#1 Online Custom Gear Shops
It all started with a blanket...
A friend needed some custom blankets for a client. While touring a classic fleece supplier, the owner proudly pointed to a big order of thermal pizza delivery bags. A bit crazy, but we wondered if our fleece could be backed with pizza bag material to protect from the weather. We created a prototype and named it SportsRap. The client loved it and placed a nice order. The supplier couldn't mass produce it, so we made them all by hand. There must be a better way.
We started a company. It was much harder than it looked. After lots of goofs and many years, we sold millions of dollars of SportsRaps and custom blankets. Customers smiled and started asking for other items. Bought a lot of expensive customizing equipment and added t-shirts, hoodies and hats.
We delivered orders to a bunch of school customers. Helped them haul boxes and set up spirit wear sales. Lots of work. Lots of volunteers. Lots of order forms. There must be a better way.
The Internet thing really took off. Google became a verb. Gotta get online.
We launched a site called MyLocker.net. It was much harder than it looked. We built it so everyone could design their own stuff on-screen. Bought more expensive customizing equipment. Lots of orders started to come in.
Built hundreds of custom online shops for schools and teams. Customers smiled and started asking if we'd build them an online shop. Hired lots of web developers to create 'shop builder1 - so easy that my mom could build an online shop in less than 5 minutes.
As of today, we have:
- Over 110,000 custom online shops for schools, teams and leagues (mom hasn't built one yet)
- Major partnerships with cool websites and team/league management companies
- Lots of expensive equipment to make stuff
- Lots of employees that fix the expensive equipment
It's still a lot harder than it looks, but we keep tryin'...
Robert Hake, Founder & Partner
Rob has over 12 years in the custom apparel business. He started with the development of a unique blanket designed for school sporting events. Building on the concept, his company added custom apparel and team gear and expanded its customer base to include thousands of schools, teams and leagues.
In 2005, Rob began development of an online marketplace for custom apparel and launched MyLocker.net in 2006. He established successful partnerships with major school sport sites, including highschoolsports.net and subsequently sold a minority stake of MyLocker.net to Gannett, Inc. (NYSE: GCI)
Alan Bittker, Partner
Alan joined MyLocker.net as a partner in 2008 following two years as an advisor. He brings 20 years of experience running mid-market businesses, leading private equity transactions and migrating traditional businesses online.
Alan is also CEO of The Bittker Group. Until 2005, he was CEO of Entertainment Publications, Inc., a $225mm marketer of discounts and gift wrap. Alan guided EPI through a leveraged buyout with The Carlyle Group and initiated a strategy that resulted in ~S100mm of new online sales via company websites, partners and affiliates. In 2003, he led a second transaction and sold EPI for S360 million to IAC. (Nasdaq: IACI)