Mike Spangenberg: State Forty Eight

April 20th 2021
EPISODE SUMMARY

In today’s episode, we talk to Mike Spangenberg, the co-founder and CEO of State Forty Eight. If you’re local to Arizona, you’ve likely heard of the company, as they have grown substantially in the past few years through their apparel, collaborations, and overall brand. The company was founded in 2013, and more recently they’ve started a foundation to further their work in the communities of Arizona.

EPISODE NOTES

Mike Spangenberg is the co-founder and CEO of State Forty Eight. The company was founded in 2013 and has evolved into being more than just an apparel line. State Forty Eight is about having community and pride in your state. Mike wanted to create a brand that anyone could feel stylish and comfortable in. 

Mike began his career in the hospitality industry. He spent 15 years in that industry and eventually worked his way up to becoming a general manager. Through his experience, he learned leadership skills and teamwork, as well as a passion for people. Mike says these are all things he took with him when laying the foundation and mission for State Forty Eight. 

“This is my passion in life. This is what I want to do forever if I can.” 

How has collaborations with other businesses affected State Forty Eight?

“Collaborations were never a part of the business model at the beginning... Now it’s a huge part of our business. It was almost half our revenue last year.” State Forty Eight offers collaborations with other businesses who want to have their brand represented with the SFE brand. This has led the company to new partnerships with the Arizona sports teams, which was always a dream for Mike. Companies can use these shirts for revenue generating opportunities, team representation, or marketing assets. 

What products do your customers gravitate towards most: 

“The first couple of years we just put our main logo on every color combination possible. It’s really our bread and butter” Having their main logo become an icon in the Arizona-themed apparel industry has really given them influence and remains a staple in most of their branded/collaborative products.  

What type of marketing do you guys do for the company?

The first 4-5 years of business, SFE’s marketing efforts were organic. Now, they have seen success through email automations, drip campaigns, and paid ads. Mike says they really didn’t focus on marketing at the beginning, but he wonders if it would have been really beneficial had they started sooner. They do their best to be on every social channel, in order to reach every type of customer. “We’re never complacent and we’re always saying ‘how do we get better and better?’”  

How did COVID affect your business?

“Thankfully, we had collaborations, online, wholesale, different license deals, and retail. All our eggs weren’t in one basket. We just made the best out of it, and 2020 ended up being our best year yet.” 

What is the State Forty Eight Foundation?

Mike recently started State Forty Eight Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching the community in Arizona with a focus on youth and entrepreneurship. They started the foundation back in December and are very excited for the potential impact they hope to have on the community in the future. 

Additional Links:

State Forty Eight website and online store: https://statefortyeight.com/

Mike on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mikespank/?hl=en

Mike’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-spangenberg-0ab69a165/

State Forty Eight Foundation: www.statefortyeightfoundation.org

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