SquadLocker discusses their strategy, and how they capitalize on convenience and customization in the sports apparel industry.
Todd Grant, President and Co-Founder
What is SquadLocker?
Grant: SquadLocker is a hybrid tech and apparel decorating company. The company’s digital solutions are the easiest-to-use platform for coaches, youth league administrators, and parents to instantly build gear stores for athletes, coaches and fans. But, perhaps more importantly, the company has invested millions in technology, processes and equipment to master producing one unit at a time, processing single unit orders from parents in the tens of thousands of stores being set up on the SquadLocker platform.
Why did you build SquadLocker?
Grant: We built it because there are approximately 50 million young athletes in the United States being supported by volunteers, parents and coaches, but there was not a solution for instantly setting up a store for decorated apparel from brands like Nike, Under Armour and Adidas, the brands being demanded by youth athletes, and certainly not one with a no minimum ordering model. Our customers create a profile, select the items they want in their store, upload their logo, and the software automatically builds their custom store that can be shared with their team community. We never have any minimums. We have built a business where we support single unit ordering and mass customization.
For teams that set up stores on your site, how do teams make money?
Grant: We support fundraising for teams. There’s good work being done by volunteers around the country supporting millions of youth sports programs and often times these programs need funding. Apparel sales, where parents and fans are ordering spirit wear, is very often a source of fundraising for the program or team. The SquadLocker platform allows the person who created the store to utilize the store to make money on every item sold to the program’s community. We’re proud that the SquadLocker is not only the most convenient gear store solution, but that the solution we built is a vehicle for giving back to support the great work these programs are doing for young athletes.
What sets SquadLocker apart from other team apparel decorators?
Grant: We are the only company that has the Instant StoreBuilder combined with backend apparel decorating and fulfillment operation that is executing mass customization at scale. We’re transforming how the market has to order. No more bulk orders, no ordering windows or batching, just processing each order as it’s received one unit at a time, custom decorated with a team logo and personalized with player names & #s. So we are a combination of a modernized equity funded technology company with dozens of software engineers working on our platform and the innovations we’ve conceived and deployed to efficiently produce apparel for athletes. Another differentiator is the quality of the company’s print quality; led by a textile engineer, SquadLocker’s founder and CEO Gary Goldberg, is innovating the use of the newest materials and apparel decorating innovations to produce printed athletic apparel that is the softest, most stretchable and most durable in the industry.
How many teams are currently on your site?
Grant: Tens of thousands every year. We expect hundreds of thousands of teams will be using our platform in the years to come. Teams are finding us through word of mouth, but we’re also connected to league software platforms such as SportsEngine, a NBC Sports Company, and SI Play, a Time, Inc. subsidiary where we have gained access to hundreds of thousands of youth sports programs and millions of athletes.
What is your biggest age group? Youth, high school or adult sports?
Grant: I’s a split. As mentioned, we have some significant multiyear exclusive partnerships with brands like Sports Illustrated Play, SportsEngine, USA Football and dozens of other companies that provide access to the youth sports market. That being said, we have a very large segments of customers in the high school market as well as from teams and clubs at D2 and D3 colleges. Additionally, the adult rec market, the largest segment of athletes in the US is utilizing our service.
Is it only based in the US?
Grant: We are shipping to parents in the US and Canada currently, but there are strategic plans for providing the SquadLocker user experience to athletes, coaches and club organizers everywhere.
What are some overall trends in the market?
Grant: We are allowing anyone that’s affiliated with the team or organization to have access to the store building and gear management – supporting an online solution for direct to consumer and giving all consumers the ability to build stores. This aligns with the very clear trends to support the consumer directly, led by the leading companies in our industry such as Nike, Under Armour and Adidas.
Do you see any areas of growth for your company?
Grant: Absolutely. We are operating in a market that is supported that is by 12 to 15 thousand hyper-regional sole proprietors as well as some large companies that are team dealers for Nike and Under Armour. It’s a multi-billion dollar market in the United States. So we are acquiring business from all over the country and are growing very fast as a result of the ease of use of our platform and the product quality innovations we have deployed.
Where do you see your company in 5 years?
Grant: Significantly larger and continuing to be a leader in the market of providing the easiest to use platform for managing team gear. For all of what we have accomplished in less than two years, I think that we will have a more robust user experience and functionality in the years to come. We will likely have dozens more partnerships, more innovations & tools, more sales and more capacity to support the growth. We’ll definitely have multiple decorating and fulfillment sites throughout the US and be global as well, having future plans in Europe, Asia, and Australia.