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A die cast medal with antique gold finish.

Sticking With It
Sport Pins Grows into International Sensation
July 8, 2008

The American Dream is alive and well. Just ask Jeff Bivens of Sport Pins International. The family-owned company—in business since the late 1970s—was the brainchild of Jeff’s mom, Tawny. His dad, Jon, headed up the art department out of the garage. Mike, Jeff’s brother, is the company treasurer.

“I played soccer as a kid,” recalls Jeff. “My teams did a lot of traveling. We went to a tournament up in Canada, and my mom noticed that many of players had lapel pins. She thought it was a great idea for a business.”

A die struck coin with brushed silver finish.

Tawny was right. Sport Pins has evolved into one of the industry’s most reliable suppliers of custom-made pins, medallions, commemorative coins, embroidered patches, key chains and other similar products. The company also has a selection of in-stock items. All manufacturing is done in China, with excellent turnaround times.

Soccer is Sport Pins’ bread and butter, thanks in part to the company’s MLS license. “We do items for all of the league’s major events,” says Jeff. “We also get a lot of special requests from teams. Concessionaires are an important part of our business, too.”

At the retail level, Sport Pins works with about 500 soccer specialty stores. Club tournaments account for the majority of the company’s business. “We attend 35 to 40 soccer trade shows a year,” adds Jeff.

A cloisonné (hard enamel) lapel pin with silver finish.

Sport Pins will add the Sports Licensing & Entertainment Marketplace to that list in 2009. “We want to see what else is out there for us,” says Jeff. “Maybe we’ll look into other sports. Maybe we’ll pursue other licenses.”

For Sports Pins, the sky is the limit.

 

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