Aussie making fortune off ‘creepy’ sales
It's not personal, it's just business.
And, right now, for Aussie boxing sensation Ebanie Bridges, business is booming.
The 33-year-old, who has amassed a huge following all over the world through her sassy social media promotion as the undefeated "Blonde Bomber", suddenly has a genuine dilemma.
Stream over 50 sports live & anytime with KAYO on your TV, mobile, tablet or laptop. Just $25/month with no lock-in contract. Get your 14 day free trial
Having juggled her real life as a mathematics teacher at Sydney's Westfields Sports High School and the incredible commitment of life as a professional boxer, the bantamweight fighter has now seen her "creepy" side project explode in recent weeks.
Bridges in July revealed she recently sold one of her used training socks to a fan for more than $900 - in a story that made headlines around the world.
It wasn't planned or consciously considered, but the "laugh among friends" has inadvertently sparked a business that is worth more than $1000 per week to her.
Bridges, who grew up in Toongabbie in western Sydney, is the first to admit how "weird" it is that she has fallen into the world of selling photos of her socks to fans online - but her bottom line doesn't lie.
Bridges says she has made more than $4000 in less than four weeks with fans paying more than $100 just for a picture of her socks lying on the floor.
That small fortune doesn't even include the new sponsorship deal she has signed as an ambassador for UK socks company Clingz in August.
Pictures of her wearing socks demands another price hike and she's sold two socks from the same pair to two different clients for $2000.
"You know how much money I've made from that s***," Bridges laughs, still struggling to get her head around how she ended up here.
"The story went like global in 25 countries or something like that so I had all these sock people from around the world.
"I've made a bit of money, I'm not going to lie.
"It's so weird though because I feel like I'm selling nudes when I think about sharing a pic of my feet without a sock on it. It's so weird.
"It's got nothing to do with my feet. It's just to do with these people and their fetishes. I don't think they even really care (about my feet)."
After months of being contacted by fans on Twitter regarding her socks, Bridges says it started as a joke among friends when she finally responded to one fan and struck a deal to post one of her workout socks to a fan in the UK for 500 pounds.
Now she is contacted by fans every day asking for socks and photos of socks.
"To me it's just business. I don't play around," she says.
It is almost impossible to compare this side of Bridges with her true side. The side that gives her all teaching high school children and donates her time to run special empowerment clinics for at-risk teenagers and girls with anxiety and self-esteem issues.
Through her school, Bridges runs 20-week boxing and life coaching weekly seminars to build self-confidence in her pupils.
It is a subject close to her heart.
She admits her great strength in helping others comes from a darkness from her youth which she prefers not to talk about. A trauma that no longer has power. A pain she has confronted and made her peace with. Memories that are no longer part of her story.
"When I was in school it was pretty bad," she says.
"I had pretty bad teenage years. And I was able to get through that with the help of my family and now that I'm older I want to give back. I want to be that person that I didn't have when I was in school.
View this post on Instagram
So I was laying in the #HyperbaricChamber for my recovery today and I was thinking (uh oh... this happens when I’m forced to stay still and be in my own head 🤣🥴) ...I’ve noticed a few things lately, and it’s made me feel like I wanted to put this out there... we are as a society so concerned with what people think of us, and how we want to be portrayed, stepping on egg shells or acting or not acting a certain way to avoid getting judged or criticised etc. Fuck that I say. I’ll be the first to admit when I got into boxing I was like I want people to see I can fight and not judge me by looks, Ive felt like I’ve always had to prove myself but as I’ve grown in the sport and met others around the world, the more I realised it doesn’t really matter, Cos everyone is different, cultures are different and people have different opinions. U cant stop people from judging you and assuming things. Now I have no problem or shame in embracing my looks, and my personality (swear words and all 🙊) Along side my skill, cos deep down I know I can fight, and I know who I am, and I love who I am and I wouldn’t wanna hide my personality or change who I am just cos I might be portrayed a certain way to people I couldn’t give two fucks about. If I start being concerned with the chatter and impressing others I will just lose who I am and sight of my main goal. . . Strive to be YOUR best, to impress YOURSELF, to become SUCCESSFUL. “Just be yourself, everyone else is taken” #LoveMeOrHateMe #IDGAF #RealRecognisesReal #BeHumble #TEDTalk #IDCIfYouDontAgree
"I mean, I had my parents and my parents are beautiful, good people, but I just went down the wrong way. It has nothing to do with my parents, it's just that a lot of things happened to me to throw me off.
