Christian Fuchs may be best known as a left back for Leicester City – but he’s now also making waves with his own online clothing business, #NoFuchsGiven, launched in 2016, and which now counts the United States as its second biggest market. InternetRetailing caught up with him to find out how the business is going – and how it fits in with life in the Premier League.
InternetRetailing: What inspired you to become an online retailer?
Christian Fuchs, Leicester City defender and founder of nofuchsgiven.com: It just developed. It’s easy these days to start your own business with your own ecommerce platform. It’s the way to get your brand out there, especially when you’re a start-up: you just create your own website and take it from there. I also have ambitions not to be an online retailer only but you have everything under control and it’s fun to play around with the website, to be your own boss of your own collection. For me, I’d also like to sell to retailers, with my own business, and see how it goes. It’s the first time I’ve done something like this, but it’s been a great experience so far.
IR: How does it fit in around being a footballer?
CF: Playing for Leicester and having a great fan base in Leicester already helped with the brand as a start-up, but it’s established itself pretty well. We’re soon going to launch our fourth collection so far and I’m happy with how things are going. It doesn’t affect my playing at all – if anything it helps me improve my game because I’m looking forward to having a mental break with everything I do with NoFuchsGiven. It’s time-consuming but it keeps my brain busy. Being back on the pitch I don’t have to think so much about what I’m doing – I’ve been doing it all my life.
IR: Tell us about your business: how many people work in it and how do you choose the products you sell?
CF: It’s my wife and myself running the company and we have a couple of employees, one in Leicester and one that works globally for us. I think it’s just natural that the brand is growing and the more it grows the more employees you need because it simply gets too big for an individual to run themselves, especially when it’s not your main job but a fun project. Football is my main job and my focus is on that.
In general the skull is our main piece and everything else is built around that, with variations on the skull. I have designers going with what’s trending at the moment, and they are forecasting what’s going to be big next summer. I’m working also with other fashion retailers. They always know what’s on trend – and they’re doing well so far. We’re about to launch our winter range. Being an online retailer means we don’t have to launch a winter range a year in advance.
IR: What have you found were the biggest challenges in starting to sell online, and how did you approach those challenges?
CF: Getting the attention drawn to the website. It was not hard for me myself because I have already personally a pretty big followership and some friends outside football who help me push. that’s the biggest challenge when you start selling online, how do you get traction on the website. You can never get enough but what’s the starting point. It helped me with who I am and who my friends are to get it going.
IR: You’re a big user of social media – how do you use this in your business?
CF: I think these days it’s the best way to get attention. Everybody is using social media. For me, when I wake up I look up what’s happening straightaway. Everybody’s using it these days. You can reach the whole world if you spend enough money on social media, but for me, it’s the easiest way to get the word out.
IR: What are your top priorities for developing your business for the future – and what is your ultimate ambition for the business?
CF: There’s no ultimate ambition. It’s a fun project and I take it as it comes. Knowing me I’m never satisfied with what I’m doing and I always try to be better. If it takes off and I am known as the designer Fuchs and not footballer Fuchs in 20 years, that’s great. If I’m known as the footballer Fuchs and not the designer that’s great too. Right now I’m trying to extend. People know that I design cool t-shirts but now right I’m looking into other options to extend the brand. It’s a fun project but I’m also very ambitious for it.
IR: What advice would you have for other retailers who are considering following your footsteps – or even other footballers looking to launch their own retail ranges?
CF: Why should I help any of my competitors? (Laughs.) It’s definitely not easy, you have to be lucky, use the right channels, you’ve got to have some great helpers and I think it’s important to find the right partners. That’s why I chose DHL – they help me with my shipments. You can be ambitious, you can do everything yourself, but when you can rely on great partners, that helps a lot. I get orders from all around the world, and our second biggest market is the US, which I’m very happy about. The word spreads all around the globe and it shows there’s a lot of potential everywhere.