Another year of basketball and another year of what I consider to be the best rivalry matchup: UNC v. Duke. As they say, I’m a Tarheel born and bred, and requisite with that upbringing is an innately intense dislike of Duke basketball. It’s rather trivial I must admit, but it’s like a guttural reaction at this point. I don’t like to see them win any game, and when they beat up on the Heels twice in the regular season, it stings like an open wound submerged in salt water.
When I started this company, the motivation was simple – I wanted something cute to wear to the Dean Dome, something that wasn’t a hat or t-shirt – two articles of apparel I happily reserve for wear when either working out or heading to the beach. Having a background in and obsession with shoes, I wanted a cute pair of shoes to wear that made the “I’m a fan” statement without it yelling “Go Heels.” Subtle yet clear. Chic yet cheer-y. The line was born after a year of research and lots (and lots and lots) of color testing.
The funny thing is that when my fabulous biz partner, Lisa Palmer, and I launched the Lillybee website, I made a joke on the About Us page that I created Lillybee for fan-faring fashionistas* across the nation, except for Duke fans. It was said in jest, paying homage to my I-Bleed-Carolina-Blue heritage. The Licensing Director of Duke didn’t think it was so funny though. Duke is one of the very few schools that has yet to approve us for licensing – yet another Duke-inflicted injury that stings. As much as I don’t like to rooting for them…OK to be fair, as much I like to root against them, I still think their Crazy Cameron fans would look cute in some Lillybees.
Would I be willing to change my ways and start cheering for ALL ACC teams on the road to the Big Dance? Yes, Duke Licensing Director, it’s possible. Shoot if I started learning to play the piano at age 40 despite having no prior musical training, it’s within the realms of possibilities that I can learn to root for Duke (when they aren’t playing UNC). Just saying though that after a few years I’m not exactly good at piano, so don’t set the bar too high.
* A fan-faring fashionista is a term we made up to describe ourselves and our customers: gals who like cheering on our teams as much as we like adding shoes to our closet.