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.
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 on “Jimmy 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.
“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.