As reported by Darren Rovell with CNBC.com, tennis apparel manufacturer Sergio Tacchini and tennis superstar Novak Djokovic have parted ways.
The reason there is a split is because Djokovic has been playing so well that the European manufacturer cannot keep up with demand for its product and also has been unable to pay Djokovic for his on-court success.
From the article:
There were also design problems in that some of the outfits it put Djokovic in weren’t popular in the United States, where the biggest market exists to sell high end tennis gear.
But the biggest problem was distribution. Many of Djokovic’s Grand Slam outfits never even made to the United States, including the apparel he wore when he won last year’s US Open.
“We preordered all this apparel and it was always either shorted or we didn’t get it at all,” said Brian Hirshfeld, owner of Holabird Sports, a tennis specialty retailer in Baltimore. “It was an insult to our industry, to the brand and to him.”
If the US is really the biggest market for high-end tennis gear and US distributors like Holabird Sports aren’t getting this gear, that’s a big problem.
That said, this is a big argument in favor of domestic production. It might be a little more expensive for labor in the United States, but that extra cost disappears in comparison to what is gained: fewer missed shipments, shorter delivery lead times due to not shipping across an ocean, greater flexibility in meeting domestic demand, actual achieved sales (instead of backorders or simply refusing to fill orders), and low inventory and low batching.
I wrote about domestic apparel production in an article from the Baseball Winter Meetings – bringing licensed apparel production stateside means bigger cost savings and greater flexibility.
Had Sergio Tacchini been able to keep up with demand, maybe they don’t lose Novak Djokovic as a spokesman. They had a rock star in their grasp and couldn’t catch up with their success.