Rokkitwear – New Approach to Online Spirit Wear

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Ohio company, Rokkitwear, offers new approach to selling Online Spirit Wear with a personalized online touch.

Some folks fall into their businesses by accident, or perhaps they start printing in their garages and hope for the best. Chris Berger and Brian Welsh, co-founders of Rokkitwear, on the other hand, knew exactly what they wanted when they started their West Chester, Ohio-based company in 2012.

As he was running production at a nearby high-volume garment decorator, Berger began to notice that one of the markets they served had a lot of promise: high school spiritwear. He thought about the number of people who are willing to spend money to support a single student-athlete; he noticed how fragmented the market was for providing spiritwear nationally; he saw consumer buying behavior beginning to trend toward, above all else, convenience.

“We said, ‘Boy, this is a gold mine,’” Berger explains. “‘Let’s go and build a company around it.’ So that’s what we did.”

Berger and Welsh didn’t settle for quick-and-easy when it came to investing in print technology, either. “Everybody told us, ‘You gotta stick with cotton,’” Berger says. “And we said, ‘No. We know polyester is going to be integral to our offerings.’” The company invested in a Kornit Thunder direct-to-garment printer and an Adelco Jet Force dryer (and recently installed a new Kornit Breeze and an Adelco Digi-Cure), but the work didn’t stop there. Anyone who’s worked in DTG knows that printing on polyester is no easy feat; Rokkitwear developed its own “gee-whiz technology” – as Berger puts it – and dedicated some serious time to product testing before he was satisfied with their polyester prints. “We tested all our products ad nauseum to figure out exactly how we needed to run each one of those garments,” Berger adds. “It’s not just a matter of, ‘OK, I got my image. I’m going to throw it on a shirt and dry it.’”

Choosing the right garment is integral when printing on polyester, too, and Berger had his suppliers in mind from the get-go. Rokkitwear is located in West Chester for a reason: It’s just a few miles from one of Sanmar’s largest distribution facilities, meaning product can be delivered and ready to print in as little as two hours. They’re also a one-day shipment away from Augusta and Holloway.

Berger says the variety of their products is one thing that’s contributed to Rokkitwear’s steady growth over the past six years. They offer 350 products in every store, and their online model allows them to keep up with fashion trends as fast as they occur. Suppliers have been more and more in touch with retail trends, he adds, and as soon as a new product is released, Rokkitwear can have it in their stores within an hour.

And how does the shop manage the seemingly chaotic workflow of countless colors, textures, styles, and graphics coming in the door, through production, and back out? It’s all about the good old-fashioned order form. “Everything is very visual,” Berger says. Everything is matched with the physical order form as soon as the blank product is delivered. Having well-trained staff is critical, too, he adds: “We introduce new products all the time, so they have to be very well-versed.”

Rokkitwear recently changed its tagline to “Your Brand. Your Store. Your Money.” Of course, there are always challenges in getting customers to buy into a new business model, but, as Berger puts it, “It’s not by accident that Amazon continues to grow and grow.” So when it comes to getting schools to adopt a platform that basically does the work for them, it seems like a sell that will only get easier.

Plymouth South High School launches online store

Plymouth South High School Marketing students launch online fundraising store.

PLYMOUTH – The old school store has joined the 21st century.

Starting last month, the store at Plymouth South High School has moved to an online platform for marketing clothing and accessories with Panther school logos.

Marketing students Andrew Wagner and Austin Budrow led the store’s charge into the modern market, shifting the store’s limited clothing line to an online presence with hundreds of products and a choice of logos approved by administrators.

Fundraising online apparel store

Plymouth South High School Marketing Students launch Panther Online Apparel Store

The clothing is offered through RokkitWear, an online platform that allows parents, students and staff to customize purchases on 350 different products 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Customers can pay with credit or debit cards and buy single items or in bulk. Purchases will be delivered to their home within five days.

The shift in platform will mean added revenue for the school. Fifteen percent of the purchase price will go to the school’s technical studies revolving fund. That same 15 percent can be discounted from group purchases for school clubs.

Wagner and Budrow decided not to market gear for athletic teams, opting not to interfere with money that teams generate through annual fundraisers.

But groups can coordinate purchases and arrange to have individual names attached to gear if they like.

The online platform only went active two weeks ago, so sales are just starting to come in. The school store will eventually stock a limited line of samples, and the vast majority of goods will be online offerings only.

Shoppers can choose from familiar brands like North Face, New Era and Holloway, and virtually any club or department in the school – from the chess club to the plumbing department – can be featured with a Panther logo on gear.

Wagner and Budrow said the online merchandise will save the school store money on inventory that suffers from shrinkage or goes out of style.

The store had been losing money on some merchandise, marketing teacher Doris Grant acknowledged, and could never display all of the online offerings. “This is cutting edge. This is what technical studies is all about right? The future,” Grant said.

The online store offers a full line of T-shirts, warm-ups, outerwear, sweatshirt, polos and oxfords for men, women and children, as well as hats, scarves, stadium seat and blankets, all of which can be custom embroidered.

They range in price from a classic heavyweight T-shirt for $17.99 to the North Face Thermoball Trekker Jacket for $244.99.

“The days of brick and mortar are over,” Wagner said. “Nowadays everyone has a phone in their hands and can do this in less than five minutes.”

To view the offerings, visit https://www.rokkitwear.com/school/8359-plymouth-south-high-school.