After its inaugural year in the athletic apparel business, Quiyk, a sportswear company founded by Emerson students, is looking toward expansion after creating uniforms for the 2012 Quidditch London Summer Games.
Started last November by Eric Wahl and Matt Lowe, the company saw a year full of growth after winning $9,000 in the Emerson Experience in Entrepreneurship competition.
Quiyk provided jerseys for the U.S., the U.K., the French, and the Australian national quidditch teams for the summer sporting event, which took place prior to the Olympic torch ceremony in London to raise awareness about the sport. The company also sold T-shirts and jerseys at the event to spectators.
“It’s crazy to see people all over the world wearing our stuff,” said Lowe, a senior visual and media arts major. “It’s crazy to think it’s had that reach.”
Wahl and Lowe declined to discuss specific finances but said they sold out of nearly all their product at the summer event.
Quidditch is a sport based on a game depicted in J.K. Rowling’s best-selling fictional series Harry Potter. In the game, players run on a field with broomsticks and try to throw balls into three hoops while simultaneously trying to catch a “snitch”, a person running around the field who, when caught, signals the end of the game.
The International Quidditch Association (IQA) — the sport’s nonprofit governing body that oversees ticket sales for matches as well as the standings for all of the teams in various leagues — has made it an official rule to use Quiyk’s snitch shorts. The shorts are yellow with a Velcro tail, and if the tail is detached from the snitch, the game is over.
There are now over 1,000 quidditch teams in more than 30 different countries, according to the IQA website, and over one-fifth of all college campuses have a registered team.
“It was the kids who are in college now that grew up with the Harry Potter books when we were kids, and they are starting to expand and legitimize the sport,” said Wahl, a senior marketing communication major. “But now it is catching on, not so much with an older generation, but a younger generation who have seen all the movies and read all the books and who want to get involved in the sport.”
The idea for Quiyk began when Wahl and Lowe noticed the Emerson quidditch teams mostly played in jeans and normal shirts. Now, the Emerson quidditch teams widely use Quiyk apparel in games and practices.
As for their next project, the duo is looking to design jerseys for the 2013 Quidditch Summer Games, which will be held in April in Chicago.
Emerson students began playing quidditch four years ago. The college now has six “house teams” which are less competitive groups that compete only against each other. There are also two Emerson world cup teams that compete with other collegiate quidditch squads, including local troupes from Harvard, Tufts, and Boston University.
Lowe plays for the world cup “A” team, the equivalent of varsity level competition, provides uniforms for the entire team.
Rebecca Contreras, a sophomore political communication major who plays for one of the world cup teams, said she appreciates what Quiyk is doing for the sport.
“I think it’s really good quality clothing that does a lot for quidditch,” Contreras said. “[Lowe and Wahl] promoted the sport and their clothing a lot with the [Summer Games], and it’s clothing that can be used for any sport.”
Ryan Catalani, the web designer of Quiyk, did not edit this article.
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