Russell Athletic Case Study


Russell Athletic is an American-based apparel company established in 1902 by Benjamin Russell, part of the Fruit of the Loom business owned by the one and only Warren Buffet. The Australia and New Zealand Head Office is based in Melbourne Australia servicing both the New Zealand and Australian retail and wholesale to retail market. Russell Athletic is renowned for being the original makers of the 100% Cotton Sweatshirt and to this day are synonymous with producing high-quality fleece garments to the sports lifestyle market in New Zealand and internationally.

As of 2020, the license to sell and distribute the Russell Athletic brand was offered to Mitch Dowd who at the time, were and remain recognized for their dominance in the Australian market in the underwear category.


  • In Nov 2020, the license to distribute Russell Athletic was moved from the company Designworks to the new Licensor Mitch Dowd.
  • The current structure of a NZL based office and staff under Designworks was closed in Nov 2020 leaving no representation here for the brand in New Zealand..
  • With no office base here in Auckland – distribution of Russell product would have to be delivered from the Mitch Dowd warehouse in Melbourne Australia – this potentially incurring additional freight costs for the company.
  • One of the major issues for Mitch Dowd was how the company was planning to service the existing NZL database of accounts moving forward.


  • In November 2020, PJC Agencies approached Mitch Dowd and negotiations began with PJC Agencies Ltd offering to have the servicing rights to all the Mitch Dowd accounts across New Zealand.
  • All sales and range showings for Russell Athletic were to be carried out by PJC Agencies Ltd. Servicing of the New Zealand account needs included administrative work, merchandising and sales support all of which were to be carried out by PJC Agencies.


  • Currently PJC Agencies Ltd is now the exclusive Agent for Russell Athletic to its key and general accounts New Zealand wide. PJC Agencies are in the process of assisting Mitch Dowd with third party logistics to then distribute the Russell Athletic product in New Zealand.
  • The PJC Agencies Ltd contract with Mitch Dowd commenced on 1 Nov 2020 and is reviewed annually.