Sports fan apparel has gotten a major facelift recently, thanks to Whitney Bansin and The Wild Collective.
In 2016, Whitney founded The Wild Collective, a fashion-forward lifestyle and apparel brand that sits at the intersection of sports and fashion. They are licensed across the nation’s biggest sports leagues, including the NHL, NBA, WNBA, MLB, and MLS, as well as select collegiate teams.
”I'm not relying on retailWhitney BansinFounder and CEO of The Wild Collective
Speaker 1 (00:00):
Hi, I’m Katie Hankinson and I’m Mickey Cloud. Welcome to Building While Flying, a Sasha Group podcast, where we interview business leaders about how they tackle challenges, stay resilient and navigate ever changing skies.
Speaker 1 (00:20):
Welcome to Building While Flying. My guest today is Whitney Bansin, chief disruptor, and CEO of The Wild Collective, the sports apparel brand that’s taking the world of team sports by storm. The Wild Collective partners with the top teams and leagues in sport to bring fashion forward apparel to today’s discerning fans and the well collectors. Now officially across the NHL, the NBA, WWE MBA, MLB MLS and multiple college teams. And goodness knows how many other three letter acronyms are in her future. And for Whitney, the sky’s the limit. Well, Whitney, welcome to the show.
Speaker 2 (01:00):
Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.
Speaker 1 (01:03):
Obviously go a little ways back cause we’ve been working with you sometimes. So I know you already, uh, had, have experienced you as the ultimate problem solver and opportunity hound. So talk a bit about your background with what kind of brought you to where you are today.
Speaker 2 (01:23):
Well, I started actually, when I was like 16 years old, I wanted to go to fashion school and I wanted to be able to do my own fashion collection and um, you know, follow that path. But I was really young when I graduated high school. I was 16 years old. So I went, I knew I was never going to be able to just take off to London and, you know, attend central Saint Martins and become this amazing fashion designer at 16. Um, so I ended up going straight to college and I majored in business. Um, got a business degree and while I was there, I was actually making part of set Mac cosmetics, started to learn kind of the ropes of the makeup of the beauty world. And I left there after two years after I graduated from college and I started an agencies. So I created one love agency out in Vegas and I put together a team of artists, stylists, um, makeup artists, and we would do commercials, TV shows, red carpet celebrities, uh, you know, e-commerce anything that was basically happening in Vegas.
Speaker 2 (02:38):
We handled. Um, and I grew that business very big to the point where we actually were the agency of record for Zappos. Um, other studio here in Las Vegas. So I had all creative direction for, um, the beauty department for Zappos. And while there, I started to kind of get the bug back again of, you know, wanting to get into fashion a little more, but how was I going to do it? What was going to be my roadmap to get there? And I started this line called crimes of beauty, basically just funny beauty stuff on stuff. So funny sayings on t-shirts and, um, hats and, you know, denim jackets and that kind of stuff. And a bunch of the hotels in Vegas started to pick up on that. And they were like, oh, these are really cool. You know, we want to sell them into hotels.
Speaker 2 (03:33):
So I started this kind of whole private label program for the hotels on Las Vegas strip. And I was approached by Caesars one day and they said, Hey, you know, we have this wildly successful, biggest golden Knights hockey team here in Vegas. We would, we have all these sections around the hotel where consumers and customers are the hotel, people who are going to the games, they can shop the product and buy a Jersey or buy a t-shirt for the fan. And they had asked me, you know, would you be able to design some stuff that we can merchandise with the jerseys and the t-shirts because, you know, we feel like it’s a little boring. It’s not as exciting. It’s Vegas. People are coming here, they wanted, you know, rock something really cool. What could we do? So we created a collection that we sold, um, through the hotels and it was basically just gold and black stuff.
Speaker 2 (04:36):
It was jackets and shirts and teas and everything you could think of in the colors of the team, because I wasn’t licensed. So I couldn’t actually use, um, the golden Knights logo on anything. Um, but we created these awesome pieces that the hotels were just selling like hotcakes. They would merchandise the next to the jerseys and the teas and they, weren’t seeing a huge sales increase, um, in all their stores. So from that signed and had me starting to question, okay, this is a thing, why isn’t anybody else doing it? Why can’t you find licensed gear, uh, that has more of a fashion forward approach. So I kind of did my research a bit, kind of wanted to see what was out there, what different companies were offering. And so we designed this collection, um, from everything from men’s women’s we had some unisex pieces in there, um, and really just did different things.
