Tupelo-based Blue Delta jeans, a custom denim company, has provided each player on the Ole Miss football roster with a name, image and likeness. Players who accept the offer will each receive a custom pair of jeans, which they can design, with a retail value of $450 in exchange for at least one social media post per month from September 2021 through January 2022.
With its only store just minutes from the Ole Miss campus in Oxford, Blue Delta believes the partnership with the team will allow it to illustrate how its tailored jeans fit every body size, from the smallest player on the team to the biggest.
Blue Delta creates a custom pattern for each customer with 16 measurements from the waist down, which can be taken in person or online using the company’s state-of-the-art virtual tailor. The customer can then create their own design by choosing from 50 fabrics and 18 thread colors, in addition to selecting their cut, to create a unique pair of jeans.
They can do anything. The 300-pound security guard who has never been able to buy jeans off the rack and wants skinny jeans, he can have skinny jeans if he wants to, explains Tyler Sutliff, an investor and operating partner of Blue Delta.
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We take care of our customers and treat them like family during the design process. We make sure every customer is happy with their finished jeans and we guarantee a fit, said Nick Weaver, co-founder of Blue Delta. Our brand is on the rise, as is Ole Miss football, and we are excited about the opportunities to partner with the university’s student athletes.
Founded in 2011 by West and Nick Weaver, Blue Delta Jeans counts among its clients former Ole Miss stars Eli Manning, AJ Brown and DK Metcalf, as well as current head football coach Lane Kiffin and head basketball coach Kermit Davis. The brand has also collaborated with SEC Network hosts Tim Tebow, Booger McFarland and Laura Rutledge.
It makes sense to do this in our backyard, Sutliff said. Lane Kiffin wore Blue Delta jeans for four or five games during the Walk of Champions last year. We suited all the coaches, so it was a natural development for us to offer something to players.
Josh West, co-founder and CEO of Blue Delta, agrees that the move to working with players following the NIL rule change this summer was an obvious next step for the brand.
Social media sharing and our loyal following among athletes and celebrities are huge drivers of the growth of our brands, West said. The NIL world is obviously new, but we see a huge opportunity working with Ole Miss right here in our backyard. Everyone from the fourth-string kicker to the quarterback will have a chance to participate.
On Monday, Blue Delta was on campus measuring the 33 student athletes who signed up for the deal, plus an additional 11 who go through the paperwork with each player to create their own custom design. The brand plans to ship the jeans to players next week before the Alabama game, but the terms of the deal require each player to post their first social media outlet to promote the brand before receiving the product in order to meet the requirements. compliance requirements.
Despite some storylines surrounding NIL depicting athletic departments as opponents of NIL, Sutliff says Ole Miss has been great to work with since the brand approached them with the idea of making an offer to the entire team.
We worked with [executive associate athletics director] Jennifer Saxon, who I call our NIL Sherpa. She not only helped us get to the right places in terms of compliance, but also with planning. We’re trying to balance soccer practice and school schedules, games and weeks off, and she really helped us get through the needle.
In addition to the product, student athletes also have the opportunity to earn an additional fee by promoting their own personal code to their audience. Players receive $100 each time their unique code is used, and they receive an extra pair of jeans for every 20 times their code is redeemed. However, to be eligible for each monthly payout, they must be able to show proof of at least one social media post to meet compliance requirements.
Fans can purchase the exact design their favorite player has chosen or any other combination they wish. As long as they use the player code, the student-athlete is eligible for the additional $100 compensation per sale.
Today, 44 student athletes were measured for Blue Delta Jeans, 33 signed their contracts and a further 11 waited to see family and advisors. Blue Delta expects that more football players will complete their contracts in the coming week and have themselves measured.
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