Vintage Sports Apparel Maker Ebbets Field Flannels Back in the Ballgame; Just in Time for Spring, Maker of Authentically Replicated Baseball Apparel and Other Historical Wear Reestablishes Its Business
SEATTLE--April 26, 2005--After a three-year hiatus, the company that pioneered the authentic vintage sports team apparel industry in the late 1980s is back -- and better than ever.
Ebbets Field Flannels (www.ebbets.com), whose eclectic fan base includes talk show host David Letterman, director Spike Lee and punk rocker Johnny Rotten (John Lydon), is re-launching its famous mail-order catalog of authentic vintage reproductions of apparel from the “glory days of baseball.” While the initial catalog will consist mostly of authentically replicated vintage baseball jerseys, caps and jackets, the company will soon introduce other vintage wear such as old roller derby uniforms, filling station attendant apparel and women’s softball shirts.
From the very beginning, all of Ebbets Field Flannels garments have had a common thread -- each piece comes with its own unique historical story about a “forgotten” team or entity. Co-founders Jerry Cohen and Lisa Cooper were the first to exclusively focus on producing exact replicas of garments from obscure teams, including ones from the Negro Leagues, the Federal League of 1914-1915, former minor leagues and the old Cuban and Latin American leagues.
As a child growing up with a father who was an avid Brooklyn Dodgers and Jackie Robinson fan, Cohen developed both an obsession with baseball uniforms and an extensive knowledge of sports history, including racial issues within the sport. This knowledge, plus Cohen’s exhaustive research of the correct materials and construction methods of vintage clothing, formed the basis of Ebbets Field Flannels. The company is named after the old Brooklyn Dodgers ballpark.
“The traditional sports fan wanting to wear their favorite team’s gear isn’t our customer,” said Jerry Cohen, president and co-founder. “Through the years we’ve found people buy our hats and jerseys because they want something that represents a unique piece of sports history. The clothes are conversation starters. If our customer is wearing a 1930s Atlanta Crackers jersey or a hat from the 1955 San Francisco Seals, someone else will almost inevitably ask him or her about it.”
Breaking the Mold
While the company is equally dedicated to telling pieces of history and replicating garments, its leaders are also fervently committed to keeping full creative control over its apparel lines. This commitment has often pitted the company against some of the major sports leagues, who have a emphasis on image and marketing versus authenticity and accuracy.
The company steers away from fads and trends, choosing to focus exclusively on authentically made garments that are timeless and never go out of style.
New and Improved
Ebbets Field Flannels is making a few changes for the better. While the company will continue to use its extensive knowledge of American sports history to offer vintage-inspired, high-quality, authentically replicated garments, it plans to expand into other vintage-inspired sportswear. Many of the new lines are marketed toward women, and will include garments from the historic women’s softball teams (think “A League of Their Own”) and roller derby uniforms.
Ebbets is also returning to offering its popular mail-order catalogs, a delight for sports history buffs because of the historical references associated with each catalog item. The company is adding a new online component to keep pace with its expanding product line and to provide further historical background and opinion.
Because of its unique relationship with its customers, the company is bucking today’s business practice of outsourcing customer service to representatives reading from a script or voice-automated systems. It is returning to a direct customer relationship model for which it became known. A group of long-term veteran employees, many of whom returned to take part in the company’s rebirth, will personally handle calls and re-build customer relationships.
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