Speaker 2 (05:37):
Things that no one else was doing. And that collection took off like wildfire and got me a ton of press. And I started getting a lot of notoriety in the industry for it. And we had coming off of that collection. We ended up getting a booth at the tailgate licensing show in Vegas, and that just catapulted us into, you know, a different realm around that I didn’t even know existed. Um, we had, at one point, you know, the New York guarantees the Houston Astros, the biggest golden Knights, the Boston Bruins, you know, we had the capitols, everyone was in our beef at the same time. Like we had literally, they saw the rack of all this cool, exciting stuff. And they were like, well, we’ve never seen that before. No one’s doing this. No, one’s doing a leather bomber jacket. No one’s doing, um, these cool sequined jackets are doing remotely exciting.
Speaker 2 (06:35):
So I think that we were able to draw a lot of buzz because even if you were just walking down the hallway, you would see all this cool stuff and be like, wait, what is this what’s happening over here? What is she doing? And love it. And so that really is what set the stage for everything. And after that is when everything really fell into place, MLB, um, w NBA, NBA, um, we were able to jump into college, which was not something that was even on our radar. I didn’t even think that they would respond to me. And it was actually the quite opposite is I started to find that the leagues were looking for this, but had yet to really be approach. And so it allowed that really unique opportunity, um, where I was able to kind of solidify our role in what The Wild Collective stood for and what we were trying to go after. And to allow these leads, the opportunity to grow their market, to expand merchandise portfolio at a time
Speaker 1 (07:42):
Time where they’re looking for those sorts of things, you know, like,
Speaker 2 (07:47):
And especially, and especially, we’ve got to remember, this is all kind of during the pandemic too. So this was also a time when I think it allowed these licensed, uh, leads to step back for a bit and kind of actually have a moment, be like, oh, what’s missing. What are we doing? What should we be doing? What, what should we be going after? And initially you remember when we first started our, on our branding, right? I initially was going to go strictly women’s apparel. That was the goal women’s. And then as I started to dive deeper and deeper and deeper into it, I started to realize, wait a second, there’s this massive hole of men’s apparel fashion forward, but it’s totally untapped. And I knew that I was able to make a play for that. I know that it was an opportunity. And if I picked out it enough, I would be able to start making some headway. And so that was a really big focus of ours was to say, okay, we’re not just women’s apparel. Now we’re both women’s and men’s apparel to then dive even further into the unisex part of it and saying, okay, it’s not just men’s and women’s is also unisex. So creating those unisex pieces that are really key and really important that are really on trend with what’s happening in fashion right now.
Speaker 1 (09:17):
You mentioned that. So, cause I think with, well collector you’ve, you’ve created this brand that sits at this intersection of fashion of sports. It brings your business acumen. It brings some of that glitz, some pizazz of your Vegas roots, but in a way that it’s accessible, you know, Countrywide and sports fan wide. But what is it? Talk a bit about some of those on-trend fashion-forward aspects that really make the world collective products, what they are, you know, I love that you are looking at this more intersectional type of customer, like playing with unisex, things like that. Talk about, you know, what drives your design decisions and what makes a real Wild Collective piece stand out from a typical piece of fondant.
Speaker 2 (10:00):
Yeah. I mean, one of the things I’m always doing is kind of scouring to see a lot of fans make their own stuff to wear to a game. They’ll make their own denim jacket. They’ll make their own sweatshirt, we’ll cut things up and own them. And so, you know, a lot of it kind of came down to looking at what the wives were wearing, right? So you have a lot of, um, and just are obsessed with what a wife is going to wear to the game. Um, and they’re all getting custom stuff. They’re all, they’re all going, getting their man’s name on the back of their jacket. And it’s completely rhinestoned out there. I’m looking at all that stuff. I’m diving deep into what is cool, what is trending, what is happening in fashion that can translate it into sports. Um, and so that’s really from a law collective standpoint, we’re really going after that street wear vibe that you can take, as we say, at The Wild Collective take from the street to the stadium, you know, because it should be a lifestyle piece it’s we, our intention is not to just to create a piece that you can only wear to a game.
