As a growing company, Mizzen+Main is quick and nimble, which are good attributes for a retailer that works with athletes.
Case in point: This week the apparel company launched a $44, 44-hour sale to celebrate Phil Mickelson’s 44th PGA Tour victory last weekend at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Mickelson is a partner athlete of Mizzen+Main, which makes performance menswear, including button-down dress shirts, pullovers, henleys and t-shirts.
Mizzen+Main CMO Stephanie Swingle said similar promotions could be right around the corner.
“Stay tuned. We try to be ready, and as a smaller company we can be reactive,” Swingle said. “We’re always coming up with exciting ideas.”
Mizzen+Main also got a nice boost this week when Kyler Murray made his long-anticipated announcement he’d focus on a football career. Murray is also an athlete partner of Mizzen+Main.
“As with any brand partnership, relevance helps and we are lucky to have partnered with him at this exciting part of his career,” Swingle said.
The established Mickelson and upstart Murray provide Mizzen+Main a great diversity in athlete representation, a mixture Swingle said is important to the brand as it broke tradition when the company launched an all-new product designed for a modern consumer.
“Mizzen+Main is by far the most comfortable dress shirt I’ve ever worn,” Murray said. “The shirts stretch when you move, and you don’t have to worry about wrinkles or showing any sweat. They are really changing the game in what to wear when you want to look good and feel good at the same time.”
The brand was started in 2012 when founder and CEO Kevin Lavelle was interning in Washington, D.C. and saw a guy running into a meeting, dress shirt drenched in sweat. The hustle showed it was an important meeting, but also left him looking less than dapper.
“Kevin knew performance fabrics powered the world’s best athletes, so why not pull that into traditional items?” Swingle said. “He wore it home one day and his wife didn’t realize he was wearing a prototype. That’s when he knew he had something to start a business.”
The brand then grew organically for the next several years and eventually partnered with Houston Texan JJ Watt, who was already a fan of the brand.
“Anytime you tell a customer about a new product, you need to have credibility of someone they respect and look up to,” Swingle said. “At scale, it’s wonderful to have an athlete.”
Once the shirts hit the market, athletes were among the first consumers to grab them off the shelves. Swingle said there are more than 1,000 professional athletes wearing the shirts. She said they reach players in a variety of ways, including a VIP Athlete Coordinator who manages athlete outreach and knows a lot of players are fans as they do notice recognizable names come across Shopify.
The athlete coordinator also goes to events, like MLB Spring Training, golf events and other major sporting events throughout the year to sell directly to the athletes.
It’s at those events and on social media channels that Mizzen+Main representatives can see the athlete grassroots marketing in action.
“We love to tap into some of the conversations they have with each other,” Swingle said. “We see the impact directly at Spring Training when one athlete brings in another and talks about how it’s their favorite dress shirt.
“That really helps us have that organic spread and as a brand, that feels amazing.”
This year, the brand further expanded its product line with items like polo shirts and pullovers and wants to continue to spread the word “that we are the best damn dress shirt,” Swingle said.
Right now, Swingle said the official endorsement focus will be on Mickelson and Murray, but the more than 1,000 other professional athletes will remain a core focus while building out Mizzen+Main’s customer base.
“Our products are very comfortable and low maintenance for a great lifestyle,” Swingle said. “Athletes are great way to showcase the brand as a natural way to break through and deliver credibility and show how products aren’t just designed for the golf course but the office.”