Swifties are in their shopping era.
All the while, Swift has been embracing her new status as a WAG, the phrase used to describe wives and girlfriends of professional athletes. She attended 12 Kansas City Chiefs games during the regular season to support her boyfriend, NFL star Travis Kelce, and her fashion choices stole the show each time.
Some of her looks mixed designer coats with Louboutin shoes, while others focused on Chiefs gear and affordable jewelry. Every time, she looked like the ultimate girl next door, and Swifties couldn't get enough.
In fact, they've been so invested in her football looks that thousands have purchased matching pieces for themselves and wiped inventory from brand warehouses in the process.
Shop owners and designers told Business Insider that interest in Swift-worn pieces is so high that they've been unable to catch their breaths, even weeks after the singer promoted their businesses.
And with the Super Bowl on the horizon, many are bracing themselves for the next wave of the Taylor Effect.
Taylor Swift and small businesses
Westside Storey has been a staple of Kansas City, Missouri, for over a decade. The boutique offers a range of apparel, artisan products, and Kansas City-themed merchandise that tourists and locals love.
But everything changed when an online shopper bought $1,200 worth of vintage sweatshirts from the shop in October 2023. The owner, Chris Harrington, initially thought the charge was fraudulent before realizing it was "tied to Taylor Swift somehow," he previously told BI.
His suspicion was confirmed when Swift wore one of the sweatshirts to a game in December — and business exploded.
Fourty-eight hours later, Westside Storey had hundreds of orders and its best December sales to date, Harrington said. Interest hasn't slowed in the weeks since.
"During a live drop on our website pre-Taylor, we would have about 30 to 50 people shopping, and we'd sell about half the items," he said. "The last couple of drops, we've had anywhere from 1,200 to 1,500 people on the website, and stuff sells out in five minutes."
Harrington is even more surprised by the real-life impact of Swift's business.
"People are still coming in because they heard about Westside Storey, and they don't even want a vintage sweatshirt," he said. "They just want any item from Westside Storey, anything associated with Taylor."
Emily Bordner, the founder of the Kansas City boutique EB and Co., experienced the same phenomenon in late January when Swift wore a jersey-shaped ring with Kelce's number, 87, on it to the AFC Championship game between the Chiefs and the Baltimore Ravens.
The $14 ring was designed by Bordner for her store and was later gifted to Donna Kelce, among other jewelry, in the hopes she'd wear it and share pieces with Swift.
What Bordner didn't expect was the swarm of Swifties who followed when the musician actually did.
"We immediately sold out of the hundred we had on hand within the first 30 minutes," she said of Swift being photographed wearing the ring. "Now, we have close to 1,200 on preorder."
Bordner said EB and Co. received so many online orders — rings and other items — that she had to close her store for half a day to catch up, posting a sign on the door that read, "We are closed today due to Taylor Swift."
"It was our best day, our best week, our best month ever," she said. "My life has changed, and I know that my business has fundamentally changed."
Westside Storey and EB and Co. are just two of the many small businesses impacted by Swift and her fans.
Harrington said his girlfriend and partner, Kathryn Cacho, has sold 300 beanies through her brand Kut the Knit after Swift wore one of her designs in December.
"That was honestly even more insane," Harrington said of the experience. "It was really cool for us to sell the vintage sweatshirt, but in retrospect, it's not like we created and designed it. We just found it, and she supported us. But when Kathryn included her beanie in the order, she put her little Kut the Knit card in there. So for Taylor to almost endorse the brand and knowingly wear that product is just another level."
Missouri-based bracelet brand Erimish sold thousands of the exact design Swift wore in October when the Chiefs played the Los Angeles Chargers, the cofounder, Misha Wilson, told BI. She added that sales overall have increased around 3,000%.
And Wove, the luxury jewelry brand that created the "TNT" bracelet Swift wore while hugging Kelce on the field after the AFC Championship game, earned six figures in sales as a result of Swift, according to the CEO, Simone Kendle.
"Our site traffic has increased 5,000%. Our social-media followers more than doubled, and our jewelry sales are up over 2,000%," she told BI.
Westside Storey and EB and Co. said they have also hired more employees to help meet the demands of Swiftie shoppers, while Erimish extended its employee hours.
"We usually have a little bit of downtime for everybody to take off during the holidays, but our girls have been busy," Wilson said.
"She's a blessing without even knowing it," she added of Swift.
A boost for big business
Major fashion and accessory brands are also benefiting from Swift's army of fans.
Part of the musician's coveted outfit at the AFC Championship game in January was a $44 golden necklace from the BaubleBar x Wear by Erin Andrews collaboration.
The brand, which sells both luxe pieces and affordable ones at retailers like Target, has long boasted a loyal customer base that includes jewelry fanatics and celebrities.
But Swift's impact was "enormous," Baublebar cofounder Daniella Fiala told BI. Not only did the brand's Chiefs necklaces sell out that night, but she said the waitlist to purchase one now surpasses five figures.
"We're no longer a small, 10-person startup — we're bigger than that — but we're not Amazon," she added. "There are tons of people who have no idea who we are, and Taylor Swift is the biggest star in the world. So for her to put a spotlight on the brand has a massive impact from an awareness standpoint across the board."
Sheertex, the rip-resistant brand of tights that Swift regularly wears, experienced the same phenomenon.
The company's executive vice president, Samantha Colby, told BI that stock of the $99 pair Swift wore to the AFC Championship game sold out immediately afterward.
Athletic gear is no longer just for dads, Brads, and Chads
Beyond sales, those in charge of fashion and accessory brands say Swift's biggest impact is arguably on the athletic gear industry at large.
Whereas team-themed clothing and accessories have traditionally been made for men — or the dads, Brads, and Chads, as Swift lovingly referred to them in a Time interview — a major star like Swift advocating for female-focused sports merchandise is huge, with the Taylor Effect bringing interest in themed apparel to another level. BaubleBar, for example, secured a licensing deal with the NFL in 2021 and has seen success since.
"We've heard a lot of feedback from women who are really avid sports fans and go to games," Fiala said. "And they say, 'I love your pieces because I can wear something that represents my team that I'm passionate about and love, but it doesn't have to be an outfit takeover.'"
And now, NFL deals are spreading across the industry. Sportico reported that designer Kristin Juszczyk, who is married to San Francisco 49ers player Kyle Juszczyk, signed a licensing agreement with the organization after stars like Swift, Brittany Mahomes, and Simone Biles wore her creations at football games.
No sleep 'til the Super Bowl
While Swift might inspire thousands to shop the same brands she does, her fans are actually the ones who have really made a difference to businesses.
Bordner said she's working nonstop ahead of the big game so Swifties and other shoppers can get their merchandise in time.
"It's just been so crazy," she said. "I have been so in the trenches with fulfilling orders and trying to get them out the door as soon as we can. I haven't had a chance to look at what the numbers are. We just want to make sure we get stuff to people as quickly as we can."
On the other hand, businesses like Westside Storey are just taking things one day at a time after its brush with the superstar.
But purchases, Harrington said, have stayed strong and continue to grow as the Chiefs head into the Super Bowl.
"It's taken on a second wind again," he added. "Our online drops, our in-store stuff, our new shirts, everything's going really well, and it keeps going for us. I don't know when it's going to end."
And the businesses who've been impacted by Swift hope it never does.
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