Mattapan startup designs athletic wear for local teams
Peter Edouard is an entrepreneur, but he also is an artist at heart and with his Mattapan-based startup Mathmatik Athletics, he is putting his creativity to work in designing and manufacturing uniforms and warm ups for sports teams. While it remains early going, he already seems to have slam dunked it with local high school basketball teams.
On the web
Mathmatik Athletics: www.MathmatikAthletics.com
The 28-year-old Edouard has designed new uniforms for the basketball team at his alma mater Charlestown High School; the b-ball players at Jeremiah E. Burke High School and Brighton High School already wear Mathmatik gear on the court; and outside the city, the Nauset Regional High School Warriors are decked out in the company’s apparel from the bus to tipoff and even carry their gear in branded, custom-designed bags.
While big companies such as Nike dominate the sports apparel world, Edouard has a vision that creates a branding experience for the teams he works with — it is the kind of things the big boys might do with pro teams or famous athletes, but certainly not with your average high schools.
Mathmatik pumped up the delivery of the new uniforms to its local teams with a kickoff event, a photoshoot and the option of setting up customized online stores to sell school-brand gear.
Edouard said he relishes helping promote athletics in the Boston Public Schools, in particular, remembering how important athletics were during his time at Charlestown High School from 2001-2005.
“When I was in high school it meant something if you played for Charlestown and you played for English. I kind of want to bring that back,” he said. “With new uniforms and a photoshoot you can help create a brand and create excitement.”
Home team advantage
The approach seems to be working so far for Mathmatik.
“The teams we have now, they love the uniforms, they love the photoshoot, they love everything that comes with the Mathmatik package,” Edouard said.
Brighton was the first team to wear Mathmatik uniforms back in 2014. At this point, most of the company’s business has come through word of mouth, publicly generated by the teams that wear the company’s gear.
“At the start, all the teams that Brighton was playing were asking about the uniforms. It really helped us get more clients,” said Edouard.
Edouard’s ambition does not end with BPS teams. He has plans to continue to grow the business.
Mathmatik will get a big boost in this process over the next several months as Edouard takes part in the well-known MassChallenge startup accelerator program. He hopes MassChallenge will give him the knowledge and strategy to expand his business. But it also may provide some financial backing to do so as program participants get to pitch their business ideas with the chance to win cash investment.
Currently, Edouard designs all of Mathmatik’s apparel and uses a manufacturing company overseas to produce the clothing. His plan, though, is to set up a factory in Boston to do this work.
He also would like to set up a store somewhere in one of Boston’s neighborhoods.
“I really want to work with BPS and I think if we have something in that area near Dudley Square it would really help out with having our presence there,” he said.
For now, Mathmatik will continue its word-of-mouth sales. Since its main business model is to sell orders directly to teams, the company does not need a big online retail presence. What it can do is set up a customized, private online store through which teams or schools can sell apparel.
According to Edouard, he needs about 100 teams in the fold for Mathmatik to get off the ground. While basketball teams have been his bread and butter so far, he also is looking to expand to other sports. Typically, teams will buy new uniforms every three to four years, so if Mathmatik can keep customers coming back it, could create a near-continuous revenue stream.
As he builds his business, Edouard continues to work fulltime in sales at another Boston startup.
Indeed, he has been active in the startup world for a number of years. He originally launched a lifestyle clothing brand called Mathmatik Clothing in 2007 with several friends. That brand featured t-shirts, hats and jackets, which he described as streetwear. That business did several fashion shows and some college tours trying to generate interest.
But Edouard admits that he was fighting an uphill battle in a very saturated market for streetwear brands. So, he decided to strike out on his own with Mathmatik Athletics.
“I figured the best way to still do clothing was to focus more on sports,” said Edouard.
His interest in drawing and illustration and apparel design dates back to his days at Lewis Middle School. He first started drawing there and was encouraged by a teacher to pursue the arts. He also started designing sneakers and became particularly good at creating basketball sneakers, dreaming of one day working for Nike making shoes for NBA stars.
His mom saw the sneaker designs and got him an interview at InventHelp to see if they could make a prototype of his shoes. She was even willing to put up the money to make it happen.
Edouard said his mother’s belief that he could successfully design shoes, even as just an eighth grader, stuck with him and gave him the confidence that he could one day have a company designing clothing and apparel. While his path after high school graduation brought him down to Miami to a stint in film school, then back to several different kinds of jobs around Boston and a failed first startup idea, he does feel like he finally is rewarding his mom’s early faith in him with Mathmatik Athletics.