Never Follow Trends sits down with one of our all-time favorite brands, Ebbets Field Flannels, let's get to know them...
1. Who are the founders of Ebbets Field Flannels, and where did you grow up? Jerry Cohen: Grew up in Brooklyn, and Lisa Cooper, local Seattle girl.
2. We're you always intrigued by jerseys/uniforms as a kid? If so, what was the first jersey that you fell in love with? I was fascinated by baseball uniforms ever since I can remember. As a Mets fan, their early 1960s uniforms were the first I was familiar with, but became quickly aware of all the other teams in the 1960s.
3. When did Ebbets Field Flannels actually become a business? Officially, 1988.
4. When was the moment you realized your company made it "big time"? Hah. We're trying to be "big time", but in 1990 Sports Illustrated did a full-page article on us, and that was our first wide recognition.
5. I've been a fan of you guys for a long time. What I admire most about your company is the detail, and how each piece is identical to the original. What goes into that process? The research is painstaking, because most of it is from black & white photography. You have to have a trained eye for the details like subtle shades of grey differentiating colors, whether a cap has six or eight panels, etc.
6. It's been over 30 years since it's origin and Ebbets Field is still run by it's original owners. Business has changed in so many ways since then. How do you guys keep up with the times? We obviously have to keep our marketing skills up to date at the same time we keep our instincts in the past. Can be tricky!
7. How do feel about alternative uniform marketing in MLB today? For example, pink for breast cancer, camouflage for military, blue for prostate cancer? I take a dim view of it. Personally I cringe at the marketing of diseases. A lot of these things seem very forced to me, though I understand there are good intentions behind it. It's not something that interests us, let's put it that way.
8. You have a subtitle in your tab called "timeless not trendy"...what is one trend in baseball uniforms that you like? Dislike? We dislike trends and our entire aesthetic is opposed to trends. Trends are by definition of the moment. All that teal from the 90s (and gratuitously adding black to team colors) hasn't aged so well, has it? We try to be above and beyond trends. We simply think classic clothing and graphics will never go out of style. Once you start pandering to the trend of the moment, you're lost, if what you're interested in is longevity.
9. One person in the world living or deceased that you could have 15 minutes to sit down with and pick their brain, who would it be? Oh boy. Maybe someone who was a great storyteller like Satchell Paige. But Jackie Robinson would probably be #1.
10. Where do you see Ebbets Field Flannels in the next 5 to 10 years? I'd love to see a small EFF store in every major city, just like the one we have in Seattle! Each store would be tailored to that city's sports history.
11. What's the biggest piece of advice you can give a small business owner who's building their brand from the ground up? Believe in yourself. If you have a great idea, don't compromise. Always remember that people will be buying YOU - your story, your enthusiasm - as much as your product or concept. So you have to sell YOU.
Thank you to Jerry and Lisa (and Hallie for putting this together). We've always been fans and supporters (I'm actually wearing my EFF Manhattan College cap right now as I type). It was really cool to get some insight and history from a true innovator.