Max Purcell x Step One Partnership
Greg Taylor - Founder
January 2020, Aus Open, Melbourne. Step One is 2 years old.
Instagram notification. Someone’s tagged Step One!
I quickly open the Gram with elation, this was probably one of our first tags!!
Enter Max Purcell. Professional Tennis player. Tags… us. Max is at the Aus Open, so am I.
Blue Tick… Hmmm. This is getting serious. I look him up and see he is playing on a court nearby. I knew Step One’s were amazing, but to see a pro athlete wearing them, further cemented my belief, I’d nailed the product. I see him on court, then I see the Step’s peeking out from his shorts. Here’s the original photo:
I’ve made it! A pro player is wearing something I designed! But how did he hear about them?!
So I slide into Max’s DM’s,
‘Hey Max! Greg here, Step One Founder. Thanks for the tag, do you actually wear Step’s while playing?’
Waiting.. Waiting… NO chance a blue tick will respond right?!
Max: ‘Hey Greg, sure do! They are amazing, it’s all I wear and play in’
Greg: ** Gets all giddy** (A real athlete is wearing Steps?!?) Stay calm Greg, stay calm.
Greg: ‘That’s awesome mate, do you need any extra pairs for the tournament?’
Max: ‘Would never say no to free Step Ones!’
Greg: ‘I’ll have them here tomorrow.’
The Next Day.
I meet Max during his morning training session. He hasn’t finished practice so I entertain myself outside the practice courts.
Max walks out, he is legitimately wearing them!! I shake his hand and have a yarn, he tells me he saw an ad on Instagram, he suffers from chafing and compression shorts just sweat and are horribly uncomfortable.
At this point, I was thinking all my Christmas’ had come at once…
I watch all of Max’s matches,
2nd round = win
3rd Round = win
4th Round = win
Semi Final = Win!!
Greg: ‘Maxy!! Show us the band!!’ What a cracking photo!
We're into the FINAL!!
I remember thinking… we’ve made it.. Step Ones, worn by a pro tennis player who has just made the final of a major Grand Slam! He’s not been paid, he wears them because he loves them.
I have a genius idea! 💡
Greg: ‘Hey Max, we are launching our new colour this weekend, Grape Fruits! Wanna be in the launch? (Very long shot at this point)
Max: Would love to! My partner wants some as well.
Ok.. I’ve got 24 hours to get 3 pairs of Grape Fruits flown to Melbourne and I need a photographer.
Enter Milan… he’s been with Step One from the start, offers to get on a plane and bring everything down.
Max offers for us to sit in the players box during the final! Yeah.. the players box!!
We organise a shoot, we have 8 minutes with the players, it’s the morning of the final. We go to 3 supermarkets to find the perfect grapefruits, we have 8 minutes with the guys!
They arrive on time, change into Grape Fruits… whilst holding grapefruits! Rod Laver Arena in the background, the 2 finalists of the Aus Open .. WEARING STEP ONES!
We are BIG TIME… well at least I felt that way! What more could you wish for?!
Our 8 minutes are up… we get a cracking photo, Max and Luke hand back the grapefruits, but keep the Steps in Grape Fruits…. **pinching myself at this point**
I think.. Hang on… ‘Is our product so good that a pro player bought Step Ones on his own accord and offered to do a photoshoot simply because he loves the product and brand???!’
Clearly so… I’m on to something here (I think quietly to myself!)
Max sent me tickets to the final! PLAYERS BOX!!
Night of the final… I find myself sitting IN the players box…. I knew that the coaches get quite a bit of TV time, I wear the Step One Tee.. and hat.. And make sure I sit as low as possible as I studied all the camera angles prior!
No need it seems… Max has given all his family Step One tees to wear… The players box is rocking!
BOOM!! I received a text… ‘You're on TV mate!!’
I did it!! But what on earth am I doing in the players box, having met him less than a week ago…. One of those stories!
Max and Luke play their hearts out and are runners up to a very experienced double team.
I congratulate Max…. He has an idea.
‘Mate, I need you to make me a special pair, when we return serve, we bend right over, so can you make me a special pair that’s extra long.
Of course we can…
3cm longer - Max - “longer mate!’
9cm longer - Max ‘too long mate!’
6cm longer - Max ‘perfect!’
I start wearing them while playing basketball. These are actually really really good. We make a few other additions to the product and low and behold.. We’ve just developed our sports range with a pro tennis player and other friends and customers who helped us refine it!
But what else can we do for Max… he loves the product… I know Wimbledon is coming up…
We surprise Max with his own special edition Wimbledon 2020 pair of all White Step Ones which carry the date and Wimbledon name under the flag label.
We send them to Max and he posts this:
Max was ecstatic.. His own pair of custom made, custom length, tournament named, Step Ones.
Max turns up the heat in Tokyo wearing a special early release of our Sports Range (Releasing early 2022)
Step Ones at the Olympics!
AUS OPEN 2022
Max is back again, with a new partner, Matt Ebden! I fly to Melbourne to watch the boys play.
1st Round - Win
2nd Round - Win
3rd Round - Win
4th Round - Win
Semi Final - WIN!! We are back into the final!!
Max: ‘Grego! We’re in the final… someone has offered to sponsor my sleeve for the final against Kyrgios and Thanaki!’
Greg: ‘Ummmm I’m the OG mate… surely Step One gets 1st dibs?!’
Max: ‘Fair point! Come pick up the shirts tonight’
We have 24 hours to collect 3 shirts and get the screen printed for the final!
So here we are, in a printers shop, 5 hours till the deadline, trying to work out the size and location of the patches.
We send Max this pic of the placement… he took the bait!
Shirts are delivered and look FANTASTIC!!
Once again, Max very kindly organises tickets for us in the players box… I feel like an old hat in here now… but being on TV is always something a bit special!
Note: I was just finishing my drink! Be an Ace and cover your face! (Mask was worn all match!)
Stadium is PACKED! Biggest TV audience of over 3M people in Australia for a men’s doubles final!
Max and Matt (The M&M’s they were nicknamed) played out of their skin but beaten by a nose by The Special K’s
At Step One we love to support people from all walks of life from professional athletes to everyday people doing great things.
We were lucky enough to catch Max in our office yesterday who bought in his Trophy plate and posed with our Max (Mannequin) to celebrate his success at the Aussie Open.
Max will be part of the launch of our Sports Range coming early 2022.
Keep your eyes peeled!