Under Armour is an American based company that deals mostly with footwear and casual apparel. It has its headquarters in Baltimore with various outlets across the globe ( Reference for Business, 2016 ). It was founded in 1996 by a 23-year-old student at The University of Maryland, Kevin Plank. It is a multi-billion sports merchandise supply company, competing with other established brands such as Nike and Adidas.
Kevin was a captain for the special team of The University of Maryland. He played as a fullback of the football team here. He, however, got perturbed by the manner in which he and his team mates had to regularly change their sweat-soaked T-shirts with each training session. Their shorts meanwhile always remained dry as they would have been before. This actually inspired him to craft out new ideas on how he could design T-shirts using a moisture-wicking synthetic fabric. As can be seen here, he was so determined to see that in general, the welfare of his team was put into much consideration.
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Upon his graduation, Kevin embarked on working on his ideas. He carried out an adequate research on the best fabrics that he needed to develop his ideas. It is believed that his passion for sports and the spirit of entrepreneurialism that were the main forces that facilitated his works. Despite being just a college student he was so determined to change the outlook on athletes did dress. His main primary objective was to see that athletes in various different disciplines felt comfortable with how they look on the pitch.
The hustle was not easy for Kelvin, after finding his best blend; he designed his own T-shirt which to him was the best to be used for any forms of athletics. Kelvin however never started his company big as people will think of him today. He launched his company inside a small room in Washington DC at his grandmother’s basement. Funny enough, Kevin was never at the premises. He was ever on the road across the country trying to sell out his product to various teams and sports facilities. It was not that easy for him at the beginning as he had to do the marketing all by himself. Kevin started his business by selling shirts from the trunk of his own car. He had no designated place or stall in which he could stock his items for purchase. It is through his hard work that the world eventually noticed his efforts. Years down the line, his company is up there among the multi-billion companies that deal with making performance innovative footwear ( Reference for Business, 2016 ).
He first sold his designed shirts to his Maryland university football team, and to some to his friend who had appreciated his ideas. People thereafter began to notice his brand when the front page in one of the magazines featured an Oakland Raiders player wearing an Under Armour mock. This resulted in his brand being recognized by a relatively larger number of people. His first sells are presumed to have taken place around the end of 1996 in which it is estimated he made sales of up to about $17,000. He achieved this through his hard work by traveling up and about across the East Coast.
The uprising and growth of the Under Armour Company began in 1999 when Plank was approached by the Warner brothers who requested him to design for them outfits for their actors for two upcoming football movie projects that they were to pursue.one of the movies was “Olive Stonnes any Given Day” in which Plank took full advantage of the movie upon its release. He thereafter purchased an in the ESPN The Magazine which in return generated for him close to over seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars ( Reference for Business, 2016 ).
A year later saw the XFL football league seek the services of the Under Armour Company in which they were to supply them with outfits and kits. This happened to be their maiden year in the national television and thus acted as a stepping stone to their prominence. They gained more attention on this particular year through the national broadcast. By the year 2007, Under Armour did flag its first full-line full-price retail center at a mall in Maryland. The company would further go on and open several outlets across the globe including Canada and China.
Under Armour went on further and diversified on its products. Currently, the company has been involved in the designing of suits used by speed skaters that were even used in the recent 2016 Winter Olympics. This has helped in the company products getting more popularity and being accepted same way as its competitors.
The University of Notre Dame recently signed a deal with the Under Armour that was to ensure that the company gets involved providing uniforms and athletic equipment for the University. This ten-year deal is believed to be the largest of its kind in college athletics. The company is further presumed to have operated revenue and operating profit more than 30%.
Some of the caps produced by the Under Armour had initially been deemed unfit for use by the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission. It was alluded that the cups might break when hit, henceforth pose risks of serious injuries. On November 3, 2011 the decision was reversed and the ban on the Under Armour caps reconsidered. The cups were allowed again into the market as they were now cleared fit for use.
Under Armour has also created community-based programs in which they tend to render some of their services to the community. These programs include those such as helping the women keep fit and be the chief campaigners in the fight against breast cancer. They have also helped in identifying the efforts put by the veteran military men during their time in service for the nation. This has greatly helped the Under Armour to easily identify with the community and thus also spread the gospel of their products.
At the moment Under Armour is perceived to be focusing its attention in the marketing and distribution of its brand through its sneakers, clothing for both men and women. The fashion lines in the company’s retailers are well versed making them able to compete at the same level as their competitive brands ( O’Reilly, 2015 ).
Under Armour is currently also trying to invent new shirt called the “coldblack” that will be designed in a manner that it reflects heat and keep the athletes cool even as they play in the sun. These are one of the innovations in the company that seems quite appealing to the sporting fraternity making people want try their new products. The company has also come out with new styles used in designing football uniforms. “The Wounded Warrior” project on football uniforms was an idea of the Under Armour. These uniforms have recently risen to fame with most football teams now buying them. For instance, The University of Hawaii and Boston College wore the studded cleats and American stripped jerseys at some football match ( Under Armour, 2017 ).
The company also launched a new product to their immense ColdGear product line called the infrared. The product was launched in 2013. This product was designed in a way that it disseminated heat using ceramic powder and thereafter recirculates heat around the body of the wearer. The purpose of this design was to ensure that the wearer heat signature is not picked up.
Another innovation of its kind that has helped in the growth of Under Armour is that they were able to come up with a technology known as scent control technology. The product was first released for trials in 2012. The main purpose of these garments designed through this technology was to impede the detection of the wearer’s scent. Some players are usually embarrassed by their scent, but with this innovation, they would be so comfortable on the pitch without the fear of their scent being detected. The innovation actually helped in improving the confidence of a player and so the general team morale.
By the end of 2016, Under Armour signed a number of deals that are a clear indicator of their growth in the industry.it did sign a ten-year deal that will see them become the official on-field uniform provider of MLB as from 2020. Under Armour also became the Official Match Ball Partner of North American Soccer League.
Generally, it is because of the determination and discipline that made Under Armour what they are today. It is the challenges and the wrongs you experience that should drive you to make the right just as Plank did when he saw it a nuisance having to play on sweat-soaked shirts. Perseverance and humility too are a pillar of growth. Kevin never started big as people may think of him today. He started with a meager capital at his grandmother basement, selling the shirts by himself before his company eventually superseded his grandmoms place. He then relocated to and thereafter we have seen his tremendous work over the years. The company has also involved itself with much community activities. The community is usually a stepping stone to success
Under Armour (2017). Our History Retrieved from http://www.underarmour.jobs/why-choose-us/our-history/
O’Reilly, L. (2015). 15 surprising facts about Under Armour. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/15-facts-about-under-armour-history-name-2015-11?IR=T
Reference for Business (2016). Under Armour Performance Apparel - Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Under Armour Performance Apparel. Retrieved from http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/history2/26/Under-Armour-Performance-Apparel.html