This is an excerpt from my upcoming book "Sports Retail Insider, ethical lessons for today's retailer
Albert Einstein said "The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything".
In retail as with most businesses that sell things there is a sales team. Whether in house or outsourced, the need for manufacturers and brands to showcase and sell their products to retailers plays an import role in a companies success.
When choosing an outside sales group to represent your products there are many factors to consider. Will the needs of my business be properly represented and will the sales team cultivate long term relationships with my customers? Will the sales team handle disputes and make my life easier? Will they be representative of my company's values and morals? Will my association with them be positive in the long term?
Kittredge & Associates according to their website represent the top brands in the athletic, outdoor and footwear industry. They also represent the Dallas Cowboys.
My sales rep Bill Chase worked for Kittredge & Associates when the Dallas Cowboys tried to destroy my business and family.
I have been in retail for 40 years, in sports licensing for 29 years. I have had stores, sold online and sold on Amazon.
The NFL and MLB knew I was on Amazon since 2016. Most people would agree Amazon is a legitimate sales channel that many consumers enjoy.
The Dallas Cowboys thru their licensing manager Amon Simmons absolutely knew I was selling on Amazon as of Oct. 13, 2017. The Cowboys and Kittredge Associates were happy to continue selling me over $200,000 in merchandise over the next year even though the Cowboys knew I was on Amazon.
Then one day, the Dallas Cowboys decided all Amazon sellers had to go. Instead of just closing my account and taking back merchandise or letting me sell it out and square up they chose a different patch.
Even though I bought my Dallas Cowboys jerseys direct from the Cowboys thru my salesman at Kittredge Associates, the Cowboys were so hellbent on destroying Amazon sellers that they filed counterfeit complaints against me on Sept. 4th, 2018.
This was after I spoke to Amon Simmons the licensing manager of the Cowboys on Aug. 22, 2018. He told me they couldn't sell to me unless I stopped selling on Amazon. I asked why they shipped me $10,000's in jerseys all summer long? I asked for an exemption from upper management. The conversation ended with no guidance or resolution. I wasn't sure if they wanted their jerseys back or what was going on.
After the first wave of counterfeit complaints on Sept 4th, 2018, the Cowboys in mid September shipped me another $30,000 in jerseys of which Kittredge got their commission. I didn't know what to do except keep selling merchandise. I had invoices and bills to pay. The Cowboys or Kittredge offered no guidance or help. I just couldn't understand the nightmare they created or why?
Then on Oct 5th, 2018 the Cowboys again flooded Amazon with counterfeit complaints. I was so distraught. Then on Oct. 19, 2018 when I couldn't provide a retraction of the lies, Amazon suspended me.
I was suspended for 25 days. I pleaded and begged the Cowboys to retract. I had to retain legal counsel to represent me to Amazon. After running an honest business for 30 years, all of a sudden the Cowboys were out to destroy me. I supported the NFL and Cowboys for 30 years why are the doing this to me? Is it because they can? Was it to make an example out of me to other Amazon Sellers? I still don't know why?
Even after I stopped selling Cowboys on Amazon, its been 18 months and Im still tripping over their jerseys in my shop. I still have a dark cloud over my head with Amazon and my business is about over going forward.
Where was Kittredge in all this? Why didn't they protect their customer? Why didn't they get the Cowboys to back off? My account was closed. They all profited from my sales, they made money. Why did they stand by and watch me get destroyed.
Especially since Amon Simmons from the Cowboys knew I was on Amazon since Oct. 13, 2017. All Kittredge needed to do was pick up the phone and resolve the situation. They did nothing.
Brands- if you must do business with Kittredge please learn from my situation. They stood by and did nothing as my family was being destroyed. In the long run companies that do not resolve these types of situations can be hazardous to your brand and long term success of your business. Please proceed with caution.
Consumers-If you do not like this kind of behavior please Boycott brands represented by Kittredge. Dallas Cowboys, Reebok, Oofos, and Chinook.
Retailers- If you buy brands represented by Kittredge & Associates talk to your brands directly. Ask them about a B2B platform. Try to negotiate a 2-3% discount by not going thru a sales group and purchasing direct.