What started as a goof in the Great White North has spawned into a North American craze that shows no signs of slowing down. To say the public’s affection for the ugly Christmas sweater has reached critical mass is an understatement. From holiday parties to group shots with Santa Claus, people are donning hideously adorned holiday apparel.
Fans aren’t just raiding their grandma’s closet in search of nabbing a retro pullover. In fact, it’s become a lucrative business for some. Uglychristmassweater.com launched in 2012 with sales around $40,000 but will top out this year at an estimated $5.5 million. The company has scored licensing deals that allow it to create and sell everything from Guns N Roses sweaters to Star Wars themed tops. Sports teams, beverage companies and rock stars are also getting into the act; some are selling their own garish sweaters and others are using them as a premium or promotional item. And while some rake in profits, other organizations are more philanthropic. La Tienda de Jardin, a boutique shop in Las Cruces, NM sells used goods including ugly Christmas sweaters. Their vintage offering is so popular that when the merchandise is displayed and ready for retail, customers line up waiting for the shop to open. The proceeds benefit Jardin de los Ninas a center that works with homeless and near homeless children.
So, it might be too late to hop on the trend this year with a custom promotional sweater, it’s never too early to start thinking about next year. With enough lead time any company, organization, sports team, etc. can ensure they will get the design they like, knitted in time for Christmas 2016.