how it happened   &   what does the name mean


Everyone has a calling in life. Everyone has something they are good at whether they like it or not. Sadly, I know these shirts better than just about anyone. I made them for myself. More than that, I have been fielding emails from people throughout the United States, Canada, France, Italy, and Australia. It seems everyone wants to see this project materialize so they can get a shirt as well.


My first contact with a sewing and pattern company left me empty handed. They promised me a shirt in 6-8 weeks and I heard nothing over 6 months. I knew it was a dead end and started working with another group.  They told me I would have to supply everything, but that they could make them. It was a better promise, so I went to work on finding a graphic design artist to help.  After another wasted month of meetings, I found no one with any understanding of the lines and angles of the designs.  It took a while, but I learned how to do it, and I made them better. The fade between colors is smoother. The colors are crisper.


I needed a name—an original name. Trademarking an original name is aggravating. Just when you think you have come up with something great, look it up on the internet and find out that it's already taken. It took six weeks. I actually came up with six weeks worth of names, but none of them proved to be unique and original like Vollaix.


Next I had to find a company that would make me collars and cuffs for the shirts. They would have to be polyester because black cotton would fade when washed. I found a great company that would make me collars of all sizes to my specifications with low minimums.


Then I needed a logo. I tried to outsource this, but to my dismay I was left with some very boring options. After a night on the graphic design program (twisting and turning the letters) did I come up with something. I knew the logo would make for a really great look for these shirts when embroidered on the chest.

Then the woven labels, the size labels, and the laundry tags all had to be designed. I designed the buttons with the Vollaix name as well. It has been an enjoyable experience seeing these small things come to life.


As for the fabric itself, this was the most challenging. It needed to be polyester. No cotton would hold the color well. These would need to last 25 years.  Mine are made of the best polyester I could find with consideration of the sporting aspect, hence the breathability of the fabric. Formally, it's called Performance Pique. These are not just for street wear, but primarily for the tennis court.  The fabric won't cause piling when washed. It's also very lightweight and soft.


And so, the first production started in January 2015 with a meager 120 shirts.  Since I've finished making enough tennis shirts to last me a lifetime, I am now moving the company forward with original designs. I would like to create a line that reflects classic style with modern elements.  

The name…really?

Fair question and bottom line: you're not too far off the mark.

I wanted to create the shirts and originally make my last name the brand. Unfortunately there is a company in Mississippi that makes doll clothes under my name and it is trademarked. Odd, but true. So...I had to come up with an original name. Not easy.

Everything is trademarked in the clothing world. You can trademark a name as long as it doesn't infringe upon the likeness of another name that sells a similar product. So no one can sell "Adddidas" shoes because the US trademark office would never approve it. For a new name to be approved, it has to be pretty out there (at least in the clothing manufacturing spectrum).

So I thought about tennis related names. A volley, like "serve and volley" style tennis is my kind of game. I kept playing with the letters. The -aix suffix is french and used in the name of several places in France like Aix-la-Chapelle, Aix-les-Bains...

So, yes it has no meaning.

As for the pronunciation, for trademarking purposes my researcher told me ( I am not making this up) you shouldn't pronounce the 'x' at the end. So I'm left with something that sounds like vuh-lay, a two syllable word when said fast enough in conversation comes out "vlay" that rhymes with clay.