Disruptive Catalyst in Athletic Apparel

May 4, 2016

Todd Grant

Q & A with SquadLocker President Todd Grant covering all of the recent company news and partnerships.

Q: Recently, there has been a lot of news coming from SquadLocker.  Can you put all of the news in context?  What does it mean?


Todd: SquadLocker’s recent successes are clear signs that we are proving out the initial investment thesis for the business.  That thesis was that innovation in the form of technology enablement, providing easy-to-use online tools and resources, would be a disruptive catalyst.  We set out to change the behavior of an entire industry sector.  With $8 billion plus of decorated and personalized athletic apparel being purchased each year by teams, leagues and schools throughout the US, it is mind-boggling to think that league managers, coaches and parent volunteers have to spend dozens of hours visiting corner stores, flipping through catalogs, completing forms and collecting checks from parents.  Never mind all the follow up it takes to check on order status and chase the constant flow of requests from parents and then hand out the decorated items at a practice.

SquadLocker set out to build the easiest-to-use, most convenient online solution for teams and leagues needing to manage apparel purchasing of decorated team gear from brands like Under Armour, Nike, and Adidas.  What once took countless hours and multiple sessions, now takes less than 5 minutes in an easy-to-use online workflow.

The news about SquadLocker also falls in line with the frenetic change underway in how technology is being developed and deployed within the athletics market today.  See the recent venture capital report prepared by Varun Sanon (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/venture-capital-ecosystem-sports-technology-varun-sanon?trk=hp-feed-article-title-comment ).  Change was inevitable within the stagnant apparel management sector.  SquadLocker is leading the way having become the catalyst for that change. 



Q: Why are Sports Ilustrated Play and many others choosing to work with SquadLocker?


Todd: SquadLocker’s TeamLocker™ solution was built to integrate seamlessly within League Software environments.  We raised millions of dollars and have invested those funds into technology innovations so league software providers such as Sports Illustrated Play and others could provide more value to their communities of leagues and teams.  Youth leagues are seeking one-stop-shop solutions provided by comprehensive league management platforms, everything league volunteers need to manage the myriad logistics of a youth league organization.  Any league management platform must have an integrated apparel solution.  Youth leagues are demanding that this service be included in any league software they utilize.  We intend for SquadLocker's apparel workflows to become a league software utility.  The league software providers are choosing SquadLocker because we’re the only company that has the critical combination of uniquely innovative technology, authentic athletic brands such as Under Armour and decorating and fulfillment infrastructure to support demand at scale.



Q: What qualities make SquadLocker a particularly good partner for Sports Illustrated Play?



  • Technology innovation
  • Agility...no fear of failure and an incessant open-mindedness to try and learn
  • A culture of collaboration, flexibility and openness to imagine what's possible
  • Flexible business models and a partnerships based on exchanges of value and shared visions



Q: What matters most to you about the partnership with SI Play?


Todd: It's easy to say synergy, and the revenues we'll generate together, but that's just the financial win for both companies. What's really most important is the shared vision of serving the young athlete.  Both SquadLocker, Sports Illustrated and our league software partners are committed to serving the youth athlete, and to make it easier for the volunteers who dedicate their time to mentor and inspire these athletes as well.  When we’re done coaches will be able to spend more of their volunteer time nurturing and mentoring these young adult athletes who participate in youth sports.  And, as a result of making managing apparel easier, we too will affect tens of millions of athletes each year.  That's why at SquadLocker...We Love Teams!


"At SquadLocker® young athletes are more than just another name and number, they are our world and they make up everything we do. As a company we are focused on delivering the best customer experience day in and day out, we don’t get time outs, we don’t stop due to weather, we play on no matter what and winning for us means pleasing you. Here are just a few of the ways in which SquadLocker delivers the best experience for coaches, athletic directors, league managers, parent volunteers and players."


Q: Where do you go from here?  How will you know that the partnerships with league software companies have helped SquadLocker?


Todd: If we’re helping tens of thousand of teams and millions of registrants within the league software platforms, we will be helping our partners.  Coaches and league organizers win from the easier method of managing apparel, parents and players win, and when those two things occur, SquadLocker and Sports Illustrated win as well.  By helping our partner’s constituent communities of athletes and parents, everything else falls into place.



Q: What are some key takeaways from the recent news that could help other businesses?


Todd: For other businesses seeking to take on large static markets, these tenets hold true:

  • Become a catalyst of change by providing easier methods via incredibly simple user interfaces
  • Consider the concept of disintermediation.  Break down what once were the only channels for conducting business between business and consumers
  • Determine what you have to accomplish at each stage of the business to advance to the next stage. Then, do it!
  • Hire the best thinkers and doers, those people that can envision new things, try new things and learn from doing, failing and learning
  • Start the business based on instinct and entrepreneurial fortitude, but run the business based on data and analytics
  • Identify the best partners.  Craft a story then prove to them that they would not be able to get to where they want to go without you or that their journey would be harder and fraught with more risk if not partnered with you

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