With more people working from home than ever before, Tempe-based Sportiqe, a global Modern American apparel company known for its elevated basics with superior fit, has seen a 167% direct-to-consumer growth over the last few months as the company shifted its focus from its bread-and-butter wholesale division to bolster e-commerce sales as demand for quality, comfortable clothing grew amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
As stay-at-home orders went into effect across the country in March, Sportiqe saw an opportunity to double down on its branded, lifestyle apparel and quickly launch a work-from-home campaign that showcased its best-selling t-shirts, hoodies, sweatpants and more. Through targeted social media and digital marketing efforts, Sportiqe acquired a flood of new customers that catapulted online sales by 300% year-over-year within the first 45 days of the nationwide shutdown. Similarly, massively popular core styles received even more attention as Olsen Hoodie ($60) sales were up 594% and Comfy Tee ($28) sales were up 62%, among others.
“Before the pandemic, spring 2020 was on-target to be a very profitable season as the lion share of our business is reliant on the wholesale division, which makes up 90% of revenue and is predicated on some of the country’s most recognizable brands within the sports, food and beverage, hospitality, tourism and entertainment industries,” said Matt Altman, co-founder and CEO of Sportiqe. “With these industries taking a massive hit early on, we were forced to make tough decisions to reduce staff by 50%, inject more capital, restructure relationships and negotiate deals to ensure cash flow and profitability. Once we saw this sudden shift overnight, we knew we needed to quickly rev up online sales to offset the losses we incurred.”
A key factor in Sportiqe’s viability was its state-of-the-art, 30,000 square-foot warehouse that opened in February, which allowed the company to be nimble and quickly pivot into designing new products and collections with all decorating, labeling, finishing, distribution and fulfillment done in-house. With a mission to make an impact that goes beyond its comfortable fabrics and clothing, Sportiqe debuted a special-edition, “Together We Win” Comfy Tee ($28), with 100% of the profits going to healthcare and community relief. Similarly, Sportiqe expanded its product line to offer comfortable, branded Face Covers, sold in a pack of three for $25, with 10% of the sales from all orders being donated to frontline healthcare workers. Finally, with so many people staying home, cooking and spending time with family, Sportiqe launched its first Comfort Box by partnering with “comfort driven” brands to create a curated collection of specialty items shipped directly to the customer’s door.
“Charitable giving has been part of our core values since our inception in 2006, so it was important to us to rally together and give back to the community in these unprecedented times. To date, we have donated thousands of dollars and product, and counting, from our “Together We Win” campaign, in addition to the branded face coverings, to those fighting the frontlines of COVID-19,” said Jason Franklin, co-founder and principal of Sportiqe. “Creating comfortable, premium apparel is at the core of everything we do whether it’s sold business-to-business or direct-to-consumers and these last few months have enabled us to streamline our process and learn how to better parlay new products, initiatives and ideas with both sides of our business.”
While Sportiqe experienced a 40% decline in its wholesale division during the pandemic for most of its business-to-business clients reliant on in-person customer sales at brick-and-mortar locations, its was able to hone in on its e-commerce clients like Nintendo, Barstool Sports, Proper No. Twelve and Trek Bicycles and help them make the switch by providing web-ready images and content, usually used for social media, in order to better market their products online. Also with the NBA being among the brand’s first clients and recently awarded them “2019 Licensee of the Year”, Sportiqe was selected to produce branded face covers for the players and staff of the Phoenix Suns, New Orleans Pelicans, San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks.
Headquartered in Tempe, Sportiqe specializes in Modern American comfort wear using premium fabrics, innovative designs and an on-trend fit that not only look and feel good, but provide superior comfort no matter the occasion. The company has been on an aggressive growth path since 2017 when it extended beyond its bread-and-butter wholesale division and launched a direct-to-consumer lifestyle brand, exclusively sold at Sportiqe.com.
Within its wholesale division, Sportiqe collaborates with global leaders like NBA, Dave Matthews Band, Nintendo, Airstream, WWE, Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, Warner Bros., Live Nation, Samuel Adams, Peloton, Microsoft Xbox, Tillamook Creamery, Sierra Nevada, JSX, Trek Bicycle, to name a few.