Student-Athlete Alumni Profile: Lee Moffie
By Christopher Matsos
Lee Moffie (Ice Hockey, 2013), had just finished his first year of professional hockey with the Colorado Avalanche organization when a feeling of disappointment set in. He felt that professional hockey may not be the career path he was meant to travel and started to pursue other options off the ice. One night, in the summer of 2013, while having a beer with his University of Michigan friend, Steven Fisher, he asked the question: “why is no one making dress shirts for athletically fit guys?” This simple question turned into a unique product and clothing line created specifically for athletes off the playing field, ice, and court. Ann Arbor based State and Liberty Clothing Company was born. In the fall of 2014, Moffie and Fisher set out to create a few different prototype dress shirts that not only fit them well, but also had a professional look.
Moffie says: “We are determined to provide athletes a dress shirt with a great fit. Typically, off the rack dress shirts are built for the masses. We want to build a custom dress shirt for the athletically built right out of the box. With room in the shoulders, chest and arms along with a tailored waist and back darts, State and Liberty dress shirts reward those that have an athletic build. Our shirts provide a tailored fit that hugs the body and our fabric allows this fit to be worn comfortably.”
State and Liberty went through countless numbers of prototypes before they were able to produce a shirt they were proud of. “We started to wear the shirts around and our friends became interested. We then bought 20 shirts for friends and sold those. Then bought some more shirts for their friends and sold those. Eventually in January of 2015 we launched a website and bought 300 shirts to sell.”
State and Liberty started small, at the grass roots level, but soon Moffie and Fisher realized that expansion was possible and a unique business opportunity was in front of them.
“We worked on the company as a side project while I played my last year. We kept selling shirts and getting a bigger and better response with more shirts that we launched. We launched three more dress shirts in the fall of 2015 and it was evident that this was no longer a hobby, but we have a real business opportunity here.”
Currently, State and Liberty is growing rapidly and athletes from the collegiate and professional levels are enjoying the custom fit designed to keep them comfortable outside of competition.
“Michigan hockey outfitted all the guys on the team with a white dress shirt with their number monogrammed on the cuff. Red [coach Red Berenson] and the staff were gracious enough to buy the shirts as part of the team’s travel gear. On top of Red, the guys on the team have really embraced what we are doing, and almost all of them (or their parents) are customers.”
Professional sports teams are also quickly becoming customers of State and Liberty. Moffie has been going to Detroit during the NHL Hockey season and selling shirts to NHL teams who are in town to play the Red Wings. “Michigan alumni have been great as far as hooking me up in the hotels and giving me an opportunity to present our products to NHL players. Chris Summers, Carl Hagelin, Matt Hunwick, and Steve Kampfer have all been instrumental in giving me access to market and sell our shirts to NHL players. On top of that, guys like Kevin Porter have been helpful by getting over seven guys for the Pittsburgh Penguins to pick up shirts as customers.”
Less than three years ago, what started as a simple question and discussion amongst two friends, has become a rapidly growing clothing company with endless possibilities. “As a company we are committed to providing these athletes in all professions the look, fit, and feel they deserve in a dress shirt.”
For more information on State and Liberty, please visit: https://stateandliberty.com/