I’ve wanted to post about Sideline Swagger for a very long time and here I am, finally doing it 😬. When people ask me, “What do you do?” sometimes it’s hard to explain. I do a lot on the day-to-day including content creation for multiple companies and being a mother and wife, but Sideline Swagger is my biggest priority.
Three years ago, I wanted something way cooler to wear to Tech games. I spend countless hours on the internet and in stores trying to find something that was fashionable, classic and well made. NOTTA. I could not find what I was looking for. So, I made a lame attempt, yes lame, to start making t-shirts I liked better.
I had to start with t-shirts because financially we weren’t at a place for me to do much more. During the process of actually getting these made, I came across a few people that asked about licensing. I had NO idea what that even meant. So I started researching. Apparently, any product made referencing any institution under the NCAA or professional sports umbrella needed to be licensed. I had heard from people it would cost me $20,000 to get licensed through Texas Tech alone.
I started thinking, who do I know that could actually give me some answers or have some experience in getting licensed. Sideline Swagger popped into my head immediately. I had purchased a few hats for Andrew and my Dad from them, and they were great, so I visited their website but it was down. I went to their Facebook, but there had been no activity for several years, so I reached out to one of the guys I knew personally who had been involved in the company.
Long story short, we hopped on a call and he told me he was relaunching the company, was about to start the licensing process and was looking for someone to partner with and run the day-to-day. All it took was that one call and we were off to the races!
It was as if I had died and gone to heaven. Apparel design and brand building all for a company centered around sports. This was a dream that I didn’t know could happen.
We planned a quick business trip and flew to Atlanta almost immediately to talk face to face with the Collegiate Licensing Commission (now IMG) team. We spent all day with them going through every detail of what the licensing process would take.
A lot of paperwork and some money.
Here’s the thing about licensing. If you have the money to obtain licensing and want to make a collegiate referenced product, they don’t just give it to you. It is an extremely long process that includes the University and the licensing team reviewing both your company and product before they make a decision. As the years go by they license fewer and fewer products because the market becomes flooded.
After about 6 months, in the Summer of 2017, we were fully licensed and started selling Texas Tech headwear, and our full Apparel Collection followed that August. We knew that Texas Tech was not the end goal, but it was a place to start due to the history of the company and the relationships already built.
During that time we also set up the back end of the business. Have you done that? OMG, it takes SO much. It took every bit of that 6 months to get bank accounts, logos, an office set-up, fulfillment research…. and the list goes on.
Our first season we continued to go after other Universities in the Big 12 Conference. Meetings after meetings, after more meetings. Every time we were told, “We love your gear but… No.”
It used to crush me, not going to lie, but after doing this now for 3 years I understand the industry a lot more. These Universities want to see consistency and see how the product does in other markets before they jump. I’ve learned no to it personally, and their “no” does not scare me anymore.
To our surprise, we were finally told YES by two great Universities, SMU, and Texas State. So in the Fall of 2018, we launched full Collections with 3 officially licensed Universities. And, we had added a Kids Collection!
Womens – Mens – Headwear – Kids
For every product we sell that is related to these Universities we are paying a royalty. It takes a lot to sustain these numbers but our team believes in this brand and our goal is to provide quality, fashionable sports pieces in the market. Our unique designs set us apart because no one else is trying this. We may be the smartest or dumbest people in the room… we will see.
We have put a hold on obtaining more licenses due to moving our offices to Lubbock, TX and a re-focusing on the company. Sometimes hitting pause is a good thing. We are using this time to refuel and then hopefully go after more this next year.
So when you’re buying your apparel for game-day, look for the collegiately licensed sticker. There are THOUSANDS of people out there that either sell unlicensed products, or are unaware that even exists.
It’s not just for game-time, it’s for the good times.
So what University would be on your list? Maybe you’re next!
Just do you,