Selling team-branded gear (and getting smiles) just takes some personality

Posted On April 7, 2024

Shadrick Toodle came by his gift of charisma naturally. His mother raised six children and still found time to teach Sunday School and be the “candy lady” in the neighborhood.

So when Toodle had kids of his own, he threw himself into their sports and other activities. And that, combined with his personal charm and judicious use of social media, has helped him build a business.

Toodle, our guest in the latest episode of “What’s Working with Cam Marston,” owns Toodle Boys Sports, which designs, creates and sells unique branded clothing and other merchandise for high schools, club programs and other sports teams in the Mobile, Alabama, area.

A former standout basketball player himself at the University of Mobile, Toodle works full-time at Continental Motors, but started Toodle Boys Sports after making T-shirts for his three sons’ park league teams and finding that other parents wanted them too.

“Representing for your kids, I’m real passionate about that,” he said, “especially not having a father in my life.”

With mentorship from others in the sporting goods industry locally, he grew his business until he was making more money from it than from his full-time job – even while running it out of his house and selling on weekends at the Mobile Flea Market. Now, he’s a familiar face on sidelines and in the bleachers at many local sporting events – usually wearing a jacket with one or both teams’ logos all over it.

It’s this passion and this love for making people happy that draws people to him. He calls his business a ministry – it’s about spreading joy.

“Just seeing my mom, the way she raised us and how she showed that ultimate love for kids … I guess I got that from her,” he said. “Just the excitement from making everybody feel good, being that light when you walk in … that’s the big thing – making those kids happy.”

But that passion and that joy also lead to sales. Toodle takes dozens of photos when he’s at sporting events, sharing them on his social media pages, which he finds is better advertising than his website. Customers remember seeing him at games, or on social media.

And when he doesn’t show up at the games, he notices sales begin to lag.

But it isn’t often that he doesn’t go. Because if there’s one thing he’s passionate about other than his kids and making people happy, it’s sports.

“Even if I wasn’t in business, I’d be doing the same thing,” he said. “If I was rich, I’d be going to a game every night.”

Categories: Blog, Entrepreneurship, What's Working with Cam Marston