Surviving in business sometimes means jumping over seemingly insurmountable obstacles — or moving faster than a speeding bullet.
It’s one of the lessons entrepreneurs Blair MacDonald and Virginia Marcolin, a couple with Nova Scotia connections, learned after conceiving of superhero-branded performance wear for kids and finding themselves skating to success with a North American licensing deal with Warner Bros. for Superman and Batman products.
“Having four young boys and spending a lot of time at the arena also helped,” said MacDonald in an interview Monday.
He said hanging out at the arena is like residing full time in a marketing laboratory, with lots of input from kids and parents available on which DC Comics characters are most popular and which products would sell at a particular price point.
“Remember when kids would just roll out of bed and head off to the arena with their pyjamas still on?” said MacDonald, a Kentville native with lots of family and friends in the province.
“The pyjamas would be covered with superheroes. And we noticed with the popularity of today’s high-performance undergarments, the superhero thing was lost.”
Lots of people get good business ideas. A difference with MacDonald and Marcolin is the couple quickly put together a winning presentation and scored an audience with top executives at Warner Bros.
“We’re just a small startup, but it was a novel idea and they liked it,” said MacDonald.
Now the couple are loading up a Montreal warehouse with shirts, mouth guards and athletic tape featuring Batman and Superman logos for distribution across the country.
Their company, SuperJock Inc., based in Hudson, Que., has the fledgling line of junior performance gear at about 70 retail outlets across Canada after inking a deal with Dartmouth-based Cleve’s Sporting Goods Ltd. for sales in the 16 stores the chain has in Atlantic Canada.
The line of junior performance hockey gear (for the 5-to-14 age range) is marketed under the Bullion brand.
With new instalments of both the Batman and Superman film franchises on the horizon and hockey season swinging into high gear, the partners are already starting to think about future DC Comics-licensed performance gear for girls and adults.
They are also planning a heroic assault on the highly competitive United States market, said MacDonald.