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Under Armour—No SweatEleven years ago, Kevin A. Plank was a walk-on football player at the University of Maryland who relished throwing his body at hulking opponents. But he hated how the cotton T-shirts under his uniform got sopping wet with sweat or rain. By then, cycling outfits and football undershorts were made with moisture-wicking synthetic fabrics. Plank, a starter during kickoffs and punts, wondered why not gridiron T-shirts, too? He tore the content label off a pair of his wick-away shorts, bought the same material from a fabric store, and gave a tailor $460 to sew seven shirts. “I set out to build a better football undershirt,” he says. Plank’s teammates loved the tees. So he drove to New York’s garment district, had hundreds more samples made, and dubbed his invention “Under Armour.” Now, at 33, Plank is the multimillionaire head of an athletic apparel powerhouse. . . . Yet it didn’t happen as fast as Plank originally expected. “At 23, I was probably the smartest guy in the world,” he jokes. . . . “But I learned early on [that] this is not about one blast of exposure or one person wearing the product.”Operating at first out of his grandmother’s Georgetown house, Plank spent four years tirelessly pitching his product to college and NFL teams. “We convinced these big tough football players to start wearing tight-fitting synthetic shirts, which was completely new and different,” he says. . . . The pros’ acceptance brings Under Armour an authenticity that advertising alone can’t create. . . . That cachet also gives Plank license to charge $40 for a short-sleeve T-shirt.Question 1. Identifying How did Kevin Plank get his idea for a new product? 2. Analyzing How does Plank exemplify the characteristics of an entrepreneur?
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