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Making Ddal Gear a Good Company

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

My last update talked about why Ddal Gear can make a difference and why I’m passionate about that difference. This update will talk some about the goals I have for Ddal Gear.

I have a lot of goals for Ddal Gear and it will take many, many posts to go over all of them. But beyond making a difference for women in martial arts, I want Ddal Gear to be the company for which people want to work.

What makes a company a place where people want to work? I think it boils down to a few basic principles and how they are implemented.

  1. Value your employees, have their backs and demonstrate both.
  2. Pay them fairly and compensate them when the company does well.
  3. Encourage work life balance, including working from home when possible/necessary and paid time off that does not have to be justified.
  4. Healthcare benefits for all employees regardless of status.

How will Ddal Gear do this? First, it will not treat them like the enemy, like they are out to screw the company and do as little possible. Hopefully in the hiring process we will find employees that are just as passionate about women in martial arts as Ddal Gear. We expect give and take. If there is a pressing deadline, we hope that employees will step up to the plate.   If our employees need to stay home with a sick child or go to the school play, Ddal Gear would encourage that as well.

Paid time off can be used as the employee sees fit. If an employee needs a mental health day, he or she should take it. We will encourage employees to take all of their paid time off each year, unless saving for a specific event. Relaxation is important for productivity at work.

Our customers are not always going to be happy or reasonable. We will screw up because we are human. We will make things right with our customers but we will not allow anyone to treat our employees poorly or verbally abuse them. Management or the owner will step in during those situations.

We will empower our employees with the ability to make customers happy without checking every little decision. If we need to make a policy change so that everyone knows the limits, we will do that.

Ddal Gear is a for profit company. However that isn’t its only end all be all. It’s needs to be profitable for the greatest number of people. Employees need a good income, customers need comfortable well-made reasonably priced uniforms, the owners need to recoup investment and Ddal Gear needs to promote women in martial arts. A reasonable amount of profit is good, but anything over reasonable will be divided between employees, reinvestment in the company and charity, like sponsorships of female martial artists.

Healthcare is an important part of everyone’s life. It is Ddal Gear’s goal to cover employees’ health insurance. To start we may only be able to pay a portion of healthcare coverage. As the company improves and becomes profitable, we will cover everyone working over 10 hours per week. We will make health insurance available to those employees working less than 10 hours per week with Ddal Gear making a contribution toward coverage.

If Ddal Gear values its employees and treats them as the integral part of success that they are, Ddal Gear will ultimately be more profitable because less time will be spent training employees and our employees will be more productive and happy!

Why are martial arts uniforms for women important?

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

Those that know me, know that I rarely get really candid without making a joke or putting some funny spin on it. However, I want everyone who visits our Facebook page, follows our tweets or comes to our Kickstarter project to know just how important this is and what the goals are for Ddal Gear.

I don’t know if everyone has felt this way, but I’ve been searching for a way I can make a difference and for me Ddal Gear is it. I have another business doing bookkeeping for small companies like Ddal Gear (some symmetry or something in that). I’ve just never found something that consumed me the way a cause or business should. I’ve yearned for it. Clothing might seem like a silly way to make a difference in the world, but it is deeper than just clothes we wear on the mat (or making the clothes, but I’ll talk about that another time).

Think about your favorite outfit that makes you feel like a million bucks. That outfit improves your confidence, makes you more outgoing, and it’s the one you wear when you want to try something new, meet new people or a find yourself in a tough situation.

Now think about your regular every day clothes. You don’t mind being seen in your regular clothes, but they don’t make you feel super awesome and confident. What about the clothes that you hide away in the back of your closet because you hate the way you look in them? You wouldn’t wear those to a job interview, a date or even to the grocery store, unless you were forced.

Now imagine having to put on an outfit two to five times a week that you hide in the back of your closet that makes you feel frumpy and fat. You are afraid that it will expose you in some way at the least opportune time – oh and you also have to perform in front of other people in it. Plus its pretty uncomfortable and you may even step on it when walking. You have no choice but to wear this outfit. Finally, you get to do all of this in front of a wall of mirrors, so you can’t even pretend it’s not that bad. Pretty crummy, right?

Women on the mat deal with this every day. It says a lot about women that we get past it and get our black belts. Many women I’ve talked to sheepishly admit that the uniform played some part in them giving up (or not starting) martial arts. Martial arts is hard, and the uniform makes it harder. We shouldn’t be ashamed to admit it. I’m not delusional, I don’t think that better uniforms will make every woman want to be a black belt or even get involved in martial arts. I do know that it will increase our numbers.

If I can keep more women and girls in martial arts because this uniform makes them feel better on the mat, I will have made a difference. If a few more women start taking martial arts and are able to defend themselves I will have made a difference.

So it’s not just about the clothes, it’s about building confidence, it’s about being able to focus on what’s important. It’s about being accepted on the mat for who we are and where we are, and I think Ddal Gear will foster that.

Molly T., Peachtree City, GA.

I love it. Seeing myself in a dobok that was actually flattering was amazing. The pants are incredibly comfortable, not having to roll a bulky drawstring elastic waistband is very nice. With the new waist band I can wear the pants at my hips without adding any bulk, tightness, or having to constantly readjust. I am looking forward with great anticipation of having my very own DdalGear dobok.