Braun sheds light on fashion venture
Brewers star distributes new line of hot-selling T-shirts
PHOENIX -- He's a long way from New York's Fashion Week, but Ryan Braun was roaming the Brewers clubhouse this week distributing his new line of T-shirts, looking and sounding like Milwaukee's answer to Marc Jacobs.The left fielder arrived at camp Tuesday clad in one of his creations and was explaining its design, burgundy with gold foil and the image of a woman, when center fielder Mike Cameron walked in wearing the same shirt. Ten minutes later, shortstop J.J. Hardy joined the group and suddenly everyone was grateful they weren't at a cocktail party.
"It's awesome those guys are wearing it," said Braun, who distributed shirts to some of his teammates over the winter. "That tells me they like them, and that's a good sign."The brand name is Remetee, and Braun spent 4-5 hours a day during the offseason hiring staff and working on designs at the company's Los Angeles offices. He co-owns the venture with a handful of investors whom he declined to name, but a magazine article that Braun showed to Brewers beat writers reported that one of them is Affliction owner Todd Beard, whose brand is ubiquitous in Major League clubhouses. The new company's name is a play on the word "remedy," because Braun hopes that its bright colors and friendlier graphics offer an answer to the dark, drab designs popular until now. The shirts aren't cheap -- they run from $70-$100, complete with rhinestones on the higher end -- but so far business is good. Braun said the line is available in major department stores and some specialty stores like The Buckle, which just this week placed a $100,000 re-order. "That's unheard of in this economy, for a new line to get into all of these places," Braun said. "The initial buzz has been unbelievable. It's probably greater than we ever anticipated." Some of his celebrity friends have helped. Braun helped distribute clothes to NBA star Tony Parker and his famous wife, Eva Longoria, to actor Ashton Kutcher and then, naturally, to baseball players like Derek Jeter, David Wright and CC Sabathia. "It's fun for me, from a business perspective, to be involved with every aspect of the company and see it grow and evolve," said Braun, whose involvement will be more limited when the baseball season begins. "It's so early, but so far everything is going really well." Remetee is not Braun's only business initiative. He's working on a deal with Sam Bat, makers of his maple baseball bats, to produce a line of metal bats for kids with an "RB8" logo -- Braun's initials and his uniform number. He's also involved with the makers of a high-tech mouthpiece that increases oxygen flow to the brain. Free-agent slugger Manny Ramirez helped make the device popular, and Braun said a number of Brewers players are now using it and liking it. "I'm just trying to get ownership equity in everything I'm involved with right now," he said. "I like having a say in the direction of the company, and I'm just trying to be really choosy about what I get into. But I really enjoy it." The chat with Braun prompted a stop at fellow star slugger Prince Fielder's locker. Is Fielder involved in any ventures? "Just baseball," Fielder said.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.