Beyond Cuffs adds TCU-Logo merchandise, with new line of dresses
By Scott Nishimura
Photography by Olaf Growald
Cynthia Sadler’s Beyond Cuffs apparel and accessories venture – born in 2017 from a search for the next thing after retiring from 30 years in banking – keeps growing.
Sadler’s first product was a corporate cuff women could use to dress up. She quickly followed with a Christmas cuff, and then went on a multi-month odyssey to develop a TCU- licensed cuff. The university “walked me through the licensing process which, with them wanting me, still took eight months,” she says.
Now with 12 TCU-licensed designs including women’s cuffs, dresses, blouses, scarves, and headbands; and growing lineups of men’s, children and baby products, Sadler continues to expand into the Horned Frog space. In September, she launched her Mommy & Me line of dresses at the TCU Campus Store and on her website, beyondcuffs.com-gameday wear for women, students, children and toddlers. She simultaneously launched a logo collection for kids called Purple Polliwogs, also available at the TCU store and on her site.
“The bookstore asked for dresses for two years,” Sadler says. “I just didn’t take them seriously. They said, ‘We’ve got to have something more than athletics.’ Eventually, I said, why not?”
For dresses, Sadler returned to how she started in cuffs. She sketched the design of a dress in an art class while on a cruise. Mommy & Me “fills a void” for “higher fashion” in TCU-logo products, she says. Her cuffs were only the start: “It just elevates the style. You can go to church with that. You can go to the rodeo.”
The TCU store sells a selection of Mommy & Me and Purple Polliwogs. The broader collections are available on the company’s web site. The dresses sell for $125-$265, depending on size. Purple Polliwogs outfits sell for $115-$120. Sadler uses U.S. sources for her materials-“we have beautiful fabrics”- and continues to have all of her products made in the United States, at plants in Texas and New York. Sadler fulfills orders from a shop in Granbury Square Plaza she opened in 2022. During COVID, she closed her original store on Fort Worth’s Near Southside.
“We try to look for things that will complement our program and bring incremental value to our licensing program. What is trending in the marketplace that will sit well with our consumers? Who (among vendors) is dedicated to college?”
-Deanna Cardillo, TCU’s director of brand and licensing
In November, Sadler also introduced TCU-logo golf shirts for men, youth and toddlers; and stadium and baby blankets. At presstime, she was about to receive her first shipment of a new logo golf towel and expected to roll out a women’s silk scarf in “Frog Fantasy” pattern in December. For next year, she’s developing logo men’s boxers. She’s also working on an idea for logo bedding.
Her collections encompass the collegiate, Christmas, corporate and casual segments. Sadler’s growth has coincided with continued interest by vendors in higher products and luxury for TCU.
The university last year had a total 333 licensees, said Deanna Cardillo, the university’s director of brand and licensing.
Over more than a decade, TCU – whose visibility soared with the success of its football team-has pared its licensees from more than 400, to ensure it presents “best-in-class vendors,” Cardillo said.
“We try to look for things that will complement our program and bring incremental value to our licensing program,” Cardillo said. “What is trending in the marketplace that will sit well with our consumers? Who (among vendors) is dedicated to college?”
Sadler wants to expand beyond TCU and enter the licensed space for other Big 12 schools, then the Southeastern Conference. Eventually, says Sadler, 66, “I want to turn it over to my (four) grandchildren.”