What is their company's history?
Icons have been in business since 1999. As such we are one of the oldest memorabilia operators in the country, if not the world. We bought our domain name (www.icons.com) way back in the 90's and Google rankings for any site are based on its longevity, its quality, the number of links from globally recognised sites and the accuracy of its content. Type in any kind of signed shirt product into Google and we will come out at, or very near the top of any search. This takes 14 years of hard work to achieve and cannot be done overnight. In this market companies spring up overnight and disappear just as quickly. Longevity, history and reputation in this business mean everything.
Do they have official licenses?
Icons were awarded the world's first ever signed football memorabilia licence by FIFA in 2010 so we could produce a range of signed iconic World Cup products. In July 2012 Icons was awarded the first ever official licence for the UEFA Champions League. Ask yourself, if the governing bodies of world football deal with Icons, why would you buy signed items from anywhere else?
Do they deal with the world's other great memorabilia companies?
Icons are the exclusive stockist and distributor of Upper Deck products. Upper Deck have long term contracts with world superstars such as Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Tiger Woods and now Rory McIlroy. We are the only place you can get these unique products in Europe or the Middle East.
Are they stocked by Harrods?
Icons products have been stocked in Harrods, the world's most famous department store, for over six years now. We are proudly displayed in their Sports Icons section on the fifth floor and integrated into the Sports department. If you go in, ask for an Icons / Harrods representative to talk you through the stock, where it comes from and show you the exclusive products framed especially for our Harrods customers.
Who are the people who work for them and what are their backgrounds?
Icons has a who's who section on their website so you can see who the individuals are that are involved in the company, there's no hiding behind an anonymous corporate facade to disguise the fact that you are dealing with a one man band or a disreputable signed memorabilia company.
Edward, our Chairman, was Managing Director of Tottenham Hotspur and then Merchandising Director of Manchester United. Dan, our MD, has an economics degree from Cambridge and has worked on the strategy of the biggest media brands such as The Guardian, Capital Radio, Channel 4 and Lastminute.com. All our site editors have journalistic backgrounds to ensure the highest levels of accuracy and our customer service manager Margaret has 30 years experience in this field. We are experienced, qualified professionals who enjoy our work and are happy to talk to anyone about what we do and why you should only, ever buy from Icons.com.
Can you come down and view the products?
Icons are based in Kentish Town, London, and we are more than happy for potential customers to come down during office hours and see the items on offer or chat to our experienced team about the items so as to reassure anyone on the providence of our signed products. Call us on 020 7267 3934 to arrange a visit. If a company will not let you come and view their premises then what are they hiding?
Does the company have a wikipedia entry?
Icons do, check it out here.
Are they advised by the country's leading Intellectual property law firm?
Everything Icons does is of the highest professional standards. We are advised by Harbottle & Lewis so we are up to date in terms of legal aspects of image rights, IP and contract law. We spend money on good lawyers to protect our reputation, do you think the people on eBay do?
Do Amazon use their name to promote themselves?
Icons have recently help launch the new Amazon.com sports memorabilia store and we've been liaising with their HQ in Seattle over their PR campaign. For a small piece of their coverage, click here.
Do they have an accounts department?
Any supplier or customer can speak to our accounts department during working hours. We aim to deal with all our stakeholders in a courteous and efficient manner and make sure our paperwork is of the highest order.
Do they have testimonials on their site from customers?
Icons send a customer service survey to every customer. We ask for feedback and if a customer would like us to add a testimonial to the site. 99% of our responses are positive and we constantly update the product testimonials on our site. These are from real people who love what we do. If you buy a product from us we're always happy to hear from you whether it is positive or even if it's negative so we can do a better job next time.
Do you ever see their products on TV?
Icons have long term marketing partnerships with Sky Sports Revista de la Liga programme and our giveaways are featured every week on their show as a core part of their presentation. We have been working with ESPN for two years now as they have integrated our products into their Talk of the Terrace show. Further afield we have worked with Fox Sports in the US for two years and this year started working with NTV in Japan and the Abu Dhabi Media Company who have the rights to the Premier League in the Middle East. Big brands only deal with reputable suppliers as you might expect.
Do they have international distribution?
Icons is an international brand and we supply to well over 80 countries each year. We have representatives in North America and regularly supply customers in Japan, Australia and the Middle East. We have a Spanish language website for our Spanish fans and with the popularity of the game across the world Icons are happy to bring products signed by the world's best players to fans all over the planet.
What distribution partners do they have?
Icons have a wide range of distribution partners around the world. We have close ties with World Soccer Shop and Soccer.com in the United States as they stock our products and we provide them with regular money-can't-buy prizes. We work with Upper Deck and Steiner Sports who provide us with our US sports memorabilia, and up until 2011 Icons were the only memorabilia brand stocked in Saks Fifth Avenue in Saudi Arabia. Icons even reach as far as Japan where IBEX cards are one of our best partners too.
How good is their packaging?
Anyone can copy packaging, anyone can design a logo, anyone can commission a hologram. Icons only work with the best suppliers in each field: One Vision do our framing, Founders Total Spectrum do our packaging and Cashs design and manufacture our unique holograms. Other companies send out their products in plastic bags and no-one else gives their customers the option of Deluxe presentation boxes. We take the time to present the world's best signed merchandise in the world's best way.
How good is their Certificate of Authenticty?
Anyone with a word processor can create a COA. All our items come with a Certificate of Authenticity, which includes the details of the signing session and a photo of the player signing the product line at the signing session. Details of our company are registered with Companies House and our company number is 06791294, this is always displayed on the COAs. We are easily traceable and subject to UK law. If you can't find a company's details on its website then proceed with caution and remember you will have no claims in the courts. Our MD personally signs every COA, we don't reproduce any signatures, ever, even for this small task. We set the standards in the market, everyone else copies us.
How do they get their signatures?
All Icons products come from closed signing sessions with players where the footballer is paid a fee for their service. We never, ever accost players outside the training grounds and we never, ever buy products from companies who do this. We deal with players' representatives. Many of the older players appreciate the extra funds, while many of the younger players have charitable foundations or favoured charities who are the beneficiaries of the fees. Because we have worked with the players and their agents for many years, they trust us, and often recommend us to each other personally. For an inside look at and Icons signing session, click here.
What are their prices like?
Icons products are more expensive, we know that. The reason is because we pay the players properly, we buy the current official replica kits and quality boots, we pay picture agencies for the rights to the photos, we invest in branding, we create fantastic packaging and everything we do from official licences to holograms is done to reassure the buyer that our items are 100% genuine. There are other cheaper outlets out there on the internet but can you be certain that what you're buying is real? If it's much cheaper you have every right to be suspicious.
Why are they members of UACC or similar organisations?
Companies pay a joining fee to become members of these organisations. There is no vetting of the companies or their products. We've got nothing against these organisations but buying from someone with an 'official' stamp on their site doesn't mean much in itself. From our point of view we think working with Messi and Ronaldo for 8 years, producing high quality authenticity videos, having a FIFA licence, being the first ever official memorabilia company to work with UEFA and being stocked in Harrods is the kind of reassurance the public respects.
Can you speak to the MD?
Feel free to call Dan on 020 7267 6640 if you want to discuss any of the above, have any issues or are from a company that wants to work with Icons. We're signed by the world's best, and there's a reason for that.