Katie Jackson speaks to workingmums.co.uk about her new clothing brand, She’s a Baller, for girls who like football.
It’s undoubtedly an exciting time for women in football and the girls who will follow them. Fresh off the back of Mary Earps being named BBC Sports Personality of the Year and England’s success at the World Cup, there are encouraging role models all over the place. Yet that hasn’t necessarily translated into other areas, such as clothing.
So when recruitment consultant Katie Jackson was looking for everyday leisure clothes – as opposed to football kit – for her daughter Audrey to wear to her teammate’s birthday party she was surprised that there was nothing much available. In fact, a lot of the t-shirts she did find were pink or had messages to the effect that you could be pretty and still play football. It wasn’t the kind of thing she could see Audrey, who plays for Carshalton Athletic under 9s, wearing. “I couldn’t believe it. Girls football has been growing for the last few years, not the last few months. Why haven’t the clothing brands cottoned on?” she says.
So Katie decided to set up her own clothing line, She’s a Baller. So far it stocks mainly hoodies and t-shirts. The most important thing is the messaging on the clothes. And also the fact that not everything is pink. “I wanted to give girls another option that was cost effective,” she says. The messaging on the clothing ranges from different football positions – she’s a midfielder, she’s a defender, etc – to tops saying Girl Goals or Dribble Pass Goal Repeat.
Katie, whose other daughter is aged six, started by Googling manufacturers who could print her designs. She is not a fan of fast fashion. She wanted clothing that would last. She eventually found a UK company that was heavily into sustainability and could do print on demand. That means she doesn’t have extra stock hanging around. The packaging is sustainable and the factory is run by solar power. “They take a lot of pride in what they do,” says Katie, who left her job just before Covid to set up in marketing recruitment on her own.
She is learning the fashion industry from scratch, but having such a supportive factory on board reduces the risk. She is keen now to get feedback from potential customers. The company has only been going for a few weeks so it is early days and Katie’s next focus is on building the brand through creating a two-way community on social media and reaching out to parents.
“There is definitely a gap in the market and I hope to fill that. I am confident it will be a success and am pushing myself out of my comfort zone,” says Katie. “It’s an exciting journey at a time when women’s football is growing. If nothing else I would like to think that it shows my daughters that if you have an idea you should go for it. If you fail at least you have tried. Watching the girls on the pitch I see the joy they get from doing that on the football pitch. That is the spirit behind the She’s a Baller brand.”