After years of buying the team kit for my club, I thought it would be helpful for those who have the thankless task of following in my footsteps to write down some pointers I have picked up with the hope that future first time buyers will avoid many of the pitfalls I encountered.
While none of these ideas are ground breaking and many will seem down right obvious, I hope that some other poor sap that got reeled into a role of responsibility can be aided by this list and learn from history and past mistakes (note: MINE)!
Before we get started, I first want to emphasize that buying the team kit should be a fun experience and NOT to get overly stressed out about it. When it is all said and done, most players on the team will be very appreciative of your efforts and your team will look better on the pitch (yes every team has a complainer who probably won’t like the jersey but you can’t make everyone happy all of the time).
I have found that the World Rugby Shop Team Wear department offers the best selection and service out there. You can check out the rugby team wear selection for yourself and then get down to the matter at hand…ordering some rugby team jerseys/
What should we look to get and in what order of importance?
This is probably the most important question for any president or set of officers and this answer could go on for days, but I will try to keep it to the point.
The first major thing to purchase is of course the rugby match jerseys. Without them you simply can’t play and if you do you will look like supreme rag tags with each player in a different jersey.
Some will disagree, but for me matching rugby shorts are a crucial next purchase item, as having multicolored shorts, while not as bad as mismatched jerseys, still looks terrible!
Rugby socks should be the next purchase.
A set of rugby team balls is also a crucial next buy so you can stop using random player supplied ones. Customized balls are also something that are a bit pricey, but well worth the investment as they really make a team look sharp and well organized if you have the extra funds.
After a full rugby team kit, it’s time to start looking at scrum sleds and rucking pads. These are very important final purchases (assuming you already have some type of scrum sled, which if you don’t is a priority right below jerseys) and will do wonders for improving the technique of your side. They are expensive, though, and that’s why I would hold off on these bad boys until you have all your other ducks in a row.
So to recap: 1.) Get some rugby jerseys 2.) get some rugby shorts 3.) get some rugby socks 4.) team rugby bags,rugby warm-ups or rugby balls 5.) rugby rucking pads 6.) and then get a rugby scrum sled. Different teams have different needs, but this has been a good purchasing order in my experience for most clubs.
Is customization something we should consider?
Every club wants to look like a real team and appear organized and all that good stuff and there is no better way to do this than to customize your jersey. While the benefits of a customized order are pretty significant (you look more organized and legitimate for starters), there are also some downsides to consider, particularly for smaller clubs. Customization will add a premium to the cost of the item that you want, obviously. While it is normally not too much extra money, all things considered, it can be significant if you have a tight budget. In most cases you will need to provide a digitized logo (unless you want a stock design which they will often have several of, just ask your sales rep) and you will probably have to pay a set up fee on your first order. Generally this is a one time expenditure. This could add extra time to your order too so be aware of that as well if you have a time sensitive order.
My experience playing rugby for a number of different clubs at all different levels of play is that customized items do wonder for bringing a team together and making a team look like a team. That being said you don’t want to kill your budget just to get customized items. If getting your order customized means you have to order less stuff or neglect something that could use the money, I would caution against buying them. But if you have enough room in the budget customized kit is really worth the extra money.
One major benefit of customized gear that you might not initially think of is selling extra to alumni and fans. By branding your kit you can often sell old or extra jerseys and the like back to alumni and turn a bit of a profit.
Bottom line: If you are in the clear financially this is a step you should definitely take. If it would require you to sacrifice some other thing of relative importance, avoid it.
What is the best way to purchase the items we want?
If you are making a volume order for your team I recommend you find a team wear representative and discuss your plans with them. The World Rugby Shop has been my ‘go to’ experts for the past two team kits I have purchased and I would urge you to give them a chance to provide a quote. They can walk you through the possibilities and pricing for customizations and can recommend products that you might have missed or may suit your needs better.
You also need to set a budget and convey your means to your team wear representative so they can get together some packages that will suit your needs. Don’t be tempted to try and wing it by simply purchasing a large set of some item without a team wear rep. Often times they will volume discount items that the catalog or website normally might not have listed as having tiered pricing.
Look for “pick and go” style package deals that are already put together, too. These prefab packs generally come with lower price tags and either have no minimum order requirements or at least drastically reduced ones. That way you won’t have to buy 45 sets of something when you can barely field a full squad. So my recommendation is make all team wear purchases through a team wear rep, and it’s definitely worth going to a company that has one over one that does not.
How should we pay for these items?
I know what your thinking, “Ummmm…with money dummy”. But there is more to consider as a head of a club when purchasing items than you might initially have thought. What form of money should we pay in for instance? If your club has a credit card or checking account this will be the best way of course. This will avoid putting any burden on any one player financially, having to basically front the money, and particularly in having to collect the money if he is forced to or just having to collect the money in general. This makes for a quicker order as well since you will normally already have funds available from dues and fundraising to make the purchase and won’t need to go begging for the money.
If you do not have a team credit card or checking account, you will be forced to use cash or get someone to use their credit card or checking account and collect the money from each individual player. I will discourage using any of these options, but if you have to (and many clubs will from time to time for various reasons) you ABSOLUTELY MUST COLLECT THE MONEY FIRST!!!! You should never purchase an item when all of the money has not been collected, except in extreme cases. I don’t mean 70% or 98% of the money, I mean every last penny. The headaches you will have trying to round up money once the item is purchased will certainly bring you to better understand the sensibility of aggravated assault, but as the authorities frown on this, just don’t do it. While this is not necessarily always the case, I can promise you from first hand experience (i.e. every time I tried it) that someone will drag their feet on the payment.
Well I hope that helps out a little bit. No two teams are in exactly the same position, but I think this is a good general template for someone that is not totally versed in making big purchases and team orders. But hey, don’t just take my word for it. I put together a downloadable list with the help of the team wear rep (an expert opinion if you will) from worldrugbyshop.com that should help summate this information without having to read a very poorly written article every time you need to mark things off the list (download that bad boy here: ). Good luck with the orders and may your teams finally come to appreciate all the stuff you had to go through to get them done.
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