Gonna be a bit of a long read, but YOT25O….
25 years ago today, on April 1, 1996, we walked into Abington Savings Bank in Willow Grove, PA and deposited a $25,000 check we borrowed from our parents. And from that moment, YOLO Sportswear was officially in business! I had no idea what a journey it would be.
When I say “we”, my sister Karen was my partner until 2012 when she moved on to other endeavors. It’s important to note how “YOLO” became the name that we would choose for our small business. We obviously needed a name that was catchy and appropriate. We ran through a litany of possibilities, but none stuck. For whatever reason, out of the blue I recalled a license plate I saw many years (maybe 1985?) prior when working as a painter. The license plate read YOLO. I yelled out to my sister, “YOLO Sportswear!” Instantly she said, perfect (without even knowing the meaning). After 6 weeks working on that project, I finally asked what that meant…You Only Live Once, I discovered. First time I ever heard it, never forgot it! So there you have it…
Let’s take a quick trip back to 1996…..
- Field hockey (and lacrosse) sticks were wood
- Goalie kickers were bamboo
- Uniforms were polo shirts and heavy polyester button KILTS
- No Under Armour yet
- Cell phones where just phones, and big
- The internet was in its infancy
- AOL was the email of choice
- Social media wasn’t even a thing
- Drake was 10 (just sayin’), get it?
- The National Hockey Festival was held in West Palm Beach, FL
When we started in 1996, we set out on a single mission that we still hold to today. Build a business that supports and services women’s sports that is centered around personal relationships. In the beginning, we were primarily focused on field hockey, lacrosse, and softball. As time has passed, we have become pretty much a field hockey only retail company but still have deep ties to lacrosse, softball, and other women’s sports in our team apparel business. Since day 1, we have stayed true to our mission.
We have been a major sponsor, in one form or another, of USA Field Hockey every year since we opened. We have been multi-year sponsors of the National Hockey Festival and National Futures Program. We are currently the presenting sponsor of the National Indoor Tournament(s), Summer Bash series, and exclusive supplier in the headband category. Over our 25 years, it is estimated that through our sponsorships, we have given over $1,000,000 to USA field Hockey which aids them in providing programming and opportunities to young women and athletes. We take great pride in that!
Additionally, we are currently the presenting sponsor of the Shooting Star Thanksgiving, Indoor, and Easter field hockey tournaments. We are proud of our relationship with them and hope our partnership will help them continue to provide more playing opportunities to the field hockey community!
We have also sponsored of the National Field Hockey Coaches Association, US Lacrosse, the US Lacrosse Women’s National Tournament, and have even sponsored USA Softball. We have sponsored the Keystone State and Garden State games. We’ve sponsored and supported local camps and tournaments. We will continue to support our great game anyway we can!
I consider myself a blessed man. You see, running a small business is not for the meek. More days than not, you question yourself, doubt yourself, lack confidence, and wonder why in the world you’re doing it. But with the support of so many, I have been able to endure all of the ups and downs that come with owning a small business. I couldn’t have done any of it without so many awesome people behind me that believe in me, inspire me, and motivate me to keep YOLO Sportswear moving forward. I understand my responsibility to these folks and have always taken that very seriously. It is these people who always remind me that what we do matters.
YOLO Sportswear is a small, family-owned business. Humbly, I’d say an American success story. Without the support of my family, physically and emotionally, this journey would have taken a much different path. The sacrifices they have made, and continue to make, to afford me this opportunity are endless. Thanks to everybody who has had even the smallest impact on my life and on YOLO. I’m humbled and appreciative of everyone who has helped me along the way, and there have been many. As the saying goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished so far and am happy to say that after surviving 2020, YOLO Sportswear is ready to make 2021, our 25th year, the best ever!
And, most important of all, I couldn’t have done it without YOU, our amazing customers! Your loyalty to YOLO is appreciated more than you know. It’s been a fun 25 years working with and for you. We get loads of satisfaction seeing you enjoy what we put together for you. Most interesting part of what I do is that while I continue to get older, my customers always stay the same age. All good because it’s you guys that keep me young! We’ll keep working hard for you, I promise.
I had no idea what the future had in store on that sunny April day back in 1996. To say 25 years has been a journey would be an understatement!
Thank you all so much! Cheers to 25 more years………