When Christina Pardy started Sh*t That I Knit in 2014, it was a fun way to show off the knit hats that she had created — and market them to a wider audience.
Eight years later, Pardy’s Boston-based knitwear business has scored a licensing deal with the National Football League.
“To partner with the NFL, I mean, you can’t get much bigger than that,” Pardy said in an interview. “They’re such a massive business, and people are so passionate about their teams. So it’s really mind-boggling for me.”
The multiyear deal, which kicked off in mid-October, has her brand creating thousands of beanies for mostly cold-weather NFL teams. The knitwear is available on the company website, Fanatics, NFLShop, and in select stadium stores, including those of the Patriots, Jets, Giants, Seahawks, and Eagles.
In February, Pardy’s brand became an official licensee of Team USA for the 2022 Winter Olympics. With the deal drawing more publicity to the business, Pardy ramped up working the phones, looking to expand in the sports industry. She said the conversations moved quickly after connecting with the NFL over the summer.
“It’s really a testament to our very small, but very talented team that we were able to pull this off in such a short amount of time, and create something we’re really proud of,” Pardy said.
As it’s made by a local brand, Pardy said that unsurprisingly the Patriots collection has performed exceptionally well. (Other cold-weather teams have also done well to this point, including the company’s collections for the Buffalo Bills and Chicago Bears.)
The company currently sells beanies for 15 of the NFL’s 32 teams, but Pardy said the company hopes to have products for nearly every franchise in 2023. Each beanie is made from merino wool and hand-made in Lima, Peru, where Pardy employs more than 400 local artisans to make the company’s products.
Sh*t That I Knit also recently landed a local licensing deal with the Boston Bruins, which launched in mid-November. The company is making Bruins-themed hats to be sold exclusively through the TD Garden ProShop.
After founding the company in 2014, Pardy opted to quit her day job and put her full weight behind the knitting business. Now, backed by multiple major licensing deals, Pardy hopes her brand can continue to expand.
“The sports licensing world is definitely something we’re exploring as a brand in a larger way,” Pardy said. “It’s becoming much more of a focus for us and will be a much larger percentage of our business, even just next year and beyond.”