As the season comes to a close, Conor Casey continues growing his clothing company, which has served as an outlet for him off the field. It has been a chance for him to focus on something different.
“We’ve really just played soccer our whole lives. That’s all we’ve done,” Casey said. “So, in a lot of ways, we don’t have a good idea of how other things work. So, going through that process was definitely eye-opening.”
The company, called ROYALesteight, was co-founded in 2012 by Casey and his former teammate Dan Gargan. Casey handles the business and website logistics while Gargan, who now plays for L.A. Galaxy, creates the designs. They successfully launched a line of shirts and sweatshirts in 2013 and after a brief sabbatical, are back at it with their new line of shirts, sweatshirts and hats, which was released in September.
The two athletes played together at the Colorado Rapids in 2007 and 2008, in Casey’s hometown of Denver, Colorado. Gargan, originally from Philadelphia, has played for six different MLS clubs.
“We played in Colorado together for a couple years and we just always kept in touch since then,” Casey said. “He’s been bouncing around but we’ve spent the off-seasons together here and there.”
When Gargan mentioned starting a clothing company, Casey jumped on board to help with the business aspects including manufacturing, payment, shipping and the website set-up.
“We thought it was going to be a very quick and easy thing to start and it ended up being more of a longer learning process about how everything works,” Casey said. “Definitely harder than we expected, but it was also fun.”
He valued the learning experience as an opportunity to expand his skillset.
“I’ve never really been used to dealing with computers and e-commerce and trying to promote,” he said. “I think in terms of soccer, you just really have to focus on just playing and your teammates. It’s just a single focus. Whereas, there’s a lot of other things involved when you’re trying to start a business.”
Casey has had to choose a manufacturer for their product twice. For the first line, while Gargan was playing in Chicago, and once again for their newest line, which Gargan created in L.A.
They have received support from friends and family, but Casey hopes to continue to grow the company and doesn’t consider it limited to a soccer or sports-related audience.
“I think something we were cognizant about is that we are soccer players and we know a lot of soccer players, but this is kind of like our outlet,” Casey said. “We don’t consider ourselves a soccer line. It’s not really based on the sport, its more his [Gargan’s] artistic expression.”
The name ROYALesteight was chosen to represent artistic expression as the eighth wonder of the world.
Casey’s favorite from the first line was the sweatshirts for their style and fit. Now, his favorite piece in the new line is a design with a Native American headdress. The shirt is called “Lady Liberty” and features a colorful Native American headdress on a black and white Statue of Liberty. There is no set theme of the designs in this line, but he describes it overall as street style.
“I would say it’s kind of hard to classify,” Casey said. “But kind of a street casual, street wear.”
After their first line, they took a sabbatical while Gargan had a baby. Now, the duo is back with a new round of ROYALesteight clothing and they are ready to continue growing their business.
“It’s something that we’re really enjoying to do and going to continue to do,” Casey said.
To learn more about ROYALesteight, visit www.royalesteight.com.
Contact Union writer Nina Cusmano at firstname.lastname@example.org.