“Beast Mode, on the field,” former Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch responded to a question about his attitude as a rookie in 2007. Little did we know then that the quote would not only accurately describe Lynch’s playing style — but also lead to some very successful business ventures.
The company is a lifestyle and performance brand that sells t-shirts, hats, shorts and several other items of apparel, all stamped with his iconic phrase. Originally, the clothing line was sold online but two years after its founding, Beast Mode opened up its first retail store in Lynch’s hometown of Oakland, California. Another storefront in Seattle, Washington — pictured below — was founded shortly after.
Lynch would continue to grow the business in 2020 by agreeing to an exclusive partnership with Fanatics, the industry leader in online manufacturing and retailing of licensed sportswear. This was the first time Fanatics struck an e-commerce deal with an individual athlete, which has proven to be beneficial as Beast Mode Apparel’s revenue was estimated at $5 million from quarter one to two in 2021, per ZoomInfo.
The partnership also paved the way for Lynch to donate a portion of merchandise sales to his Fam1st Family Education organization, which strives to promote education and build self-esteem for underprivileged children, adding some goodwill to the deal.
But the clothing line isn’t the only way the running back has parlayed his famous quote into a post-NFL career business venture. He also founded Beast Mode Productions and Beast Mode Marketing, both of which have strong ties to where he grew up.
Beast Mode Productions is a “society of filmmakers” that includes six people — one being Lynch — who grew up in or have strong ties to the Bay Area. The company has created commercials for Skittles and the Jumanji movie, collaborated with Bleacher Report for the No Script show and created a handful of short and feature films.
In partnership with NFL/Wasserman football agents Doug Henrickson and CJ LaBoy, two of the best agents in the business, Beast Mode Marketing represents Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris and Denver Broncos quarterback Josh Johnson. Peters and Johnson are also from Oakland — Johnson and Lynch were high school teammates at Oakland Tech — and Harris grew up in nearby Antioch, California.
Beast Mode Marketing also ventured out into the NIL space and to a Southern California native by signing Oregon linebacker Justin Flowe to a deal last October. Flowe projects to be one of the top linebackers in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Looking out for fellow NFL brethren has always been a priority for Lynch, and that was best articulated in the following quote from a press conference in January 2020 after what would be the final game of his career.
“This is a vulnerable time for a lot of these young dudes, you feel me? They don’t be taking care of they chicken right, you feel me?... If I had the opportunity to let these young sahobs know something, I say take care of y’all money, African, because that (expletive) don’t last forever.
“Now, I done been on the other side of a retirement, and it’s good. And you get over there and do what the (expletive) you want to. So, I’ll tell y’all right now while y’all in it — take care y’all bread...take care y’all bodies, take care y’all chicken, ya feel me, take care y’all mentals, cuz little we ain’t lasting that long...And when y’all ready to walk away, you walk away and be able to do what you want to do.”
Beast Mode certainly practices what he preaches. In addition to the businesses above, he owns a cannabis company, joined ownership groups for the Oakland Roots SC and the Professional Fighters League, and invested in more than a dozen privately held companies.
In other words, Lynch has taken care of his chickens.