Ex-NFL player thinks you're getting ripped off and wants to fix it

Big game biz bucking the retail trend
Big game biz bucking the retail trend

After hanging up his football cleats, former NFL player Jason Hairston set out to solve a problem he sees in traditional retail — that shoppers are getting ripped off.

Hairston founded Kuiu, a hunting gear and apparel e-commerce company. Kuiu seeks to eliminate much of the hefty premiums big-box retailers place on merchandise.

In traditional retail channels, customers might pay as much as $400 for a jacket that cost the retailer $100, or four times the cost, Hairston told CNBC's "Squawk Box." "I just didn't understand how that value was justified."

Instead, Hairston said he sells higher-quality jackets that cost him $150 for $300, or double the cost.

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To accomplish this, Kuiu cuts out the middleman. It not only sells hunting gear and apparel but also makes it. This drastically reduces costs and allows the company to sell high-end gear at lower prices.

Word-of-mouth marketing, social media and lower prices have helped Kuiu grow significantly since being created, Hairston said.

"We're growing at over 100 percent since launch, for over the past four years. We've become really an international brand all through social media and word-of-mouth marketing," he said.

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Hairston also addressed a major debate right now in professional football, saying he is glad the league acknowledged the link between chronic traumatic encephalopathy and football-related concussions.

"I played linebacker, and the way I played the game, I led with my head. I played the way they tell us not to play now," he said. "I have all the symptoms of CTE."

Hairston said he has been very proactive about dealing with his symptoms by cooperating with multiple studies on the disease across the country.