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Swet Tailor Success Buoyed By Modern Athlete’s Fashion Preferences

The brand’s ability to connect with today’s most well-known athletes has led to more investment opportunities to market towards the everyday fan.

Max Simpson

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Swet Tailor - Sports

The modern-day professional athlete is more business and culturally savvy than ever before. Everyday, both the athlete and his or her representation are approached by brands hoping the athlete will “buy in,” allowing the product to become the “next big thing.”

Unfortunately, many brands fail to meet the expectations and desires of the modern-day athlete. Whether it is a lack of personal connection, poor product quality, or not relating to the athlete’s desired audience, many brands simply fall by the wayside in an already diluted market because they are not able to separate themselves from the rest.

So how does a brand flourish by aligning themselves with future NFL stars and Super Bowl champions? By being authentic, passionate, and taking advantage of the moment.

Swet Tailor is quickly becoming a favorite amongst many locker rooms throughout the NFL. The brand’s ability to hone in on its organic connection to its fanbase dates back to when the company was first established.

READ MORE: Inside the NFL’s New Partnership With ‘Fortnite’

Swet Tailor initially started out as a campaign on Kickstarter back in July 2014. At the time, Adam Bolden was consulting for brands out in Los Angeles. Bolden reached out to the two founders, offering to help.

“It turns out I went to college with one of the founders and I was close to his older brother,” said Bolden. “They reached back out and we started working together.”

Over the next few months, Bolden helped to custom engineer the fabrication of the clothing, develop the pattern, and help put the entire business together ultimately assisting the team with fulfilling the Kickstarter campaign by November 2014.

By April 2015, Bolden had bought in a third of the partnership with the rest of the ownership group comprised of Bolden’s former colleague, David Kranz who carried over 20 years of experience within the apparel industry, and one of the remaining original founders. And with Bolden and Kranz buying out the remaining founder in July 2015, Swet Tailor was ready to take its business to the next level.

With Bolden serving as CEO and Kranz as CMO, the duo took out a $250,000 line of credit to expand their scope of business. By 2015, Swet Tailor did $99,000 in business. In 2016, it reached $270,000. In 2017, it accumulated over $1,000,000 in sales. Bolden attributed the success to recognizing the importance of what the customer is asking for.

“We take feedback to heart,” said Bolden. “We ask customers directly about their style and color-scheme preferences. We aren’t stabbing in the dark. We are directly tackling customers’ wants and needs.”

Swet Tailor is designed for sports fans of all shapes and sizes. The custom tailoring allows for specific sizing as well as personalized styles. With joggers, polos, chino shorts, stretch shorts, hoodies, pullover sweatshirts, knits, and more, Swet Tailor holds true to its #EveryDayEveryWear campaign as the company has a full assortment of options to appeal to those looking to enhance their current wardrobe.

“We don’t define ourselves as an athleisure clothing company,” says Bolden. “Instead, we are elevating what ‘casual look’ is today. Our brand can be worn to your kids’ soccer game, lounging on the couch, running errands, and everything in between. We are making clothes that move with you, not against you.”

So with the brand being positioned as a premium lifestyle clothing choice, how did the clothing wind up being adorned on the NFL elite? A little bit of luck and a lot of sports passion.

Harken back to this past Super Bowl, on February 4, 2018, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Bolden, who is a graduate of the University of Arizona Wildcats and a huge Philadelphia fan, was wearing the college jersey of another former Wildcat, Nick Foles. With Foles’ publicity rising each week after taking over for the injured Carson Wentz towards the end of the season, it was safe to say that not many fans were wearing Foles’ jersey that day — and few to none were sporting the same uniform that he wore in college.

“Everyone in my section thought I was a Patriots fan since the jersey was red,” said Bolden. “I had to correct fellow Eagles fans that I was rooting for the same team as they were.”

Fast forward two weeks later. Bolden’s wife’s previous employer, a PR agency, was contacted by Athlete’s First, the sports agency who represents Foles. They were inquiring about dressing Foles for his upcoming appearance onJimmy Kimmel Live.”

“Athletes First was looking for clothing for Nick, and my wife’s team also inquired about including some Swet Tailor apparel for Nick to try on as well. So, when they asked me if I wanted to dress Nick Foles for the show, I said yes without batting an eyelash.”

