To make mixed martial arts (MMA) and action sports fans customers and grab their spirit, a brand came out with the name Crooked Jaw Clothing. This brand was inaugurated in 2005 by French lacrosse player Craig French. He kept the name of his brand crooked jaw as his jaw was broken in college, and his brand attracts MMA fans from all over the world.
The aim of providing the most reliable and trustworthy sportswear and other accessories on the market. He was trying to boost his brand but couldn’t because he was short on resources. Luckily, he got a chance to go to one of the most famous reality shows, where he pitched his product, “Crooked Jaw Clothing,” but sadly, he could not grab any offers or help from them.
However, he became famous as thousands of people watched him on TV, and therefore he gained massive attraction from action sports and MMA lovers. In this article, we will discuss everything about crooked jaw clothing in detail and what aspiring entrepreneurs can learn from this story.
The Origins of Crooked Jaw Clothing
Craig French loved playing lacrosse in college and was an avid sports fan. He underwent oral surgery after breaking his jaw in college, and it took him a long time to recuperate. He did not lose hope and made up his mind about doing business in clothing.
French designed his clothing line with MMA and action sports fans in mind. They wanted to create apparel that was edgy, inspiring, and unique. He started selling his products online and in local skate shops in Long Island, New York, where he was based. He also hired some models and friends to wear his clothing and promote his brand on social media and at events.
By 2008, French had sold about 1,500 units of his clothing, generating about $5,000 in revenue. He also had his clothing line available in 10 mom-and-pop-style skate shops in Long Island. He believed that his brand had the potential to grow further, especially with the increasing popularity of MMA and other action sports.
The Shark Tank Pitch
In 2009, French got the opportunity to pitch his brand on Shark Tank, a reality show where entrepreneurs present their businesses to a panel of investors (called sharks) and seek funding in exchange for equity. On the second episode of the first season of the program, French made an appearance with some models sporting his apparel.
French demanded $200,000 for 20% of his company, indicating a $1 million valuation. He claimed that he needed the cash to enhance his inventory, diversify his supply chain, and boost brand awareness. Additionally, he asserted that his clientele was faithful and that his clothes stood out from those of other businesses.
However, the Sharks were not impressed by the French’s pitch. They questioned his sales figures, his marketing strategy, and his competitive advantage. They also pointed out that the clothing industry was very crowded and competitive and that French would face many challenges in scaling up his business.
One by one, the sharks declined to invest in crooked jaw clothing. French left the show empty-handed but not discouraged. He thanked the Sharks for their feedback and said that he would keep working on his brand.
The Post-Shark Tank Developments
After coming to Shark Tank, French got a massive response, and you can imagine it by his website, which hit more than 5 lac visitors within a week. He got massive attention from the media, and therefore he got some orders from customers. Who liked his clothing and wanted to support him.
However, this initial surge of interest did not translate into lasting sales or growth for Crooked Jaw Clothing. French faced many difficulties running his business without adequate funding or guidance. He struggled to keep up with the demand for his products, manage his inventory, negotiate with suppliers, and market his brand effectively.
He also faced stiff competition from other established brands in the MMA and action sports apparel industries, such as Hurley, Quiksilver, Tapout, Affliction, and others. These brands had more resources, experience, distribution channels, and customer loyalty than Crooked Jaw Clothing.
French tried his best to save his brand from collapse by launching diverse new products and reaching out to some investors to invest in his brand with a good profit, but no one decided to help him. Also, he attended a lot of shows and ran campaigns, but all in vain. He also faced some personal challenges that affected his focus and motivation.
By 2015, Crooked Jaw Clothing was out of business. French decided to close down his company after failing to find a way to make it profitable and sustainable.
Key Lessons from Crooked Jaw Clothing’s Downfall
- Research Your Market: Before launching a clothing brand, thoroughly understand your target audience, their preferences, and buying habits. Analyze competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, and strategies. Find a unique niche that sets you apart.
- Craft a Clear Business Plan: Develop a coherent brand vision, achievable goals, and a mission. Create a detailed roadmap encompassing budget, revenue forecasts, marketing, distribution, and growth strategies. Effectively communicate this plan to potential investors and partners.
- Seek Expert Guidance: In a challenging industry like clothing, seek advice from experienced mentors and professionals. Learn from their experiences, gain insights, and leverage their networks for opportunities and resources.
- Adapt and Innovate: The clothing industry is dynamic due to trends, technology, and competition. Stay flexible, adjusting products, designs, and strategies based on market trends and customer feedback. Embrace experimentation and new ideas.
- Persevere: Entrepreneurship is tough; setbacks and failures are common. Don’t lose hope; learn from your mistakes because the better you understand and fix your mistakes, the greater the chances of your growth.
Crooked Jaw Clothing may have failed as a business, but it did not fail as a learning experience. French’s story can inspire other entrepreneurs who want to follow their passion and create their clothing brands. With the right mindset, skills, strategy, and support, they can succeed where Crooked Jaw Clothing did not.