Las Vegas, NV – In an coup nearly unparalleled in the sports licensing world, Style Pasifika, a small Las Vegas company with an odd-sounding product and strong Polynesian roots, has secured five of the major sports licenses in America: Major League Baseball (MLB), Major League Soccer (MLS), the National Football League (NFL), the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL).
And they did it in less than three months.
Their product is kukui (pronounced “coo-coo-ee”), a small, brownish nut which comes from the state tree of Hawaii. And this kukui has been strung into leis and bracelets for a thousand years. Indeed the kings and chiefs of Hawaii have been wearing the nuts for as long as anyone can remember as a symbol of luck and good fortune. Yet the ancients could never imagine how much their fortunes would improve by adding collegiate and major league trademarks to their jewelry.
That brainchild came from Willie Salave’a, president of Style Pasifika, the company whose “Go Nuts” kukui nut leis and bracelets have swept the sports world in an overnight sensation at stadiums, fan fests and sporting goods stores. To quote their motto: “Real Fans Go Nuts!” And nowhere was that more apparent than at this month’s MLB All Star Game in Phoenix, Arizona.
“We completely sold out,” smiled Salave’a, standing outside Chase Stadium with representatives from Gameday Merchandising who handle sporting goods sales for the arena. “The fans just couldn’t get enough of our kukui nut leis and bracelets… especially the Diamondbacks, All Star, Angels and Dodgers logoed product… it sold out in a matter of hours.”
And this isn’t unique for the company. Last year a squabble ensued outside the Sugar Bowl when the last of two Razorbacks kukui nut leis were auctioned off. The final lei, which had a retail price of twenty dollars, captured an unprecedented four hundred and fifty for the delighted store manager. Similar auctions have taken place at college bowl games when available stock ran out.
“It’s almost impossible to keep up at times,” explained Salave’a. “And the scenario is repeated wherever we go… at tailgates, stadiums, college bowls, fan fests, fund-raisers, charity events. People just love festivity, and there’s nothing more festive than kukui nut leis from the islands.”
Clearly the major sports leagues see a winner in all these odd-sounding nuts. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. With an NFL lockout narrowly averted and the NBA season almost certain to be disrupted, licensed sports accessories have taken on a far more important role.
Yet Salave’a and his team at Style Pasifika seem up to the task. “Our job,” said Salave’a when we caught up with him at the MLS All Star Game at the Red Bull Arena. “Is to provide fans with the most unique and highest quality sportswear on the market, and enhance the licenses we’ve been entrusted with.”
With five major sports leagues, over a hundred collegiate licenses and first year sales projected at over $3M, we’re guessing that the trust placed in Style Pasifika and their “Go Nuts” kukui will turn out to be well deserved.