In 1989, Natalie and Byron Wilson founded Campus Classics with the goal to create high-quality Greek apparel and gifts at affordable prices. As members of the Greek community themselves, their passion for fraternity and sorority life was the driving force to create a fair and trustworthy business. 2019 now marks the 30th year of business for Campus Classics and we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the incredible journey we have had thus far.
Campus Classics started off as a small business located in Carmel, Indiana with the intention of creating high-quality fraternity and sorority apparel for students, that also helped to show off the pride a Greek member has for their organization. While Greek licensing is a common practice today for all vendors selling Greek products, Campus Classics was actually one of the first companies to work alongside fraternity headquarters to establish working partnerships. By ensuring all items produced with an organization’s letters followed branding guidelines, this small gesture set the foundation to create long-lasting relationships with the largest national headquarters.
Due to these partnerships, Campus Classics was invited to attend fraternity conferences to sell apparel on site and to connect with the students who would soon be wearing the items we created. Conferences and conventions proved to be, and still remain, one of the most valued experiences for our team, due to the ability to receive direct feedback from our market and learn of what we can do as a company to enhance their overall experience with Campus Classics. As you can tell, customer service has always been one of our main concerns as a business!
With the lack of internet shopping in the early 1990s, conferences and conventions also became some of the hottest places to sell our merchandise. Many students counted on Campus Classics appearing at headquarter events because they knew it would be one of the only ways to score some new Greek apparel. To help widen our exposure, we also began to create a yearly catalog that was sent to undergrad fraternity families. This helped a parent or student shop for new fraternity gear via a mail-in order form after viewing our top products in one place. These catalogs are still created and mailed out yearly to spark the holiday shopping rush!
While catalogs and conventions started off as our top ways to offer high-quality items to our customers, the invention of the internet helped make online shopping the easiest means of ordering. Campus Classics made sure to create an online store to once again increase the customer experience and adapt to the changing world of business around us. Since the introduction of our website, we have switched to strategic social media campaigns, email marketing, and consistently considering feedback to improve our online presence and ordering process that you see today.
After much success establishing ourselves in the fraternity market, we decided to expand to include products targeted towards sorority members and custom chapter events. In 2015, we licensed with 19 sororities began to construct a line that captures the unique style of sorority women, filled with oversized tee shirts, comfy sweatshirts, and unique ball caps. 2017 saw the introduction of our new custom apparel capabilities, offering individual design and ordering services to college students and organizations.
A lot can change over the course of 30 years, but our dedication to quality and service of has stayed the same. We are excited to continue celebrating our 30th anniversary with our loyal customers, so be sure to subscribe to our emails and check out our most recent blog posts for all of the fun!