Bolden then put together an entire collection of Swet Tailor clothing together, customized just for Foles. Included in the collection was a handwritten letter outlining their mutual connection to the University of Arizona and Bolden’s dedication to the team through attending all of the team’s playoff games. Bolden also included photos of himself repping Foles’ college jersey at the Super Bowl.

“I get a letter back from Foles telling me how much he loves the clothes I sent,” said Bolden. “Very soon after, he invited me to his house down in Newport. While I went down to grab his measurements for the suit we were making, we struck up a really nice friendship.”

Swet Tailor has not yet made suits available for the mass marketplace. Yet, the brand has created dabbled in creating customized suits for athletes in order to help further showcase what the company has to offer.

Shortly after his “Jimmy Kimmel Live” appearance, Foles shared additional samples of Swet Tailor apparel throughout the Eagles’ locker room. Foles’ teammates loved the clothes and wanted to find out where they could obtain more. Soon, Wentz, Zach Ertz, current quarterbacks coach Press Taylor and many other Eagles were embracing the brand and showcasing it in everyday life.

“It was the most amazing thing,” said Bolden. “Players started giving clothes to other players who then gave them to coaches. It is like it has become the ‘unofficial official’ clothing at the practice facilities when the players are not playing.”

In addition to Foles, Athletes First also represented other Eagles players. The sports agency had received word of the growing popularity of the brand within the Eagles’ organization. Soon, Bolden was taking meetings with the agency to help get more product into the hands of the players.

“Our team at Swet Tailor has built a very organic relationship with Athletes First,” said Bolden. “It is interesting because they said they have never received feedback from their clients like this who want to be a part of a brand. Usually it’s the other way around and it’s the brand trying to get the product into the sports agency, hoping they’re going to give it to their players.”

Through Athletes First, Bolden was introduced to Mark Sanchez. The two ended up meeting and playing a round of golf together. After gifting Sanchez a pair of Swet Tailor’s Chino shorts to wear, the quarterback wrote back a couple weeks later asking how he can become involved in the company.

In November 2018, Sanchez, now a member of the Washington Redskins, invested in Swet Tailor alongside others as part of a $1.5 million first round of seed funding headed by Burch Creative Capital. Other interested investors include two prominent NFL quarterbacks to be announced as early as 2019.

“I believe that Swet Tailor is a brand that can address a wide variety of unique opportunities in today’s world of men’s fashion,” said Sanchez. “As a professional athlete I have seen men’s fashion trends come and go, and realize that no matter who you are, you want to look good and feel comfortable. The timeless style and unrivaled comfort make Swet Tailor an attractive brand. I am always looking for great investment opportunities with companies I can relate to, and this was literally a great fit.”

With more funds to maneuver with, Bolden envisions three additional product lines to expand into: men’s big and tall fashion, an integrated suit line, and the launching of products specifically geared towards women.

For the big and tall branding, which is currently being labeled in the early stages as Swet Tailor’s “High and Mighty” line, Bolden looks to target an often overlooked segment of the population.

“For many who are overweight in this country, it is hard to find clothing that properly fits them especially for those who are taller too,” said Bolden. “We are going to take care of these people. We are looking into certain NFL players that we have been in talks with to help us launch this once we have enough resources in hand.”

The potential suit line will align with Swet Tailor’s current strategy of utilizing material that moves with you, not against you. It will allow customers to easily utilize it on-the-go.

READ MORE: Traditional Professional Athletes Could Soon See More Opportunities With Gaming Companies

“It’ll look like a woven but it’s the kind of fabric that you can roll up into a ball, throw into your suitcase and still put on after a few minutes,” said Bolden. “With this product, you won’t feel the same restrictions as you do with a typical blazer.”

As for the women’s line, Suit Tailor’s decision-making team already feels confident it can handle this venture due to the experience carried by the marketing and investment team.

“Both our CMO David [Kranz] and our lead investor, Chris Burch, have hands-on knowledge and history with apparel and accessories, specifically within the women’s industry. We have terrific strategic advisory and we have big plans with our marketing initiatives.”

With Swet Tailor entrenched within the fashion preferences of the NFL, the brand has high hopes for its future and its ability to gain traction with more players interested in their product. In appealing to the players that so many fans embrace throughout the season, Swet Tailor will continue to provide a perfect fit for those interested in elevating their fashion to the next level.

