CHRISTINE BLECHMAN, 32, of Northern Liberties, is founder and president of Broad Street Broad, which sells all-female sports-fan gear. In addition to tees, tanks and hoodies, the company offers sports-centric accessories like tote bags, panties, pajamas and tailgate aprons. Blechman's boyfriend, Dan Hershberg, 30, runs a related business called Philly Phaithful.
Q: How'd you come up with the idea for the biz?
A: I'm a die-hard sports fan and wasn't impressed with [sports] apparel for women. I started making things I wanted to wear in summer 2012. The website went live in November 2012.
Q: Startup money?
A: I'm self-funded. When you think about what's the right time to start a business and take a risk, it doesn't feel like there's ever a right time. I put about $10,000 savings in the business.
Q: The biz model?
A: We have all the apparel in a showroom [on 4th Street near Brown]. I work with freelance graphic designers and tell them what I want. I source apparel through wholesalers for certain material, cuts and fit, and don't want stuff that's pink or too girlie. I work with screen printers here, and one in Tennessee. We sell online, at community events, street festivals and some shops.
Q: What's in the name?
A: I feel a lot of women who like Philly sports and are really into the teams are more of a broad than a lady, kind of rough around the edges and grittier.
Q: With whom do you compete, and what differentiates you?
A: I haven't seen any direct competitors, but obviously there are licensed [pro-sports] brands. We feel prices for other apparel are driven by teams, and we offer more-affordable apparel that doesn't need to be licensed.
Q: Your customers?
A: We have a younger clientele, probably in their 20s or 30s. Many are die-hard fans but some are not totally into sports.
Q: What's stuff cost?
A: It ranges from a few dollars for a koozie to $40 for a sweatshirt. Probably the average cost per item is $20.
Q: Most popular items?
A: Our sweatshirts, but everything is seasonal. The Phillies tank [top] is the No. 1 seller. Phillies underwear is a nice complement to things, and guys buy it for girlfriends and wives.
Q: How big a biz is this?
A: We had gross revenues from $40,000 to $45,000 our first year. I worked 10 to 15 hours a week on this, nights and weekends the first year. I work full time at Curalate [a local startup], so Dan helps in the business.
Q: What's been the biggest challenge?
A: We rely on fan sentiment. When Philly teams aren't doing well, our business suffers.