Play by the Rules

To avoid a penalty when it comes to selling team uniforms, there are rules of the game that you must know. Here are five to put you in the lead:

Rule #1:

The Right Garment Wins Every Time Uniform requirements can vary from sport to sport. You must understand the sport and how the uniform has to perform. Will there be aggressive contact, for example, which requires a stronger fabric? Perhaps something lightweight is needed for to allow for faster speed and breathability, as is the case for runners and cyclists. What are all the components to the uniform; can you supply them all? Does the team or league have any regulations regarding the uniform? In addition to uniforms, try to sell fan wear like team tees and hoodies, scarves and gloves. These are lucrative add-ons to team sales.

Rule #2:

Deliver On-Time or Lose a Sale Make sure your supplier can meet deadlines. Andy Lehrer, executive vice president of Teamwork Athletic Apparel (asi/90673), explains the stakes: "Sports teams (and dealers who sell the uniforms to those teams) who don't ask the right questions can get caught having to wear T-shirts to their first three weeks of games because the uniforms aren't ready on time. This happens far too often and causes embarrassment and bad feelings between the dealer and the team. It can cause the dealer to lose that team's business the following season."

Rule #3:

Fit and Feel Are King Uniforms must fit well and move with athletes. Any chaffing or pulling can be distracting when in play. Secure a few samples and dispense it to team members to give it a thorough test drive. Get their honest feedback about what they liked and didn't like. It will help inform your future sales with the school or league as well as other teams in the same sport.

Rule #4:

Go Long Athletic apparel intended for team use must be durable and long-lasting. Local teams, such as community leagues or schools, may or may not have the budget for all new uniforms each year. Garments get passed down from teammate to teammate.

Rule #5:

Be Ready to Replenish Ask your supplier if the garment will be stocked and available for the long term. Some teams replenish their uniforms annually and/or sometimes order fill-ins when a new player joins or a uniform has been torn or too worn.