Max Simpson is a contributing writer for Front Office Sports. A graduate from Arizona State University, Max currently works for the Reno Aces & Reno 1868 FC with time spent with Sun Devil Athletics and the Arizona Diamondbacks. For @frntofficesport, Max highlights unique partnerships, brand marketing strategies, and content activation. He can be reached at max@frntofficesport.com.

Marketing

NHL Keeps Running On Dunkin’ With New Deal

Dunkin’ became an NHL league-level sponsor in 2017, which was the company’s first-ever national sports league partnership.

Ian Thomas

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NHL Dunkin' Deal
Photo Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Dunkin’ has signed a multi-year extension of its deal with the NHL, continuing its position as the official coffee, donut and breakfast sandwich of the league in the U.S.

The deal, expected to be announced tonight prior to game five of the Stanley Cup Final in Boston, marks the twelfth major partner that the NHL has signed or renewed its deal with in recent months.

Dunkin’ became an NHL league-level sponsor in 2017, which was the company’s first-ever national sports league partnership. Over the course of the last two seasons, the partnership has seen Dunkin’ become one of the NHL’s most active corporate sponsors in terms of its presence at major NHL events, partnerships with local teams, marketing campaigns and other fan-facing efforts.

READ MORE: Following NBA’s Lead, NHL Taps Massive Chinese Market for Fans

NHL Group Vice President of Partnership Marketing Evin Dobson said that since becoming a sponsor, Dunkin’ has ranked at the top or in the top three of the league’s internal metrics regarding fan awareness or engagement of its partners.

Dunkin’ has been front and center this Stanley Cup Final as well, as its national advertising campaign starring Eastern Conference Champion Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak has been heavily featured during NBC’s television coverage of the playoffs. The campaign was created by BBDO Worldwide, which was named Dunkin’s new agency of record in April 2018.

“When you have an advertising campaign that even the broadcast talent is talking about on-air, you know you’re creating great fan engagement with what you’re doing,” Dobson said.

Tom Manchester, Dunkin’ U.S. senior vice president of integrated marketing, said much of the deal with the league will be similar to how its current deal is structured – it will continue to hold exclusive rights in those U.S. categories, it will activate around the partnership at NHL league events and it will have a presence across broadcast, digital and social media channels throughout the season, which includes a multi-million dollar partnership with NBC Sports for custom in-game features during games. Dunkin’ will also activate alongside the NHL’s esports tournament, the NHL Gaming World Championship, which will hold its final in Las Vegas later this month.

However, the new deal will see Dunkin’ adding two new local team partnerships in the deal, with the Carolina Hurricanes and the Vegas Golden Knights. Dunkin’ now has 15 NHL team-level deals.

READ MORE: NHL Turns to Corner Ice Placements to Grow On-Ice Ad Revenue

Dunkin’ will also launch a new activation around the league deal ahead of next season, Manchester said, declining to comment further as those plans have only just started.

“Over these last two years, the idea that coffee and espresso is a big part of the hockey world and hockey family’s lives has only been reinforced for us,” Manchester said.

Dunkin’s NHL deal also serves as “the centerpiece” of that outreach to hockey families, Manchester said.

In addition to its league-level NHL deal in 2017, Dunkin’ has also made additional investments into hockey, signing a deal with USA Hockey in 2016 as well as the NWHL in 2015, becoming the women’s league first corporate sponsor.

While both of those deals have since lapsed, Manchester said that on the NWHL front, the company is in talks with the league about renewing it. He noted that Dunkin’ views “women’s hockey as just as important as men’s.”

However, Dunkin’ is not planning on more broadly renewing its partnership with the U.S. governing body. Manchester said that while Dunkin’ had activated heavily around the U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team and players like Meghan Duggan during the 2018 Winter Olympics, it had nothing in place with USA Hockey at the moment – although he said Dunkin’ could potentially do something around the team or its players heading into the next Olympic cycle in 2022.

Both Dobson and Manchester declined to comment on the financial terms of the deal, other to say the multi-year deal’s investment level is in line with the previous deal. Fenway Sports Management, who is Dunkin’s sports marketing agency of record, negotiated the deal on behalf of the company.

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Concacaf Unveils First-Ever Women’s Soccer Plan

In August, Concacaf appointed its first-ever head of women’s football – former Canadian women’s national team player Karina LeBlanc.

