Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Brand Highlight: Boast USA

   Last week Boast USA was my "Throwback Thursday Prep Pic". The famous polo shirt with the maple leaf which in my opinion is the best looking logo among tennis shirts.

Founder Bill St.John
    The brand was established in 1973 Greenwich, Connecticut by Bill St. John. He was a huge tennis and squash player from Franklin Lakes, N.J. who was tennis professional. Bill was a Cornell graduate and he was an All American. He was the head pro at a field club in Greenwich. Bill first sold his shirts from the back of his station wagon at country clubs. The brand was very successful in the eighties. Not only tennis players were wearing the shirts, you had people like former President George W.Bush wearing the leaf. In the eighties, the brand was making $ 8 million yearly while only having 35 employees. At that time the big boys of the tennis shirt was Lacoste, Fred Perry and Ralph Lauren. In the early 90s, Bill pulled the brand from the mass market; decided to redirect the brand to only making it available to country clubs (this is the explanations why the brand magically vanished in 90s). The shirts were being sold in white in various sizes with no leaf logo to country clubs.
George W.Bush wearing the Leaf

 The brand infamous logo is a Japanese Maple Leaf. Many people think it's a marijuana leaf. This assumption made the shirt illegal in many schools. The origins of the logo come about when Bill was in Japan. He really liked the Japanese maple leaf which he saw everywhere. When he returns from Japan he decided to use the leaf as the logo. Everybody seems to like the logo (Am I right?)Most tennis shirts at that time were foreign (Lacoste is French and Fred Perry is British).
John McEnroe v. Jimmy Connors,

Yale Squash Team

Vijay Amritraj wearing Boast in 1976
 The brand was bought back by John Dowling and Alexander Tiger, who are tennis enthusiast and longtime fans of Boast. Tiger thought of the idea of bringing back the brand, when he checked his closet and saw his worn out Boast shirts. He wonder what happen to the brand and found out the brand was being sold in country clubs without the leaf logo. Alexander was able to contact Bill. Bill was hesitant to selling the brand at first. John and Alexander were very lucky because there were other people interested in reviving back the brand, but fail to impress Bill. Alexander was able to negotiate with Bill after playing him in tennis match at Palm Beach Florida home.

Back in action

    I remember before the brand was revived, ebay was the only place to find the shirts. I don't know how some people had deadstock boast shirts. One of the reasons why I like Boast is because it was the first American polo shirt. To me Boast will always be view as a best kept secret because only a selected amount of people know about and those that do only speak good about the brand.

Country Club Boast

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