The Players Trunk is a collaboration between five partners, Charles Matthews, Zavier Simpson, Hunter Pomerantz, Austin Pomerantz, and Jason Lansing. As professional basketball players, Charles and Zavier know the struggles of being student-athletes, while Jason, Hunter, and Austin know sports management, having managed men’s basketball teams. Together these guys make a great team with extensive knowledge and experience in collegiate sports.
What started with Charles and Zavier looking to sell their sports gear on social media turned into The Players Trunk, an online marketplace for former and current NCAA athletes to buy and sell team-issued uniforms and sports gear where the money from sales goes directly to the student-athlete.
The Players Trunk also sells student-athlete merchandise and memorabilia, thanks to the 2021 NCAA ruling allowing college student-athletes to make money from their name and image, an honor reserved for professional players. This policy change has helped expand the business into the college sports fan arena.
The company is still active and continues to connect with student-athletes and colleges to get licensing deals. The website has benefited immensely from the Shark Tank effect, with sales shooting up to 1000 per week, thanks to all the exposure.
How Did The Shark Tank Pitch Go?
These boys vaulted into the Tank with a monumental ask of $650,000 for 5% equity. They started their pitch by valuing their company at a staggering $14 million, which got the Sharks’ attention.
They explained their business model, providing the logistics and infrastructure to over 800 NCAA athletes who promote their sports gear and merchandise on their personal social media profiles. Over the course of a year, they made $1.3 million in sales with $200,000 in profits, which they felt was enough to justify the company’s valuation.
Kevin O’Leary was beside himself, he thought the valuation was off the chart, and the company was barely worth $4 million. He said, “I don’t do stupid deals, and this is stupid.” He was out, as were Lori and Barbara, as this market wasnt their forte.
Kevin Hart and Mark tried to reason with the team, agreeing that the idea was solid but felt the valuation was too high. They wanted 30%, which these entrepreneurs weren’t willing to give up. They countered with $750,000 for 7.5% equity. Mark and Kevin Hart dismissed it without a moment’s hesitation. The Sharks were done, and The Players Trunk left without a deal.
Our Review of The Players Trunk
The Players Trunk website is well designed, making it easy to search for the sports apparel you need. You can search by clothing type, league (college and professional), team, or player, which makes navigating the online shop a breeze, saving you a ton of frustration.
Each product has photography with all their wrinkles and even some stains visible, so it’s obvious there is no image editing. This company is showing you exactly what you are buying and that kind of honesty on the internet is refreshing.
There is also a growing collection of memorabilia, trading cards, and autographs of college athletes, making it a one-stop shop for student-athletes to get their merchandise in the consumers’ eye and for fans to buy collectibles of their favorite collegiate players. The best part is that the money from purchasing goes to the student-athlete. This is a great way to support these players, most of whom are still studying and can benefit financially.
Pros of The Players Trunk
- The online store is easy to use
- The streamlined process makes it easy to sell clothes
- Cheaper than buying new athletic apparel
- Place for college league fans to find memorabilia and autographs
- Money goes to the student-athletes
Cons of The Players Trunk
- Used sports apparel is currently focused on NCAA basketball teams
- Limited sized
- Limited stock per college
- Items are used therefore lowered quality
Who is The Players Trunk For?
The Players Trunk is an online thrift store for former college athletes to sell their used sports uniforms and for current college athletes to find affordable ones. It benefits both the seller, who is trying to unload all the sports apparel they have collected over the years and the buyer, who is trying to find a cheaper option.
This store is also a college sports fan shop where team supporters can celebrate and collect a variety of merchandise and memorabilia of their favorite teams and players, which also helps the players.
Are There Any Alternatives?
There aren’t any online stores solely focused on selling used team-issued uniforms. Generally, former athletes take their clothes to a physical thrift store or go to sites like eBay to sell their used apparel. This method makes it time-consuming for anyone looking to buy as they have to search multiple physical and online stores. This gap gives The Players Trunk a unique advantage as it expands into this market.
However, there are many stores selling memorabilia for NCAA players. Some of these stores are listed below.
This online store was also founded by a group of former athletes trying to find high-quality sports gear online. They followed a similar business model to The Players Trunk, with buyers and sellers coming together to “swap” gear at affordable prices. They also have college fan shops for student-athlete memorabilia.
Play It Again Sports
With franchise partners across North America, this store sells new and used sports gear, fitness, and sports apparel, including some used team uniforms. But they don’t have dedicated college categories, instead mixing them with general athletic apparel. These college sports uniforms are more for fans or fitness enthusiasts looking for collegiate sportswear.
This thrift store specializes in retro sportswear, from USA sports tees to hats, college hoodies, sports jackets, and more. They cater more to professional and college sports fans as opposed to current college athletes, so they don’t have any team-issued uniforms or sports gear.
Our Final Thoughts
The Players Trunk is a fantastic initiative that helps student-athletes make money while studying hard and playing harder. They could have benefited with a Shark on board, but they weren’t willing to negotiate. Maybe they are naive or overconfident; whatever the case, only time will tell, and so far, they are still in the game.