Apparel Brand Mizzen+Main Leverages Athletes Without Spending Endorsement Dollars
Dallas-based clothier Mizzen+Main Founder & CEO Kevin Lavelle "suffers from the common business malady of a slim marketing budget, or, at least, one that offers no hope of inking a celebrity endorsement deal," but thanks to a growing number of player-customers, he "doesn't really need one," according to Robert Klara of ADWEEK. The 3-year-old brand "makes dress shirts from high-performance sports fabrics" that Saints QB Drew Brees, Nationals RF Bryce Harper, Clippers G Dahntay Jones, Redskins WR Pierre Garcon and Ravens QB Joe Flacco all wear. Lavelle said, "We've just got a ton of professional athletes as customers. It's been absolutely extraordinary for us because they're customers and not endorsers. Most people see through endorsements anyway." Klara noted the company "makes $125 dress shirts out of synthetics that don't wrinkle, don't need to be ironed and wick away perspiration." They are also "made from stretchable fabrics that fit people with an athletic physique particularly well." Thus, it is "no surprise that a handful of NBA and NFL stars got turned on to Lavelle's brand" when it launched in '12. But referrals "turned into marketing when Lavelle noticed the guys mentioning his brand on Instagram and other social-media channels." Lavelle said Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban "wears our products all the time," as do UFC President Dana White, WWE wrestler Antonio Cesaro and CrossFit Games competitor Jason Khalipa (ADWEEK.com, 6/30).