As MLB invades Cleveland during its 2019 All-Star Week, Ohio-bred clothing company Homage is celebrating the occasion with a baseball-themed pop-up shop.
Homage has set up a pop-up shop on Cleveland’s East 4th St., where House of Blues is located. It took over the music venue’s preexisting retail store and converted it into their own. Within it, Homage is highlighting an abundance of its All-Star- and MLB-related products that should interest baseball fans, while also featuring its more wide-ranging sports apparel. That includes unreleased clothing commemorating the United States women’s national soccer team’s recent FIFA Women’s World Cup victory and other items from its work with Topps, WWE and from its licensing deal with the NBA.
Elliott May, vice president of business and licensing at Homage, said the company has found success launching pop-up shops alongside big sports events. This marks the second year in a row that Homage has had one alongside the MLB All-Star Game.
“We’ve just found that it’s a very fun way to be able to be where all the fans are and want to be for those sports that they love,” he said. “We’ve got great product that pays homage to those sports and [we] just want to be as close to those opportunities as possible.”
When MLB inked a deal with Express, Inc. in 2018, Homage was one of the fashion lines that fell under that agreement, according to Christine Ryan, MLB’s director of consumer products. Express acquired a minority stake in Homage in 2016.
Since Homage became an MLB licensee, the duo quickly found success in working together. According to Ryan, Homage’s MLB merchandise business has doubled and is on track for further growth.
From the league’s point-of-view, Homage has built a niche around creating merchandise that acknowledges former Hall of Famers and retired players who helped pave the way for the 2019 All-Stars, while also celebrating those current stars.
“[Homage] brings an assortment of products… they’re on trend, they’re constantly looking for the next best thing, and we really feel that it’s their graphics that are so impactful and lighthearted that we’re attracted to that,” said Ryan. “[Since the partnership, Homage has] evolved in the sense that we’re doing a lot more player product and really focusing on not only the current guys but history… Homage is all about vintage-inspired products [and] the touch and feel of it.”
Outside of sports-inspired attire, Homage is also working with local businesses to promote its pop-up shop. In a special collaboration with Cleveland-based companies Platform Beer Company and Brewnuts, it unveiled an “Icee” slush beer that was then recreated as a donut.
The interactive work between the trio made its way onto ESPN when Brewnuts’ donuts appeared on the ‘Golic and Wingo’ show that stars Mike Golic and Trey Wingo during MLB All-Star Week
Following the All-Star game, both Homage and MLB will reflect on how the pairing can further build its footprint around future league events. Compared to its first effort alongside the game in Washington D.C., Homage’s presence in Cleveland was drastically bigger. With the 2020 MLB All-Star Game coming to Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Ryan anticipates that Homage’s ideas will not only be better – but because it’s Hollywood – bigger.
“Next year in LA, my plan anyway would be to have that pop up shop ten-fold,” said Ryan. “Again, the amount of people that have been there [in 2019] and bought into the product and just the excitement around it, you can only build off that so I can only see it getting better and better.”