Sports in the context of entertainment have always been central to society. The condition of American people (and others around the world) being huge fans of watching sports has been a huge proponent of the entertainment industry - it has become, over the years, much more than just a pastime; it has become deeply ingrained into the culture. The sports apparel industry is a multi-million-dollar market, yet is rarely discussed in the context of sports and entertainment. And that’s what we’re uncovering today.
Jerseys are integral to sports, not only for the wearers of them but also the observers of games. The designs of jerseys are what help distinguish sports teams from one another and the numbered text at the back of each one is what defines a player and his or her career. But jerseys are iconic even beyond the context of sports. In recent years, jerseys have been customizable just like every other piece of apparel has become, and just as so, they have been incredibly well-received by the consumer market even outside of sports.
And that’s why I decided to reach out to Sean Kelly, a 20-year-old entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Jersey Champs. At Jersey Champs, Sean is driven by the desire to create unique Jersey designs that make you stand out from the crowd. In my chat with Sean, he provides 3 tips for entrepreneurs who wish to break into the jersey industry:
Offering A Wide Array of Unique and Culturally-Relevant Designs
SK: Having different offerings compared to competitors in the jersey market is certainly a huge leg up in competing for market share. For example, at Jersey Champs, our apparel features Trump, Chino Hills, or Bitcoin, Jersey Champs focuses on creating designs that our consumers are familiar with. With designs that people very much know, their talk generates buzz around our jerseys. A wave of unpaid-for, organic word-of-mouth marketing can be simply started by putting out products that are culturally relevant. But it is also important to offer an array of options for consumers to choose from. People love options and by providing them with a slew of them, it is easier to engage them and has your consumers coming back for more. What I’ve found from my experience is that comical designs tend to do very well. Our consumer market seems to very much appreciate humor and is ecstatic about showing a humorous side of themselves through wearing jerseys. Music is also a large focal point for the jersey industry. Music is integral to societal progress and has a large say in culture - well-known artists are typically very good at generating buzz around apparel so it is certainly a good idea to leverage them in representing your brand through your company’s designs. Really, the choice of design in this industry is what determines if you make it or not. Cultural relevance lies at the crux of such a determination.
Setting an Affordable Price-Point
Though it is fairly obvious that setting a lower price-point increases consumer demand, this tenet is even more so true in the jersey market. Jerseys are not really valued the same way that apparel is - they’re viewed as collectibles so that needs to be accounted for. Consumers can’t always afford to pay the high prices that most competitors are putting their jerseys at in today’s economy. This is why a lower price-point is almost essential in helping a startup beat out larger, more established corporations in selling similar products to the same consumer market. Jersey Champs’s jerseys are, on average, anywhere from 100-150% marked down from the typical jersey you’d buy from our competitors. With this decrease in price, it is able to tap into a much larger market that may not have the spending power that typical jersey suppliers would require for business. That’s where lower prices really make a difference in a jersey company’s business model; being very culture-centric and having marked down prices allows Jersey Champs to gain those extra buyers that would have otherwise not bought jerseys at all. This same concept can be applied to your next jersey startup. Finding a niche market and offering them a great product at a discount to your competitors - a recipe for constant reorders.
Utilizing Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing can be applied to a slew of different startup ideas, but in selling apparel, like jerseys, it is almost integral if one wants to drive large sales. In the jersey industry in particular, as we’re searching for ways to represent culturally-relevant ideas, it is important to tap into the music industry, which plays an incredibly large role in shaping culture in the status quo. For instance, Jersey Champs has been able to set up royalty deals with some of the most prominent music artists and professional athletes in the industry as a way to stay on top of today’s most trendy concepts and market apparel that reflects them. Being able to work with the likes of 2 Chainz, Logic, Khalid, Lil Pump, Dez Bryant, Jarvis Landry, Martavis Bryant, Landon Collins, Darrelle Revis, Terrance Williams, FATBOY, Supreme Patty, Futuristic, Zaxx and others, and being in talks with Wiz Khalifa & The Chainsmokers team, Jersey Champs has grown its sales manifold. The worlds of music and jersey worlds show to have great synergy, and utilizing artists as a way of influencer marketing is a great way to drive sales towards your next jersey startup.
With a clear goal of influencing culture through the jersey world, setting up interesting partnerships with some of the most impactful music artists and designing perhaps the most interesting themes for jerseys, you’ll be able to build your next jersey empire. But these pieces of advice aren’t only applicable to selling jerseys - it applies to selling apparel in general. A cultural buzz needs to be produced and the only way to really bolster such a buzz is to have people talk about your product in a way that’s significant and profound.