A Spilled Protein Shake Leads Danielle Brandon to a New Sponsorship with Haven Athletic

March 30, 2023 by
Photo Credit: Haven Athletic
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Four-time CrossFit Games athlete Danielle Brandon spilled an entire protein shake that left her bag ruined during the 2022 Games and led her to the brand Haven Athletic. Fast forward and Brandon is the first sponsored athlete for the backpack and duffel bag brand changing the way we look at our gym bag. 

The Haven Athletic brand is known for its organized bags with compartments for every item down to your chapstick and keys. The number of items CrossFit athletes now use has increased quite a bit over the years, yet the backpacks and duffels haven’t changed since the 1980s. The Haven duffels and backpacks are built for modern crossfitters who carry things like their rope, grips, multiple pairs of shoes, changes of clothing, and beyond. 

  • “Not many people know but I’m a clean freak and love to be organized,” said Brandon. “My house gets tidied frequently, so it only makes sense that I love how organized my backpack is now. Everything has a place where it belongs.” 
  • “Look good, feel good, play good. I’d say if your bag looks good, it’s one less distraction from the task at hand which is your training. Don’t waste time rummaging through your gym bag.” 
  • “It’s kind of a question of ‘do you take your training seriously?’ Because if you do, then having all the tools to get the most out of your training, with you and in a place you can easily find makes it a no brainer to join the haven fam.” 

Brandon is the first sponsored athlete for Haven Athletic, says its CEO Caleb Ulffers. The company has worked with other great athletes on a smaller level and have had a lot of interest in what they’re doing. 

  • “We wanted our first official athlete sponsorship to mean something. Hearing the story of how her protein shake spilled in her backpack at the Games gave us the opportunity to step up and support her,” said Ulffers.
  • “We only had 8 sample backpacks that I flew back from our factory in Vietnam a week before the CrossFit Games to be able to show them to everyone at our booth. When Cooper and Zach from Lab Management came over and told me the story and said she needed a bag, I didn’t even think twice and grabbed one off the wall to give to her.”
  • “She’s been using our bags since the Games last year and we now know she’s also a very organized and tidy individual. It’s just perfect. I couldn’t have written a better story.” 

Ulffers adds, the idea originated in 2016 when he was tired of digging around in his gym bag looking for items that seem to always float to the bottom or corners never to be seen again. He and his brother brought in a third co-founder to begin research and development. 

Fast forward to 2018 and the co-founders were sampling and testing designs with real athletes. By 2020 they had the first pre-sale of their large duffel and have since added a small duffel and two backpacks. 

“Not having to dig for messy or missing gear makes a huge difference in your mental space each day you train and this gives you the space to focus on your workout and build capacity,” said Ulffers. “Your bag should be the last thing on your mind.”

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