When Erick Mathelier, a Haitian-American, was growing up in Flatbush, Brooklyn in the late 80s and early 90s, Andre Agassi was a tennis star.
“I don’t know if you remember it, but he had long hair. I felt like tennis was exciting, ”says Mathelier. “Then there was a lull in tennis and I haven’t seen this level of enthusiasm for the sport for a long time. But I hope we can keep that and attract people to the sport from different places. “
Mathelier refers to new players like Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff who bring new energy and diversity to the sport he started playing at the age of 10 and maintained until college. . Mathelier never became a professional tennis player, but due to where he grew up he saw tennis from a different perspective and he hopes to offer that perspective to others through his brand Furi Sport, which he launched in 2016 with his business partner Michelle Spiro, who previously worked in sales for brands like Calvin Klein and DKNY.
“When people think of tennis, they think you have to play in a country club, which is obviously that,” explains Mathelier. “But I think there’s a brand that has to be like, ‘No, you don’t have to play in that kind of environment.’ So we want to be that brand.
When he came up with the name, Mathelier didn’t want to use the word fury because he thought it might have a negative connotation, but he wanted something that channels the determination someone can have as an outsider. who wants to accomplish something.
“When we first said we wanted to make a racquet, people thought we were crazy,” says Mathelier, who cites brands like Wilson, Babolat, Head and Yonex as competitors. “But it is an entry point into the Furi universe and we were able to convert more than the industry average.”
The brand recently released a collection inspired by the Grand Slams which take place in Australia, Paris, London and New York. Mathelier says they looked to court colors and the Wimbledon dress code, which is all white, to inform the line. Then they want to switch to sportswear.
For Mathelier, who studied political science at university and earned a master’s degree in urban politics, Furi Sport comes after a handful of different companies, including Fashipedia, an online marketplace that has connected emerging fashion designers. with micro-producers, Runnitt, a dessert delivery company, and the biggest media. They are all dead. Furi Sport is the culmination of his interests and a company that goes beyond tennis or fashion.
“Growing up, I didn’t see people like me being entrepreneurs, let alone entrepreneurs in the tennis industry,” explains Mathelier. “So I’m trying to show that it’s possible.”