"I believe Ultimate is intrinsically good for the world."
I wrote that phrase in sloppy sharpie on the front of one of the early ARIA prototypes, and it hangs next to me. Actually, other than a Cardenas signed #PLAYLIKEAGIRL disc, it's the only disc that I will hang. (Sorry, collectors, I prefer tossing 'em.)
ARIA was founded on the fundamental theory that if we could get more ultimate discs into the hands of folks, we could make a small change in the way the world thinks about the values of teamwork, inclusion, respect, and integrity. This is why we are teaming up with XII Brands to scale the impact that ARIA can have on our ultimate community and society as a whole.
As we've been able to establish thousands of partnerships with everyone from USA Ultimate to social partners, from artists to world champions, my siblings and I — and all the folks current and past that have worked with us on ARIA — think we're making some inspiring headway on our vision. Each one of these partnerships has been hard work, but they all have paid off in smiles, each relationship building that strong sense of community that many of us value in our sport.
As co-founders of Five Ultimate, we've been around for many of the recent chapters in ultimate, organizing, coaching and promoting the sport for the last 25 years. As the landscape has changed, we've always been excited and had a positive outlook when new companies spring up, new ventures join the space, or new perspectives offer insights to how we might improve the experience for the players and boost value for our community.
As we step into this next chapter, we're proud to bring to light a specific partnership that we think will have a tremendous positive impact on ultimate. ARIA is joining the XII Brands team as a way to increase the offerings of our product to more players, and to increase the reach of the intrinsic value of a disc in the hands of people around the world.
Teaming up with XII Brands is a strategic opportunity for ARIA to make a much more powerful headway into more efficiently serving more ultimate players with a higher quality product and a give-back business model that supports our sport. It’s an opportunity to still be uniquely ourselves and maintain ARIA's strengths and focus, but harness the power of pooled resources and combined reach to support what makes ARIA different from other disc manufacturers in a way that can truly support the sport, beyond disc sales and big sponsorships.
I first met Todd and Dan Curran in Sarasota a decade ago when Savage set up their booth next to our Five booth at Club Nationals. On that day, I would not have predicted that we would be here (maybe I had my gaze too focused on tracking my heroes on the fields and hoping to meet them at the Daiquiri Deck), but I am absolutely not surprised that it is with them that we have been discussing and planning this partnership over the last year.
The entire ARIA crew is excited and proud to be teaming up with another set of passionate ultimate players and folks fired up to serve a high-quality product with that special touch of ultimate. What should you be worried about? That you'll be seeing more ultimate players spring up around the world thanks to XII Brands’ combined reach. And that while you may not realize it (I carefully designed ARIA discs to feel like what you're used to in your hand), you will be more likely to pull out the back of the endzone because of ARIA's better- engineered materials and flight profile.
If you have any questions or thoughts (or heckles) about any of this, please feel free to reach out. ARIA's goal is to best serve you, and my siblings and I, and the entire ARIA crew, believe that capacity will only increase by joining XII Brands.
—Zahlen (+ Xtehn, Vehro, Rohre, and Qxhna)