Competition - Win A Football Kitbox + Interview With Its Founder Paul Behan
New Year - new competition. This month we have a truly exceptional one for our readers. Football Kitbox are an interesting new company that give subscribers 3 bits of football kit a month.
I interviewed the founder, Paul Behan, about the company, their connections to football clubs from across the globe and why his sons played a part in him deciding to set up a kit-selling business.
For your chance to win a Football Kitbox click here.
FATC: What is Football Kitbox?
PB: Football Kitbox is a subscription service that delivers 3 pieces of kit from the world of football to your door every month! All of the kit is genuine - sourced from the clubs direct or through 3rd party suppliers. You can choose the monthly option or quarterly, bi-annually or even just as a one-off box! Items in the box range from hats, scarves, tracksuit tops, rain jackets etc. etc. and every box has at least one football shirt! Most of the kit is brand new but it may be from the last few seasons and occasionally we feature retro shirts too! Also every Kitbox has a few extra goodies and surprises in it too......but you have to sign up to see what they are!
FATC: How did the idea come about & why did you start it?
PB: I've always been a fan of a good football shirt since I was a boy .My first shirt was a second hand Man Utd shirt from 1983 with the SHARP logo falling off ( I still have that shirt !) and that was closely followed by the Celtic GK shirt which my Mother wrote a letter to the club to get it posted over .I was the only kid in town with that shirt!
The subsequent 30 years probably hundreds of shirts came and went as I wore them rather than collected them .An Ireland Italia 90 , Sampdoria 95 3rd , Ajax away 97 United home 99 are the pick of the bunch that remain!
I have 4 beautiful sons myself now and that reignited my interest recently as I realised how expensive new kit has become. I started looking at other places to buy kit aside from the high street. I had no idea the industry had grown so much. This was happening at the same time as I was looking to venture out on my own. I had been in sales for 10 years and been very successful selling other peoples products and services so when it came to choosing what product industry to go into, the football shirt one just felt right. I mean who doesn't like getting a good shirt ?
I chose the subscription model so I could get to know my customers better and customise their experience to their tastes .Some want just shirts for collecting, some want t-shirts and polo shirts to wear day to day, some want just their favourite club, some want only the rare and random shirts from around the globe.
Building an experience of expectation and surprise has been the best part of this. The feedback I get is usually really good and I source, customise and pack each and every Kitbox to suit each customers needs so they know they are getting a unique experience every-time.
FATC: How have you built your connections with clubs?
PB: I was fortunate to join twitter just a few months ago while Roma were working their magic and creating a global football community and I started to follow the story.I linked up with St. Anthony’s F.C. early on and am in awe of the work those 2 volunteers do. To raise awareness of a small junior club in Govan to a global audience has been so impressive and I'm truly honoured to be have them feature in this month’s Kitbox.
During the time I was making all these connections I was enquiring about kit being available (if it looked cool!) and the first Club to come on board was the wonderfully titled Sporting Crabs from East Dulwich .A tiny Sunday League team who happened to have a graphic designer as manager.He had beautifully re created the Mexico WC shirt and crest for his team so I asked could he get some more .After a bit of struggle with a supplier we got it over the line and my customers loved it!
From there I connected with Wanderers F.C. who were looking to raise their profile and I was drawn into their history, founding members of the FA, 5 times FA Cup winners and their rich legacy of featuring players from all around the globe before it was fashionable! Plus their new Hummel away shirt was a belter. That was closely followed with a great conversation with Gbagada F.C. where I learned about the birth of the club from the world of street football in Lagos and fell in love with the GK shirt - its my Astro shirt now!
The best fun so far has been meeting Caversham United - another Sunday League team from Reading just outside London. We started talking because they needed new kit and the ball starting rolling and kept going. They had 50 followers on twitter when we started talking and they took the Roma roller-coaster by the horns and now have nearly 2000! They have run nickname, crest, hashtag and kit competitions with millions of impressions and a story that has travelled around the world! I'm delighted their t-shirts are in this months’ Kitbox and their kit is going to be ready very soon!
I have been talking to CONIFA and some of their members and featured a sublime Yorkshire away shirt ....and I’m in talks with a few other members that will be featuring soon. I love an underdog story, so what CONIFA are doing really resonates and acts a tonic against some of the excesses of the modern game.
From that point I've connected with over 100 clubs from every continent and building a relationship so that I may feature their kit and get the club exposure and some new followers around the globe ! I'm designing and creating kit for a number of other clubs too so that side of the business is taking off .More and more clubs are realising that kit doesn’t have to be bland cheap team-wear and that their is a kit revolution going on world wide at the moment .I think non league american clubs are leading the way with this. We can design bespoke kit that reflects the ethos and energy of a club and produce it cheaper and quicker than most traditional suppliers.
I would encourage any club to get in touch if they would like to feature in our Kitboxes - or if they would like to have a chat about getting some new kit.
Paul Behan, Founder of Football Kitbox, was speaking with J.S. Leatherbarrow - Editor of Football And The City. To sign up to Football Kitbox - visit them at footballkitbox.com