Hey there fight fans and welcome back to our #10for10 series. You may have noticed a new banner on our wall for American Villain, a badass new clothing line (but so much more). Today we got the chance to sit down with the owner of American Villain, Jed Seaver. Jed is well-known for his success in the world of music but he is now starting out into the world of not only clothing but MMA sponsorship. American Villain just signed the son of former MMA Superstar Kimbo Slice, Kimbo Jr and is looking to make a splash in the world of MMA sponsorship, so take a minute and get over to all social media and follow American Villain @villainamerican and get ready to know the man behind the brand. Also make sure to click that link and get over to www.americanvillainapparel.com.
Hey Jed, thanks for taking the time out of your schedule to sit down with us. I think we have known each other personally for about 15 -20 years back in the days when you ran the music scene in Rochester NY with H8 Machine and Omniblank. You were always a driven person in being the best of the best and now you have started a company, American Villain. Take a second to tell our readers about yourself, how American Villain became a reality and how you have tied it in with the world of MMA?
Jed: Hey guys. Well most people in Rochester and the Upstate NY area do know me as the “Hate Machine” guy. Hate Machine was a pretty popular band in the mid to late 90’s. We had some success, signed a record deal and ultimately changed our name to Omniblank. Omniblank had a nationally released album but it didn’t go anywhere. Omniblank broke up so I got involved with the music scene on more of a behind the scenes level. Booking shows, promoting and whatnot. American Villain was actually my brother Aaron’s idea. He’s my partner in the company. He suggested we should start a clothing line geared towards our musician friends. So, we invested $500 came up with 3 designs and started selling them around town. This was in 2013. The brand quickly started to grow. People really seemed to latch on to our “no f*cks given” philosophy. We speak to a demographic that isn’t typically supported with products/apparel at the mega mall and big box store level. Hard working, tough, no crap taking males and females. We recently became involved in MMA on a local level through a partnership with Full Contact Productions. Obviously Aaron and I are MMA fans. I have been watching UFC since the very first show they broadcasted. Our involvement with MMA is still in its infantile stages and we are excited to see if it will bring us as much success as the music scene has.
I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to have a company with the attitude of “no F*cks given” as we are stuck in an era of PC. Now we here at Art of MMA have been blown away by everything American Villain is doing up there in Rochester, NY. It’s more than just an apparel line like a Tapout or Affliction from what I have seen. You also have a tattoo studio and are sponsoring fighters! Talk to us about the brand you are building, how it is different from everything else we see and why our readers should be heading over to www.americanvillainapparel.com now and following you on social media?
Jed: We call AV an “Underground Lifestyle.” Because that’s what it is. It ties in a mindset of clothes, body art and music as a way for individuals to be just that, individuals. We keep our apparel lines limited in quantities and sizes and rarely re-print old designs. In our 3 years we have sold over 100 different designs. Out of these 100+ we have maybe 20 or so that we constantly have on hand as they have become our staples. But most of the time you can be assured that if you go to an event there is a slim chance that someone else would show up with the SAME AV shirt on.
Our tattoo artists share the same “individual” philosophy when it comes to the body art side. We are an all custom shop. We don’t tattoo flash off the walls. As a matter of fact, we have limited flash at the shop. We have a few sheets of reference material, but our artists customize everything to fit the customer.
Nice man, love the mindset of custom everything! So I know tattoo studios get a bad rap in terms of attitudes inside and old mindset of the type of people in them. When a person walks into American Villain (1868 East Main St Rochester, NY) what can they expect?
Jed: Everyone that walks into AV is greeted as a friend, a brother, a sister. I have been in many clothing stores and tattoo shops that seem so cliquey. Like they are annoyed that you are there, or they are too cool to talk to you. That’s not how we roll. We are here to serve YOU as our customer and we will make sure everyone walks out our door with a good feeling that they have purchased quality. Whether it is clothes or body art. In turn, we expect and hope the customer to spread the word about AV. That is our best form of advertisement.
Couldn’t agree more! I can’t wait to stop in when I finally get up there, from the looks online it is amazing. You are also known to Facebook live from inside! Now you have made some waves in the MMA world signing a sponsorship deal with Kimbo Slice Jr. Talk to us about how that happened, what caught your eye about the young man and is this something (sponsoring MMA fighters) you are looking to do more?
Jed: It’s actually quite simple in regards to Baby Slice. I was a fan of his father’s fights. Both on the national level and the YouTube era stuff. I reached out to him and told Jr that. I expressed that we were looking to get into the fight game and would love to work with him. He checked us out, loved what he saw as far as our products and our work ethic. And the deal was made. Pretty simple.
We would definitely like to hook up with some other fighters if it makes sense. Basically, if they fit our philosophy and they feel we fit theirs.
So if a fighter is looking to catch your eye or talk to you about sponsorship, what is it you look for and how can they contact you?
Jed: We are looking for fighters who share the same work ethic as us. Who get into the gym early and leave late. Who are looking to build their brand. The easiest way for a fighter to learn more is to e-mail me directly. [Editor’s Note: Link to Jed’s email address is on the American Villain website]
Nice! I think we have featured a bunch of guys like that… Looking at you Evan Velez, Sean Santella, Brandon Cuttino, Desmond Green and the rest! With a mindset like that I know your brand is about to blow up! Keeping with that flow, American Villain was a big sponsor for the first large team card to take place in Rochester, NY. MMA superstar Nick Diaz also made an appearance. Tell us how that all came about, how did the night go and is it something you are looking at doing more of?
Jed: Well, one of our street team members, Larry Clevenger, is a jiu-jitsu student and had expressed that he felt this was a good way for our name to get out to a different market. We have a pretty large group of staff members and street team members (we refer to them as FAMILY) that I do listen to their ideas on how to grow AV. He had a connection with the actual promoters of the fight and put me in touch with a gentlemen named Judeh Abid. He runs Full Contact Productions. We met, struck up a deal and went with it. The night was a success. Obviously NYS is behind the times with the MMA game. And little old Rochester, NY takes some time to embrace new things. However, the night was a success. Nick DIaz had a blast and we can’t wait for the next one.
That is awesome man! You yourself are pretty well versed in MMA knowledge, talk to us about some of your favorite fighters and what type of fight do you as a fan like to watch, the ground chess match or a stand and bang Junior Dos Santos vs Mark Hunt type Rock’em Sock’em fight?
Jed: I’m old school. I stick with the dudes who I grew up watching. Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, GSP etc. And I know I will get crap from this from the jiu-jitsu guys, but I prefer a stand up slugfest. lol
Yes yes you will catch crap haha, I can see our mutual friend John Balls shaking his head at you now. We know your time is limited but before we let you go are there any people you would like to mention?
Jed: Thanks for the interview, my man. I would just invite people to give our website a click www.americanvillain.net. See what we are about and if it’s something they are into. We are a small business who is personally invested and tied into our consumer. We listen and observe trends with our demographics and respond accordingly. Give us a chance and I am sure we can exceed your expectations.
Live Life. Villain Life.
There you have it fight fans, THE BOSS, Jed Seaver of American Villain. Make sure to check them our and let us know what you think of them, they also have a huge sale going on right now! Next up in our #10for10 series we return to the cage and feature CFFC #1 Heavyweight contender Shawn Teed, who is coming off a huge submission win at CFFC 61.