Y1 is a young and adventurous lifestyle brand that is bridging the gap between fashion and sport. The Y1 Group currently consists of YoungOnes Apparel & Y1 Hockey. The brand was founded in 2012 when we launched our first product, The Onesie. At the time, the onesie trend was soaring in popularity amongst the student demographic. After only one year in business, Y1 appeared on BBC Dragons’ Den. The founders, Tom Carson & Chris Rea, received an offer from Duncan Bannatyne but turned this down to remain growing the brand organically. In 2013 we launched our full YoungOnes Apparel range to have a wide collection of trendsetting clothing.
Due to the founders' background as Great Britain & USA international hockey players, there was a lot of demand for the clothing from the hockey community. In 2015, Y1 Hockey was launched, producing high quality hockey sticks and equipment. We have come into the sport with a fresh approach, which we feel is appealing to a millennial target market.
Y1 intends to be one of the top 4 hockey brands globally by 2023. Our aim as a brand is to change the perception of the sport and increase participation levels. We believe we are on the right track to doing so, by being stocked by major UK hockey retailers such as; Hockey Factory Shop, Total Hockey, Cricket-Hockey.com and The Hockey Centre.
As hockey players, we believe that many traditional hockey brands have stood relatively still over the last 10 years, not adapting to the new tech-savvy young consumer. This has given us a great opportunity to take market share.
We've started our brand with fashion and hockey. Our strategy is to diversify this model across other sports, where we feel that our young brand could benefit consumers and provide a point of differentiation. Y1 Cricket is the next sports brand we look to launch in the fututre.
We now want to give you the opportunity to invest in Y1, to help shape the future of our business and share in our success.
Substantial accomplishments to date
- Both founders have played international hockey; Tom Carson for Great Britain and Chris Rea for USA.
- Received an offer of £75,000 from Duncan Bannatyne on BBC Dragons' Den.
- Press coverage in The Times, The Telegraph, Daily Mail and BBC News.
- Sponsor many hockey players worldwide including Great Britain internationals Phil Roper (England Captain), Brendan Creed, Lee Morton and Anna Toman.
- Contracts with many hockey specialist stores such as Total Hockey and Hockey Factory Shop.
- £100 average spend per customer on Y1Hockey.com.
- Grown an Instagram following to a total of over 23,000 on both Y1 Hockey and YoungOnes Apparel pages.
- Have one of the highest instagram social engagement rates in the hockey industry.
- Produced a Y1 Hockey collaboration stick with Candy Kittens.
- Produced a collaboration Y1 Craft Lager with London based brewery, By The Horns.
- YoungOnes Apparel worn by celebrities and influencers such as Ella Eyre, Proudlock, Charlie Barker, Chloe Lloyd, Lucy Watson and more.
Below outlines the different B2B/B2C monetisation strategies for Y1.
1. Selling hockey products to retail stores.
2. Selling hockey products direct to consumers via Y1hockey.com.
3. Selling fashion products direct to consumers via YoungOnesApparel.com.
4. Custom clothing - We provide a wide range of kit to sports teams and university clubs with their custom logos and club colour schemes.
We have now built strong relationships with the hockey retail stores and we anticipate this to be one of our largest sales channels for the 2018/19 season. The majority of our sales are currently in the UK, however we aim to expand our presence in new markets over the coming seasons.
Use of proceeds
- Digital marketing - We plan to roll out paid digital ads for the launch of our 2018/19 range. We want to create more exciting content, increasing video production and unique experiences online.
- Physical engagement - This will enable us to do a tour of the UK, visiting a large number of clubs, hosting coaching sessions and showcasing our range of Y1 products. This is a great opportunity to build our grassroots brand awareness.
- Sponsored athletes - We plan to sponsor 5-10 top international athletes in the lead up to the 2020 Olympics. This will increase our online presence and to gain further interest from players and retailers globally.
- Employ staff - Allow the founders to focus on the business full-time as well as hiring distribution & logistics manager.
- Product development - We are expanding our current range and will invest further to continually improve the technology in our sticks.
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Our target market is 16-25 year olds. This younger age group is the most active demographic on social media and they like to build strong relationships with a brand via social. Our marketing activity is mainly targeted towards hockey players. These individuals tend to be from an ABC1 demographic, meaning that they have the disposable income to spend on Y1 products (£100 average spend per order on Y1Hockey.com across 2017). We also have a strong focus on the student market and we do lots of activation activity and player sponsorships within this demographic. We believe that students like our clothing due to its casual campus feel and the affordable price point. Our first ever product was 'the onesie' which was a real hit with students. Ever since the launch of this back in 2012, we've continued to create a marketing strategy targeted towards students. We believe this is the most influential demographic and they can set trends for the younger/older age groups.
Characteristics of target market
Hockey is the 2nd most participated sport at British Universities. Research also shows that it is the 3rd most participated sport in the world. Historically there has been limited TV coverage, however BT Sports have signed a 2 year contract to show 700 hours of the sport from 2017-2019. The global field hockey equipment market was estimated to be $1.6 Billion in 2017.
A recent study found that 72% of millennials' user purchase decisions are influenced by Instagram. This was in comparison to only 54% of baby boomers decision making. According to Hubspot data, 71% of people are more likely to make a purchase online if the product or service comes recommended by others. This may be driven by millennials inherent distrust of brands and traditional advertising. They simply tend to believe what their peers say, seek their opinions and often validation.
To date, social media has been our core marketing medium. Instagram is our main platform, and we have grown organically to an engaged community of 23,000 followers across YoungOnes and Y1 Hockey.
We believe we know how to interact with our social community, unlike other brands that struggle to appeal to millennials. We publish exciting, visual content that we believe is appealing to our target audience.
Our sponsored athletes play a key role in our social media strategy. We enable them to perform ‘Instagram Takeovers’ which gives our following exclusive access to behind-the-scenes experiences on game-day. We see this as a key way inspire and engage our followers by showing what it is really like to be an international player.
Post-funding we aim to create more video content to further engage the hockey community. We also plan to do a physical marketing tour, whereby our international athletes will give coaching sessions at clubs around the UK.
Our typical competitors have a similar strategy year-on-year. We find that their marketing campaigns lack creativity and it's not particularly engaging for the end consumer. To us, their social media channels appear to be an afterthought which means we have been able to surpass many of the well established brands already. We believe that the more established brands in the market have a significantly higher budget for sponsored athletes than us, however we also believe they fail to convert this into loyal following towards their brand.
One of the key examples is STX Field Hockey, they sponsor a large roster of the world’s top international players, that have a combined Instagram following of hundreds of thousands, yet STX have a similar social following to us and a lower engagement rate. We believe this is evidence that our sponsored players love being part of the ‘Y1Nation’ and therefore they are likely to go above and beyond to promote our brand, and we have built a stronger social engagement rate than that of many of the larger brands.