Fixing the flax
On this American Independence day I’ve found a new form of personal independence,,I lost my phone on Thursday night and after initial misgivings I’ve actually somewhat enjoyed not being tethered to that 10oz’s of technology.
Anyhows on a slow news day Ill give my thoughts on a current bugbear, the annual releasing and pricing of the iconic Celtic shirt.
One poster mentioned it’s now approximately one hundred pounds to purchase a kids top with his favourite player’s name embroidered. That’s scandalous.
The club has presented itself in the past as being a club like no other, but their actions don’t match those words. In my opinion the strip could be one avenue to actually do things differently and take the moral high ground,, it wouldn’t take a revolution, merely a bit of innovation.
For starters, no more sweatshops. Non sweatshop certified by a reputable company. NIke are notorious for this abhorrent practice, 15p an hour in underprivileged countries with terrible conditions to boot. We should end that practice, be a little better than that if you will.
Next, attempt to source local linen, and pay a fair price for it. Flax mills were once very common across the islands, my own grandmother worked in one as a girl and even today in old Belfast the term ‘milly’ can be heard, signifying a working class girl of low repute who earns a living in the poor conditions of the mill.
If the material is local, then have the labour force local also, earning at least the living wage. I would feel a lot better helping the local economy and people rather than exploit the underprivileged.
Keep alcohol and gambling advertising away from the top. Barcelona’s gesture of helping Unicef that time was truly special, we should aim to replicate or better that feat.
I would have the foundation advertised somewhere, but I would fully understand if another company bought the rights to the prime spot front and centre. Not any old company though, make sure they pass the sniff test, have a decent record on human and employee rights, and are equal opportunity employers. Again a local company would be ideal but I understand the issues with that approach, the tribalism involved could see one half of the country associate you with their rivals and opt5 to avoid their custom, hence CR Smith sponsoring both halves of the dreaded Old Firm that time.
Announce a substantial percentage of the clubs profit would go to charity, say 25 percent. One could dedicate half of that towards the Foundation while the rest creates a ‘fighting fund’ to tackle local issues positively. It would be nice to know some of that hefty pricetag actually helped people, not just swell multinational coffers.
I understand its a hell of a lot easier to simply hand over control of merchandise and reap the benefits, but by taking control of their own production and marketing the club could significantly raise their profit margins,,why make Nike and Adidas richer when we could cut them out altogether? A new department might be needed, yes, but there’s also the opportunity for some genuine positive PR, something which cant be underestimated.
If Glasgow Celtic produced its own strip while helping locals, I imagine sales would increase given buying a shirt would be an ethical choice.
Find a decent price point. I like to believe the current pricepoint is due to the amount of mouths in the trough, alongside the multinationals desire to keep all football strips in the same ballpark. They dont want one shirt cheaper than the rest, they prefer the same price across the board, its a simple business strategy. However 50 percent of say forty pounds, is more than 15 percent of sixty pounds, the club could increase their profit margin on shirt sales by going alone. Even if the current price was maintained, folk would be happier in general buying them, if ethical.
In order to boost sales, open more stores abroad, in populous cities with plenty of expats, preferably in an area with plenty of footfall. Times Square springs to mind, a large display window, those beautiful green and white Hoops would prove almost irresistible to the millions passing by, especially the huge number of Irish Americans. It offers them the opportunity to connect a little with their distant past, and celebrate their heritage, all while raising the club’s profile. Australia should be heavily saturated, as should Japan given the current circumstances. Push the shirt sales, don’t just let people come to you. A couple of stores isnt enough, get dozens out there, and having an expat behind the counter would help provide a positive buying experience, hopefully.
The club has small opportunities like this to actually be different, to make their claim ring true, but don’t take them. Perhaps its the general old age of the board, perhaps they are too conservative. As a club we don’t need or want a total 360 degree different course, but if you claim to be different then actually be different. The shirt would be a good start.