Jason Franklin’s apparel company thrives on partnering with brands to create fashion-forward designs for their passionate fanbases.
Jason Franklin witnessed the 1996-98 Chicago Bulls three-peat from as good a vantage point as you could want. He was the ballboy.
And as he watched Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and the rest of the dynasty Bulls, he also saw hundreds of thousands of people fly in from around the world to do the exact same thing. Attending the games allowed him to make the United Center a second home, spending more time in there than the average fan — especially at the team store.
When Franklin was growing up, his biggest interests were sports and fashion. So much so that he’d grow frustrated when visiting the team store, which sold apparel that was not on-trend with what he liked. Then, he began to see other fans experience the same as they sought the perfect items to purchase. After watching this for years, he created the lifestyle brand, Sportiqe, alongside his co-founder Matt Altman.
The company’s purpose is to simply create products alongside brands that aim to be fashion-forward.
“This business was started focusing on passion and we love working with people with passionate fan bases,” Franklin told Boardroom. “My love and passion growing up was watching sports. There was probably nothing more special for me personally than walking into the 2020 All-Star game in Chicago and seeing the Sportiqe product sold out. The emphasis of Sportiqe started on selling something that I wanted to see and seeing my own products was incredibly special.”
Sportiqe fits in for NBA teams, working off of what Nike creates for their on-court apparel. This includes jerseys, sweatsuits and other gear that players may wear during games. For example after teams and Nike establish themes for statement and city edition jerseys, franchises can then contact Sportiqe to create collections based on those themes. Franklin says his company has worked with all 30 NBA teams in some capacity. Searching the NBA’s store, fans can find 141 different Sportiqe products on the site.
There are a litany of other brands that serve similar purposes for the NBA and its teams. The NBA has worked with brands like Louis Vuitton, Tommy Hilfiger, House of Highlights and many more. As for how Sportiqe differentiates itself Franklin said, “Sportiqe has the ability to understand the fashion world and translate it in a way that the fan world can understand.”
Franklin’s company has worked with a number of iconic brands such as the NBA, Nintendo, Peleton, Google, and Warner Bros.
Seeing his brand’s clothes at the 2020 Chicago All-Star Game’s store was impactful, but it may not be Sportiqe’s most impressive feat. At the Nintendo New York store in Rockefeller Center, 98% of the apparel for sale is Sportiqe, according to Franklin. Outside of his collaborations with brands, the Sportiqe website is stocked with modest priced clothing such as hoodies, t-shirts, jackets, joggers, pants and sweatpants.
Franklin’s passion also lies at home. Following the mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois on the 4th of July last year, Sportiqe sold shirts to help raise money for the victims of the tragedy with 100% of the proceeds going to the families affected by the shooting. Sportiqe also has a number of other initiatives with Beam Impact, Himalayan Children’s Charities, the Highland Park Community Foundation, Moriah, and Umom New Day Centers.
Overall, Franklin is focused on finding places where people are passionate about their fandoms.
“We are searching for fans that have a huge, passionate fan base or are trying to create one of those,” he said. “That is our specialty. We help provide, create and design, custom product for all of those brands that can allow them to grow their retail business or make people walking billboards for their respective brands. I wake up early every day and struggle to sleep at night thinking of brands we can collaborate with. The amount of people that we can work with is endless.”
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