A lifelong Derby County supporter is looking to mix business with pleasure by moving his design company into the sports and leisure market after working on the kit launches for two leading football clubs.
Karl Shaw, owner of Silver Birch Creative, which is celebrating 10 years in the industry, wants to build on his recent success with Luton Town and Rotherham United to offer more clubs the opportunity to drive shirt sales by promoting them as fashion items as well as replica strips.
This reflects Karl’s interest in the game and also in fashion – which is why he launched his own online menswear brand, Mr Shaw.
Brand ambassadors include former Derby County stars Shane Nicholson and RamsTV and ex-BBC Radio Derby presenter, Owen Bradley. Manchester United club singer Paul Pashley is also an ambassador.
Karl, who runs Silver Birch with wife Emma and senior designer Chris Wright, said: “Long gone are the days when football clubs would launch a new kit with a few pictures of their captain sporting the new shirt.
“These days the launch of a new kit is now akin to that of a fashion shoot. Club – and fans – expect something edgy, quite cool for a kit launch. At Silver Birch, our job is to give a product or business more of an identity.
“It’s all about making the product professional and desirable. Rotherham and Luton Town have seen the benefit of our approach for a few years now.
“We create a new edge to the images which you will then see on social media, in the club shop etc. It all helps to increase sales in the shirt. We understand what the colours mean to a club, the game, and most of all, the fans.
“They aren’t just wearing football shirts, they are pledging allegiance and support to their boys, come what may. And the kit means even more when your team has just been promoted, as is the case with the Millers and Hatters.
“It’s great to be involved in football marketing and I’d like to do more kit launches in future.”
Karl, 42, set up Silver Birch during the 2008 recession.
The company, who are based on Belper Road, Derby boast an impressive client list covering many sectors from fashion branding and travel (Visit PeakDistrict.com) to education - working with Derby High School and Landau Forte.
Silver Birch have worked in the motor industry, giving an identity to the likes of Lexus, Inchcape and BAM motor sports - and they have also worked with Delaware North, who provide hospitality services to Derby County, Charlton Athletic and Premier League newcomers Fulham FC.
But as well as being a big football fan, Karl is also a follower of fashion and, three years ago, he created menswear brand Mr Shaw.
“Mr Shaw is my creative release,” said Karl, whose sister is former Coronation Street actress Tracy Shaw.
“When I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, I ended up having a lot of time off work and that gave me the chance to develop the idea of Mr Shaw.
“When I started, it was a great way to keep my creative juices flowing; free from commercial and client constraints.
“I had often thought about developing a clothing brand as fashion is a great love of mine and I can’t deny the buzz I get from knowing someone would wear my brand.
“We have a Vernon Gate bomber jacket and a Sadler Gate polo shirt for sale on our site.
“I’m very proud of it; I love Derby and the city is at the heart of all of my products.”
For further information please contact Kerry Ganly on 01332 416228 or email firstname.lastname@example.org