This post was originally produced for Forbes.
Sports play a special role in world culture–consider the influence of the World Cup and the Olympics. Within that world, the Australian sports clothing company SKINS is playing an outspoken role, advocating for integrity and equality in sports.
SKINS CEO Jaimie Fuller notes, “History is littered with examples where sport has played a major role in shaping values and behaviours, cite eradication of apartheid in south Africa and then bringing the nation together in the rugby world cup in 1995. In the right hands with great vision and leadership, sport can advance social progress like almost no other.”
Fuller has been a vocal critic of FIFA and other international sporting organizations.
He says, “Today sport at the international level is not in the right hands. Immense scandals in soccer (FIFA), athletics (IAAF) inc doping, cycling (UCI and Lance Armstrong affair), tennis (ITF and match fixing) continue to amaze and disappoint. The public (consumer to some) has genuinely lost faith in what it is watching as money becomes bigger and more important.”
“Sports that historically were amateur that have over short periods of time embraced ever increasing dollars at play, have mostly failed to make the transition with the most egregious examples entailing massive corruption. SKINS has been actively championing reform for the last 4 years, driven initially by the Lance Armstrong affair, and has been successful in reform of cycling, doping, IOC, cricket and soccer to one degree or another,” he boasts.
Fuller doesn’t view activism as an incidental part of the business strategy, but as the central tenet of the brand.
“As the sole sportswear brand taking this stance, SKINS is in the very unique situation to grow the brand and continue to advocate sports for all the right reasons,” he continues. “SKINS has a plan to not just sit back and complain about the situation but to fill the leadership void and use sport to advance social progress in several key areas including eradicating LGBT prejudice, addressing issues of racism and indigenous prejudice as well as advocate for gender equality.”
Fuller believes that this approach will not only support business growth but also that it will facilitate its multi-country equity crowdfunding raise in the UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
“Not only will we champion these important issues but we have a plan to directly link the cause marketing to commercial success with the increasing commercial success then driving greater advocacy and success for social progress, hence the crowd funding equity raise initiative,” he concludes.
The crowdfund offering is being conducted by Seedrs with partner Equitise in Australia and New Zealand. Jeff Lynn, CEO & Co-Founder, Seedrs, in a statement, said, “We’re incredibly excited to be working with SKINS. Not only does it have great products, but it has a unique brand purpose that really makes it different. This is a really exciting opportunity for people to invest in a business they believe in and share in its success.”
On Thursday, March 10 at 5:00 Eastern, Fuller will join me for a live discussion about how activism fits into the business strategy, including the equity raise. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.
More about SKINS:
We design, innovate, manufacture and market high performance sports compression clothing. Our technology uses engineered gradient compression which forces blood faster back up the veins to the heart which in turn forces blood faster through the arteries to deliver blood faster, and more oxygen, to the limbs. This creates a performance improvement for athletes. Understanding that these are truly performance enhancing, we define our brand values around Fueling the true Spirit of Competition which leads us to play a serious role on agitating for good governance in sports administration; something that is sorely lacking in the 21st century at International Sports federation levels.
Jaimie Fuller is an Australian businessman who is Executive Chairman of the international sports compression wear company, SKINS (www.skins.net).
Jaimie is a hugely passionate sports fan whose sporting prowess was (and still is) inversely proportional to his passion. He is committed to the SKINS ethos of ‘Fuelling the True Spirit of Competition’ as a central platform of its brand identity.
In 2012, Jaimie founded the international pressure group, Change Cycling Now (CCN), inspired by the growing international criticism of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and its handling of cycling’s doping issues including the Lance Armstrong scandal.
In 2013, Jaimie established the anti-doping campaign, #ChooseTheRightTrack. This campaign was delivered in combination with a new SKINS platform, Pure Sport (www.puresport.skins.net) which celebrates and promotes the true values of sport free from corruption and drugs.
In 2014, Jaimie and SKINS set their sights on the practices and leadership of FIFA. Jaimie co-founded the movement and campaign #NewFIFANow to reclaim football by calling out and eradicating the serial allegations of corruption and unacceptable governance practises dogging the sport.
Jaimie is also a regular commentator on integrity in sport and sports governance issues. He has also become a contributor to public forums and amongst others, was a speaker at the Play The Game conference in Denmark in October 2013 and 2015 and at the “I Play Fair” Sports conference hosted by South African Institute for Drug-free Sport in Capetown in November 2013. He blogs regularly at watercooler.skins.net.