"Hey Findlay Hats! I love your brand, will you sponsor me?"
One of the questions we get asked multiple times a day. To which we always reply, the same, auto-filled response. "Hey, thanks for reaching out! Please fill out a sponsorship form on our website under the "contact us" page. If our coordinator likes what she sees, he will reach out toyour directly. Thank you & have a great day!"
The only thing is, we rarely have time to ever go through those forms. Maybe once every 2-3 months we will take a day out and review the hundreds of requests. MAYBE. Of those hundred requests, we maybe find one person who stands out and may be a good fit for our team.
Being a skilled athlete isn't enough anymore. You need to prove to your potential sponsor that you will be a good ambassador for the brand, and represent it in a positive light & contribute to its growth in your neck of the woods.
We rarely review the sponsorship applications, but that does not mean that mean we aren't looking for new riders. That said, we are looking for people who actually put forth the effort to prove to us they would be a good fit with our small & growing company.
The following is a quick write up explaining our brands stance & process for sponsoring new athletes. It may vary from brand to brand, but at least for us, this is the ultimate cheat sheet for getting sponsored by Findlay Hats.
Remember, everyone is knocking on the front door, it is up to you to hop the fence, fight the guard dogs & get in through the back door.
- Skilled at your sport beyond a beginner level
- Passionate, dedicated & driven to succeed & grow within your sport
- Don't be a jerk
Pretty simple requirements right? Being the best at your sport doesn't mean we want to sponsor you automatically. Being a beginner is fine, we all have to start somewhere. But if that is the case, you should focus on progressing as an athlete before worrying about picking up a sponsor.
We want people who genuinely love and are dedicated to their craft. People who push the limits, people who continue to grow and challenge themselves.
Lastly, no one wants a jerk on their sponsored athletes list. Representing a brand in a positive light while being a jerk is not possible.
Mutually beneficial situation
Even if you are a professional athlete, have a major audience and are one of the best in the world at your talent, a sponsorship must be a mutually beneficial for the rider & the company. If you are not one of those things, you must work even harder to actually contribute to your sponsors. It goes far beyond just wearing our hats and telling your friends.
Our brand is based on word of mouth & referrals, and we have thousands of people who do that already, and they aren't asking for anything in return. (We are grateful for the Findlay Force in that sense btw)
So how do you make it a mutually beneficial situation? Simple. You give back to the brand, you show us that you what it takes to help out your potential sponsor.
Support the brand.
You show your support, and buy a hat from us or one of our bad ass vendors. Our headwear is not expensive, and if you truly like our brand and want to ride for us, supporting us is the first step.
If you are unwilling to spend $25 on your potential sponsor, why would we want to invest many times that in you? If you love the brand like you say you do, this shouldn't be a big ask. This alone proves to us if you really do want to ride for us, or if you are just fishing for free gear.
Create dope content with that hat.
Okay, awesome you got the hat, thank you! But this next step is key. Now that you have it, show us what you can do with it. Get out there and create quality photos & videos of you rocking that hat. Quality over quantity here is important.
We want to see you at your best, rocking Findlay. We want to see that if we were to send you a care package of hats, you wouldn't just take them and disappear. We want to confirm that you are able to provide your sponsors with marketing material. We want to see that you will actually wear our hats.
While we may not see every sponsorship email, we do 100% view every single photo with the #findlayforce & #findlayhats hashtag. (Note: if there is not a Findlay Hat in your photo, tagging us in your photo is generally frowned upon, and a good way to get blacklisted :/ )
The majority of our current riders were discovered this way. They create great photos on social media, tagged us and we reached out to them directly as they had already proven to us that they are capable of independently handling content creation.
We would rather sponsor a decent rider, who makes entertaining, quality content over a fantastic rider who never posts anything or creates worthwhile content.
Content is king. We need photos & videos to share every single day, and if you prove to us that you are capable of doing that, you already got your foot in the door.
Rocking Findlay & creating great content are important. Showing us you have an audience, that listens to you and has your back is also important. Tag us in your photos, share our posts with your friends, tell your local shop about us, send people to our website and have them say they found out about us through you if they buy a hat.
A little bit goes a long way here, and again, this is something we notice.
Go above & beyond.
I'll leave this one open to interpretation. But doing something special will create a memorable & positive experience is a good maneuver.
Persistent, not annoying.
Did you just win your local contest while rocking Findlay? Awesome tag us in your photo or send a link to the photo gallery via email. Did you just learn a new trick? Awesome tag us in your photo.
We want you to stay in touch, and we want to see your progression as a rider and potential to represent us doing something you love. What we don't want is to be constantly bombarded with emails asking when you will hear back if we will sponsor you. We don't want to be tagged in 20 photos a day, all with the same trick. Keep your interactions simple, high quality and show us the best of what you got.
A quick email to email@example.com once a month with a quick update about what you accomplished, 2-3 of your best photos or a video clip is fine, but anything past that is too much.
What to expect.
If you are not a professional athlete or have a gigantic audience, there is a slim chance of getting paid for what you do. We don't have the budget to pay you to ride....yet. Our sponsored athletes typically get a care package every 1-3 months, including some selected gear from the site, including limited edition, custom & un-released gear. They get the opportunity to design their own custom caps as well, and great pricing on collab hats, so they can then sell the caps directly on their end. Athletes also have the opportunity to design their own private line caps, earn commission on web sales and bonuses for getting us into new stores or collab deals.
Remember how I said a sponsorship should be a mutually beneficial thing? That goes both ways, and far beyond just sending you gear in the mail or naming a hat after you. We want to help you. We want to get your name out there. We want to see your grow to be the best athlete you can be. We want to help in any way we can. We have many resources available to you, be it simply sharing your photo to our audience across social media, promoting your event or connecting you with people in your industry.
If you are helping us, in any way shape or form, we want to be able to give back and help you.
So you just landed your Findlay (or any other companies sponsorship) now what?
Good question. It is important to stay in touch with that person and keep them updated with monthly or bi-monthly updates. Generally, the sponsorship coordinator will have a set list of requirements or requests in order to maintain your sponsorship involvement. For us, we keep it extremely simple and have a get out of it what you put in mentality.
Keep creating content, keep spreading the word and keep looking for ways to give back. As this grows, so will what you get out of the sponsorship on our end.
Hope you found this somewhat useful. We are a very small company that is passionate about who we are and what we sell. This is purely written to help inform potential athletes what we look for when it comes to sponsoring new riders. This guide is written entirely for our brand, and should be noted that different brands look for different things.
Comment below, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Here is a link to our sponsorship application.
Good luck out there.