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SBJ/September 5-11, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship
His vision of eyeblack company is paying off
Published September 5, 2011, Page 10
Those dark smudges under the eyes of many players chasing down a fly ball or reeling in a pass are likely to be Beveridge’s product. Gone are the days of athletes smearing grease under their eyes to block out the sun’s glare. Today, the rage is strips of plastic often adorned with team logos.
Eyeblack.com’s revenue is increasing by 35 percent annually, Beveridge said. In 2010, the company sold more than 5 million pairs of eyeblack. A pair of collegiate eyeblack sells for $2.56.
Recently, Eyeblack.com signed pro tennis player Bethanie Mattek-Sands and two NFL players to endorse its products. Beveridge spoke to correspondent Jimmy DeButts about how his unconventional business took off.
Peter Beveridge’s Eyeblack.com has a licensing agreement with Major League Baseball.
BEVERIDGE: It immediately tells everybody in the industry you’re a real player. We liked getting involved with Major League Baseball because it recognized there are a lot of youngsters in high school and below who play all year round. But there was never a product for them to wear on the field and to continue to brand Major League Baseball.
How did you decide on eyeblack as a business?
BEVERIDGE: The first thing I thought was wouldn’t that be valuable space to put a logo. My company exclusively licenses these for the USA and Europe. It seemed to make sense at the time. We created a market for a brand-new product.
What’s next for Eyeblack.com?
Do you participate in any sports that require eyeblack?
BEVERIDGE: I don’t. I play basketball a lot. I wear eyeblack when I play basketball because it’s important for me to test out the product. I want to make sure it won’t be sweat through and it stays on.
Was there a learning curve about your product’s benefits?
Beveridge: We tested the product at Virginia Tech, the University of Florida, the University of Miami and the University of Maryland. The athletes loved it. It was the best kind of feedback we could get. Players on the field were getting it; it was everybody else who needed to learn about the product. The way you make money is you have people on the field using it and people in the stands [buying] it.
Jimmy DeButts is associate editor of the Baltimore Business Journal, an affiliated publication.