Chris Riccobono created the Untuckit clothing brand based on the belief that there was an unmet demand for men’s shirts designed to be worn untucked.
Now Riccobono thinks he, along with three celebrity athlete co-founders, can capitalize on the unmet demand for better quality workout gear.
In June, Riccobono, in collaboration with baseball superstar Derek Jeter, Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky and ballerina Misty Copeland, launched Greatness Wins, a line of tops, hoodies, shorts, joggers, golf shirts and the like. sports clothing. The company currently produces a men’s line, but a women’s line is expected to launch next year.
Riccobono, who co-founded Untuckit with Aaron Sanandres and built it from an online brand to a company with 86 stores and sales of more than $300 million, said he found himself, when the sale retail came to a halt at the onset of the pandemic, with time to work on disrupting another category.
Much like Untuckit was born when Riccobono couldn’t find a shirt that looked good when he wore it untucked. Greatness Wins is a response to Riccobono’s dissatisfaction with sportswear.
Riccobono and its athlete partners are betting they can turn the lessons Riccobono learned about fit, manufacturing and marketing with Untuckit into a premium sports brand that fits and performs better.
Jeter, Gretzky and Copeland are true co-founders, Riccobono said, not just brand ambassadors, and are directly involved in product development and driving the company’s direction.
The company is funded by friends, family and Untuckit contacts.
Riccobono said his experience wearing and researching sportswear from top brands convinced him there was a market opportunity for a new brand.
“The quality was just awful. The thing was four inches out of spec, the fit was terrible, it didn’t wash well, it pilled. You could tell they just weren’t focusing on quality,” he said.
“I could see there needed to be a new premium sports brand – a real sports brand – and none had entered the industry since Under Armour,” Riccobono said. He defines a sports brand as one that sells products for all sports, which Greatness Wins plans to do eventually.
Then there were the sports leisure brands, where the products were high quality, but the message is a bit confusing, Riccobono said.
“They try to be everything to everyone. They encourage laying on your couch in the most comfortable clothes, which you can go out and also work out,” he said. “I know enough about fashion that you can’t be everything to everyone. You can’t choose one fabric based on five different things.
Greatness Wins’ take on sports recreation is “there is no athlete in sports recreation, and you shouldn’t be training in the same thing as you’re lying on your couch,” Riccobono said. .
“And it’s not just if you’re a professional athlete,” Riccobono said. “That’s if you’re going for a long walk. We believe you should be wearing the best product available.
“We wanted to be kind of like the Lululemon of athletics – a very organized brand. Not having 500 joggers like the big guys, but having maybe eight joggers with an understanding by the customer of who should be worn in what activity,” said he declared.
The company uses premium fabrics designed to withstand training and multiple washes, and chosen for their durability. Eighty percent of the company’s shorts are made from recycled polyester and 98% of its base materials are Bluesign or Oeko-Tex certified as being free of harmful chemicals and dyes and other negative impacts on the environment.
Prices will be higher than Nike or other mainstream sports brands, with t-shirts at $55, shorts at $69 and joggers at $99.
Riccobono said he believes consumers will pay more for higher quality goods that last.
“Our product, just like Untuckit, is very expensive to manufacture. This is something we are prepared to do,” he said.
Riccobono said he enlisted his athlete partners as co-founders because he learned from Untuckit that brands with a story are more likely to resonate with consumers.
With Untuckit, the story was his frustrating search for a shirt that fit and looked good, without tucking. With Greatness Wins, he wanted the story to be about top athletes and their desire for better training and performance wear.
“I decided that I should ask some of the greatest athletes of all time to verify that there was room for a better product,” Riccobono said.
Ballet star Misty Copeland is involved in the design and launch of the Greatness Wins women’s line, which will be released next year.
Jeter, Copeland and Gretzky promoted the brand on Instagram, and Riccobono said additional social media marketing and ads are planned.
While the brand is currently only sold online, Riccobono said he plans to eventually open Greatness Wins stores. “I’m still a strong supporter of stores,” he said, noting that sales at Untuckit stores have rebounded strongly from the initial pandemic pause.
“Seventy percent of men won’t buy a product unless they touch and smell it,” he said.