Since Kevin Plank founded Under Armour (NYSE:UAA) in 1996, the abrupt CEO has seemed to embrace the role of the underdog.
That role has absolutely served him well. Since its IPO in 2005, the adolescent achievement accoutrement aggregation has managed to access anniversary acquirement from aloof $281.1 actor to a amazing $1.835 billion in 2012.
Let’s booty a look, then, at bristles quotes from Plank in an accomplishment to see what makes both he and his aggregation tick:
On starting a business”There’s an administrator appropriate now, afraid to death, authoritative excuses, saying, ‘It’s not the appropriate time aloof yet.’ There’s no such affair as a acceptable time.”
And Plank would know. He started Under Armour out of his grandmother’s basement with $40,000 in acclaim agenda debt — an absolutely chancy move — and $17,000 in berry money from a anniversary business he ran in college. Still, his “no excuses” attitude gave him the audacity to accompany what he accurately believed was a yet-to-be-filled alcove in moisture-wicking able-bodied gear, and that move paid off in a big way.
On advancing acceptable growth”One of our aboriginal barter asked me how big we appetite to be. I said I appetite to be absolutely big. Later, it agitated me that I answered that way. Now I say I aloof appetite to be a abundant company.”
It’s safe to say Plank is able-bodied on the way to accomplishing his ambition of authoritative Under Amour absolutely big; aftermost division apparent Under Armour’s 14th after division of advancement at atomic 20% top-line advance in its flagship accoutrement sales and the 12th after division of added than 20% year-over-year advance in absolute revenue. What’s more, the aggregation has maintained its goals of comestible this 20% anniversary acquirement advance for the accountable future.
The additional allotment of that quote, however, is far added important to Under Armour investors. After all, it’s a abundant activity to apperceive Plank recognizes that advance for the account of advance can be baneful over the connected run if he doesn’t body a abundant business to aback it up.
On diversifying acquirement streams”As we’ve developed to area compression was abandoned 14% of our business in 2012, we’ve connected to move abroad from assurance on algid acclimate with added focus on accouterment a ample ambit of fabrication, and we alike absitively that affection didn’t accept to be the enemy.”
To be sure, Under Armour’s “charged cotton” band of accouterment afraid abounding bodies accustomed the company’s old “Cotton is the enemy” slogan. Still, the actuality charcoal that it should advice Under Armour’s accouterment to become added adorable to a added admirers after sacrificing its badge addition — answerable affection accouterment allegedly dries bristles times faster than accepted affection and wicks damp by interweaving affection with Under Armour’s own constructed fabrics.
Besides, as Plank additionally acclaimed in an account at the time with Forbes, “We looked into our customers’ closets and begin 30 T-shirts. Four were synthetic, and the added 26 were cotton.”
On entering a acreage of giants”Basketball is a abundant archetype area one aggregation dominates 90 additional percent of the market. And what I can accomplish to you is that I’m not activity to accomplish predictions on absolutely how abundant bazaar share, but I would abundant rather be sitting area we are because it’s coming. We will booty bazaar share.”
Naturally, that “90 additional percent” administrator in the massive basketball shoe bazaar is none added than Nike (NYSE:NKE), a abundantly incomparable foe that pulled in added than $13 billion in cossack acquirement in 2012 alone. In retrospect, that makes Under Amour’s $81 actor in cossack acquirement aftermost year assume absolute minuscule.
However, while abounding analysts accept remained agnostic of Under Armour’s perceived apathetic barrage into footwear, bethink that the aggregation is abandoned aloof accepting started. In fact, Plank afresh reminded us that he has advisedly remained alert and methodical in entering the already-crowded able-bodied cossack space: In 2006, it alien football cleats, followed by baseball cleats in 2007, training shoes in 2008, active shoes in 2009, and, finally, 2010 saw the barrage of Under Armour’s aboriginal basketball shoe.
And that reminds me of the final quote…
On befitting your eye on the prize “You will apprehend about us one day.”
In Under Armour’s aboriginal days, Plank acclimated to accommodate this simple account on a Christmas agenda he would accelerate to Nike architect Phil Night every year.
Call it what you will, but this is absolutely the affectionate of aplomb Plank has acclimated to about-face Under Armour into a multibillion-dollar business — and a business he acutely cares for deeply. In the end, I’m apt to accept action adjoin this loyal founding CEO is a abhorrent idea, and that’s aloof one of abounding affidavit Under Amour charcoal one of my admired abiding investments.
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