You don’t have to go too far back to find a time when the sports licensing business looked much different than it does today. Ashley Cox of Logo Chairs recalls what the marketplace was like in 1999: “There were folding chairs lined up and down soccer fields across America,” she remembers. “All of them were plain-color chairs. So the idea occurred to us to make a chair with a college logo. Thus we entered the licensed business. Nine months later, we had our first license…and another eight months after that, we received our first shipment.”
LOGO: The tailgating market seems to be a growing segment for you. Why?
Ashley Cox: Innovation and newness. This comes from keeping your ear to the ground and paying attention to one of the most important things in business, the customer. Our business grows when our customers grow, and this can only happen when we ask the right questions: What have consumers been asking for that you can’t find? How can we make a product better? What can we do to help grow your business? We have our own ideas, of course—we’re constantly selling. However, I can’t sell anyone on the right products until I know the need those products fill. Our customers are the livelihood of our business, so we strive to help them be successful. While we have a new-product development and quality-control team in-house, our customers make up a large percentage of new product ideas and current product improvements. We constantly ask, and constantly listen.
LOGO: What notable consumer trends have you seen recently in your segment of the marketplace?
Ashley Cox: We are still focusing on tailgating, but as of the last year we have started to look at what women would like to see added to the tailgate mix. Women’s apparel is the fastest-growing section of the collegiate licensed business.
LOGO: How does a company like yours respond to this trend?
Ashley Cox: In 2014, you will see a more focused approach to get women buying tailgate products—not for their husbands but for themselves. We are looking into fashionable bags and testing how these textiles pair up in the licensed category. We’ve also added more accessory items to accommodate our top sellers, such as collapsible tables to go with our number-one selling chairs, bar tables and party pennants for tailgating tents. Our staple items—chairs, coolers, tents, etc.—will always sell well, so we constantly change designs and add accessories to keep the product offering fresh for buyers and consumers. We are also always looking to expand our licenses. There are always new licenses for a company like ours to acquire, and new customers to sell.
LOGO: Where do you see your company in five years in relation to the licensed marketplace?
Ashley Cox: I think our top product category will still be chairs. It has been for the last 13 years, so why would this stop? However, I see our company having gained other important brands in the licensed industry and increasing our ability to decorate products in the states. Our goal is to one day be a national brand.
What we do:
The Logo Chairs product line covers everything from folding bag chairs, pop-up tents, tables, coolers and bags to blankets, stadium seating, coozies and more. The company currently has licensing deals in place with the NCAA, MLB, MLS, NBA, NHL, NASCAR, Realtree, and Coca-Cola. Logo Chairs has even delved into licensing on the high school level through LRG.
Among the exciting new items from Logo Chairs for 2014 is a multipurpose tote (right). Perfect for weekend adventures, it includes an expandable section that adds an extra 7 inches of storage space. The bag features team-colored chevron with screen-printed team logos.