Lightning Wear Apparel was founded in 2006 by athletes who were looking for a new edge in the sports apparel industry. At the time we relied heavily on overseas manufacturing. A majority of our production and distribution evolved from partners that did not have a pulse on the North American sports apparel market. We learned fast and faked it pretty well.
LW and our sourced overseas manufacturers produced shirts and shorts stored in the owner’s home USA based garage. We sold to local schools, stores and teams in the Washington, DC metro area. Lightning Wear distributed one style of custom lacrosse shorts, a performance t-shirt line and moisture wicking golf shirts.
Our hands really got in to the process and we learned just about everything we needed to know about screen printing, embroidery, manufacturing and most importantly our target audience. In 2006, we received our first shipment of six colors of adult sized lacrosse shorts totaling close to 10,000 pieces. We were handling orders of 5000+ pieces per week.
Our First Year
We are happy to say that our first year was definite a learning experience. Surprisingly, Lightning Wear sold a lot of gear that first year. However, we realized too late that once our stock was low, it was time to replenish. Customers were always looking for more color options and product styles. Dealing with overseas manufacturers took time, money and a considerable amount of patience. Lightning Wear learned the hard way in its first year in business that mass production from an unsupervised overseas manufacturer was costly and stressful.
In the Spring of 2008, we finally overcame the obstacles of working with overseas manufacturers. We decided that if we wanted to play in the highly competitive sports apparel game, we needed to step up our plan of attack. The custom gear we were receiving from overseas was flawed, sized incorrectly and always delivered weeks after the promised delivery dates. To us, this was completely unacceptable. If we wanted to compete with the bigger, better funded giants in the industry, things needed to change. Our team needed a competitive advantage and quitting was not an option. After a significant amount of research, we located one of the few cut and sew manufacturers in Fairfax, Virginia. We started making our orders here in the States.
The Manufacturer in Maryland
In the beginning of 2009, our owner found a manufacturer in Maryland located closer to the home office. Here, we closely learned the ins and outs of running a high production manufacturing facility. We learned pattern making and all aspects of cutting and sewing garments. Unfortunately, we did not realize that the company that was manufacturing for us had other customers too. With reason, big orders from other brands had our smaller orders being pushed to the side.
Finally, Lightning Wear decided it was time to make the “big boy” move and set up manufacturing “in house” (literally). With a book of orders that needed to be filled, Lightning Wear bought its first set of sewing machines, cutting tables and fabric cutter. Thanks to the Little Sisters of the Poor located in Washington, DC, (and some divine intervention) we can now say that the rest of the story is history.
The Site Launched
In July of 2010, LW launched www.lacrossepinnies.com. A significant amount of time and money was spent on developing the one of a kind custom reversible jersey site. None of our competitors on the market had anything that could compare to this unique software. You can design an inner and outer color mesh jersey and put whatever you want on it. Lightning Wear still proudly remains the only official lacrosse pinnie site on the web.
Our team now assembles over 30,000 units of our sports pinnies, custom shorts, custom shirts and custom sweats per month in our Kensington, Maryland, USA factory. We are one of the few lacrosse companies to produce, print and ship all of our gear proudly in the United States of America. This gives us the flexibility of manufacturing goods when they are needed without overseas headaches and customs delays. We now do so much more!!
Making A Brand
Whether you are a reseller or direct client, know that you are in good hands with a manufacturer that cares. We are proud to say that in some cases we have cut, sewn and personalized orders in one working day. Since the launch of the sites, we have expanded our customer base across the globe. This includes customers in Austrailia, Japan, Switzerland, England, Iraq, South America and Canada. At all times in the production process, you are able to create and prepare your order and track it from start to finish. As well, three of the major apparel companies in the United States have contracted our services for their cut and sew production.
The Lightning Wear brand remains strong and continues growing as we partner with more teams and organizations. 2012 brought the launch of our dye sublimated manufacturing department. Lightning Wear invested in state of the art digital equipment and highly talented artists and operators. Lightning Wear is proud to be one of the few Made in the USA brands that creates and produces our garments from start to finish. We expanded our product line to include sublimated reversibles, sublimated shorts and sublimated long and short sleeve shooter shirts. Sublimated hooded sweatshirts and custom sweatpants were added to our product line in the Spring of 2013. As such, we are purchasing new equipment on a monthly basis. One more thing about us is that we strive to stay ahead of the latest trends and technological advances in the apparel market.
We Stay Hungry
There is something else you should know about us. We STAY HUNGRY as we grow Lightning Wear. Dye sublimation has opened up a whole new and exciting avenue for our business. The technology allows for unlimited colors, styles, personalization and branding with a quality that is not comparable. If you feel more comfortable letting one of our artists create your designed product, just let us know. Over the years we have blossomed from a lacrosse company into a custom uniform company for all sports. We manufacture apparel for all types of clubs, boosters and corporate entities.
Lightning Wear continues to partner with strong youth, high school, collegiate and club/intramural programs and individuals. Thanks to several of our outstanding athletes and teams, LW has made our way in to several National Television and print appearances. Thank you for your support! Please feel free to write us at [email protected] with any product suggestions, comments, or thoughts on how we may better serve you and your organization.
Lightning Wear Apparel manufactures custom sports uniforms and apparel for all sports. This includes uniforms for lacrosse, football, basketball, baseball, soccer, track and field, tennis, golf, field hockey, intramural teams, fraternity and sorority sports, club teams and youth sports. Grade schools, youth sports leagues, middle schools, high schools, Colleges, Community Colleges, and Universities play hard and win in Lightning Wear. We continue to work with organizations including the NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball on various projects. Thank you for reading about us. We look forward to impressing your team or organization.