Speaker 2 (11:17):
The sports brands are iconic. They have iconic logos, they have iconic culture behind them. And if you’re able to take those and infuse that into a street wear lifestyle, branded apparel collection, you now have translated across multiple categories, not just this is fan apparel. It’s now this is fan of hair. This is lifestyle. This is street wear. This is iconic fashion pieces that are going to end up someday on eBay or relatively soon when we start dropping all of our, um, special, you know, one-off items, uh, you know, that’s where it lies. It lies in creating that excitement of these pieces that you can’t get anywhere else. And that’s something huge that we’re going to be focusing on. Um, as you know, we start to really build up our e-commerce platform with the Sasha group little plug right there. Um, because we see that as a huge opportunity. We see that people want exclusive things. They want to have something that no one else has. They’re already doing it in street, wear culture. They’re already doing it in, you know, the sneakerheads and all of that drops. Um, it’s something we’ve talked about with Gary V you know, this is something that is how the world starts to see and how they prioritize the items they want and what they want to go after.
Speaker 1 (12:51):
A lot of this is really about identity and tapping into how people express their identity at the same time as showing the support of the team that they love, or they go way back with. And so tapping into what, what helps people feel unique at the same time as feeling, we talked a lot about this, right? You kind of stand out in a crowd, but you’re still part of the crowd, you know, at the same time, it’s an interesting tension. So, Hey, you are in this space of, uh, sports apparel and, you know, beginning that the kind of growth curve at the world collective, and then building relationships with teams and leagues, and then the bottom falls out of sports events. So fun was canceled. No one was going into any, any games or matches. What did you do at that point that must’ve been quite a kind of reckoning moment for you in the early stages of gross?
Speaker 2 (13:45):
Yeah, so we, there were two things we did. Um, the one thing we did was we saw, um, so I’m in Vegas, so hospitality, entertainment, capital of the world, right? And my husband works in the hospitality industry. He does events for a living. Um, you know, most of our friends are all very much in that culture and in that world. And so when we were sitting, I was sitting back during the early stages of the pandemic saying, okay, if our city shuts down, which it did, which was probably one of the craziest things you’ll ever see in your life, uh, the Las Vegas strip on complete lockdown. And so I’m sitting back with my friend who worked at the Venetian at the time, and she’s in marketing and branding. And we were like, what could you do to make people feel safe to come here?
Speaker 2 (14:47):
Right. Because all of our friends jobs, and we’re literally on the line at this point, right. Everybody was pretty much furloughed or a lot of people have been like go. I knew it was a really sticky time for a lot of people that we knew. And so we knew that the minute these hotels started ran back up again and be able to bring in guests, um, that’s when our city would start kind of the healing. And so the big thing was how could they feel safe coming back? And so being in my previous, uh, company, I did a lot of accessories and a lot of bags. So I had pitched this whole concept to the hotels of creating this, uh, bag that had hand sanitizer, the little COVID key, um, the pens with the ends on it, so that you could like touch things. You could, you know, you could touch, uh, elevator knob or touch, you know, typing on something.
Speaker 2 (15:46):
Everybody was freaked out. Um, and so we put together this whole concept and I ended up selling the, um, bags to MGM resorts across all their properties across the entire United States. And luckily enough, we were able to land the contract forward. And it really that set the stage for us in our growth now that we’re having, and in, you know, how we have decided to go full stream on e-commerce and being able to kind of rebrand, um, bring on the Sasha group and really start to change anything that we didn’t feel was ready for our massive launch. We had the time now we had the capital, we were in a position that we could then say, okay, let’s do this, right. Because you have to remember, I just came up with a logo. I just was winging it. It wasn’t anything super thought out. It just was, Hey, I made cool stuff.
Speaker 2 (16:54):
Right? Let’s just keep making cool, cool stuff across all these teams. And so now, so the two things, the two big things from, uh, the pandemic that really set us up or a pivoting, and being able to do that deal with MGM, that was huge for us. And B was bringing on the Sasha group to help us in our rebranding to pull together strategies and to be able to put together a e-commerce platform that can handle all of these teams that we’ve now taken on and be able to really start to create that as a name, a source of business for The Wild Collective. Whereas initially we were strictly business to business.
Speaker 1 (17:41):
Talk a bit about that. Well, firstly, before we jump onto that, uh, the one thing to call out specifically is with that pivot for MDM, you were in a position where you actually were able to turn a profit during those really tough months in the pandemic. So props to you on that for kind of moving fast and being able to do that, to tee you up for the next phase. And then, yeah, we talked a bit about kind of what that aha moment was around flipping to econ, like talk about what, what prompted that shift, what, what that moment was when you were like, hang on a second. I think I need to bring this roadmap forward, but econ yeah,
Speaker 2 (18:18):
Well, what’s funny is, so there was the initial moments and I have to tell you that since that initial moment there’s been many more moments, only reiterated what I was starting to see. Right? So although, you know, launching an e-commerce platform, having inventory, doing media, spend all that stuff is very scary and it’s a large undertaking of risk. I feel so much better that we made that decision and that we went down that path because honestly, initially it wasn’t, I knew we would do a website at some point, wasn’t a huge focus. And then when it became clear, um, it really set the stage for us. And it, it was a conversation we had, um, it was a video, um, obviously you’re still doing probate. We set up this large video, um, zoom with sporting goods. And it was, um, myself and I hired a couple models and I had them come into the studio.
