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Athlete’s Thread Helps College Athletes Make Profit With Licensed Merch

When the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) adopted a new policy allowing college athletes to make their own brands and profit from it, Luke McGurrin and Karthik Shanadi knew they had to step up and help athletes take advantage of the opportunity, hence the birth of Athlete’s Thread

Banking on their experience as founders of Greek House, a platform providing custom apparel to over 500 colleges built in 2013, McGurrin and Shanadi want to leave a massive impact in the collegiate licensing space. Their first venture was followed by the establishment of College Thread and, eventually, Threadly. Today, they aim to expand their services to student-athletes who want to launch their own businesses and help each one of them, not only the star athletes, make money from their name, image, and likeness, making it fast and easy for them to conceptualize their merch, produce enough supply, and reach online stores in no time. 

“While Athletes Thread is a new opportunity, this is ten years of experience leading us up to this point, and we’re ready to scale like crazy after refining and perfecting our technology,” said McGurrin. “The best part about this is helping tell the unique story of every student-athlete. We believe that if you’re a student-athlete, even if ESPN isn’t telling your story, you’re already a hometown hero and have a huge community behind you that would love to support you. What we really want to do is help all of these students realize how much they have accomplished and be the driving force to not only get their story out but help them be successful,” he added. 

Athlete’s Thread is taking an active role in uplifting the lives of student-athletes with customized apparel. The company’s solution provides its clients with the opportunity to showcase their personalities and tell their stories through their merch. The platform currently hosts over 2,000 athletes from 12 colleges, while 58 colleges are currently waiting to go live. Some of the athletes from the Athlete’s Thread family include Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young and break-out athletes Jahmyr Gibbs, Jalen Milroe, and Trashon Holden from the University of Alabama. 

“We’ve found out how to take products, and athletes live in less than three days of getting signed on. Our platform has really simplified making officially licensed merchandise for both athletes and colleges,” said Shanadi. “Our mindset working with all these athletes, the colleges, and the athletic directors is to help them tell their story, but also make sure we are helping them be successful both on and off the field,” he added.

Over the few years, Athlete’s Thread aims to welcome over 8,000 athletes into its community and expand beyond merchandise and apparel.  

“It’s already complex enough being a student and athlete at the same time, so when you start hearing about licensing compliance and taxes, it can become overwhelming. So, there’s also a little bit of fear of the unknown and how do I do this safely,” said McGurrin. “So what we’re also trying to do is demystify the name, image, and licensing process and make it extremely easy for the athletes to where we’re essentially removing their risk,” he added.

Aiming to scale their company to become a leader in the sports merchandise industry, McGurrin and Shanadi are taking groundbreaking steps in assisting athletes with their branding ventures, becoming a solid force in providing athletes with a well-rounded boost using their name, image, and likeness. 

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