At St. Pauli, we outfit ourselves!

Bang! What news for a Sunday during an international break. Beginning with the next season, the club won’t enter the pitch in kits from certain outfitters but will start to produce its own team wear. But even more: it’ll be produced fair and sustainable! Cautiously, we comment enthusiasm.
(Photo: Peter Böhmer)

Corona is a pain and is also affecting the way how this news is broken. Initially, Oke did actually plan to announce this great news at the member’s gathering in November. But as we all know, this gathering was cancelled or is held virtually respectively now – and after Friday’s announcement that Under Armour will no longer supply the club with gear, at the information session of the director’s board about the economic situation of the club it was further specified now that this was a deliberate decision of the club.

A long way in the making

At the member’s gathering in November 2016, a formal request was made – to put it simply- that the club should ensure that kits and gear are produced fair and sustainable. This request was constructively changed into the task force “Sustainability” and ever since the members of the club actually longed for having these items produced by the club itself – it started with the merch of the Jolly Roger shirts and hoodies which was successfully implemented meanwhile. Since roughly two years now, it was further planned to intensify the thoughts of producing sports gear as well while having the end of the contract with Under Armour in 2021 in mind.

According to Bernd von Geldern, the concept, which was now presented to the public, was already oven-ready at the start of the pandemic. And while the pandemic was an economic factor which could have mixed a few things up, nevertheless the club decided to make this step now.

„We see more chances than risks in this regard. We want to do something by ourselves and not choose total security. We drive our independence and our own values forward. The community empowered its club.”

Oke Göttlich
The Production

Since a few years, the club already has a partner in Turkey where the production of own articles is happening. These are long-lasting networks to the local producer, the club also states that is is an important message, to strenghten the liberal and enlightened people in turkey. All production factories are certified and have been visited by the club already before the pandemic started.

The club will produce the entire team wear by itself, except for the boots. This includes almost 60 different articles such as pants, jerseys, socks and functional wear as well as training gear. Due to the autonomy of the different departments and related contracts with other outfitters, this will only include the football department for now, however, in the football department all age groups from Rabauken to the professional squad will be included. All other departments could be served in the future as well, however, in the beginning, the club does not consider itself as a specialist store for sailing gear. With regards to the handball department, the proximity to the needed wear is certainly closer and thus a quicker solution will be possible.

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The brand:

“Do it – improve yourself!” (DIIY) is the name.
Holy cow… okay, there’s always something, but this isn’t for sure very appealing. But it doesn’t have to be as long as it’s working. Of course, the wordplay “Do it yourself (DIY) is included here and some will even be reminded of “Do You Football”. A completely new company is currently not on the table, DIIY will be a registered brand (word and picture) of the club, comparable to the skull and bone. Would “1910” have been a better name or the St.Pauli skull and bone a better logo? Probably yes, but maybe the club did not want to weaken the skull and bone brand or decided to stay attractive for other clubs as well by using this neutral name.

There will be for sure some “neutral” clothes up for sale as well and it’s also likely that other teams of the youth and amateur area will outfit themselves with such gear, however, this will for sure not be the current and huge aim of the club.

The product

It’s aiming to be “fair and sustainable”. Bernd von Geldern actually stated that it’ll be the “most sustainable team collection of the world.” Flippa published some thoughts in our article in August, about the issues with “fair and sustainable”. While other clubs did already produce a shirt from the recycled waste collected from the oceans or certain other components of this kind, there never was an entire team wear collection.

The price

The jersey is planned to be sold for 69.95€. This is less than the currently charged 74.95€ (including the usual amount of VAT) of Under Armour – but also much more than many would have hoped for to pay for a jersey which is produced by the club itself. When asked about the jersey of Austrian club Linzer ASK which also produces their own jersey and sells it for 50€ only, Oke Göttlich replied that this isn’t the usual price for a jersey which is produced fair and sustainable.

Special sale at Christmas:

You’re craving to know how the jersey will look like, aren’t you? Be patient. It will be officially unveiled on the 1st of December and will be up for sale from then on. Whaaaat? Yes, it’s true.. However, for now, it will only be a voucher, the genuine shirt will then be delivered in May 2021. Thanks to jersey sponsor congstar there will be a special promotion valid from 1st of December to the 31st: Anyone, who will order their jersey during this time can “individualise” the chest print of the jersey. So, you can either put your name or the supporters club name on it, for example.

Will there be a third kit for cup matches?

Hahahahaa, yes, actually.
They’ll never learn it.

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Nothing is known yet with regards to the colours, on the 1st of December, the home jersey in brown will be presented only. But I am cautiously optimistic that none of the other two will be blue.

Financial Risk?

Without any doubt, the deal with Under Armour was very attractive, from a financial perspective. And despite all rumours, UA fulfilled all contract details until the end, according to the club. Without an outfitter, you need to bring in the money (should be something in a low seven digits value) yourself, in a different way. On top of the money, there is also the “hardware” of clothes, that UA delivered and which now needs to be produced (and paid for) from our side. According to Bernd von Geldern it is the realistic aim to reach these figures already in year one. Everything has been calculated as a business case – of course with many variables.
And if this all goes totally wrong? There is an entrepreneurial risk, as it comes with all decisions – but in the worst case, you just close this chapter after the first season and knock on the door of the outfitter of your choice for a new contract.

And how do we think of it?

To be honest: Pretty cool.
After re-purchasing the distribution and merchandise rights, this is the next logical step – however, it is, of course, such a courageous step that we’re actually the first club in the German professional football which is taking it. Sure, if Bayern Munich is actually getting the circulated 60 Million Euros a year from Adidas they of course easily accept the money and don’t have to bother about all the other stuff. But here, the amount granted is much smaller, probably only low seven figures big at all, however, of course, we also have to take all the other gear which Under Armour supplied into account.

But let’s do some rough maths without knowing the actual figures: If we assume an average profit of 30€ per jersey sold (not taking any sale promotions and the own team supply into account), 33.000 sold jerseys would deliver 1 million Euros of earnings.
This should by and large be the number aimed for – if the profit per jersey is more or even less, the numbers have to be adjusted slightly. But this number appears to be absolutely realistic if the club manages to sell the jersey credibly as something own and special.

It’s a risky move, a brave move – but the first reactions on social media since Friday show, how much emotion is related to this topic – and also how much potential this move offers.

And now just imagine that the jersey looks cool?! Out of a sudden, they’ll sell zillions of jerseys and buy Marcus Rashford, win the German championship and the Champions League – Rummenigge is going to vomit excessively!

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Stay safe!
// Maik (translated by Arne)

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