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Love & Hoops - Women’s Apparel Company


Melanie Williams, Founder
Love & Hoops is a Clothing Line for Female Basketball Players. It provides female basketball players of all ages with a clothing line designed to captivate their extreme love for the game. The new line of clothing and accessories is available online on the company’s website, as well as available at major basketball tournaments throughout the western United States.


Playing apparel includes shirts, shorts, sweats, caps and accessories. The collection has a contemporary, cutting edge line with vibrant colors and unique designs that female athletes don’t typically have access to in the market. The company plans to expand the line of playing apparel in the future to include more styles for women as well as sponsorship of basketball tournaments, camps and clinics, and a line of multimedia products focused on the game of basketball.

Age:

37

Previous Job:

Assistant for a real estate executive

Education:

BA Economics, UCLA 1991

Resides:

Los Angeles, CA

Grew Up:

Northern CA (Oakland, San Jose) and Southern CA (Orange County) (Born in Cleveland, OH, moved to northern CA at 5 yrs)

Person most admired:

Phillip Knight, NIKE and Pat Summit, Coach (an extreme role model for me!-she did and has accomplished with a basketball team what I am trying to do with a women’s sportswear company!)

Brand most admired:

Adidas, Nike, Perfetto, and Abercrombie & Fitch!

What’s in your CD player?

Gavin Degraw

Last book read:

Natural Cures, “They” Don’t Want You To Know About, by Kevin Trudeau

What’s your background growing up?
I was born in Cleveland, Ohio Oct. 1, 1968; moved to Northern, CA at the age of 5. Began playing basketball at age of 10 and became fascinated with the sport! Played club basketball as a youngster and then onto high school. Also ran track in high school (100, 200, 400, 800, long jump and high jump!) I received an athletic scholarship for basketball to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) in 1986. Transferred the next year to UCLA and graduated with a degree in Economics in 1991. I began developing Love and Hoops women’s basketball clothing line shortly out of college.


Why did you start your business?
Absolutely LOVE the sport of basketball!! It has been such a vital part of my life! I went to a sports tradeshow in 1992 in Atlanta, GA and was totally inspired at this show. Soon began the idea and realized women were virtually ignored in the women’s basketball apparel market. Wanted to design a line women and girls could call their own and be proud of.


How did your background in sports prepare you for your business?

I bleed the sport of basketball so my passion and love for the game was a natural progression to my passion for a line of basketball apparel.


What is your biggest challenge?
Connecting my line of apparel at the retail level! They are just not buying it!! Lady Footlocker and all the major retailers are NOT convinced there is a market out there for women’s basketball apparel!! Now, I have my reasons why as well as my frustration with all of these executives!! I have numerous rejection letters and outrageous and insulting reasons as to why they won’t give women’s basketball a fighting chance!


What’s the biggest career risk you’ve taken?
Continuing to follow my dream and see my apparel line through when I perhaps should have taken an executive job.


What’s the first word that comes to mind to the following?

Share - knowledge
Educate - youth
Empower - women


What is the one event in women’s sports that changed the way we view sports today?
As far as basketball, I would have to say our female “Dream Team” that won the gold in Atlanta, GA in 1996. The college tour that they went on the previous year and the exposure they generated going undefeated and blowing out the competition in the Olympics drew so much attention and opened the door for our current women’s professional leagues, including women’s soccer. (Well, I also have to include the landmark Title IX legislation and the women’s soccer World Cup victory in Pasadena, Ca)


What advice would you give women wanting to get into this industry?
I would say to try to gain as much knowledge about the industry as possible. Try to do an internship if possible and really learn all aspects of the business. That includes asking as many questions as possible and be willing to give it your all.


The words of Jimmy Valvano (the former great coach at North Carolina State and founder of the Jimmy V foundation to fight cancer) really sums up the best advice I could possibly give and that is “DON’T GIVE UP…DON’T EVER GIVE UP!” You will feel like giving up more times then you will feel like you are making it, so use this motto and FIGHT ON!!!!!!!!!!!

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