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EyeBlack's original patches in the colors of the Oregon Ducks.

Patch Work
EyeBlack Looking to Make a Big Push at Retail
January 24, 2012

Peter Beveridge, the CEO of EyeBlack, sheepishly calls his company "the best kept secret in sports." But the irony is that EyeBlack products are among the most visible on the field and in the marketplace. Football players at more than 100 schools nationwide wear EyeBlack patches every Saturday. So do plenty of MLB stars. The company also has individual agreements with several NFL stars, including LaMarr Woodley, Adrian Wilson and Stevie Johnson.

"Our original mission was to provide athletes with functional EyeBlack that really works," says Beveridge. Indeed, EyeBlack offers four different shapes (Warrior, Smear, Original and Clear) in licensed and unlicensed styles. The company also does custom work designed for the team marketplace.

Success with consumers, however, has broadened EyeBlack's goals. The company is now focused just as squarely on retail sales. "The first reaction we typically get from fans is, 'That's cool!'" says Beveridge. "They love EyeBlack because players do. We recently did a promotion with Baltimore Ravens fans. We gave away 2,000 pairs in about 30 seconds."

EyeBlack's retail packaging is meant to jump out at fans.

In January, EyeBlack got a great reaction from fans and industry insiders at the Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show. "We met lots and lots of different people," says Beveridge. "It was a great show for us."

The company is looking to capitalize on that momentum in 2012. According to Beveridge, EyeBlack has added youth sizes and is eager to expand its licensing reach. Along those lines, the company signed softball stars Jennie Finch and Monica Abbott. It is also exploring ways to enhance its MLB business. Beveridge has his eye on an NFL deal as well.

Without a doubt, the stage is set for a big year for EyeBlack. Beveridge feels the company is positioned to grow the business and secure new distribution points. "EyeBlack has an amazing effect on fans," he says. "The product builds loyalty and excitement. EyeBlack sells great at retail."

Sounds like the cat is out of the bag on the best kept secret in sports.




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