On November 11, 2017, finishauthentic.com went live. One year of planning and designing, culminating in the cyber-equivalent of flipping on a light switch.
Every time I log onto social media or do a web search, I discover another basketball brand. So, why in the world would we want to jump into a crowded space like that? What value do we offer the basketball community that ten other companies aren’t already contributing?
We hope Finish Authentic’s value is delivered, first and foremost, by giving back. We are implementing our Give ‘n Go Program, where we will give away a percentage of our inventory every year to support youth and amateur basketball players, programs, and tournaments in the United States. As we grow, we eventually intend to transition to a one-for-one business model, where for every piece of product we sell, we give something away. We’ve been open less than a month and we have already given away just as much as we’ve sold! We think that’s great business.
We are also in the process of developing our Finish Authentic Brand Evangelist program, sponsoring basketball athletes with Finish Authentic gear and discounts in exchange for increased exposure in the market and social media presence. Even though we have already engaged some athletes, formal program details will be forthcoming around New Years.
Finish Authentic is also deeply concerned about quality. We realize that everyone says this, but we try to live it. We’re not just peddling t-shirts, we’re trying to build a community. Brands aren’t about selling stuff, they’re a mindset. We get a bigger kick out of seeing our brand in public than making a sale.
An example of Finish Authentic quality is the fabric we choose for our designs. Most companies push 100% cotton t-shirts because cotton is cheap and abundant. Unfortunately, it’s also notorious for severe shrinkage from laundering; ironic because most cotton tees aren’t comfortable until they’ve been washed a couple of times. Cotton also causes, and traps sweat, eventually soaking the tee.
One alternative to cotton is so-called, “performance fabrics,” which are typically 100% polyester, with an occasional spandex blend. While these shirts breathe and wick sweat, they present other negative issues, with the biggest being price. 100% poly can also smell funky after a while because it is a synthetic fabric. Polyester, by itself, can pill easily too, which looks unattractive on a tee.
Finish Authentic has struck a nice balance with our products. For example, most of our tees use a 4 -ounce, poly/cotton blend heather material that is simply fantastic. The best of both worlds. Our tees are cool and lightweight; great for both casual wear and working on your game. With the poly blend, they are also tough and long-lasting, without feeling heavy. You will see and feel the difference in our tees immediately. The blended heather fabric pops with high definition, sharp color. Our shirts are wearable right out of the box, without washing. Because of the quality, our shirts cost, in some cases, twice as much to produce as our competitors, but we sell them for the same price or less. People say, “that’s not very smart business.” We say that's great business too.
Finally, we put our heart and soul into our designs and treat them like a work of art. Our FA Authentic series of tees are examples of this, with creative colors and designs that stand out. There are lots of great designs out there on the market. In fact, one could argue there are no bad designs. We are striving to offer individuality, which almost everyone seeks on some level. We hope to deliver that to our customers.Our company was born in the Heartland, right on the border of North Dakota and Minnesota. Basketball is a winter respite for us, a way to kick back with family and friends in an intimate, cozy gym on a Friday night or Saturday afternoon. We think three-pointers and dunks are great for highlight reels, but we like to celebrate the finishers. People who aren’t afraid to drive hard to the bucket, take a body, grab a tough board, or make a nice pass inside. But most of all, we think basketball is the greatest sport on earth. Because, as our company's Mantra states, everything is this game.