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College Highlites are sold in eye-catching packaging.

Seeing the Light
Never Graduate Turning Heads with College Highlites
April 6, 2010

For Dave Bursin, the president of Never Graduate, the light went on—quite literally—about a year ago. That’s when his company launched its flagship product, College Highlites. “I went to the University of Tennessee, and I’m still crazy about the football team,” he says. “After I decorated my house with orange and white lights, it occurred to me that this might be a viable business.”

Bursin was right. With the help of his business partner, Jeff Federman, he created College Highlites. “There is obviously a tie-in to the holidays,” says Bursin, “but we don’t market them that way. College Highlites appeal to all sports fans. They can be used year-round.”

Bursin learned just how appealing College Highlites can be during the recent Sports Licensing & Tailgate Show. The Never Graduate booth teamed with traffic. Bursin wrote plenty of orders and got even more requests for specific schools.

“We had only one school under license, the USC Trojans,” says Bursin. “But the response to College Highlites was unbelievable. I had never been to a retail trade show before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Our product generated a huge buzz.”

That buzz helped convince Bursin to pursue more licenses with increased urgency. Never Graduate has since added UCLA, and dozens of other schools will follow. “We will go after every license we can,” Bursin says. “We’re even looking into Australian Rules Football. Our best strategy may be to partner with a company that has existing licenses.”

College Highlites adorned the stage at the Sports Licensing & Tailgate Show.

In the meantime, Never Graduate will continue to expand its reach at retail. Bursin sees distribution ranging from college bookstores and novelty shops to big box stores and major chains. “There is a real ‘Wow!’ factor to College Highlites,” he says. “They have a sexy price point, and no one else is doing anything like it.”




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