Dennis Smith Jr. Partnership Proposal
Rafter customers are young professional men who grew up collecting basketball cards, buying the latest Jordans, and hanging posters of their favorite players. These men have graduated from NBA Jam to point spreads, from Sprite to scotch, from Penny Hardaway's to penny loafers. They may no longer be able wear their cherished Patrick Ewing jersey every day of the week, but Rafter allows them to retain that almost religious connection to the sport even when at the office.
Eventually, we plan to expand the brand's reach to men of all ages who don't necessarily love basketball, but dig the Rafter style - just as Ralph Lauren isn't just for polo lovers and many people wear Jordans who don't play basketball.
You will no longer go to weddings or offices where every man is wearing the same outfit. Rafter will provide the same range of styles that women have with formal attire. We believe access to more expressive clothing that promotes individualism can play a significant role in allowing men to open up.
Our shoes will advance with the same fervor as basketball sneakers, exploring a wide spectrum of styles and utilizing the latest technologies. We started with high tops to clearly introduce the basketball dress shoe concept, but we also are working on low tops, loafers, and more. We will create signature shoe lines for players as well as other influential figures outside of sports. We will also expand beyond shoes - we are in the process of designing suits and accessories that pull inspiration from basketball culture, e.g. blazers modeled after varsity jackets, gym/carryon bags, dress shirts with high performance fabrics, and dress socks modeled after classic athletic socks. We would like to outfit NBA coaching staffs with matching suits, shoes, and team-colored ties/socks.
We plan to open retail locations that are more than just clothing stores. The stores will be spaces to shop as well as watch, discuss, and read about basketball over a fine glass of whiskey. In the front of the store, the clothing will be displayed in a way that feels like a high-end country club locker room. In the back will be leather couches, television screens, and a bar.
Our customers love studying stats, trades, and coaching strategy as much as they enjoy watching games, but have no dedicated space to foster this interest. Rafter stores will house a tight community and provide an environment perfect for exploring basketball from an intellectual perspective with libraries of relevant books, magazines, and newspapers. We will host fantasy league gatherings, and we will bring in statisticians, coaches, and other basketball experts to give lectures.
We even foresee eventually opening high-end basketball clubs with courts and gyms as well as adult basketball leagues and camps.
Rafter stores and clubs will have an elite feel, but without overpriced drinks, high membership fees, or an air of pretentiousness. Unlike sports more commonly connected with country clubs, basketball culture promotes diversity and inclusiveness, and the Rafter environment will exemplify those values and be welcoming and comfortable for those from all walks of life.
The Rafter Club represents the pursuit of greatness. A significant part of our goal is to help people with less opportunity find their arena of life and rise to its rafters. We plan to start an inner city youth mentorship program through Rafter called Rise, where kids come together around their love for basketball in a safe space and receive guidance on how to pursue their off-court dreams. We also plan to start a program called Well Suited that provides free Rafter suits and career counseling to ex-cons applying for jobs.