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How FC St. Pauli conquers hearts with custom-made products

Caroline Zöller

Published on 01.02.2021

At the annual general meeting of FC St. Pauli a few years ago, the members put forward a motion to have the entire merchandising range produced fairly in future. The club took this request seriously, founded a working group with committed members and staff and sought advice from external experts. The first goal: the conversion of merchandise textiles to sustainable and fairly produced standards according to Fair Trade and GOTS.

St. Pauli did not take the easiest route in the conversion and set the bar extra high. In addition to the new sustainability standards, which in addition to the use of environmentally friendly materials were also intended to improve the working conditions of the employees and strengthen their rights, the fan articles were not allowed to become significantly more expensive. The club mastered this challenge as well. The changeover took place in the first step with a focus on the standard range.

Strategy of gradual conversion

First came all textiles bearing the FC St. Pauli skull branding. From shirts to bags, the articles now come from controlled organic cultivation and are certified according to the set specifications. Hard goods such as coffee mugs, lunch boxes and drinking bottles were also added. Here, too, the club relied on support. Some products already complied with the sustainable specifications, for others the conversion was more complex and expert knowledge was required.

The strengths of special production

FC St. Pauli is unwaveringly pursuing the path to a sustainable special assortment, showing its members that they and their opinions are highly valued – even if the production of the goods is complex and can sometimes take longer.

The example of the football club clearly shows the strengths and positive sides of custom-made products. By changing its assortment, the football club demonstrates not only its attitude but also its appreciation of its fans. And this draws circles beyond the club’s immediate sphere of influence. In addition to a strong story told by the club, the sustainable skull line also serves the generally increasing demand for fairly produced textiles and promotional items. The products are well received on the market, sales figures are rising and the resulting higher print runs ensure cost-effective production.

This clearly shows the potential of custom-made products. At FC St. Pauli, the fan articles and merchandise tell a story tailored to their target group and become popular products with a special emotional value.

With a suitable concept, such product lines can transport brand values, trigger desires or even set trends. However, it is important that the story is honest, fits the product and that the articles also live up to the principles set beforehand. If this succeeds, the story told with a promotional or fan article will stick. At best, people will talk about it. Gripping, emotional stories are simply worth passing on. There is a high probability that the product will become a favourite and its story – quite voluntarily – will be carried into the world.

Image: jorono at Pixabay