Speaker 2 (19:26):
I had them put on this is for Ohio state. And so we had them put on the whole Ohio state collection. I walked through every piece and I’m thinking, this was amazing, right? Like this was the moment. This was it. Like was going to be on board. And it was just going to be amazing. And they had a lot of really good feedback. They loved all the items and because it was COVID, they were still 10 about putting an ordering. And here I was thinking the order is going to set me up. That was going to be the baseline.
Speaker 2 (20:08):
And then I have no baseline because it ended up placing an order because they were still concerned about COVID and they really were trying to be, you know, they didn’t know that fans would be in the stands come fall and they were scared. And so it was that moment. I remember feeling, oh my God, here I am relying on this retailer to basically set me up. And the bottom just fell out. It was not what I thought it was going to be. And I said, you know, I’m not buying this. I’m not buying this whole, you know, strictly relying on a retailer. Right. I needed to have both in play, both business to business and B to C I needed to be able to have both. So that if one fluctuated, I was still able to have the other two, bring me back that
Speaker 1 (21:13):
You’re going to diversify your revenue streams for sure. And it gives you room to play, play slightly different structures between the two, no doubt as well.
Speaker 2 (21:22):
Yeah. So, um, it was just an aha moment for us to say, okay, you know what? This is our opportunity to create an e-commerce platform to really drive consumers to that platform, create that culture. And that consumer base that we know is there. And we know that is dying for all this cool stuff, and we’ll still do all of our B2B. We’ll still continue all those relationships and be able to maintain and do really awesome stuff on that side. But we wanted a little more freedom. We wanted a little bit more control, um, to not be in a position where we were reliant so heavily on those B2B orders. And so this allowed us to neutralize a little bit so that you were able to continue to build, but we weren’t reliant on one side of the business.
Speaker 1 (22:17):
Yeah. I love that. I think as well, it gives you a really fantastic place to build out what The Wild Collective is, you know, kind of begin to explore the collective. I know firsthand that you’re always moving a million miles an hour and you’re constantly innovating. What do you think, uh, the, the things you’ve developed, those skills you’ve developed as a leader that helps you do that, like that kind of keeps you pasting as swiftly as you do as buddy opportunities,
Speaker 2 (22:47):
Uh, as a leader. Well, you know, I’ve always just naturally kind of had that in me. I’ve always loved, uh, kind of managing tasks, managing people. Um, I’ve always been really good about that. That’s always been like a big strength of mine, I’m Scorpio. Um, so I’m very intense, but also very direct and to the point, um, I’ve always, I I’ve never let anybody, so the path for me, I’ve always found my own path and just somehow figured it out. And I’ve had a lot of people across, you know, different points in my life always questioned me.
Speaker 1 (23:30):
Well, I have my final question to ask you. Um, but we love our Building While Flying analogy for entrepreneurs, because it speaks to that nimbleness and flexibility that you needed, you need to operate, but also pilots are pretty well renowned for being able to keep calm under pressure when, uh, when the back’s against the wall. So when you have to make tough decisions for the business, what process or practice in life helps you build while flying,
Speaker 2 (23:56):
I really strongly believe in just listening to yourself and your gut and what your gut tells you. I’ve had to make some tough calls, some tough decisions, um, regarding, you know, whether or not to place an order, how much inventory we should have on hand for, you know, the websites, um, being able to navigate different. I mean, right now, shipping is a huge situation across the world. Everyone’s dealing with this massive, uh, supply chain issue. Um, so being able to navigate that and knowing when it’s smart for you as a business to take a hit, and when it’s smart for you to, you know, be able to take an opportunity and seize it. Um, so I think that has really defined my leadership with the Wildcollective and building and building on that. I also think that the relationships I carry are relationships that people believe in not only us, but I do believe that they believe in me as an owner and as a leader, um, they believe the vision.
