Source: Hummingbird Sports
Dedicated to empowering and protecting
HAZLET, NJ (August 14, 2017) – A staggering 3.3 million girls play high school-level sports in the U.S., while millions more participate in youth and recreational programs. But despite these massive numbers, few if any sporting goods brands focus exclusively on the market for young female athletes.
Happily, Hummingbird Sports bucks this trend.
In 2014, Rob and Julie Stolker – the parents of four girls – established a company that markets equipment and apparel exclusively to female athletes. They reached out to Susie Deignan who has more than 20 years of experience in building lifestyle brands at companies such as Converse, Tommy Hilfiger, J.Crew, and Ralph Lauren. Her expertise in the field and passion for empowering female athletes was a perfect fit for Hummingbird Sports. They needed the proper brand identity, so they began kicking around various concepts and logo designs.
“We were searching for a name, logo, and overall branding that would capture the essence of our company; the Hummingbird was perfect,” says Susie. “The name embodies speed, accuracy, and agility and, fittingly, ancient Native American folklore states the lacrosse stick was modeled in the shape of a hummingbird tail.”
And so, Hummingbird Sports was born. Now, three years later, the company is a staunch and vocal proponent for all that’s unique about women in sports. A helmet solely for female lacrosse players is the company’s flagship product, and Hummingbird’s website and social media channels are replete with messages of encouragement and advice.
“When a girl makes the decision to compete on the athletic field, there are still voices of negativity and discouragement out there,” Julie says. “These come from the media, from peers, and from outdated gender perceptions. So, at Hummingbird, we’re proud to use our online presence to be positive, and to say, ‘Yes, you can definitely do this. It’s very cool, you’ll have fun, and we’re right behind you.’ ”
Why Hummingbird Sports has been built around a girls’ helmet – for use in a sport where headgear traditionally isn’t worn – is another story. It began one spring day as Rob was sitting in some bleachers, watching his daughter compete in a scholastic lacrosse game.
“These athletes are rushing up and down the field, using rigid, plastic sticks to throw, catch, and shoot a very hard ball – and their heads are totally unprotected,” Rob says. “And I’m thinking, ‘This is so dangerous – my daughter and all these other kids are being exposed to serious injury. Why aren’t they wearing helmets?’ ”
Stolker went quickly to work, and – after a good bit of research, network-building, and design – the result was Hummingbird Sports’ state-of-the-art helmet, featuring clear lines of sight for unimpaired vision and a comfortable fit specifically tailored to lacrosse. The helmet offers 360-degree protection, utilizing Windpact’s award-winning Crash Cloud technology to maximize energy dispersion. Today, Hummingbird Sports is one of only two companies that market a girls’ lacrosse helmet that meets the ASTM International (formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials) F3137 specification.
With 18 distinct cooling vents and a ponytail opening, Hummingbird’s helmets also have a removable, spin dial to help make them snug and comfortable. In addition, they work with a player’s existing goggles and come in three sizes – XS, S/M, and L. They are available in five base colors and players can customize with decals.
The Hummingbird product has arrived on the market just in time, with Florida recently becoming the first state to mandate – effective beginning with the spring 2018 season – the use of approved helmets in all girls’ high school-level lacrosse games.
“I love sports, and the lessons they can teach about teamwork, dedication, and courage,” Rob says. “So, I want to help ensure that girls have the same opportunities to enjoy them and learn from them that boys do. And I want them to be as safe as possible while they’re doing it.”