Sonoma entrepreneur Anthony Albano thinks he’s come up with a way to make some “pocket money.”
Last year, the 33-year-old Albano – no relation to the Albano family of Mary’s Pizza – and business partner Ross Golding launched Edge Athletic Apparel to market their first product, Secure Pocket shorts, which are uniquely designed to keep a firm grip on one’s valuables – and by that he means keys, phones, etc.
“We’ve solved a problem everyone has: how to keep a phone, keys or wallet from flopping around or falling out of your pocket while being active,” he says. “The shorts feature large, easily accessible and innovatively secure pockets without Velcro or zippers,” says Albano. The Secure Pocket’s compression layer acts as a holster and firmly holds all the contents of a pocket in place, even during the most vigorous activities.
Albano and Golding tested the market for the shorts last fall via a successful Kickstarter campaign that ended in December. They set a goal of $20,000, but within weeks, they had raised almost $22,000 in preorders.
“We tested the market and found great interest,” he says. “Everyone carries at least a phone or keys even during their most athletic activities, and these shorts have bridged that gap between having technology on us and having a reliable place to store it.”
Albano says that most people today are accustomed to wearing compression shorts – so the look “is comfortable and appealing to them.” Albano noted that the compression layer is worn, as they say, “commando” style, or in lieu of underwear.
The shorts will retail for $59.99 and will be available online as well as at big-box sports retailers. The shorts are being manufactured in San Francisco, and orders fulfilled and shipped in Sonoma.
Albano said that he has had requests for the shorts from Major League Baseball teams and from superstar athletes, but, he said, “you don’t have to be an athlete to benefit from the functionality of these shorts.”
Albano was born and raised in Chicago and, for many years, his life revolved around baseball. He was drafted by the Minnesota Twins, but chose to go to college. He played right field for Florida Atlantic University, graduating in 2006, and then played four years of professional baseball in the Frontier League.
After college, he worked as a vision trainer for the San Francisco Giants in 2010-11, helping players with their ability to track the ball. He has a World Series ring from his time with them.
For the past five years, he has called Sonoma home, living on the west side with his wife, Joelle Zarzana, who grew up in town, and their young daughter.
“Things are moving quickly and we’re facing dozens of key decisions every day as we get the company off the ground,” says Albano. “It’s so great to have (Zarzana) by my side.”
Zarzana is a cousin of Sonoma actress Ellen Toscano, who appears in the promotional materials for the women’s shorts.
Albano’s co-founder Ross Golding was born and raised in Napa. Baseball was his passion also, and he played through college, graduating from CSU San Marco in 2008. Golding currently lives in Hawaii, but Albano says they split the work 50/50 and work well together.
Albano works in sales at Southern Wine & Spirits and is running Edge Apparel in his free time out of a home office. “I’m very organized and I always have a plan,” he says. Those traits, along with a tremendous reserve of energy, have enabled Albano to cope with the competing demands of a busy career, a new company and a young family.