Sydney Durso: Live Love Gameday
You were a part of America's Sweethearts *Dallas Cowboys Cheerleading* for a number of seasons. Can you tell us about that experience and how that may or may not have fostered the inspiration for your t-shirt line?
I was one of “America’s Sweethearts” for 7 wonderful seasons. I auditioned in 2008 at Texas Stadium, a few days after my 18th birthday. I had no idea what I was getting into! I made the team a few months later and officially moved to Dallas. I am so thankful for every opportunity I had with the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. I was able to cheer at Texas Stadium and Cowboys Stadium (which was later changed to AT&T Stadium). I traveled around the world performing for our U.S. troops every Christmas, doing USO tours in South Korea, Japan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Guam, Hawaii and other countries. I visited children’s hospitals and nursing homes throughout the year. Each game day felt like my first. After 7 seasons, the field was truly my home. Anytime the DCC needed me, I was excited and ready to represent. My last season (2014-2015) cheering, it was my turn as “group leader” to give my group a gift on game day (we rotate it each game, there are usually 8-10 in each group). I wanted to design something different and memorable. I kept repeating in my head, “Well, we are always with each other on the field. This stadium and this field are our home away from home. Perfect! Home is where the field is!” I came up with something that is sporty yet feminine and that conveys the message of how much I love football. I created a few of these tanks for my group, however when the other girls saw them, my order list began to grow. From there, alumni cheerleaders wanted them and girls from other NFL teams.
At what point did you begin to separate t- shirt making as a hobby to deciding to launch a full line/collections for the masses?
In January of 2015, Live Love Gameday was born! I created an Instagram account and began reaching out to other NFL cheerleading teams and NBA as well. I never once said who I was or what team I cheered for. I was just “Live Love Gameday.” I wanted people to fall in love with my designs and company. I even had friends writing me asking if I could contact LLG for them and get them a shirt. No one knew that I was the owner, and it was a pretty cool feeling! It wasn’t until May 2015, after I retired with the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, that I came out and announced that I was the owner of Live Love Gameday. I’ll never forget that moment! Since then, LLG has grown beyond what I ever imagined and I couldn’t be happier!
What has been one of the biggest challenges you've faced when getting your brand out there?
The biggest challenge for Live Love Gameday is staying on top of new designs and styles. Home Is Where the Field Is™ will always be our original design and our staple. I release it on a new tank or tee or long-sleeve every few months to keep our website fresh and updated. On top of that, I like to release fun and witty game day sayings that are unique for sports fans everywhere. I always get emails about different sports/hobbies. I remember when I was about to release: “I vow to always love you, even during hunting season.” I thought, “Will this sell? Do enough people love hunting that they would wear this tee?” Yes! That tee ended up being one of Live Love Gameday’s top-sellers, and it has recently been released for 2016 on a new super cute and comfy tee along with fishing season.
What's next for Live Love Game Day?
I now have football, baseball, softball, soccer, basketball, hockey, hunting, fishing, men’s tees and more. Home Is Where the Field Is™ is officially trademarked, and LLG recently became licensed collegiately beginning with Texas Tech, UNT and Rice University. I will continue to work hard and be creative in my designs, and I look forward to what is next for Live Love Gameday!
My latest tee is "I just want to hold hands and watch baseball with you!" This design is also available for football. When I was designing this tee, my fiancé laughed and said, "Ummm, isn't that a little too girlie. I mean...hold hands and watch football? I don't think so!" I love releasing tees and tanks for sports-lovers with a little extra emphasis on the "love"–simple sayings that capture our customers' passion for the game but at the same time have a playful, romantic and sometimes silly side to them!
Where can we shop for Live Love Game Day online? Any retailers?
Live Love Gameday is online only. You can shop 24-hours a day at www.livelovegameday.com! Recently, I opened up our website to wholesalers. We currently have boutiques selling LLG in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and more. Our wholesale database is growing quickly each day, and we love that customers across the U.S. are able to purchase Live Love Gameday at their favorite local boutiques instead of only on our website.