How three friends grew their love of sports into a $2.3 million company

Three Victorian classmates have turned their shared love of sports into a successful business that generates $2.3 million in revenue.

Dean, Dylan and Jon, friends for 12 years after meeting at the Mornington Soccer Club, already had business together and were fortunate enough to run a Hudson Coffees franchise.

But the trio noticed a gap in the market among other sports fans making their own stubby holder dispensers with their team’s logo on them.

Camera iconFriends of 12 years, Dean, Dylan and Jon, have turned their passion for sports into a business that generates $2.3 million in revenue. Delivered Credit: Delivered

“A lot of people make homemade blunt-holder dispensers and stick their team’s stickers on them,” says Dean.

“So we had this idea that if we could buy the right vinyl printer, pack them professionally and try to get the licenses from places like the AFL and NRL, we could see where we could potentially take it.”

From that light bulb moment, the Stubby Club was born, with the friends taking over a company that produced stubby holder dispensers.

The company has grown tremendously since then, from $130,000 to $2.3 million in just three years.

The partners have obtained the licensing rights from some of the largest sports organizations in Australia and around the world, including the NRL, AFL, Cricket Australia, A-league, NFL and the English Premier League.

Dean said they had no idea how far it would go.

“It actually started as a little idea while running our cafe, which we are all involved in as well,” he said.

“I don’t think we ever expected there to be so many opportunities in the market.

“It’s fun enough to be your own business, but to add to that being involved in sports… being in that industry is just the icing on the cake.”

blunt holder
Camera iconA stubby holder dispenser from the Richmond brand. Delivered Credit: Delivered

He admitted it was “difficult” to approach some of the country’s sporting heavyweights with their idea, but after they got their foot in the door at the A-League, there was a “snowball effect”.

“We were lucky enough to be able to get them (the A-league) first and get a little bit of sales data, so when we approached the NRL they could see that we’d already made some sales and knew what the license agreements were, said Dean.

“They (the AFL) didn’t initially think the product was that great and would sell that well, so it was good to have that sales data.

“We could say, ‘No, look, we’ve actually sold this number of units and are doing this amount of revenue; it will go well.’”

The company has subsequently branched out into other sports licensing products such as custom beer pong tables, mini ping pong tables, and cornhole boards.

The Stupid Club
Camera iconAn example of the Stubby Club beer pong tables. Delivered Credit: Delivered

Constantly trying to find holes in a crowded market, the three friends have a simple concept for coming up with their next big hit.

“Whenever we have to think about which licensed products to bring to market or whether a product is going to be a success, we think, ‘Would I want to get that as a gift?’ That’s about it,’ says Dean.

“If we want to receive it, if we like it as a gift, let’s do it, because I’m sure there are hundreds of other people who feel the same.”

The Stubby Club has launched a $1.5 million Equitise crowdfunding campaign to bring these new products and a range of NRL and NFL pet items to market in time for Father’s Day and Christmas.

But Dean said they still have a “long way” to go and have even more plans for the future.

“We’re just at the beginning of what we want to do,” he said.

“We love what we’re doing right now, but we know there’s so much more opportunity to go down and more products.

“We already love it, so I know we will continue to love it in the future.”

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