NFQ fitness apparel promotes an unrelenting attitude
A fitness junkie, Taylor Ogle founded NFQ from his Cannon Air Force Base dormitory in 2016, relying on YouTube, Google, deployment savings, and his own ingenuity to lay the foundation for a lifestyle brand that borrows its name from the lingo of Air Force pararescue units.
“I was about the life I was living,” said Ogle, whose fitness background includes bodybuilding, powerlifting, and, most recently, boxing. “I always knew I was living the NFQ lifestyle.”
As a teenager growing up on Oahu, Hawaii, Ogle made T-shirt mockups on his computer. When he decided to start a clothing company, he returned to his roots. He purchased a heat press machine and began cranking out custom T-shirts from his military dorm room in New Mexico.
“I began showing my friends and not only did they love the [NFQ] name, they loved the style,” Ogle said. “I knew I was on to something.”
In the three years since Ogle separated from the Air Force in 2018, NFQ has grown from an Instagram page with a home-garage warehouse in Florida to an 11,000-square-foot facility in San Diego that today employs 15 workers. The NFQ e-commerce store has a lineup of premium activewear that includes tops, joggers, compression clothing, outerwear, and accessories for men and women that embrace the NFQ mentality and tagline #ADifferentBreed.
NFQ also is a recent addition to www.GovX.com, a members-only site offering exclusive deals to military and first responders.
“The stars aligned,” Ogle said of NFQ’s partnership with GovX. “We’re going to be planning some cool things.”
Veteran-owned, military-inspired clothing brands represent an increasingly competitive market niche. Ogle admits it “feels like one new military brand pops up each month.” However, he believes NFQ beats competing apparel brands on quality and price.
“Quality, functional activewear. That is what we are,” he said. “That’s what we’re all about. I take a lot of inspiration from brands like Nike … Our focus is on creating high-quality products that are affordable for our military.”
NFQ releases new collections on specific dates throughout the year, with a goal of adding new merchandise to its lineup every six weeks. Innovation is a constant theme. He says, “We’ve gone through five different models of our shorts, for example, because I’m thinking, ‘What’s the next big thing?’”
For the first four years of merchandise launches, Ogle and NFQ Operations Manager Derek Slack, also an Air Force veteran, cranked out new clothing designs. But as of 2021, the company has a full-time product designer on the payroll, freeing Ogle to focus his attention on NFQ’s daily operations.
The 27-year-old chief executive is a prime example of the adage “entrepreneurs are born not made.” Ogle’s business education consists of listening to serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk’s podcasts “back in the day.” But Ogle has successfully substituted resourcefulness for formal business training.
“If I don’t know the answer, I’m going to find it,” he said.
Ogle admits the commitment and enthusiasm he puts into leading NFQ did not transfer over to his Air Force career, which he labels as underwhelming.
“I’m not going to lie,” he says, “when I was in the service, I was very ungrateful. I could have done a lot more. I separated as a senior airman just because I was lazy, and I didn’t want to do the work per se to make rank.”
Despite falling short of the typical promotion trajectory, Ogle is thankful for his six years in the Air Force as a loadmaster. He says the discipline he learned in the military has been a key to his success as the founder of NFQ.
“You can’t rely on anyone to get your work done,” Ogle said of running a startup. “Discipline. Being responsible. These are things I inherently learned while going through my time in the military. You have to make a conscious effort to keep that discipline and all those qualities you learn from the military.”
Ogle’s long-term goal is to take NFQ worldwide, but he says his immediate focus is building the brand and extending its reach into different sports.
“I see that [international] potential,” he says, “but I’m not willing to risk where we started. Our demographic. If it takes us 10 years to get there because we want to stay true to who we are, that is what it is. But I see big things and a lot of opportunities. A lot of open doors for different markets.”
Visit www.neverfuckingquit.com to shop their products.