19nine | The Brand
Posted on July 03 2019
My idea for the High Volume Shooters Blog was to provide an outlet for 19nine and friends to write about any and all things basketball that interest them or that they thought people would enjoy reading about. Aaron Meyer and "The Chucker" have done a great job powering the majority of the content as I've been pulled in many directions as a Co-Owner, part of the Creative Team and Social Media person for 19nine. I want to write more and I want to write about stuff people are interested in but I also need to keep the 19nine machine running. It's a delicate balance.
This week I was inspired to write an extended, more in depth, realer version of our About Us page you can find on the homepage. While the About Us page serves it's purpose, a landing spot that gives you the gist of who we are, I thought I could give some insight into why it is we do what we do here at 19nine and what we see as our purpose in this space. I hope you enjoy...
Nostalgia, small part of a huge community. I've always considered myself a part of the basketball culture just through being a junkie. I subscribed to SLAM from the jump, DIME too. I bought all the shoes, clothes, posters, books, etc that was directly related to basketball. I watched MJ and Pip do their thing nightly on WGN. And I grew up in the greatest decade of college basketball, the nineties. I was a basketball connoisseur. But I also wanted to be a basketball contributor.
Four years ago we decided to make a change in our philosophy. We had to ask ourselves some hard questions about what we were currently doing, was it working, and what was the long term plan. That weekend in February was the turning the point. We emerged from our hotel room as an exclusively college basketball brand. We followed our heart. 19nine wasn't a local t-shirt store. We didn't want to try to keep up with the comings and goings of the local scene. That wasn't what we were passionate about and had we continued going that route we would have failed. Instead, we followed our passion and narrowed our focus.
That decision has allowed 19nine to carve out our own small space in the basketball world and its culture. Without that decision the rest of the stuff I'm going to write about doesn't happen.
Getting to connect with people inside that basketball culture bubble is really fun. It's amazing to get to trade emails with Scoop Jackson, DM's with Doug Gottlieb, hop on the phone or trade texts with the guys at SLAM and Nice Kicks. Like really really f**king cool. We've also met some really cool people at the schools we represent. We owe the licensing departments at those schools everything. Literally, everything. Without them there would be no 19nine. We have great people behind all our products and that's not just our 19nine team. Every item we produce is one of our babies and it takes a village to bring each of those products to the consumer.
Equally as dope as connecting with people and companies we idolize is connecting with people that share our passion for college basketball. Every customer is a brand ambassador to us and we also have quite a few that help us with our research of the teams they are passionate about. Basketball junkies that we get to shoot the shit with on a daily basis. Doesn't matter if you've ever bought anything from us or not. If you have a thought about something 19nine or college basketball related we want to hear from you. It's really powerful being able to connect with everyone and also a lot of fun for us.
"This is something that can never be taken away from us." I've used this line so much within the company that it's become an inside joke. It is meant to serve as a reminder that no matter what happens with our company, succeed or fail, we are getting to experience some really cool shit along the way. Whether it be digging through the archives in Mackey Arena, flying to NYC to meet with the Big East, helping organize and pull off a "Whiteout" at Hinkle Fieldhouse, visiting with Coach Knight, or getting behind the scenes access to Georgia Tech and Wake Forest's facilities, we've gotten to do some stuff we will never forget.
Obviously, making money off what we do is important in the sense that it allows us to keep doing what we do but the experiences and people we meet along the way are far more valuable to us than any dollar amount.
Who doesn't see themselves as an underdog? It gives you the chip on your shoulder, helps you push through the hard times, and makes your successes that much sweeter. The truth is anybody that is starting a retail business of any kind is an underdog because of the odds stacked against their brand becoming successful. Cliff's: It's hard.
19nine was no different. When we relaunched as a college basketball brand we did so with very few pairs of shorts available and no new licensing on the horizon. We had to grind and we needed licensing departments to believe in our vision so we rebranded to set us up for the marathon instead of the sprint.
While we are nowhere near where we want to eventually be the vision we had and the goals we set are starting to come into focus and be achieved. I would never say anything comes "easy" in terms of what we do but I feel comfortable in saying that more doors are starting to open for us as we continue to grow.
We owe that to the people we work with, the people we work for (our customers), and the people that carried us through the lean years at the beginning which was mostly friends and family.
19nine is working our asses off to make it not only for ourselves but for you. For all the people that have stuck with us even though we don't have your favorite school, for all the support everyone has shown, we want to pay you back by continuing to grow, continuing to release dope products, and continuing to connect with other basketball junkies around the country.
Hang in there with us. Big things coming...
H.V.S. | 19nine