Sleevzinc: From Athletes to Entrepreneurs
It was 5:30 a.m. Xavier Boyd was out for a run. While out, Boyd was fighting off bugs biting him on his arms. That's when the former Klein High School two-sport athlete got an idea.
Arm sleeves. Which then evolved into custom arm sleeves for high school athletes. Hence, the birth of Sleevzinc in Houston.
"For us to start in Houston is a true blessing," Boyd, who ran track at the University of Houston, said. "The timing as to how everything has come together its nothing less than beautiful for us."
The growth of the company since its start in August has been remarkable, now reaching 37 high school clients for their custom arm sleeves and the number is still growing.
The first sport to get the arm and leg sleeves was football. But Boyd said the plan is to grow into the basketball, baseball, softball and eventually the volleyball markets as well.
What makes Sleevzinc even more interesting is Boyd's partners who helped start it also have Houston ties.
James Arnett, who oversees operations, played football and ran track at Alief Hastings High School and then went on to the University of Houston like Boyd. Phillip Gamble, who played basketball at Humble High School, oversees marketing and social media, while Antwan Dickerson, who was one of Boyd's teammates at Houston oversees design.
"This company would not have any success if I was doing this alone," Boyd said. "In track we were taught quality over quantity; one set over three sets. I just rolled over the theory and it turns out that we are friends running a business together, which is pretty cool."
Boyd has worked through his own ups and downs in life and admits he couldn't have gotten through them without his father – Malik Boyd, the Director of Pro Personnel for the Buffalo Bills.
"I feel as if I'm here because of him," Boyd said. "He's given me cheat codes to life."
At the end of the day, Boyd's goal isn't for this to be all about him. What the former athlete really hopes the rise of Sleevzinc does is show other athletes that once sports is over, there are avenues for them to utilize their relationships they've built through athletics and find success off the field.
"Find what makes you unique and go after that," Boyd said. "Take the risk and try because it's better to try than to regret. Above all, do what makes you happy. It will fuel you with more drive and passion to possibly change the world."
Boyd's company is taking it a step further. When a team or players purchase sleeves from them, a portion of the proceeds will go into a fund that at the end of the year will be turned into two annual Sleevzinc scholarships. The scholarships will go to two student-athletes.
"It's not about me," Boyd said. "It's bigger than me. My goal is to inspire."
Meet the Founder: Xavier Boyd is a Houston native. Boyd attended high school at Klein, where he played football and ran track. After his high school days were over, Boyd went on to run at the University of Houston. While at the University of Houston, Boyd met two people who eventually would become his business partners. Before Sleevzinc, Boyd tried to develop an app but it did not end up the way he thought it would. Despite the setback. Boyd didn't stop. "I've dealt with multiple pressure-based situations in life," Boyd said. "The good thing about sports is that it helps you face those adverse times and turn them into victories." Well, so far Sleevzinc has been a victory starting just a few months ago and already reaching nearly 40 high school clients for the products.