Started from scratch, $1,000 from preorders was all it took for Sean Kelly, a 20-year-old proud college dropout to cut it through. Started in his college dorm at Rutgers University, he created a product that revolutionized the jersey game. Sean Kelly now is a proud owner of the multi-million dollar company, Jersey Champs
Jersey Champs started with only $1,000 preorder money to fund the orders and a hundred jerseys were sold out within one week! Jersey champs blew up when the ‘Harambe meme jersey’ got featured on barstool sports. The jerseys feature unique designs combing the fields of Hip-Hop music with the jersey world which brings out never before seen designs onto jerseys.
Before Jersey Champs, the only jerseys you could purchase were the traditional sports teams jerseys that cost a fortune some being over $100! These jerseys were not only highly priced but had the same design too! This is what inspired Sean Kelly to create Jersey Champs wherein you could express your love for something through the jersey you owned.
In today's society, there has been a pressing need of sending our kids to college as if it is a right to passage and those who don’t fall in line are automatically categorized as failures.I had to pleasure to sit down with Sean Kelly who embodies what it means to be self-made and proudly labels himself as a dropout as he talks about his journey in building Jersey Champs and how the company experienced growth.
Did you have any advisors while building Jersey Champs?
Sean Kelly: No I did not, but when I dropped out of college I started watching a ton of Youtube Videos courses on eCommerce. Tai Lopez, Gary Vaynerchuk, Ezra Firestone, Jon Mac, Grant Cardone.
Who designs the jerseys, do you hire designers? How does he get the content which is relative to the demand?
Sean Kelly: Yes, I have a team of 6 graphic designers all of which were sourced from Instagram. Graphic Designers love working with me because I tag them on Jersey Champs Instagram page. which gives them exposure. The content is obtained based on whatever events that are trending. For instance, Stranger Things is trending heavily right now, so I had a graphic designer make a Stranger Things Jersey concept for the Instagram page.
Were there any failures?
Sean Kelly: Yes, there were two major failures. One on Black Friday/Cyber Monday of 2016, we did not expect the massive increase in orders because of which we were a month late on jersey orders. This resulted in a lot of chargebacks and refunds and we ended up losing a ton of money. Because of which we took caution this year. The second failure was in 2016, the Music Festival Neon Desert ordered 100 jerseys from us, which we shipped. They ended up never paying us and we lost over $1,500. We learned from this mistake and since then we never send the jerseys without a down payment.
What would you have done differently if anything at all?
Sean Kelly: We paid $5,000 to have our own website made which did not go well for us. There was a lot of traffic and it crashed often which impacted negatively on our sales. We lost a lot of money then. Later on, we moved to Shopify which was a much cheaper and efficient option.
What was the hardest part of this journey?
Sean Kelly: The hardest part is supply chain management. We have so many different jerseys that are still an issue today. We have to carry an inventory of hundreds of products and ship them in a timely manner.
What are your marketing tactics and what works the best?
Sean Kelly: Jersey Champs targets a much a younger audience and we make sure to make the price affordable as over 80% of our customers are high schoolers or college students. We try to keep almost all our jerseys under $50. Prices like these attract our customers and make our sales big. We also have Social Media Influencers - We find influencers on Instagram, send them a free jersey in exchange for a social media post. Then come Facebook ads and Snapchat ads as they are brand new and extremely cheap. Instagram works the best for us by far. We have over 430,000 followers and the page drives thousands of visitors every day. We do a combination of influencers and sponsored posts on other large pages.
Do you have any celebrity partnerships?
Sean Kelly: Yes, we do. We have one-year royalty contracts with Logan Paul, Dwarf Mamba & 2 Chainz. Logan Paul is the fastest growing youtuber in the world and owns one of the largest Shopify stores. We have made jerseys for Logic, Khalid, Zaxx, Dez Bryant, Lil Pump, Martavis Bryant, Terrance Williams, Jarvis Landry, Futuristic.
What’s next for Jersey Champs?
Sean Kelly: We want to collaborate with more hip-hop artists & celebrities like we did with 2 chainz. We are currently in the talks with Wiz Khalifa, Hopsin & The Chainsmokers with a similar deal.