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Feminine fans get Bucs wear with flair

It was Super Bowl XXXVII, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders were gearing up for action in San Diego.

Back in Tampa, Bebe Ziegler and Laura Ain scouted for something to wear.

They wanted "sexy but classy," said Ziegler, 35.

They didn't want a man's big jersey.

When their shopping quest turned up nothing to their liking, the two best friends took studs and rhinestones and transformed plain Victoria's Secret tank tops into glittering signs of fandom that read: "Go Bucs!"

All week before the game, the women wore the shirts to sports bars and grocery stores.

"We got stopped everywhere," said Ziegler.

Where did you get that fabulous shirt? I'd love to get one.

Right away, it seemed they were onto something.

Nine months later, Ziegler and Ain manage a small but growing sports line called "Go Girl." It's sold online and locally in several shops and gyms, including Rock Bottom Fitness and Heads and Tails, both on Kennedy Boulevard.

The women make spaghetti-strap T-shirts, halters and V-necks with flared sleeves that sell for up to $45. Their line also includes T-back underwear that reads, "Kiss My Bucs."

Football isn't their only sport. The women, who are big hockey fans, also designed Tampa Bay Lightning gear with their own "Ice Ice Baby" logo.

"Women are hungry for feminine sportswear," said Ain, 38.

In the movie How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Kate Hudson cuts a man's L.A. Lakers jersey just to make it girly, said Ziegler.

Ziegler is married, lives in Bloomingdale and has a 2-year-old son. She co-owns Hair Designers and Bebe's Day Spa on Oakfield Drive in Brandon. Her background is in nail care.

Ain lives on Harbour Island and works as a sales representative for Zeno Office Solutions in Tampa.

The two women met through a mutual friend and never thought their T-shirts could be a business.

Until they saw the demand.

In May, at a fundraiser for the American Cancer Institute at the Hyde Park Cafe, they sold 200 Go Girl T-shirts and visors, netting $1,700 in less than two hours, most of which went to charity.

After that, they kicked into "high production," said Ain.

The women pumped $10,000 into the business and hundreds of hours, while still keeping their day jobs.

With help from accountant James Talton and a local graphic artist, they design the shirts from plain T-shirts with Swarovski crystal beads. The business is still "out of the trunk," said Ain.

But it is growing. Last week, the women met with officials at Raymond James Stadium in the hopes of becoming sellers of official Bucs merchandise. They also want to branch out to other sports, including boxing and NASCAR.

"We want to be like Reebok," said Ziegler.

_ For more information, visit www.gogirlsportswear.com.

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