Start-up sports lifestyle brand Round21 is on a mission to redefine the category

A start-up sports lifestyle brand developed by the former professional athlete, Jasmine Maietta, is looking to redefine the category through a combination of arts and sports while championing inclusive multi-cultural artists and product design.

Called Round21, the brand aims to celebrate creative expression through sport and art by creating premium sports products that are designed in partnership with a portfolio of multicultural artists.

As part of the launch, round21 will release a new artfully inspired Origin ping pong paddle and a For the Love of Sport basketball backboard.

Led by the ex-vice president of global brand marketing at Peloton, and former professional basketball player, Maietta’s round21 is on a mission to redefine the sports lifestyle category.

 “Inside all of us, there’s originality and creativity. That’s the currency round21 values. We build products for and with people who live creatively in sport and in life,” she said. 

Maietta left her impressive career in marketing to start round21 after recognising the need for a sports lifestyle brand that champions individuality, inclusivity, and creativity. In her years on and off the court, Maietta noticed that many professional and amateur athletes’ self-expression was limited to their apparel and footwear.

What was core to an athlete’s identity – their game itself – remained a blank canvas. Whether it was on the court or during downtime playing ping pong in locker rooms, she believed the things we play with should say something about who we are.  

 “I founded round21 for people who are rich in ‘creative currency,’ and one way people express themselves is through sports,” said Maietta. “We believe that when people feel free to express themselves and come together through play, communities become stronger. And, we see the opportunity to empower deep, rich creative expression within sports.”   

In addition to scaling its product offering, Maietta is scaling her executive team as well. The company welcomed Joe Sargent, the former director of brand marketing of the Kansas City Chiefs, as the head of strategic marketing to spearhead strategic brand marketing initiatives, activation strategy, and planning. 

 “One of my goals has been to put my brand and lifestyle marketing and partnership experience into a start-up that is not only disrupting the industry but also laying the foundation for something new and lasting,” said Sargent. “This is an awesome opportunity to do just that. I’m excited to help round21 reach new heights and redefine recreation as we know it.” 

 Last summer, the NBA and teams like the Detroit Pistons partnered with round21 to provide customized ping pong paddles for players quarantined during Covid-19 in the NBA Bubble. And, during the brand’s initial Kickstarter in late fall 2020, it exceeded its funding goal by 187 per cent in just 76 hours.  

The brand kicked off the year with a highly anticipated collaboration with artist and sneaker customizer, Sierato. The Baltimore native partnered with round21 to bring his unique flair to a new canvas – a ping pong paddle and a basketball backboard.

Inspired by connective chemistry and the fluidity of creativity, the vibrant “REC Set” was designed to bring people together through sport with products that come alive and inspire. The round21xSierato REC set was released on January 21, exclusively on the NTWRK app.  

While many sports products are “blank” and “functional,” round21 gives identity to the player through expressive art that reflects who they are and what they value. All of round21’s products are highly crafted and uniquely designed by leading multicultural creatives and artists who believe artistry in sport is about meaning and storytelling, not simply decoration.

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of Licensing.biz and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both ToyNews and Licensing.biz, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing robert.hutchins@biz-media.co.uk or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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