Originally posted on Phoenix Business Journal
When the Phoenix Suns reached out to Branded Bills, a Mesa-based custom headwear and apparel company, about having its own store inside Footprint Center for the 2022-23 Phoenix Suns season, co-founder Dave Dickert saw it as a sign the company reached a new level, but he isn’t expecting the outlet to be a huge revenue driver.
“We’re not going to make money off this store,” Dickert told the Business Journal, “Rather, people – for the first time for those who have never heard of Branded Bills – are going to see the hat and say, ‘Whoa that is really cool.’ Then next time they see an ad or want a hat, they’ll think of us.”
The store in Footprint Center will be the first physical Branded Bills store. It is located on the upper concourse of the arena and will be one of the few retail spaces in that part of the venue.
Until now, the company has operated almost entirely online since starting in 2016. One of the intriguing aspects of the deal for Branded Bills was that the Suns oversee staffing and operations in the store – so Dickert said he and his team don’t have to worry about what is happening there day-to-day.
Branded Bills, which is a privately-held firm and does not publicly disclose in-depth financial results, has sold more than $50 million worth of product over the course of the company’s lifetime. Every year – including in 2021 when supply chain issues forced the company from developing its main product for a while – Branded Bills has grown revenue from the previous year.
The company was started with a $1,000-investment from each of its four owners and it has not had to seek investors or major financing, Dickert said.
Branded Bills creates exclusive Suns-branded apparel
Branded Bills has partnered with the Suns for a couple seasons now, selling a limited number of products in its main team store, but after the performance of Branded Bills products last season, Dickert said the team approached the company about having its own space in the arena.
Normally Branded Bills does not mass produce any of its products – rather makes them to order. For the Footprint Center store, the company created several Suns-branded hats and shirts, but they are only available to be purchased from the Suns – not Branded Bills' website.
“It is an awareness campaign with the Suns, and we’ll see what other opportunities it opens up in other arenas here in town,” Dickert said. “The Suns are a premier organization and they want products [in their arena] to represent that.”
Check out some of Branded Bills' products sold at Footprint Center in the gallery below:
Branded Bills Footprint Center store
The Branded Bills Phoenix Suns storefront in the Footprint Center.
Branded Bills has been growing its custom business – designing hats and shirts for companies and it has also landed several golf course clients – creating several hat styles that end up being sold in golf course pro shops.
Between the deal with Suns and a growing custom business, Branded Bills has grown quickly over the past few years. The company has 110 employees in its Mesa facility, which was leased in 2020 and earlier this year the company leased another nearby space now being used for warehousing and storage.
Branded Bills does almost all its marketing through social media, which has been very successful for the company, but Dickert said he’d love for more people around Phoenix to know the brand and know they are being made in Mesa.
“We sell a ton of product, and we aren’t really even known in the Valley yet,” Dickert said. “That is where this Suns deal comes into play.”
Going forward, Dickert said he wants to target key events, companies and partnerships so “people will know Branded Bills is here in Phoenix, it is where they started, and they ship all over the country.”