The Origins Of Pump Dog Performance Apparel
In the mid ‘90s, while in NYC for a songwriting contest I had won, I came across a white Pit Bull Terrier on the street that looked like it lived on steroids and lifted weights all day, every day. In my mind, I called that dog PUMP DOG. The name stuck with me and I thought it would make a great brand name for a fitness apparel line.
I studied the fitness apparel market and I didn’t particularly like what I saw in my local gym either. I wanted to bring my own version of fitness apparel to the market.
In a few short years, I got cut & sew garments made domestically and imported lifting belts, gloves, wrist wraps, and gym bags and sold them store to store, gym to gym in the Philadelphia area, where I’m from.
At my first international trade show in Las Vegas, I landed a deal with Japanese department store with 25 locations.
1996 I opened my own brick & mortar store under the name Pump Dog Performance Gear.
1997 I got product placement in a Spike Lee movie “He Got Game” with Denzel Washington and NBA star Ray Allen. I also got product placement in a couple of popular sit-coms.
1998 Pump Dog was the only private label brand in 6 MILLION retail mailer catalogs, along with the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL. Pump Dog was the 4 center pages.
I advertised my apparel in 2 of the most well-known international bodybuilding periodicals “Muscle & Fitness” and “Flex” magazines.
I also sponsored 2 titles fights in Las Vegas on HBO and Showtime with 2 fighters from Philly.
These highlights are just the highlights. There were uncertain times along the way as a solo-preneur building a new brand, but it was exciting nonetheless!
At another trade show, I was approached by a Korean manufacturer who wanted to license the name and expand the brand. They courted me for almost a year. It was gonna be a BIG deal!
So after almost a year of back and forth negotiating, I was headed back to NYC early one September morning to sign my new deal. Just before entering the Lincoln Tunnel, I witnessed a skyscraper that was on fire from across the river. It was the first Twin Tower bellowing smoke after being struck by a jetliner.
I got stuck in the city that night. And although I did get to meet with that Korean manufacturer that day, the deal (ostensibly) fell through because of the uncertainty of the political and economical atmosphere. Who really knows?
When that deal fell through, I had to pivot. I stayed in the fitness industry by working at a gym. I started in sales and went on to manage, operate, and invest in 2 gyms that we built from the ground up. But I never gave up on Pump Dog.
Now 20 years later, with new manufacturers in place, beautiful new products - I’m ready to really do this! Are you with me?Dodd Stocker-Edwards
Pump Dog Performance Apparel
Re-Founder and Designer
Created To Be Physical™