Custom(er) Stories: Former Australia 7s Captain Ed Jenkins Gets Rugged Up
Ed Jenkins captained the Australian Sevens Rugby team, played at the Rio Olympics and travelled the world as a professional rugby player. Recently retired, we caught up with Ed to chat about his remarkable career, his sense of style and life after footy.
Firstly, congratulations on an amazing career. What are you enjoying most about retirement?
I love having more time at home with my family. Travelling the world was great but it meant I missed out on a lot at home with them. Also, it's been good to give my body a rest, I no longer ache every morning when I wake up so that is a great perk!
What are you up to work wise? Has it been difficult making the transition from professional athlete to full time work?
It definitely was challenging as I was unsure what I wanted to do initially, so took my time to explore a few different things. I've now landed in commercial property with Cushman & Wakefield and I'm really enjoying the new challenge. There are many similarities between the two and my main goal was to end up in an environment where there was a great culture with a high performing team. I've been fortunate enough to find that in my new team and now I'm just trying to learn as much as possible as I've got some catching up to do.
You’ve played overseas, you’ve Captained the Aussie 7s team… Looking back, what was the highlight of your career?
I think that would have to be captaining the team to the Rio Olympics and winning two Commonwealth Games medals. Any time I was lucky enough to represent Australia and be part of a larger team was always exciting. There were lots of little highlights along the way but they were probably the big moments that stand out.
What tips would you have for the young guys just starting their sporting career?
I'm a true believer in the saying "hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard'. I was never the most talented athlete but backed myself and tried to get the most out of my body every single day; whether that was pushing myself in the gym or doing extras after training. I saw plenty of gifted athletes who come through the program over the years with all the talent in the world but didn't want to do the hard work. Eventually they get caught out and never seem to make it although they had the speed and skills to be world class players.
How do you think your sporting career prepared you for post-sport? What skills or disciplines did it provide you with?
I think being a professional athlete teaches you how to push yourself and work within a team environment. I'm conditioned to setting (and hopefully achieving) small and big goals and continuously challenging myself. I think it provided me with the skill of resilience and agility in regards to overcoming challenges and set backs as they arise. My captaincy also allowed me to develop my own personal leadership style which evolved over the years.
You’ve clearly spent some time in the gym over the years! Have you traditionally had difficulty finding tailored clothes that fit your shape?
Yes! Off the rack clothes have never fitted me quite right. Part of our program was to spend 6 sessions a week in the gym which definitely resulted in me not being a standard size. In particular, I've always found shirts way too tight around the neck!
How is that changing now you’re not training professionally?
Since retiring, I've spent a lot less time in the gym so now have the unexpected problem of a lot of my old clothes not fitting me. Lucky for me, I've always liked fashion and shopping so am happy to have the excuse. I've found myself running to and from work during the week to keep the body and mind in shape these days. That has caused me to drop a few kilos and I'm finding my body is still adjusting to life after rugby.
How would you describe your natural style? Are you more of a suit and tie guy, or has your many years of professional sport left you favouring more causal and practical? Is that now starting to change?
I'm definitely spending less time in gym gear these days which is a nice change. I like both to be honest, I enjoy being comfortable in casual clothes but I'm also really enjoying the chance to get dressed up in a suit and tie each morning. I'm conscious that in my industry and in society in general first impressions are so important and need to align with your own personal brand. I believe feeling great in whatever you wear gives you a sense of confidence and gives people an idea of who you are.
Tell us about your InStitchu experience.
I've been wearing InStitchu for over 5 years, since the guys first fitted myself and groomsmen for my wedding. Every time I go to the showroom, it's always a great experience and I know I'm going to leave with pieces that fit me perfectly. I love that you get the opportunity to work with a stylist one on one and choose something unique each time. I'm very fastidious when it comes to my clothing so having someone who is able to guide and consult me on everything from fabrics to buttons is important.