200 gift card giveaway. In early 2023 our TikTok account was compromised, but we reinstated it and have come back to about 3.5k TikTok followers. Our YouTube channel continues to grow with Karla and Chris Innes’ beloved “Bait This to Get That” and “Fox Fix” videos, currently floating around 1.5k subscribers.

In 2024 we plan to continue to nurture our social media community. Karla and Chris plan to continue to make Bait This and Fox Fix videos. We hope to involve more athletes in these videos, bringing new grapplers in from farther reaches as our budget increases. 

We also hope to create more diverse content by way of independent contracts and partnerships. Some of our recent interests include hiring vlog artists across the nation to follow some of the most exciting fight camps of our highest profile athletes.

Our community goals for 2024 are to increase our viewership, expand our reach, involve more athletes, refine our production, and overall expand on our creative contribution to the global Jiu Jitsu community.

Gaidama’s Epic Open Mat

In early November of 2023 we held our third annual epic open mat. We had over 25 black belts on the mat with over 120 Jiu Jitsu athletes present total. Katie Pennington came in from OKC to set up the most marvelous charcuterie-style catering display I have ever seen. I really don’t know how she is going to top it for 2024, but I am eager to find out! We also had 2 videographers - Chris Innes from Phoenix and CJ Bowman, a local - and 2 photographers - Mac Coplin from Denver and Lynzie Bowman, a local - on site. It was truly an event of epic proportions. Of course we treated our core team to two private photo / video sessions with our primary photographer - Curtis Sprague - and Chris Innes both Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. Everyone always has so much fun during the shoots and we always get so much incredible content out of it.

Our 2024 event may or may not have a slightly different agenda. We’ll still host a free epic open mat - as we have all come to know and love - but may also include a handful of paid for seminars and workshops presented by some of our highest level and most accomplished athletes surrounding the event, to create a whole weekend experience. This topic is still currently being discuss and evaluated, so I have no more to say about it than “we’re exploring such options” at this time, but it is a possibility.

Event Booths

In 2023 Gaidama hosted booths at AGF events all over the midwest. While I love running booths and meeting our community in person, it puts a large strain on my family for me to be so busy and gone so many weekends out of the year. My toddlers don’t love 5 hour car rides and sitting by a booth all day for two days in a row, and because they don’t love it, it takes pleasure out of the experience for me and adds a layer of stress. My own time has also become stretched more thin this year as we grow almost faster than we can keep up with, making it more difficult than ever for me to justify carving out a whole weekend to set up shop.

Nevertheless, we still plan on running booths at AGF this year, but may limit our range to Dallas, OKC, and Tulsa, with a single stop in Conway mid June. My hope for 2024 is that I can train a small crew to run booths without me, which will enable Gaidama to expand our reach and also take the project off my plate altogether.

We’re also considering booths at farther reaches of the US at events such as ADCC Trials, the ADCC World Championships, or possibly IBJJF Master World Championships. Such things are openly on the table but have not yet been committed to.


In summary, 2023 was another year of tremendous growth - exhilarating and fulfilling but not without growing pains. We have projects, products, and plans in spades with more than enough on our plates to keep us busy and then some! To say that I’m excited about what lay ahead in 2024 is an understatement. It is wild to see how far we have already come and yet in many ways feels like we are only getting started.

Cheers to another year of meeting and facing challenges, overcoming obstacles, identifying problems and creating solutions, building trust and relationships, enriching our community and planet, innovating in our industry, and overall having a good time about it.

January 01, 2024 — Kendall Vernon