Who would ever believe that $3,000 along with talent and hard work, could turn Kevin Plank into a billionaire? As a student at the University of Maryland, College Park, Plank played on the football team. He had hoped to be recruited after graduation. However, since he wasn’t he used the $3,000 he made with Cupid’s Valentine, the business he created while a student, selling roses on Valentine’s Day, and went on to found Under Armour. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, in 1996, Kevin Plank did a lot of research to determine how to make a T-shirt that would prevent a football player from becoming so sweaty during practice and games.
He claims he was the “sweatiest guy on the football field.” He wanted a material that would help keep the athletes dry. So he used his $3,000, some credit cards, and a loan from the Small Business Administration to create his business. He used several prototypes before discovering his perfect material. He created his business in Georgetown in his grandmother’s house. His first Under Armour shirt was #0037. He sold this from his car. He recruited form teammates to wear his shirts. He used other unique ways to get his T-shirt and Under Armour brand known to the public. After his first year, he had sales of $17,000. In 1999 Kevin Plank took out a $25,000 ad in ESPN The Magazine.
The ad paid off resulting in $1 million in direct sales during the following year. In 2010 Under Armour reached $1 billion in annual sales. The following year Plank became a billionaire. Kevin Plank has ventured out into other businesses. However, all the while he has expanded his Under Armour brand adding different types of clothing. One of his new businesses is Sagamore Farms. Once owned by Alfred Vanderbilt, Plank bought the property in 2007. He plans to restore the farm and hopefully rejuvenate the horse racing tradition in Maryland. He presently has 100 horses at Sagamore. He hopes that one will win the Triple Crown one day in the future. Kevin Plank created Plank Industries in 2013. This is an umbrella business for his real estate firm, his whiskey distillery, and a water taxi in Inner Harbor.