Speaker 2 (25:05):
They believe what I envisioned for not only the brand, but for the ultimate, uh, and product it’s really that, that I think holds a lot of, um, value is having those relationships in this world and having them without question, maybe the first call. So, you know, the fact that my name started to spread like wildfire through the different sports leagues and different buyers, and I’m getting emails from people. I don’t even know who I’ve never met. Oh, Hey, I heard you’re the girl that does the denim jackets, or, Hey, I heard, I heard you do these really cool things. Can you make us this? You start to see that. And, uh, you know, there would be a day or so where I would get hit up by probably four or five different people that I’ve never spoken with before, but my name and what we’re doing in the industry is starting to become its own play that these buyers and these leads are starting to come after me rather than the opposite of me going after that. Wow.
Speaker 1 (26:15):
Very exciting. So I’m going to recap what you said, cause I think it’s sort of important one the gut, but that intuition at this, going to help you drive good business decisions. Secondly, the relationships, and I think also it sounds like kind of integrity and vision that you are delivering on what you say you’ll do and that’s gaining attraction and, and having the phone ring off the hook. No doubt. So props to you with of what you’ve built so far. I’m so excited to continue to see what The Wild Collective brings out and what partnerships you have down the line, including one very close to home for us. Um, thank you so much for sharing your story and coming on the show. Oh, thank you so much for having me. It’s an absolute pleasure. Well, now that we’ve finished that thoroughly interesting interview, we’re getting ready to land, but before we do Mickey and I caught up on some of the themes and topics that
Speaker 3 (27:11):
That’s happened to us, yes, we liken this to the post game show where we break down the key lessons we all can benefit from, including us here at the Sasha group here is the Sasha sidebar.
Speaker 3 (27:27):
What a fun, amazing energy that that brings. And I, I remember I, I, I was the first touch on, on a conversation with Whit for the soccer group. And then it was like, oh, well, we’ve got Joe Q and it’s out in Vegas. And so it kind of made sense to transfer it over to the Sasha west team. But I ever since that first conversation, I’ve always been like, Hey, rooting that we were going to be able to work with her and then be always just super impressed with who she is as an entrepreneur and the business that she’s building with the Wildcollective
Speaker 1 (27:52):
That’s total badass. And it’s been awesome watching the [inaudible] of The Wild Collective as they continue to build out the offering. And I just, I love so many aspects of the story. Kind of like the opportunity spotting that she then, and then just the complete, like no fear diving into like what can be like a tough, unlike fairly old school
Speaker 3 (28:15):
And then trenched yeah. Entrenched with the fanatics and the of, and you know, it was just like, it’s the way it is a classic. Like this is the way it’s always been done type of industry. Um, and so I don’t know for me, the, the couple things that, that stood out one was just like that role of omni-channel coming back up again. Like, we’ve heard it so many conversations now we’ve heard it mostly coming from D to C companies talking about the need to get into retailers. This kind of flipped. Right. She was like, got frustrated that she was so reliant on a buyer at sporting goods or whatever retailer that she thought she put on a great show that they were super compelled. And if they didn’t make an order, she’s like, well, screw that. Like I need to start going direct to consumer and
Speaker 1 (29:01):
One big buyer. Right.
Speaker 3 (29:03):
Right. And so, you know, it goes back to like, you need both, it’s not an or game it’s an end game, but, uh, it was interesting that came from the other angle this time. Yeah, absolutely. Um, and then second was just that, like that, you know, hurt The Wild Collective’s DNA and its brand DNA kind of being connected to Vegas to me is super interesting. Cause any like it, you can very much tell what its personality is built into the brand as well. Right. There’s a little, there’s the styles. There’s the, the eye for fashion and beauty and kind of the glitz and things like that. But then that’s also kind of tied in with Vegas as a town, right around glitz and glam and entertainment. But as a sports fan, what I find super interesting about it is that like Vegas is a new sports town for professional sports leagues, right?
Speaker 3 (29:50):
Like it was only four years ago that they got the golden Knights from the NHL. And then the past to see last year was the first year that the Raiders were there from the NFL. And it, the context is like historically sports leagues in north America were afraid to go to Vegas and have franchises there because they were that’s where gambling happened. And this idea that like the mob or whomever was going to, yeah. They were going to like convince the players to do point shaving and all this kind of stuff that like had been an issue in maybe the sixties and seventies and eighties and stuff like that. And so there’s this, like, there’s this fear that that was what’s going to, was going to happen when, when you put a franchise in, in Vegas. Um, now obviously like now the fact that sports gambling is caught online and you can do it from, you know, 15, 20 different states now, whatever that is and it’s going to be nationwide, you know, it’s just a matter of time, but I don’t know. I think there’s something interesting about like Vegas as a sports town, as a professional sports town is kind of in its infant early days, growing days and a brand like, wow, collective is coming from this sports merchandise, but growing a new kind of place in the category for fashion forward women’s men’s unisex. Like I just, I don’t know. They’re, to me seemed to be such an intricate tie, uh, together between the brand and kind of Vegas is place as a sports town.
