By Bria Suggs
Evan Lefft, the Atlanta-based founder and CEO of Athletic Apparel Without Limits (AAWOL), comes from a long line of sports lovers. As he grew older, he decided to channel his passion for sports into creating something he could happily look back on.
AAWOL is a direct-to-consumer sportswear and e-commerce company created in 2017 with the mission of “connecting the world through sports” by incorporating love for sports into everyday apparel and culture.
Since its founding, AAWOL has already secured multi-year partnerships with the Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Oklahoma City Thunder that will speak to each team’s specific fan bases.
The company is an evolution of two of Lefft’s earlier businesses, Sporrty and The Made Brand. Sporrty was a sports platform founded in 2012 that aggregated sports content and The Made Brand is a clothing brand founded in 2015 that is still currently available through AAWOL.
“Those early years were really kind of focused on testing and building,” Lefft said.
According to Lefft, a graduate of Morehouse College and The University of South Carolina Law School, AAWOL is centered around what he calls the three C’s: community, continent, and commerce.
“We’re in the commerce stage of our business,” Lefft said. “And we also focus on how we were able to build a kind of community around the marks we build, around the brand … one thing that we know is that sports, one of the few things that pulls people together.”
Sports-related apparel is currently available through AAWOL. All of the clothing brands on the website are brands owned by the company, and it’s important to Lefft that they be authentic.
“We want to make sure that with every partner and every product line we’re building shows true ties to the folks that wear them, so it has to to be a part of who you are,” Lefft said.”
In the future, Lefft would like to be able to include original content but currently aggregates content on social media similarly to Sporrty.
“When we get on social media, now we’re being sold to so consistently, one thing that we wanted to do is be a part of the conversation in a different manner to let people have a positive kind of access point to AAWOL without having to be sold [to], because we know we can kind of have a conversation with you and be a part of their life over time,” Lefft said.
Lefft plans to get to this stage of the business sooner rather than later, but will also continue to explore other opportunities to connect with consumers.
“We understand that in the future narrative brand, we care about who we purchase from, we care about the story of the mission,” Lefft said. “So, everything for us is really mission based. That kind of connecting part is very important to us, knowing that we do want to build more stories around our products around narrative.”
AAWOL’s next adventure will be working with the Pittsburgh Penguins, which will be officially announced soon, according to Lefft.
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