Thank you for visiting us at ASHTABULA, the home of the FOOTYSUIT. It's hard to explain how the Original Footysuit came to be without going back many years and telling a bit of a story.
There are two people behind ASHTABULA - myself (Bevan Read) and Brett Rennick. We are your typical footy-loving blokes who grew up in small country towns in Central Queensland. We went to boarding school together during High School and have remained good friends ever since. (Before going any further I should add that I've been a mad Cronulla Sharks supporter since I was 7. For his sins, Brett is an avid Roosters Fan!! There is no better day than when the Sharkies beat the Roosters - which has happened about 4 times in the 30 years we've been mates!)
In 2003, in the midst of a hectic family life (my wife and I had a couple of little girls under 2 and a new start-up business - life was a blur!) I found myself looking at Football Clothes for babies; and was less than inspired with what I was seeing. All around the world - NFL; EPL; Italian Football; South America - everywhere I looked it was the same - same products with little effort and little imagination. It was like no-one was really trying. It was here that the idea of a Footysuit was born! For the next couple of years I started playing around with the concept; finding clothing factories in Asia; getting samples made; drawing up designs! Nothing that came back ever lived up to the vision that was in my head. By this stage my wife and I had 3 little girls and family life/work life took over. All the Footysuit samples disappeared to the back of the cupboard and I became consumed with other things. Some would say I probably shouldn't be putting Footy clothes on my little girls anyway, but I never stopped thinking about how good they could have been.
Fast forward a number of years to 2011; all the girls were now at school; life seemed to have a bit more balance and things were tracking okay. That was until my wife dropped that little pregnancy test strip in front of me one afternoon with 2 solid lines across it! It'd been that long since I'd seen one I didn't recognise what it was!!
In August 2011 my wife gave birth to a little baby boy. We named him Tom. We had given up any thoughts of having a boy years before, so you can imagine how excited we all were; and before we knew it we were getting showered in baby gifts - a Tottenham shirt; Sunderland jumpsuit; Leeds United kit; Wallaby jumper; Melbourne Storm football; Sharks Towel; Sharkies Singlet; Roosters hat. Everything was football!! It was like someone upstairs was trying to tell me something - this little man arrived in our lives completely out of the blue and with him came this message - stop dreaming; find the courage to have a go!
Soon after, the Footysuits came down from the back of the wardrobe and I found myself on Brett's back deck one Friday afternoon. A few beers and too many rums later, and the two of us set about plotting how we could turn this vision into a reality!
Neither of us really knew what we were in for; and neither of us could image the amount of work that lay ahead - but we kept plugging away inching forward ("chipping away" is one of our most used phrases!) . After hundreds of long days and sleepless nights; countless samples; many factories; dozens of frustrations and plenty of hurdles - the first Original Footysuit went on sale in June 2013. It’s a journey that is still so young, but a journey that has taken us to so many places and provided so many memories (we once had Tom doing "uppies" on the NRL Boardroom table wearing his Melbourne Storm Footysuit).
The little bloke you see in most of our images is Tom William Read. He has been our inspiration since before he could stand! We still get so much joy in watching him running around in a Footysuit; although I've never been comfortable with him modelling the Roosters one! He's recently turned 3 so we have started doing bigger sizes as we need to keep him working! He still likes to wear a Footysuit but he's pretty much had enough of the modelling career. Most photos these days cost us a Freddo Frog!
Thankfully his little sister, Demi, has taken on the burden of modelling in the past 12 months!
With each new team we add to the collection we are still as excited as when they first launched. At last count we had over 100 teams from around the world and we are just as busy trying to get the next 100. There is one thing that continues to drive us - it’s the smiles we see and the joy we hear from people who dress their babies in a Footysuit. There are few things more cute; and they guarantee a smile! We love receiving your photos; and we really appreciate your words of support.
Thank you again for visiting our page and we hope you enjoy the journey with us. Just remember - you are never too young to be inspired; you are never too small to dream!
Bevan Read & Brett Rennick