With support from heavy hitters, Warstic elevates the art of baseball
The love of baseball runs deep and true. Just ask Ben Jenkins, founder of the Dallas-based custom bat company Warstic. His past as a pro player helped him turn his weekend passion into a profitable side project: beautifully tooled wooden bats. “I started Warstic in 2011 as something to do creatively on the side without a client,” says Jenkins, who also co-owns local branding firm One Fast Buffalo. “It kind of worked, so I decided to take it more seriously and search for investors.”
With a name inspired by The Art of War and the tagline “It’s Not the Weapon; It’s the Warrior,” Warstic was an easy sell for some heavy hitters coming on board. Former Texas Ranger and current Detroit Tiger Ian Kinsler was first to sign on. Rocker Jack White joined shortly after.
For anyone familiar with White’s Third Man Records headquarters in Nashville or Detroit, it’s clear the singer’s affinity for design and attention to detail perfectly align with Warstic’s high-end aesthetic. “He’s kind of this Willy Wonka,” says Jenkins of the company’s third and final partner. “The music thing is easy for him—he works hard at it, but there’s this other side to him that’s fascinated by design. I’ve always been crazy about baseball, but also with design and art, so that’s what we have in common. This is first and foremost about the art of it.”
With Third Man’s perfectly curated environs as a template, the trio will unveil Warstic’s new Deep Ellum headquarters in spring 2018. Encompassing a manufacturing facility, retail flagship, bat-fitting room, and semi-private restaurant and bar, the 8,000-square-foot Art Deco building will no doubt be a cultural mecca for pro players, aspiring players, and baseball fans alike.
“It’s very much a retail environment and hospitality mixed in with what we’re hoping will be the world’s coolest batting cage,” says Jenkins. “There’s a part of the building that’s dedicated to the cultural experience of baseball, then there’s the behind-the-scenes where we’re letting all the ideas out.”
Jenkins, who has expanded Warstic offerings to include metal bats, clothing, and gear, says the main goal of the HQ is to nurture the next generation of players. Creating an environment where moms and dads can have a drink while the kids experience top-notch seminars and education sessions is far more important to Warstic’s owners than simply selling sporting goods.
“We want to mold the experience for a 15-year-old who’s serious about baseball and figure out what he swings and fit him for that,” he says. “Our bats are really good in the hands of someone who knows what they’re doing, but the most important thing is the development of a kid. If you give a kid confidence, you change their whole life.” —Kendall Morgan
The Details: Warstic, opening in 2018. 2900 Main Street.
Photo | David Swanson