Baseball is a game of chess. Each pitch in every at-bat is a different way to attack the opposing team. Despite it taking a lot of physical skill to be a prominent player in the sport, the mental game is what widens the gap of the competition.
As a pitcher, Noah Thompson always has to be innovative when facing a hitter. The junior is already intimidating enough when on the mound, and when using the correct sequence of pitches, he can be one of the best weapons on Seton Hall’s baseball team. But Thompson’s mind is not just relegated to determining if he should use an outside fastball or a curveball in the dirt to start off an at-bat. In fact, Thompson’s best ideas don’t even come on the diamond.
Thompson says that people who know him know he “always come up with ideas constantly.”
Thompson’s latest creation is a clothing line he launched only a few weeks ago. Named ‘Aspire’, the company is meant to sell clothes using the same material as powerhouse businesses such as Nike, but at a much less expensive price.
“I want to give it a try because the business model intrigued me,” Thompson said. “Brands, especially in clothing, are starting to lose their value. In the 90’s, Jordan and Nike were very popular, and they still are very popular, but I do not see, especially with the millennials. The willingness to pay the extra $20 just to have a ‘Swoosh’ on their shirt if I can provide something the same quality at $20 less. It still is a concept, it is still growing, as I am still trying to figure out what I actually want to do with it.”
By starting the clothing line Thompson gets to call the shots on what the company will do. Although he is selling the clothes at the same price manufacturers sell the clothing to companies such as Nike, resulting in not much money for him, he plans to make the company have a membership customers can invest into, similar to Costco. Thompson is still deciding all the aspects of his company, but one thing for sure is that he wants to travel overseas in the near future to get his business circulating.
“I am going to figure things out as I go,” Thompson said. “I really just want to find manufacturers, first talk to manufacturers online, trying to get an idea and then just travel to where they are, meet them in person and actually have a conversation instead of a virtual relationship. And then just have a straight conversation about what my plans are to see if they would want to fulfill them. Basically, it is asking for them to be a partner since it is a little different than the stereotypical clothing line.”
Thompson says he has plans to potentially travel to China in the summer or fall to meet with these manufacturers.With extensive traveling, he would have to fly to reach the destination he plans for and it is actually in the air where Thompson got the thought about “Aspire” for the first time.
“I was on an airplane and I saw a company that just initially launched called ‘Italic’” Thompson said. “They do the same thing but it is with high quality purses and glasses and wallets. I saw it on Instagram as an ad and read about what they did and actually inspired me. I was like ‘oh wow other companies are doing this’ and they had 100,000 email subscriber list, so there was traction and I read up on them and it gave me more ideas on how I could fully execute them. That was probably my moment I was like I knew it could work.”
Starting his own company also means a lot to Thompson as an individual. As someone always searching to improve as a person, it is the motivation to always evolve that makes Thompson so serious and dedicated to whatever he puts his mind to.
“I always want to do something,” Thompson said. “Obviously, I play baseball, but I want to feel I am always progressing someway. The way I think is come up with a whole bunch of things, try a few things, and then eventually something is going to hit. So this might hit, it might not hit, but it does have the potential to get very big. But if it does not, I still have ideas. I will always keep coming up with them.”
Robert Fallo can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @robert_fallo.