I'll always remember the first kit we ever created at AKU.
They were friends playing in a social league and I remember pleading, almost begging for them to get kits from us. When I finally saw them wearing our brand, there was a feeling of relief and pride, as well acknowledgement that the team would be eternally written into the AKU story. This story has travelled some way since, and the pleading and begging has reduced, with us now having worked with hundreds of social and semi professional teams over the past 2.5 years.
The first kit we ever made for South East Chiefs FC, 2017.
At the start of 2019, I was introduced to a professional coach in Thailand, coaching one of the top teams in the Futsal Thai League, the top league for futsal clubs in Thailand. Futsal is at a different level in Thailand, more so comparable to a fanatical version of Australia's A-League, with games broadcast on national TV, match highlights getting up to 800K views and thousands of supporters packing out stadiums to watch their teams play. I remember jokingly trying to pitch our humble little brand to try and get our spot in the big leagues and whilst the answer was a "Not for now..." at the time, I was encouraged we weren't entirely dismissed, or it could have just been the polite Thai culture, I don't know. There was a momentary thought at how cool it would be for that AKU logo to be on the very same courts with the likes of players I had been watching on Youtube for years like Suphawut and Kritsada, both superstars of Asian and World Futsal.
Support for futsal is at another level in Thailand.
With most things, life moves on, months pass and the team and I continue to focus on building the brand, working with teams within Australia and helping them find their voice and identity through teamwear. The Thai opportunity moves to the back of my mind when I suddenly get a Facebook message from the coach "I have another team in the Futsal Thai League who want's to talk to you about 2020".
It's amazing how technology has made the world borderless. The next few weeks were a combination of late night video calls, messages on Facebook messenger, Whatsapp mixed with Google translate and finding friends who could translate in Thai. I wondered at the time if this is how Manchester United and Adidas finalised their agreement. In amongst the back and forth conversation, I truly learnt the audacity of the deal when I embarrassed myself in conversation.
"So what days do you guys train?" I casually asked.
After what seemed like an extraordinarily long pause, ".... everyday. We train everyday. We're a professional team."
All the back and forth, the work and stress eventually culminated in a final working and contractual agreement between the club and AKU for the Thai Futsal League 2020 season. The agreement would see the club wearing AKU on and off the court with our tops being sold at the stadium for their supporters. It's a landmark agreement for an Australian brand and the team and I are beyond proud we did it.
The team are heading to Bangkok February 2020!
Follow our socials as we give you the full details of the club on the 1st of February and follow our journey to design, manufacture and meet the club in Thailand over the month of February!