Ian Thomas

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women's soccer
Photo Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Ahead of the start of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Concacaf has rolled out its first-ever strategic plan to grow and develop the game of women’s soccer.

In August, the confederation appointed its first-ever head of women’s football – former Canadian women’s national team player Karina LeBlanc.

LeBlanc, who presented the plan in Paris this week to all confederation’s 41 members that includes all of the soccer federations across North and Central America and the Caribbean, said that even with two of the top five ranked women’s soccer teams globally coming from this region in the U.S. and Canadian national teams, there is still an opportunity to do even better.

“The mission we’ve set out on is to improve the lives of women and girls throughout our region through the sport,” LeBlanc said. “We need to change perceptions, grow participation and build a sustainable foundation so that we can do just that.”

Concacaf has designed its strategy to grow the sport of women’s soccer around three main pillars – communicating the importance of women’s soccer and advocating for key issues affecting women, development of the sport and creating pathways to develop and empower players both on and off the field, and through commercial means that will build a self-sustainable growth model for the sport.

LeBlanc said Concacaf’s vision for growing the game somewhat mirrors FIFA’s, who launched its own first-ever global strategy for women’s soccer in October. FIFA is holding a two-day women’s soccer summit in Paris, featuring executives and federation officials from across the globe aiming to “make the most of this new era of women’s football,” which FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in his opening remarks at the summit on Wednesday morning.

Other goals for 2019 set by Concacaf include leveraging the hopeful success of the region’s national teams at the 2019 Women’s World Cup, creating a women’s coaching mentorship program and develop a commercial strategy around the confederation’s women’s soccer brand, which is called Concacaf W.

“We believe we can hit some of these targets very quickly, but it was important to create something like this plan so that everyone is on the same page,” LeBlanc said. “We all agree it is critical that we create growth and opportunity for women in the sport.”

LeBlanc said some of the long term goals include creating new women’s soccer competitions across the region, assisting in the creation of women’s soccer-specific digital and social channels for all the federations to help inspire fans, and encouraging the launch of more women’s clubs across the region.

READ MORE: Budweiser Signs On as Presenting Partner of Women’s International Champions Cup

“From our standpoint, we are looking at ways to influence clubs to take a leap of faith and if they already have a men’s team, to also have a women’s team,” LeBlanc said. “Our goal is to change the mindset that women’s football is just a cause.

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MLSPA and REP Worldwide Teaming Up to Promote MLS Players

The Major League Soccer Players Association has taken back control of the MLS players’ group licensing rights from the league, signing a new agreement with REP Worldwide to serve as the exclusive partner and strategic advisor for those rights.

Ian Thomas

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MLS players group licensing rights
Photo Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Major League Soccer Players Association has taken back control of the MLS players’ group licensing rights from the league, according to industry sources, signing a new agreement with REP Worldwide to serve as the exclusive partner and strategic advisor for those rights.

The PA had reclaimed those group licensing rights in the league’s first CBA in 2004, but had since licensed them back directly to the league. In the past, MLS has marketed the rights for both the league and the PA, with proceeds of licensing deals split on a percentage basis that varied by category. Now – the PA will take a more direct management in the marketing and administration of those rights, with REP Worldwide as its exclusive partner and advisor.

REP Worldwide – an acronym for Representing Every Player – was launched in 2017 as a first-of-its-kind group licensing representation business offering licensing and brand management services to athlete-driven sports properties. The NFLPA is the majority shareholder of the company, working in collaboration with its founding partners the U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association (USWNTPA) and the Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA).

This new partnership will see REP Worldwide structure and manage MLSPA licensing partnerships on behalf of the MLS player pool across categories that include digital, apparel, experiential and hard goods, which typically includes things like toys and sports equipment. those MLS group licensing rights cover instances where four or more players appear on a single product or within a brand or product line. That can include the usage of their names, numbers and likenesses, but not team names or logos – rights held by the league.

READ MORE: Budweiser Signs On as Presenting Partner of Women’s International Champions Cup

The aim for the MLSPA is that this new arrangement will not only open new revenue for the MLS player pool, but also serve as a brand builder for all of the players, collectively and individually.

All of the other player associations in the major North American professional sports have control over their group licensing rights, with the NBPA being the last to do so in 2017.

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