By Luis Vazquez
Today’s athletes are finding that coaching and announcer positions are not the only post-career options as Michael Strahan, Dwyane Wade and Russell Westbrook have found the world of the fashion design to their liking.
Mo Vaughn wasn’t really aiming for this career niche. He just wanted fashionable threads that could fit. The former Major League Baseball MVP and three-time All-Star for the Boston Red Sox learned to thrive post-career in the “real” world working in real estate.
But it was a personal need that he suspected could be a niche that was long overdue to be supplied that brought him into the world of fashion.
“I don’t know if I was a fan per se,” Vaughn said, “I think my exit strategy was making good sound business decisions.” This move made him a trendsetter.
Mo found as a 2x tall man, he shared the same frustrations as men who were shaped like him. It was out of that need that he joined with family friend Diane Bennett, a fashion veteran, and in a short period they founded MVP Collections. The clothing company aims to meet this need catering specifically to the big and tall man. Vaughn and Bennett soon learned this indeed was a market screaming to be tapped.
“Why can’t we bring style to the Big and Tall customer,” Vaughn said, “Why can’t they have the same lifestyle as anyone else?”
There they were. Two of a kind that shared the no-nonsense approach to business. One a successful baseball player, the other a twenty plus year veteran in the fashion world. Together they used the tools of e-commerce to make their product known.
“We wanted to be a trend, the cutting edge side of fashion,” Bennett said, “We drove the business towards residual marketing, social media and listening to customers. They’re not looking for the basics, they’re looking for fashion.”
Mo will be the first to tell you he was not social media saavy and was clueless about its reach. But he knows how to pick a partner and by letting their respective talents work in conjunction they joined name recognition and analytics to acquire not just customers but long-term buyers.
“We have plenty of repeat customers,” Bennett said, “We try to bring comfort in our fabrications.”
Identifying what comforts appealed to the every big man they used methods similiar to what Moneyball did for baseball in using numbers as a alternate option in identifying hidden talents, MVP Collections does much the same. In today’s internet market where many shop it was a natural strategy to promote the product.
“We look into the business on a monthly and daily basis. What is the customer requesting? What is he buying?” Bennett said, “We have seen increase month after month.”
The fact that Mo personally hand-selects premium denim and luxe fabrics is a plus and as you can see below MVP Collections offers quite a lot. One look and you can see why the demand moves upward.
Sizes ranging from 1XL-4XL in tops and 38” – 50” in premium denims32 Styles from active-wear, denims, tees and dress shirts. Three lifestyle collections; Athleisure, Weekend and Night Out.Retail prices range from $59.00 – $218.00. E-commerce drives through social media, targeting directly to the consumer with the intent to go directly to the retailer. Complimentary shipping and returns
Going American. It sets them apart. By priding themselves on using materials made in the U.S.A they would be seen as the template for retaining homegrown businesses and setting an example that America can still manufacture quality products.
These agrees with American customers whose voice not only helped elect the current President but are solid clients who represent the MVP fanbase. So out of their factories comes the premium denims, leasure wear and jeans and the quality is undeniable.
“Our fabrics are nice because they are made in America,” Vaughn said, “We can react quicker than anyone else, so we can change our line.”
The industry was stronger when Diane Bennett was in fashion and over 98% percent of production was located domestically. It’s why they loudly promote this fact. Mo is Americana to many so the company benefits from the comparison.
“Mo, being from sports, coming from an American game, a sporting game speaks to all,” Bennett pointed out, “They look at him, they value him, he’s respectable and reliable.”
MVP is ready to take the next step according to their research. After eight months on e-commerce sites they have the information and they act on it. “We knew we had the ball and knocked it out of the park,” Vaughn said. MVP Collections products are going, going, sold.
Luis Vazquez is a freelance sports writer and contributor to the Bronx Chronicle.