Made in KC Sandlot Goods Sees a Boost Thanks to the Super Bowl — and Taylor Swift

By Jeffrey Bonior
Mar 01 2024 |
Sandlot Goods capitalized on Taylor Swift’s regular presence at Kansas City Chiefs games this past season with a line of Taylor-themed wares. While Sandlot Goods manufacturers most of its products in Kansas City, including its popular hats, its T-shirts and sweatshirts are imported and printed locally. Photos courtesy Sandlot Goods

The homegrown Kansas City brand makes its hats, pennants, and other wares in the Heart of America.

In the days before the Super Bowl, as the Kansas City Chiefs were preparing for the championship game, the team at Sandlot Goods in Kansas City was devising a game-plan of its own.

Sandlot Goods is a Kansas City, Mo. manufacturer of sports products such as retro-inspired, baseball-style caps, pennants, banners, posters, drink sweaters (koozies) and coasters.

If the hometown Chiefs were to win their second consecutive Super Bowl and the third in the last five years, Sandlot Goods was going to be ready to celebrate the American-made way.

The Chiefs, did indeed, end their season as repeat Super Bowl champions with a 25-22 overtime victory over the San Francisco 49ers. As the team celebrated the crescendo of its season on the field of Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, back in Kansas City the Sandlot Goods factory came to life to produce its “Dynasty Collection” in honor of the Chiefs.

“Right now, we’re really focused on the fact that the Chiefs have become a dynasty,” said Garret Prather, vice president of strategic partnerships at Sandlot Goods. “We’ve added a dynasty mark on the side of our KC hats that has the three years of Super Bowl wins listed. We also have some coasters and fun apparel designs.”

Inside the Sandlot Goods factory in Kansas City. Photo courtesy Sandlot Goods

One of those fun designs plays off the subplot of most Chiefs games this past season – the Taylor Swift phenomenon. The relationship between the popular pop star and Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce created new Kansas City fans who were more interested in catching a brief glimpse of Swift than they were in the game itself.

Sandlot Goods addresses this dynamic duo with both a hat and sweatshirt in Chiefs red, gold and white that carry the message “I’m just here for Taylor.”

“The Taylor hat has been a very popular selling item and it’s pretty amazing,” Prather said. “It’s one of those stories when new fans are getting on board. Those that listen to her music are kind of understanding her life and what she is doing and sort of dominating in her own way.

“Travis and Taylor just seem to be in a legitimate relationship, and everyone is just super happy for them. It doesn’t seem like it’s just something that’s been done for publicity. They’re actually pretty private.

“She literally moves the economy wherever she goes. So, I think everyone is enjoying it for the most part.”

The Taylor Swift hat and T-shirt have become a top seller along with the Dynasty Collection. One of the messages on Sandlot Goods hats and shirts after the Chiefs win is “The Last Great American Dynasty,” a nod to the Chiefs’ championship run and the name of a Taylor Swift song.

Everything sold by Sandlot Goods is manufactured in Kansas City, except for its T-shirts and sweatshirts. These apparel items are imported from overseas, and Sandlot Goods uses a garment printer to emblazon the art on the shirts. The company also embroiders its desired message on its vast offering of hats.

Sandlot Goods is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and the Chiefs Super Bowl win was a wonderful way to kick off the company’s birthday year, Prather said.

“This was definitely one of those memorable bumps in sales that we saw, which is exciting,” Prather said. “I would imagine it will be similar to last year, when the collection really had a great start and then just had a steady presence throughout the rest of the year.”

In 2014, company owner and founder Chad Hickman started Sandlot Goods in his garage. In the early years, the company concentrated on manufacturing wallets, journal covers, backpacks and bags.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Sandlot Goods pivoted and made 600,000 pieces of PPE. This endeavor to help the community with face mask production brought Hickman to realize how many great sewers there were in Kansas City.

So, when the company returned to normal production, a decision was made to pivot again, this time to the manufacturing of sports-related hats out of cotton, wool, canvas, corduroy, twill, hemp, and even old army blankets.

Sandlot Goods has grown in the past four years from a company with nine employees to the 45 that work there today. The company doubled the size of its headquarters and manufacturing last month when it moved into a new 12,000-square-foot space.

What hasn’t changed is Sandlot Goods’ independence and desire to keep it local and Made in America. The company still does not have a license with any of the major sports leagues such as the NFL, MLB, NBA, or NHL. Therefore, they cannot use a team’s specific logo. Instead, they use abbreviations of the city often in the colors of that team.

The “Dynasty Line” from Sandlot Goods. Photo courtesy Sandlot Goods

“It would be great if we had a license with the NFL to use the Chiefs logo on our hats and shirts, but it is expensive and then we would just be competing with other licensed companies that make their stuff in other countries,” Prather said. “Folks are happy to have a great quality hat with KC or NY on the front. People know you are wearing the hat to support your team, but it also represents the city as well.”

Sandlot Goods does have manufacturing agreements in place with about two dozen colleges, including the University of Kansas Jayhawks and the University of Iowa Hawkeyes. They can produce these college hats that include the school’s logo or mascot.

The company also has working agreements with the Negro League Baseball Museum and the Kansas City Current women’s professional soccer team. The Current are owned in part by Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his wife, Brittany.

Sandlot Goods is dedicated to keeping it local and continues to foster a special community relationship. The company promoted and donated to the United Way of Kansas City after the shooting at the Chiefs victory parade.

The team at Sandlot Goods considers themselves to be a Made in America company, with the sensibilities of a heartland of America community.

“We definitely want to keep it local,” Prather said. “I mean, we love that we can be a national brand and do wholesale not only domestically but globally as well.

“But we do see ourselves proudly as a Kansas City company through and through.”

Shop for Sandlot Goods products at select stores in the Kansas City area or order directly from the company online.