Merch, swag, gear - almost every fan wants to rep their team. The team needs money to operate when games aren't played. Here's where the two needs intersect!
After the initial announcement, everything just happens, right? Nope - now is when the real work starts! Now you need a website, and content, and merch! We're a professional sports team, the FIRST professional floorball team in the US, and we want to build a fan base. The fastest way to get your name out besides good old fashioned digital is swag. People wear it, and folks ask what that is. We want to provide quality gear to keep the excitement up over the ten months between now and the first game!
So Jeff and his team at The Next Step got to work on a website and an eCommerce store. The website was wireframed up in Webflow, and the store in Shopify. I played with the designs (and wrote a few blog posts to get started) while I contacted a few folks about swag. I'm blessed that in my career I have a good friend and supplier for my company (Purvis Industries) in Mike Curtis at Curtis Business Products. Jeff and I grew up with another great guy, Rick Nelson of Wrek Athletics in Minneapolis. Finally, Darryl Gross at Floorball Planet was able to help me with a few things as well.
We decided to start small and simple. Jeff's team had done a great job mocking up a few logos, so we are looking at a simple t-shirt, an embroidered ball cap, a lapel pin, some stickers, water bottles, and of course - 2020's quintessential item - the face mask. While the teams all worked on designs and price points, I (in my generally impatient way) went to Vistaprint and designed a one-off face mask. It looked cool, but it was WAY too expensive and we'd never be able to sell it and make any money!
We decided to launch the store with a t-shirt and then start adding items in as we figure out the options. I need to get everyone's feedback on how the gear looks and whether it lasts, so we'll keep inventories low and shuffle items until we find the mix that people want to use! Any items with the Panthers name on it have to look good, be comfortable, and last. As we get feedback from our customers, we'll adjust until we find the right point of price and quality that makes everyone happy.
It's the one thing I can translate from Purvis to the team - distribution! For those who don't know, Purvis Industries is an industrial distributor and we sell hundreds of thousands of products for factories from the web and from 92 locations around the US. Fortunately, inventory levels, price points, and supplier discussions is one thing I know I can do without a lot of help!
Why not stop by the team store and see if we hit on something you'd like to rep? If not, drop me a line and let me know what else you'd like to see with the Panther on it!