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Gopher fans

Sports Fans Changing Their Stripes
Overall, Game Bibs Likes What It Sees
March 3, 2010

Five years ago, Josh Coenen, Luke Helbing and Brian Helbing made the brave move to take on the t-shirt and sweatshirt giants and tackle the college sports market with a new apparel concept—classic overalls striped in bright school colors. Fast forward to 2010, and you need only watch an ESPN broadcast (or pick up a copy of SI) to see the results of the Game Bibs gambit. They are everywhere.

The company now stocks 34 color combos (and customizes others) and sells into more than 100 markets. Still, there are hills to climb. “We have established markets in which we've been doing well for years,” says Coenen. “Now our biggest challenge is getting new retailers to test Game Bibs out.”

Thus far, the most effective incentive has been the company’s low- or no-minimums policy. “If it’s a color combination we're already producing, there are basically no minimums,” he says. “It makes our product that much more attractive.”

Creighton Fan Club

Game Bibs wholesale for around $24 and typically retail between $45 and $50. The company also offers infant and toddler styles, as well as a snappy skirt line that has been redesigned for 2010.

The growing awareness of Game Bibs has also led to a nice business with high school team dealers, since many of their 30–plus color schemes match those of prep teams.

The pitch in Game Bibs’ booth at the Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show was Players wear uniforms, why shouldn’t their fans? and they couldn't be happier with the results. “In 2010 we wrote more business at this show than ever before," Coenen reports.

 

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