The Sunglasses That Inspired An Axe Bat
This week, a shipment we’ve been eagerly awaiting finally arrived at the warehouse. We’ll get to what was inside in a minute, but first, let’s talk about the sunglasses you see above.
Those belong to Hugh Tompkins, Baden’s Director of Research & Development. He bought them online last summer. Thing is, Hugh doesn’t normally wear neon. In fact, those sunglasses were the first non-black pair he’d ever owned. So the reaction when he started wearing them was predictable. His wife called them “obnoxious” and “terrible.” Co-workers teased him in the office.
“It’s been an uphill battle pretty much from the day I got them,” Tompkins said.
Yet, they’ve endured. Walking through the lab the other day, one couldn’t help but notice them glimmering away on Tompkins’ desk.
All of this is to say that sometimes life has a way of delivering unexpected outcomes — like when you buy a pair of sunglasses and they end up inspiring a new baseball bat.
Turns out, the bright colors of Tompkins’ shades looked pretty great when applied to an Axe Bat. In fact, they serve as inspiration for one of the four new, limited-edition color combinations we’re officially unveiling today.
The spring splash of color brings two new combinations for the 2015 Axe Phenom Youth Bat and Axe Phenom Tee-Ball Bat, respectively. You can see them all in the below photo.
We asked Jenn Murrow, Baden’s Vice President of Marketing, to explain what motivated the update and how the different colors were selected.
She said the process started about a year ago, shortly after she was hired and began attending youth baseball tournaments where the Axe Bat was being sold.
“We’d go to these events and watch kids walk up and pick up our fastpitch bats, simply because those bats had more color than our regular youth line,” Murrow said. “That validated some of the thoughts I’d been having about color in our lineup — that it was important and we needed to diversify.”
A few months later, Murrow said she received several Axe Hard Maple Composite bats in a variety of colors; the factory had made them as samples, unsolicited, but they looked so good she ended up ordering quantities in four different colors: blue, green, purple and red. Murrow said all of the colors sold well and generated positive feedback from customers. (You can see examples here.)
In selecting these latest colors, Murrow said she did a lot of research on color trends and worked with the art team to come up with approximately 60 different color concepts, of which five to 10 were chosen for samples.
“We took them around to various events, showed them to coaches, players, friends and family,” Murrow said. “We tried to gather as many opinions as possible.”
The final four color selections came from that process.
Murrow said to look for a similar update to the Axe Bat fastpitch lineup soon, with even more significant color changes coming for all bats in 2016.
“We have the performance,” Murrow said of the Axe Bat. “The new colors just give the youth bats a little extra touch of cool.”
What do you think of the new colors? Vote in our poll or let us know in the comments.