"I just don't need to focus on the details of my adolescence. When there's something really bad like that people always focus on it, but I don't want to focus on it. I don't need to focus on that. F*** that, I've got better things going for me. I've got so much success behind me that I don't need to be a sob story."
It isn't the fuel behind her blossoming boxing career. It isn't anything.
Right now, she doesn't need it on her record when she is shooting up the boxing ranks as one of the most marketable athletes on the scene.
The glamorous fighter is already a bigger name in the UK than in Australia and it's why she is charting a course to move to England in an attempt to crack the lucrative British boxing market.
She would have already done so, if not for the global coronavirus restrictions.
COVID-19 has kept Bridges to just one fight this year when she defeated American Crystal Hoy in February in Chicago, USA, to take her professional record to a perfect 4-0.
View this post on Instagram
Im so excited that my fav recovery place @cryospaclinics is opening back up next weekend! Can’t wait to hit the infra red sauna, cryo sauna and salt room again!! 💕💕💕 Check out their page for more details ☺️ . #Repost @cryospaclinics with @get_repost ・・・ Guess who’s back?? 😃😃😃 To all our Cryospa fam we are opening our doors next weekend!! We cannot wait to see you all again but there will be a few minor short term changes so please read them carefully. For the upcoming weeks we will only be taking appointments on weekends. Our opening hours on Sunday will be extended to account for those who normally book during the week. We will be spacing appointments out further then usually to allow for sterilisation of rooms in between appointments. We ask that you bring your own towel and drink bottle for treatments. Maximum 2 people at a time per treatment room. We look forward to seeing you all next weekend!! #cryospa
For her, and for every boxer on the planet, fights have dried up and fallen through because of global restrictions and bans on crowds attending sporting events.
Still, Bridges has kept her head down in training with former boxer Arnel Barotillo in their Castle Hill gym.
There are countless opportunities ahead of her, but the one that has fans most excited is a likely showdown with English glamour fighter Shannon "The Baby Face Assassin" Courtenay.
In a fight already being talked about as a co-main event on any Matchroom Boxing fight night put-on by high-profile promoter Eddie Hearn, there is some chance Bridges could be fighting for the vacant WBA women's bantamweight world title next year.
It is a negotiation yet to take place and it would take more than a few things to fall Bridges' way, including for Courtenay to drop to the bantamweight division.
But she has been talking to big-name promoter Frank Warren in recent months in a bid to turbo-charge her climb to a world title.
Even if that falls through, there remains a possibility that Bridges could be fighting for a Commonwealth title when she makes her debut in the UK.
She wants at least one more fight in Australia before then - pending further coronavirus restrictions and the turbulent Aussie boxing industry.
Bridges and her management were contacted about stepping in to fight new Australian super bantamweight champion Shannon O'Connell on just two weeks' notice as one of the headline fights on the Tim Tszyu-Jeff Horn undercard in Townsville last week.
But she knocked it back on the advice from her management team that a two-week fight camp wasn't enough time. It wasn't personal, it was just bad business.
O'Connell went on to pulverise Kylie Fulmer in a fight that was stopped by the referee in the seventh round.
"I've been on a rollercoaster. First there is a fight and then there isn't a fight. Then there is a fight and then there isn't," she said of having three fights fall over in recent months.
"It seems like the UK at the moment is a better market for women's boxing. So that's where I'll go just because I think it's better for women's boxing and I've got a huge fan base over there already.
"If it wasn't for COVID I would be there already and I would be signed."
Imagine what she could get for a pair of fight-worn socks.
Originally published as Aussie making fortune off 'creepy' sales