Jamie Mottram is the president of BreakingT, a sports apparel company based out of Wilmington, North Carolina. Founded in 2014, Breaking T thrives off of turning memes into merchandise, and fans can’t get enough of the pop-culture and social media references freezing some of their favorite sports moments in time.
BreakingT has made a name for itself by partnering with various players associations in order to print shirts with player likeness. Motram partnered with the WNBA player’s association in a commitment to women’s sports merchandising, especially in regard to helping the WNBA raise awareness for its social justice initiatives. In the past, the WNBPA and BreakingT have partnered on shirts like “The W Wears Orange,” which raises awareness for gun safety, and “Bet On Women,” a popular shirt which stemmed from WNBPA president Nneka Ogwumike’s Player’s Tribune article.
Most recently, Mottram and the WNBPA partnered for its “WNBA Speaks” collection, which includes player shirts for each player and team in the league. The front of the shirt is a powerful image of a raised fist in protest with sayings like ‘Change Can’t Wait,’ ‘Say Her Name,’ and ‘Take Action Now.’ In a world where individual WNBA player merchandise is hard to find, the WNBA Speaks collection provides access to individualized merchandise for fans, while also supporting a good cause.
“We wanted to try to celebrate every single player and also reflect what it is they’re doing this season — dedicating it to racial justice — while meeting this demand that’s out there from the fans,” Mottram said in an interview with Front Office Sports. “And we did it in a way where we collaborated with the [players’ association] and their board of directors on a piece of artwork for the front that’s inspired by the bubble. It’s inspired by what the players are feeling and doing these days.”
When the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team decided to put their jerseys on backward before a tournament last year to protest U.S. Soccer’s sexist legal argument against equal pay, BreakingT helped capture the moment by producing the “Four Stars” T-shirt. Within 24 hours, BreakingT had sold more than 6,000 shirts, which was a company record.
“Women’s sports are on the rise in terms of popularity in terms of revenue in terms of player compensation and power and standing in society. It’s all on the rise. At the same time, we feel like there’s an underserved audience there in several way, but not the least of which from our perspective is from a merchandise standpoint,” Mottram said in an interview with Power Plays. “So, it made a lot of sense. And it continues to. And we’re a for-profit business, so it’s not like, “Oh, well, this is the right thing to do, so we did it.” It’s nice that I also happen to think it’s the right thing to do. But it’s definitely paid off for us at the same time.”
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