Meet Jonathan Snyder, the Dad Behind Contenders Clothing! - Libertyville Area Moms

Jonathan Snyder and his sons in Contenders



You can’t beat a good Father-Son outfit matching moment, but the guys? It’s a harder sell. That’s just one of the many reasons we’re loving Contenders, an online apparel line of athleisure, underwear and more, all focused on media & entertainment properties men—and boys—love. Think: Cobra Kai, Top Gun, The Godfather.

Founder and CEO Jonathan Snyder built this revolutionary brand by creating unprecedented licensing relationships with heavyweights like Paramount, Sony, and MGM. Along the way, Jonathan and Contenders have been featured everywhere from Men’s Health to Maxim.

Now, Contenders has a growing following of fans, many of whom try it for the cool designs but becoming repeat customers after experiencing the extremely high quality, and unbelievably soft material that everything from the boxers to the sweats are made from.

For this week’s Meet a Dad interview, we asked the dad of three about the origin of Contenders, how entrepreneurship has impacted his perspective on fatherhood and more.


Order now and use code LOCALMOMS for 20 percent off your first purchase.


For anyone not yet familiar, how do you describe Contenders?
My oldest son, Jordan, I think says it best in the content he creates for our socials, “Cool licensed apparel you can’t find anywhere else, it’s kinda our thing.”  Basically, we are making licensed apparel unique and stylish instead of just applying a logo to a low-cost t-shirt which is how licensed apparel has historically been sold. Until now.

Love that. How have your kids influenced your work-both the product itself and you as an entrepreneur/CEO?
Perfect question…I have 3 boys who are very much a part of what we do at Contenders from helping me with the fit of the clothes (they are my boxer brief models) to commenting (sometimes not so politely) about our designs.  My oldest does our social media content and my middle, Luc, will be joining the company this summer in our marketing department. Jude is probably the biggest fan, and he sees his role as company model where he “reps the brand every day”, which he does.  It’s an amazing thing to be able to share what I do professionally with my kids and for them to want to take an active role in the company.

A true family business! What else separates Contenders from its competitors?
My team believes that it’s a combination of incredibly unique designs, high quality garments built into apparel collections that feature the best media and entertainment IP in the world.  Having a collection approach allows us to go beyond just making a cool t-shirt graphic instead we are come up with a concept and build an an entire range of products around it – something that has elements of if “you know you know” and just banger graphics.

You’ve been an entrepreneur for a long time-how has your entrepreneurial style over time?
I am way more chill now. I realize that no matter what, building a company ends up being a marathon and not a sprint.  In the past, I wanted things to happen so quickly, and I couldn’t let those things go.  Now, I just let it happen naturally and try to enjoy the quiet moments in all of the chaos of being an entrepreneur.  I also know more than I did; it’s a little cliche but the older I get the wiser I become.

What are you most excited about with the brand currently? And what’s next?
Wow! A lot! We just launched a first-ever apparel line for a poker player – Hall of Famer Daniel Negreanu.  The first drop was a collection of boxer briefs and is being promoted during World Series of Poker which runs from May 30-July 18.  So, that was amazing. We have new licenses we will be unveiling with a new studio which will further broaden our assortment of categories – namely horror, comedy and holiday. And, we have a bunch of new collections and products dropping soon: new Godfather, women’s and new short designs.

Excited to see the women’s! What is your best strategy for being present as a parent during busy times?
Have your kids work for you. LOL.  I would be lying if I said it was easy.  I don’t think I have come up with a great strategy other than to try to be conscious of it and make sure that I am being present especially as time goes by really fast and you can’t get it back.  I picked up meditation about 4 years ago and it definitely helps me block out the noise and let my mind take a break. And the hope is I can use those techniques when life starts to get loud.

What are you hoping to do or get for Father’s Day?
Per the question above, just some time with the kids and family.  My boys usually make me a big breakfast and we do something as a family. Sometimes it’s a hike, or go to the beach or go to a game.  I just had one of my sons graduate and so this will be a really emotional Father’s Day as we are going to be down to two in the house.

On that note, best advice to new dads?
I tell parents with young kids to enjoy every moment.  Don’t overreact. Let them be kids and just be grateful that you can be in this position.  They will always need you but when the kids are younger, moms and dads are their everything. As they age, they need you less but the things they need you for are much bigger.  Bigger kids, bigger problems.  Trying to get a newborn to sleep is an absolute joy by comparison.

Anything else you’d like to share about fatherhood or the brand?
I am in a fortunate position to be able to have a company my kids can be involved it.  But I think the more a dad can share with their kids about what they do, I think the kids appreciate it.  It also helps to model behavior for the children to see their parents working (hopefully working hard) as they seem to want to mimic those characteristics versus trying to tel your kid to “work hard”.  Our brand does have that ethos I preach – activity all of the time. You don’t know where the success is going to come from, so you just need to work hard, be active and test a bunch of stuff.  Who knew that the world needed poker-themed boxer briefs…

Order now and use code LOCALMOMS for 20 percent off your first purchase.


This post is sponsored by Contenders. 

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