Add NCAA Collegiate to your retail success

March 05, 2010 Evergreen Enterprises, Inc. 0 Comments

NCAA Collegiate was started in 2000 as a natural extension of Evergreen flag business to meet those niche needs of customers and end consumers. It was limited to flag products back then and we offered only appliqué and certain sizes. Over the years as we branched into other product categories, we pulled flags, garden and other gift products together to build our collegiate business.

There’re lots of complicated processes involved in collegiate business beyond normal production cycle, one of which is licensing. First we come up with the idea or the concept, which we send to the licensing division of the school to get the categories approved, either through big agencies like COC and AIC, or schools themselves. Following that we have to get distribution channel approval to sell into that. The specifics of collegiate licensing are very strenuous. For example, the color has to be exact and there’s no leeway. Images, logos and all other information have to be dealt with very carefully. Sometimes when you start the license with the concepts and product done, even starting sampling, the school would deny it at the last minute. Sometimes when a new category is added, it would take longer than expected to get through all processes.

So many manufacturers don’t get into collegiate business because of the complicated processes mentioned above. Evergreen has a five-people team working on that who is not afraid of details and makes a difference out of that.

There are a few reasons that make NCAA collegiate products appealing for your retail success.

First, you always have graduates at universities since this nation began. Graduation comes twice a year and there are always people looking for gifts for graduates. Another thing is that collegiate are not as perishable as other products, meaning there’s no season on it. A mascot or emblem for university will go for years without marking down or closing the merchandize.

Collegiate is an everyday gift item for our gift retailers. It’s perceived to be man’s gift and lots of retailers are driving to find a niche in that market. We help provide that. Birthdays, Christmas, college graduation, you name it.

When collegiate was first started, it was very regional products, but not the case anymore. Part of the reason is that more students travel outside the states to attend universities. As state universities and athletic programs grow, the capability of young male mobility grows as well. They study in one area and get jobs somewhere else. Needs spread across the country. Even here in Virginia, you’ll find UNC graduates, Florida graduates, Stanford, Harvard, USC and etc. Collegiate has become such a mass appeal.

The other thing that has changed the collegiate landscape is the internet. Collegiate products are perfect for the internet market. Still remember when I talked about your flag’s Mary in my last blog? Mary, our 55-year old end-consumer is becoming more tech-savvy. She went to college to get a degree when internet came to her life. Now she has a Blackberry and Facebook account, sit down and order Christmas gifts online.

Despite the cost and efforts involved, Evergreen has grown our collegiate business over the years. We pick the best-selling items within our categories across all brands and see if they work in collegiate. Evergreen collegiate now offers a broad assortment of products by paying royalties to the schools with their logos on. Collegiate consumers would normally pay more for that product since they know it’s licensed. They don’t squabble a lot on price.

Tim Lamm
Product Line Manager, Evergreen Flag & Collegiate