Three years ago I was headed to my rec league tennis team doubles practice. I was 30 years old at the time and decked out in my best Rafa Nadal Nike tennis outfit. Nike Bandana, Nike t-shirt, Nike shorts, Nike Socks and Nike Wristbands (New Balance shoes because they fit my feet better than Nike). On my way out the door I caught myself in the mirror and I thought for the first time, 'this is a bit much' (particularly for practice). It was as though I was trying too hard to “look” like a tennis player (those who know me best can attest at times to my style over substance tennis game). I quickly took off my Nike t-shirt and replaced it with an old cotton tee with no logos just to break up all the swooshes I was wearing.
This is the anecdote I often tell when asked why I started Athletes Collective. I wanted a high quality unbranded technical sports shirt but could not find it in stores. I figured I wasn't the only one looking for this, and according to my customers this truly seems to be the case.
From a personal preference and brand strategy standpoint I have been adamant about keeping Athletes Collective gear logo-free. From a business standpoint however I often wonder how many more people might have bought my products if they had seen the AC logo on someone they knew. It might get more brand recognition in the gym or on the tennis court. Influencers I have given my gear to could show off my logo and get others to want to wear it. After all I’ve been told the Athletes Collective logo is pretty cool, some going so far as to say they would absolutely wear it across their chest. So goes my ongoing conundrum; brand recognition or stay true to what I set out to do in this industry, which is to be something unique for athletes that don't define who they are on the playing field by the logo they wears across their chest.
In the coming months I will be introducing new items to the collection. I will strive to keep improving the quality of the products that AC produces and become more technical in my designs, all the while providing the most affordable highest quality logo-free athletic apparel on the market. AC will continue to have a logo next to its name but I'll never ask you to wear it across your chest.
Adam – AC President.