Rob Grabow, founder of Seattle-based Intrepid Sportswear, isn’t the type of CEO who sits in a big corner office barking out orders. He’s more often found shooting hoops, playing ping-pong, or rolling up his sleeves and working alongside his design team on the company’s latest uniforms.
Grabow started out as an athlete playing semi-pro ball in Australia. Realizing that decent uniforms were too expensive for the average college team, he launched his upstart company—which emphasizes team apparel—out of his dorm room at Gonzaga University. (Like uniforms? Check out the latest trends on STACK’s Gear Page.)
Intrepid focuses on offering high-quality uniforms at reasonable prices directly to the customer to keep costs low. As a result, the company has “seen quick growth through a sluggish economy,” Grabow says.
This summer, Grabow’s threads will hit the New York streets for the Entertainers Basketball Classic at Rucker Park, the epicenter of outdoor basketball and a proving ground for up-and-coming talent. (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Julius Erving, Earl Manigault, and Wilt Chamberlain all developed their games there.) Intrepid is providing the men’s teams with 460 custom-designed uniforms.
A scrappy new entry in the multi-billion-dollar team apparel market, Intrepid has already outfitted nearly 9,000 professional, college, high school, and youth teams. The company has also worked with the American Basketball Association and created dollar-sign-emblazoned uniforms for rapper The Game.
Intrepid’s profile got a boost when Minnesota Timberwolves assistant coach Jack Sikma signed on as a company spokesperson.
As the action heats up on the asphalt this summer, one of the fiercest battles might be waged between this small company and the big boys.
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