During a Green Bay Packers workplace spirit day in 2012, Dax Schaefer sported a Brett Favre jersey but covered Favre’s name with duct tape labeled “Dead to me.”
Schaefer, a huge Packers fan, harbored resentment toward Favre for playing for the Minnesota Vikings during his last two seasons in the NFL.
The act of defiance set in motion Schaefer’s company, The Name Changer, which stitches names on jerseys for sports fans. Those names include clever digs for athletes who have left a team –like “jerk” – as well as names of new athletes who have taken over old athletes’ numbers, and sports fans’ own names.
The company, which Schaefer has operated out of his Milwaukee home since 2014, has worked on thousands of jerseys for sports fans and has served customers across the country, as well as in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.
Schaefer, who also is a corporate executive chef at Asenzya Inc. in Oak Creek, runs The Name Changer with help from a partner company, three seamstresses and his two children – 12-year-old Madeleine and 16-year-old Cole.
Profits from the startup are directed into college funds for Madeleine and Cole. Long term, Schaefer hopes to help his kids cover most of their college tuition so they don’t carry excessive debt when starting their own careers.
Most jerseys tended to by The Name Changer represent professional football teams, but Schaefer has also worked on baseball jerseys and is branching into hockey.
The entrepreneur has always been a creator, he said, and growing his own company has been a fun endeavor on the side.
“I really do enjoy it,” Schaefer said. “It’s a lot of fun because for me it’s not a job. I’m growing something. I’m building something, and you don’t know where it’s going to go.”