Speaker 1 (31:10):
Yeah. The other parallel I would say is, I think wit also represents what’s happening with the world with the, with the consumer of fun, much like the fact that it is expanding outside of the hardcore sports fan. And now it’s the, it’s the, it’s the on and off the field in the stadium or in the street, is that what it calls it? And she represents that audience. And I think that must also be something in those conversations with the leagues and the clubs like, oh, here’s someone who actually is the face of my consumer as well.
Speaker 3 (31:47):
But also it’s the, I mean, it’s in the MBA, they’ve kind of talked about it as like the, the walk from the parking lot to the locker room is often like captured on TV and NBA players literally use that as like the place as the tunnel, as the, as their red carpet to launch, like to show off their new fits their new, their new lines of clothes, like whatever, like, and there have been some awesome NBA players who’ve gone on. Yeah. And so, and so I think that the fact that like, she’s kind of bringing some of that energy in as well is super interesting. Yeah.
Speaker 1 (32:20):
Speaker 3 (32:21):
She’s a hustler. Like she just sees things and like manifest them in the world and like the best ways of that word. And I think it’s, um, it’s, it’s pretty awesome to see that now her putting that energy out, it’s kind of attracting energy and interest back in.
Speaker 1 (32:38):
If you will it, they will come.
Speaker 3 (32:41):
Yes. Yes. So what should our question for the audience be
Speaker 1 (32:46):
Oh, come on. It’s going to be a sports question.
Speaker 3 (32:50):
Yeah. Who’s your, who maybe who’s your favorite athlete or team that, that is pushing kind of the boundaries on what fashion means to, to them or [inaudible] and things like that.
Speaker 1 (33:04):
Thanks for joining us for Building While Flying today. I hope you learned as much as we did. We’ll meet you right back here next time for another flight.
Speaker 3 (33:15):
If you’d like to hear more about how business owners and brands are navigating these times, tune in to the next episode. And if you’re so kind, please rate and review us, plus we’d love feedback. So let us know what you think, what you’d like us to dig into next on Building While Flying, across brands, businesses, marketing, and more original music
Speaker 1 (33:30):
By Fulton street music group.
Welcome to Building While Flying!
This weekly podcast is brought to you by Sasha Group. We’re the consultancy meets agency arm of the VaynerX family of companies. We help ambitious companies build strong brands that flex with the times through strategy, branding media and marketing.
In ever-changing times, businesses and brands have to shift and adapt. And across all sectors, there is an air of experimentation. Business owners are trying new things out in the wild; building the plane while flying.
Our pilots, Katie Hankinson and Mickey Cloud, will be talking to a diverse range of business leaders and founders. They’ll explore how these guests tackle various challenges while staying resilient and committed to growth. Through these real-life examples of strategies put into practice, we hope to inspire you to experiment and develop your own strategies as we all navigate these uncertain times together.
Whitney knows the importance of diversifying your revenue stream.
Sports fan apparel has gotten a major facelift recently, thanks to Whitney Bansin and The Wild Collective. In 2016, Whitney founded The Wild Collective, a fashion-forward lifestyle and apparel brand that sits at the intersection of sports and fashion. They are licensed across the nation’s biggest sports leagues, including the NHL, NBA, WNBA, MLB, and MLS, as well as select collegiate teams.
Whitney joins the Building While Flying podcast this week to talk about her journey and share some of her biggest wins and learning experiences along the way. She tells Katie about her early career days in Las Vegas when she founded One Luv Agency, and how she landed her first partnership with the Las Vegas Golden Knights hockey team. Whitney talks about the challenges the pandemic brought, and how she and her team adapted and found their path forward. The Wild Collective is disrupting the sports apparel industry—and they’re only just getting started.
*Whitney Bansin and The Wild Collective are clients of The Sasha Group.
Other in-flight topics:
- Whitney’s early career in Las Vegas (2:18 – 7:25)
- Growth and partnering with other leagues (7:32 – 9:17)
- What drives design decisions (9:53 – 13:16)
- Pandemic pivots (13:18 – 20:21)
- Shifting to e-commerce (20:25 – 24:27)
- What’s next for The Wild Collective (25:50 – 28:22)
- …and more!