The STATE of Soccer in WASHINGTON
For Ebun Olaloye the saying is also a start-up soccer clothing brand he established and is trying to take to the next level by coming to Seattle for a few months. Olaloye will be looking over the shoulders of the people behind Golazo Energy Drinks to see how they have jumped into the soccer lifestyle market and built a successful business.
Learn more about Ebun and his love of futbol and fashion in the Q & A with goalWA below.
goalWA: What are your very first memories of soccer?
Ebun: I grew up in Lagos, Nigeria and went to a school that was right across the street from my house. Everyday during recess we’d play one big game and I was always one of the worst players on the field. One day, however, I took the ball down the left side, beat everyone, cut inside and scored a pretty nice goal. I must have been 7 or 8. I’ll never forget that day. That’s when I realized I was fast and since then speed has always been one of my key assets as a player. Another poignant memory was going to play on that same field in the evening and staying out an hour longer than I was allowed to just because I wanted to play more soccer. I always got reprimanded for it, but I didn’t mind. I was getting to play soccer!
Who are your soccer and clothes design role models, and why?
Growing up I supported the Super Eagles of Nigeria, so I was always mesmerized by Jay Jay Okocha’s skills. Then when Kanu started playing for Arsenal I discovered Thierry Henry and he’s been my favorite player since then. He’s one of the best ever and he played with such a swagger that I always wanted to be like him when I step foot on the pitch.
As far as clothing design I really love what Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger have done. They’ve built incredible businesses from nothing and their clothing stands the test of time. From a purely design standpoint I’m a big fan of what Aitor Thourp has done especially with the recent England kits by Umbro. He’s found a way to marry traditional design and technology to create something that has a classic aesthetic but is forward-thinking at the same time.
Explain your trip to Seattle and what you hope to accomplish.
In January 2011 I got the chance to come to Seattle to meet with Golazo. I loved what they were about and the CEO, Richard Tait, and I have become very good friends since. I graduated college in May and he said to me, “why don’t you come out here for a few months?” so I decided to bring the brand here with me. I love how passionate Seattleites are about soccer so I want to establish LBF here on the west coast.
If you could pick to be either the best designer in the world OR the best footballer, which would you chose, and why?
I’d be the best footballer hands down. Every time I close my eyes to day dream I envision myself on the highest stage. I picture myself on the touchline at the Emirates Stadium waiting for my name to be called to enter the match. After entering the match, I score a sick goal, run to the corner flag and slide right in front of the fans with my arms outstretched. Those kinds of moments are what made me fall in love with the sport. It’s why I love playing so much. If I can score a great goal, make a defender look silly or make an amazing pass that earns the respect of those I’m playing with then for me it’s worth it.
Describe your clientele and how you are trying to reach them / design to their tastes.
My clientele is the kid who wakes up really early, grabs his boots and a bag of balls and heads to the field to practice for hours. It’s the guy who grabs his buddies after a long day at work and heads to the local pub to watch soccer. Live Breathe Futbol is for people who are passionate about following and playing the sport in every way possible. It’s a name tag that lets everyone know that you live and breathe futbol. It’s the love for the game rendered in cloth.
For me it’s about expression and trying to capture the emotion of the game in the clothing. That’s why I can make a shirt as simple as the ‘World Class’ line and turn around and make something as artistic/complex as the Zidane and George Best shirts. Each design starts somewhere real and I aim to capture something relevant with each one, that’s why they are all different. In each of our shirts, there’s a message that reads, “This garment is designed with the history, character and flair of the beautiful game in mind. Wear with pride. Remember it’s about moments” and depending on the edition, there’s an extra tidbit that relates to that particular shirt.
So there’s something for everyone who lives and breathes futbol. You may not like Zidane, Best or Cantona, but no doubt you’ll look at the World Class shirt and go, “hell yeah, that’s me right there!”
Where is your business at now (in its growth process), and what’s next?
LBF is still a startup. We’ve done well selling online with no marketing except for Twitter/Facebook. We are looking into retail now as a way to grow the business and take it to the next level. A big part of the brand is creating top quality content that resonates with our audience. We have a few video shorts in the works that we think will really shake things up a bit!