When Janie and Woody Day of Memphis got their football season ticket request last fall from the University of Mississippi, they began to look forward not only to the beginning of football season but also to returning to The Grove.
To reflect their love for The Grove the couple wanted to find a golf shirt, dress shirt and/or cap that had The Grove logo. After searching high and low and coming up empty, the Days decided to design their own logo — three oak trees with a dominant tree in the center — and their own apparel and accessory line.
Woody Day, owner of Fairway Incentives Inc. in Memphis and a 1970 graduate of Ole Miss, believes the logo is a reflection of where Ole Miss is today. When he approached the university with his idea, it was obvious they agreed.
“Normally it takes three to four months for the bookstore to approve its vendor list and it takes three to four months to get the university’s logos approved for use,” Woody Day said. “I walked out of there that day with approval. They said it wasn’t standard bookstore fare.”
“At Ole Miss” was added to The Grove logo after the approval by the university to read “The Grove at Ole Miss.”
The Days have a complete upscale apparel and accessory line that includes everything from rattan picnic baskets to top-line shirts and wine cooler/carriers. They began marketing the products with the October Ole Miss-Alabama game. Sales soon grew through the campus outlets, select retail shops and the Web page. The Junior League of Memphis featured the line in its Merry Marketplace and the Junior League in Mississippi featured it at Mistletoe Marketplace. Suppliers for the line are from California to Rhode Island.
“One of the key things about The Grove apparel and accessories is that a percentage of the sales go to Ole Miss for the care and preservation of The Grove,” Woody Day said.
The experience of developing a logo and a new line of apparel and accessories has been a challenge for the Days. After registering The Grove trademark, getting approval from Barnes and Nobles College Bookstores as a vendor, receiving approval from the university and then going through the Collegiate Licensing Company, the couple began to talk about bar-coding their products.
“It’s a pretty major undertaking,” Woody Day said. But, he added, it has been well worth it. “When you’re doing something you enjoy and that you find to be fun and it reflects you there is no challenge.”
Janie Day, who did graduate work at Ole Miss, said working with her husband on the project has been interesting.
“Both of our business cards say ‘president’ and that kind of lets you know about our personalities,” she said. The couple shares some duties, although Woody Day does the accounting and bookkeeping and Janie Day concentrates on the marketing, advertising, promoting, shipping and packing for the company.
Janie Day said the line’s reception from Ole Miss graduates and students has been gratifying.
“The Grove is an integral part of Ole Miss,” Janie Day said. “Now it has its own identity and its own collection.”
Based on the initial success, the couple is planning to produce lines of jewelry and infant wear. The Days also plan to take the concept to other universities.
“You would be surprised at the opportunities that are out there,” Woody Day said. “Everybody’s got something.”
Contact MBJ staff writer Elizabeth Kirkland at firstname.lastname@example.org.