You won’t find anything as obvious as “Hey batter batter” in Kristi Hendriks’ For the Field Apparel line — and that’s on purpose. You’ll see wittingly catchy phrases like “punchin’ tickets,” and “turnin’ two,” among others portraying attitude and confidence.
Owner Kristi Hendriks created the brand in 2013 after her husband, MLB player Liam Hendriks, moved to five different teams in the course of a year.
Hendriks’ husband is currently a pitcher with the Oakland Athletics, which plays its Cactus League games at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa. Hendriks and her husband will be in the Valley until March 14, when they travel to Japan for the 2019 Japan Opening Series, featuring the Oakland Athletics hosting the Seattle Mariners at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan on March 20th-21st.
Kristi Hendriks designs t-shirts, tank tops and sweatshirts for women, along with children’s and accessories including mugs and tumblers. The women’s t-shirts are designed with what Hendriks describes as “baseball slang that only insiders in baseball
Those baseball slang phrases such as “punchin’ tickets,” which means a strikeout, “bullpen mafia” and “every 5 days” in addition to play on words phrases like “bat flip crazy” and children’s onesies with “future first rounder” and “Crawl. Walk. Homer.”
Her Spring/Summer 2019 collection, which dropped on Feb. 17, features 12 new women’s designs, tote bags, and for the first time, her campaign has children modeling clothes for her children’s line. “The women’s line will include fun baseball catch phrases all the way to ‘be your own boss’ apparel, because a lot of my girlfriends are their own girl boss, and I love that. I think it’s so empowering, so we wanted to make some stuff that’s about being a boss.”
She is also excited about some of the kids’ stuff coming out in the new collection because she said the sayings are cutesy, which contrasts how she describes her line as “abrupt” with phrases like “Your mom called. You left your game at home.”
While Hendriks is in Arizona, she’s keeping busy, attending Spring Training games, going to multiple community and charity events with her husband. She also had a photo shoot in February in Scottsdale for her newest collection, which features 18 women that are married or dating baseball players or WAGs (wives and girlfriends of sports athletes). She is also going to feature the women on social media, spotlighting one woman a week, so people can learn a little more about them.
Hendriks and her husband have been coming to Spring Training in Arizona for the past four seasons, and prior to that, they went to other Spring Trainings in Florida, their current residence. “I enjoy Arizona Spring Training more because all of the teams are so much closer, and what I really like about the vibe of Spring Training versus regular season is it’s a little more relaxed. There are community and charity events, and when you get to regular season, there’s so many games that there isn’t time for events like that, so those events during Spring Training make it more of a fun atmosphere,” Hendriks said.
Creating For the Field Apparel
She was on “Say Yes to the Dress” in 2013, and after seeing the episode, it prompted her to want to start a blog called The Swanky Paper Doll, which she said she thought could be a way for people to get to know her; however, she quickly found out blogging wasn’t for her.
“Everyone wanted to know what it was like to be married to a baseball player,” she said. “And people think baseball wives just travel around and do nothing, and I do travel, but that’s why I have an online store because I can work from anywhere.”
She said her blog helped her gain a following on social media, and people would comment on posts or email her asking if she had thought of designing a fashion line because they enjoyed her style when she went to baseball games, and Hendriks didn’t initially consider it, she said she didn’t think that was for her — until 2013.
“In 2013, my blogging took a backseat because my husband started getting shuffled around, and in one year, we were with five different organizations in baseball,” Hendriks said. “We got married as a Minnesota Twin. We honeymooned as a Chicago Cub. We spent Christmas as a Baltimore Oriole. During Spring Training, we were traded from the Orioles to the Blue Jays. Then in July, we were traded from the Blue Jays to the Kansas City Royals, and then the day after the World Series, we were traded back to the Blue Jays. That was all in an eight-month span, so it was absolutely exhausting at that point, and I couldn’t keep up with it.”
Through her experiences with her husband changing teams, Hendriks observed that while many teams have the same color palette, she couldn’t wear certain teams’ apparel to another teams’ game and thought finding something neutral to wear to games would be better given the uncertainty with switching teams.
“I searched high and low, and the only things I could find were shirts with “Hey batter batter” and “Swing batter batter” type sayings, so I started thinking, “What if I branched out and created my own line that was neutral?”
Hendriks decided neutral colors such as black, white or grey were the best fit when designing For the Field Apparel because she says whether the player is just drafted with team colors or in the big leagues — WAGs could wear For the Field Apparel to any game regardless of which team (or teams) their husband or boyfriend is on.
“It started with four designs, and I sold out in 36 hours,” Hendriks said. “I had that niche because I had been on a bunch of teams. I had contacts to help promote my business, and then it’s grown from there. Now I have over 50 designs… and I have over 23,000 followers on Instagram, and there’s not 23,000 baseball wives, so I know I’m building traction with all different types of people, so I love it. And now I also have accessories including S’well bottles, tumblers and coffee cups.”
Married to the game and aspirations for the brand
In addition to her other clothing, Hendriks started a line called Married to the Game, which started with a sweatshirt then transitioned into creating a mug and t-shirt, and now is going into raglans (baseball tees) and tank tops.
“What I love about Married to the Game is since I created this line, I have seen football, hockey and golfer’s wives wearing the designs. Because as it says, “Married to the Game,” it’s my life, because if you’re not at a game, you’re talking about a game…your life is so wrapped up in it, and then you do charity events and things because your husband is on a platform because of baseball. But it’s also really cool because my husband’s involved in the business even though it’s my business… which is just another way we’re married to the game. So I’m really excited that that line has grown and I’m excited to grow it even more.”
Hendriks said she wants to be a brand that is affordable yet chic, because a lot of the times you can purchase things that are affordable, but it’s poor quality. She wants her clothes to be sustainable — after washing it many times, the comfort level, shape and color of the clothing is going to hold up.
“Also, I think it’s cool personally when fans buy my things because I feel like they really like my stuff because they could go to any team store and buy whatever they want,” Hendriks said.
She designs with WAGs in mind, as she says the media can cast a different light on women and girlfriends of sports athletes, and Hendriks hopes to empower those women and show others that WAGs support each other and have their own identity separate from their significant other.
“My brand is there to make their life a little bit easier and more cost effective, but also I want them to see that you can do anything you put your mind to. Just because you’re married to a man in baseball doesn’t mean you lose your identity, and while my identity is kind of in the background because my husband has this giant platform, I’m so grateful he has invited me onto that platform with him so I can put For the Field Apparel out into the world.” Hendriks said she also wants WAGs to be empowered and for them to be a community, not in competition.
The designer is optimistic her brand will continue to grow, and hopes the community around the brand will continue to grow as well. “And that empowered women empower women,” Hendriks said of what she hopes the brand will represent. “I’m very passionate about women owning their identity, owning who they are and doing what they feel called to do. And 10 years from now For the Field Apparel may be done, maybe I sold it to another company or maybe it just was time to be done, but for right now, I just want to use my platform as a boss woman to grow and open the door for other women.”