Meet Joe Gray. The Saracens hooker who has a carpentry qualification to his name, a level 2 coaching badge, and recently co-founded MyoMaster, a sports business that is making recovery accessible and affordable for everyone.
Clubs: Saracens, Harlequins, Northampton Saints
Test caps: 1 (NZ v Eng, 2014)
Can you explain the story behind your business, MyoMaster?
My wife (Lottie) and I created MyoMaster in 2018 while I was recovering from injury. I had broken my thumb for the second time and was at home helping Lottie with DIY jobs around the house. At the time I had been doing extra running in preparation for my return to rugby and I remember my calves and Achilles were feeling incredibly stiff. Being at home I didn’t have the gym equipment to help massage the stiffness out, so I was searching around the house trying to find something to relieve the pain. It was through a brain flash that I grabbed one of my drills, dismantled it and attached a stool leg to the end of it. It was a weird thing to do but it worked extremely well.
The next day I took the drill into Harlequins training and used it before my next running session. It worked like an absolute treat and my leg muscles felt nice and fresh. Following the session, I returned to the gym and saw 10 of my teammates taking it in turns to use the machine. One of the lads literally got cash out and said to me, ‘I’m taking this home, I need it right now!’. He handed over the cash and took the tool home. After training I swung by a local hardware shop and purchased another drill. The next day I took the new drill into Quins and another player came up to me and said, ‘Mate can I buy this off you now? How much was it again?’. From there I had the light bulb moment that this might be something worth exploring further.
Can you talk us through the process of launching the business?
We decided to look around the market, brainstorm some potential ideas and start working on a business plan. Lottie was now fully on board with the idea and we worked hard together to formulise a plan of action. We knew we had an odd product but one which we discovered was completely unique to us with nothing similar already on the market. From there we developed our business model and created our company name, MyoMaster. Our aim was to make MyoMaster the home of sports recovery, accessible and affordable for everyone. The process to our official launch involved working with my dad, who is an engineer, to create a selection of different samples and then start testing which worked and which didn’t. 30 samples later and our business was brought to life.
What products do you sell?
We specialise in all aspects of sports recovery, from the latest tools to compression clothing. We work with several outstanding suppliers and with a team of advisors that include professional athletes and leading physiotherapists, coaches and strength and conditioners, to create the ultimate product. Some of our best-selling items include the ‘The MyoBlaster 1.0’, the ‘MyoPro’, the ‘MyoPump’ and ‘MyoPulse’. We recently partnered with Team Wiggins Le Col as their official recovery partner, which is extremely exciting for our business and will provide excellent opportunities to showcase our products.
You also donate a percentage of your profits to Restart, can you explain why you wanted to support the charity in this way?
We just felt it was the right thing to do. Restart is a great charity, who are there to support rugby players through their darkest times, and we thought this would be a nice way to give back to the game. Hopefully I will never need the support of Restart, but if I ever did, I would like to hope other players would do the same to support me.
Away from rugby you are a qualified carpenter, how did that experience help with the business?
It was a huge help. I have always been very practical and love building things. As a kid you would find me in the shed building stuff, making things from scratch such as skateboard ramps and helping my dad with different projects. By gaining my carpentry qualification, and having the confidence to build new things, it provided me with the skills required to experiment with our different business products and tools. The course took me two years to complete, attending classes two nights a week, for three hours each. It was brilliant and I enjoyed every aspect.
You also have your Level 2 coaching qualification, what did you enjoy the most about the course?
Coaching is something I hugely want to do when I retire. I’ve always wanted to stay around rugby, and while the course took me five years to complete, it was essential in terms of equipping me with the required skills and knowledge to take my interest further. I am currently the Director of Rugby at Barnes Rugby Club and I’m loving the opportunity to implement a strong playing style.
How would you describe your coaching style?
I’m quite laid back, I’m not a dictator, but I definitely know what I want. I’m not afraid to mix things up and play guys out of position to see if they can develop their game in difference places on the pitch. I am also a big fan of detail and making sure all aspects of the game plan are examined and working to their highest degree. Most importantly though I think you need to give your players the confidence to play and express themselves on the pitch. I believe that is crucial.
To learn more about MyoMaster and the products available please visit: www.myomaster.com, or contact Joe directly on Joe@myomaster.com.