FORMER Geelong footballer Jimmy Bartel has switched from the locker room to the board room a month after retiring from the AFL.
The Cats Brownlow Medallist has gone into business, investing his own money in a footy boots company in hope of kicking a winning score off the field after a glittering career.
Bartel has completed a Deakin University business degree and become product development director at XBlades Australia, ditching a long partnership with Adidas in the process.
Vowing to “ruffle a few feathers’’ among sporting apparel giants, he has taken a hands on role developing new ranges of the boots he first wore as a 13-year-old.
“I believe in it that much I actually put my own money into it,’’ he said.
“This is not an ambassadorship or ‘get upfront and spruik the brand’, I really believe in XBlades and they were my first footy boots when I started playing as a junior at Bell Park.’’
Determined to make the brand “a bit cooler’’, Bartel has already been approached by former team mates and opponents and “even an NFL player asking to ship the boots to the US’’.
“So I think we’re heading on the right track,’’ he said.
He expects big names of the game to switch to his design and believes the secret to the success of the boots, to include a children’s and women’s range, is asking athletes what they want.
“I know boots, I’ve spent too many hours in footy boots,’’ he said.
“I know what I like in footy boots ... part of our angle is actually giving a stuff about the athlete.’’