As a strength conditioning coach, Jason Schulman had always enjoyed the business side of sports, and with most of his friends being in the corporate world, he thought he would end up there one day. “It just happened to play out, and an opportunity came up at ISC Sport,” he recalls. “But I think it was always what I wanted to do – get more involved with the business side of sports.”
ISC Sport is a clothing manufacturer that provides custom apparel for elite and amateur sporting teams, corporates and the education sector. Jason admits that the industry is dealing with challenges at the moment, particularly with the use of technology around producing garments and the increased use of the internet.
“It’s very much a global game now in the sporting industry,” he says. “To continue being one of the big players here, it comes down to how we play to our strengths and what we do in the world because, in this global environment, you’re competing with everyone at all times.”
Jason explains that no matter where a company is in the world, it can easily send order enquiries to places like China or Pakistan to get garments printed and sent to them without ever having seen them or done anything. Because of this, the barriers to entry for new businesses are reduced.
“It may be easier, but I think to do it well, you need to play to your strengths,” he states. “If anything, what I’ve seen in more recent times is that there are many more players, and everyone is trying to do it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean doing it well.”
Having a clear view of where the business is going keeps Jason motivated. As with every company, there are obstacles. But Jason believes having the long-term in mind helps you get through the difficult times. “We’re going through changes at the moment because we’re redirecting the business,” he explains. “But knowing where it is going helps you through these times and keeps you on track.”
Jason’s vision is to realign the company’s focus to its strengths and deliver those to the market. “Our strength is having a reliable supply chain, and good quality gear and design,” he says.
“Our strength is having a reliable supply chain, and good quality gear and design.”
“I think the vision for the business is making sure that the quality of the gear that we produce, the supply chain we use and the customer service we offer is the best. We must make sure that we are the gold standard in the supply chain of service and quality, and that people unashamedly want to come with us.”
Most of the suppliers that ISC Sport works with have been long-term relationships. The company values open communication with its staff and suppliers.
“It’s about leaders and the staff having passion about what we do and when working with suppliers, we want to pass on this passion to them,” Jason explains. “It’s important they understand that we want to offer high quality gear, why we value their relationship, and that they send their deliveries on time.”
Jason believes that honesty in everything the company does is what makes supplier relationships last. “If you have integrity and honesty with your suppliers and you communicate everything that happens, you can build long-term relationships,” he assures. “That’s what we focus on with our suppliers, and we manage to have partnerships for 15–20 years. Our relationships with them make a huge difference to the company.”
“If you have integrity and honesty with your suppliers and you communicate everything that happens, you can build long-term relationships.”
The company cultivates good relationships not only with its suppliers but also with the governing bodies that it works with, such as the NRL and the AFL.
“We appreciate those relationships, and we work well and closely with them,” he says. “While they’re changing the environment, we bring a huge amount of value. We will continue to work with them and continue to offer that real value to the market as a service.”