Entrepreneurship Through Stewardship

Entrepreneurship Through Stewardship

We were preparing for ICAST and scrambling to get the August magazine files transferred to our printer when my email inbox dinger sounded. Expecting a file from a contributor, I clicked on it immediately and found a message from Heidi Battle.

Hi!We started getting your magazine recently and came upon your article on Plastic & Water Don’t Mix. It really resonated with us, as we have launched a fishing apparel company and our signature shirts are made with recycled plastic bottles. There are 6 bottles in each of our shirts. Our company is GrassHole Outfitters www.grassholeoutfitters.com and it was born from our two kids who became interested in the Texas coastal environment and how to protect it. We are going to donate a portion our proceeds back to seagrass conservation for that very reason. We would love to speak to you more about how we can support your efforts as a Texas based company, too.

Heidi’s message hit me like a lightning bolt. I put my work aside and picked up the phone. I was so impressed with the story she related that I promised to feature GrassHole in the next installment of the column. I mean, what more could you ask for; young parents teaching children to love, respect and conserve coastal resources, and a family business founded upon encouraging others to do the same?

So, here’s the GrassHole story folks, in Heidi’s own words, how she and husband Tony are raising kids, supporting conservation of coastal resources, and helping recycle plastic bottles along the way. TSFMag asks that you consider supporting them in their mission the next time you go shopping for fishing apparel.

“It all started as a normal family fishing day on the Texas coast, but for some reason the kids started asking us a lot of questions, curious about the marine environment and why there were signs posted to encourage fishermen to protect the seagrass. They asked if fish were scared when they saw us above the water and if they would hide in the grass for protection and, if so, why didn’t fishermen wear camouflage as hunters do?

Eager to get his turn to fish, our 6-year-old son screamed out, “Dad, let me cast into the next grass hole!” Laughing, we asked him, “Why did you call it a grass hole?” He replied, “You said the fish hide in the sand holes near the seagrass!”

So, we started talking about making ourselves some “grass hole” shirts that depict the natural environment to help get the kids excited about fishing as much as we are.

GrassHole Outfitters was born that day; a family effort during a family fishing trip.

We decided to make our shirts out of RPET, which is recycled polyethylene terephthalate, fabric made from recycled plastic bottles. Plastic is unfortunately so prevalent in our waterways that we wanted to do our part to help alleviate the problem. Our RPET shirts would end up having at least six recycled bottles in each shirt and feel super soft at the same time.

When we ran our first production last year, only 50 shirts, we figured we could give them to family and friends as gifts. What we didn’t know was that within the year we would receive requests almost daily from people asking where we got those cool shirts.

We soon decided to make another batch and have them on hand if anyone asked, but then also decided we would make a donation to seagrass conservation efforts for every shirt we sold.

A few months later we became affiliated with some great retail partners who believed in us and our mission. Today, our shirts can be purchased at Hill Country Outdoor Store in Bandera, Schott Country Stores in Fair Oaks and Helotes, Marker 37 Marina in Corpus Christi, Rockport Tackle Town, and Captain Steve’s Bait Shop in Aransas Pass.We also have an online store at www.grassholeoutfitters.com.

Since designing our original Coastal Seagrass shirt, we have added three more patterns to the line; Cloudy Day, Stars on the Water, and Blue Water, all of which depict what you would see peering skyward through the water.

We also expanded into women’s and youth fishing shirts, as we saw there was a need for it in the market and also because we wanted some cool stuff to wear…tired of Dad getting all the cool fishing gear!

We also now offer an ultra-lightweight and breathable Neck-Tube/Gaiter and fishing caps that match the patterns of our shirts, and new shirt designs-ideas featuring freshwater backgrounds are currently in the works.

I guess you say that inspiration for our designs comes from the natural beauty of the Texas coast. Every time we go fishing we are on the lookout for ideas. The kids are getting great at it and snapping photos all the time. It makes us proud to see them respecting and appreciating the natural beauty of our environment and putting aside iPhones and iPads while on the water.

We are a family from the Texas Hill Country, who believe in our motto - Do Good and Look Good! Our passion is rooted in the art of blending with your surroundings while doing good for the environment. Our signature fully‐sublimated shirts are made from 100% recycled plastic bottles and we donate a portion of the proceeds of our sales to seagrass conservation efforts. -Tony and Heidi Battle