Q&A With Adrienne Cass of TrendyGolf USA: Winning with high-quality clothes and service
For all the fairway fashionistas planning on a wardrobe rehab this season, we have found the perfect one-stop shop to satisfy your stylish needs – TrendyGolf.com.
We were fortunate to meet with Adrienne Cass, the site’s co-founder and managing director, to get a few pointers on what to buy, which brands are hot this season and what looks are making a splash on tee boxes across the country.
Tell us a little bit about your background and where the idea of TrendyGolf.com came from.
Trendygolf originated in the U.K. in 2004, just as J.Lindeberg and Jesper Parnevik were building a following in golf. J.Lindeberg was so hard to find because of its limited distribution strategy. The solution was to start a website where there were no country club fees and no closing hours. TrendyGolf quickly became the premier online destination for high-end golf apparel in Europe.
At the time, I was working for J.Lindeberg, managing key accounts for the golf division. I developed a relationship with Ian McLeod and Ben Woods, founders of TrendyGolf UK. I respected them and their business model, and wished for a similar shopping destination for Americans. In 2009 I left J.Lindeberg, partnering with Ian and Ben to launch Trendygolf USA.
What was the inspiration behind the launch of the site? Did you feel there was a void in the market?
Simply put, Ian and Ben are big golfers and wanted to dress in the latest fashions. It was so hard for them to find fashionable golf clothing and felt there must be other men with the same issue. They created a 24-hour shopping experience initially for J.Lindeberg golf fanatics to be able to shop the latest collection, a new concept to golf.
Pro shops were very conservative, so unless one shopped on High Street there was nothing more than the traditional golf apparel being offered. Launching in the U.S. five years later, there was also a void in the American golf landscape. Seeing for myself the change that occurred for most golf shops once the recession started, it was disheartening to know that just as store buyers were starting to feel comfortable with European brands and more fashion-forward American labels, they either lost their customers or lost their budgets. This was a sad turn of events. But on the bright side it opened up the opportunity for Trendygolf to enter a large arena in the U.S. and be successful with this niche.
What sets TrendyGolf.com apart from other online golf fashion outlets?
We have the top brands in golf fashion from all over the world, the best assortment of products, and the highest level of customer service. Offering exclusive, one-of-a-kind products is an opportunity for the customer to shop coveted styles.
Upon arrival at TrendyGolf.com, a shopper should feel the aesthetic of the site to be more fashion focused and not cluttered with a myriad of categories that span to hard goods and other equipment. We keep our selection tight, focusing on brands that have a bloodline in fashion, as well as introduce designers that have no distribution in the States.
The products we buy for the site are already selected as “on trend” and “fashionable” so most of the guesswork is done for the customer. We point out key looks and trends in our biannual Look Book. Brands such as Galvin Green, Peak Performance and Colmar are only available at TrendyGolf.com. We have access to exclusive products designed just for our site, such as our TrendyGolf Puma Super Cell Fusion shoe. We also care about our customer, offering excellent service and personal shopping experiences.
The price points are on the higher end of the spectrum; are there plans for a lower price bracket somewhere in the near future?
For TrendygGolf it is more about the quality and design of the product than it is about the price. Most of the time, those two factors equate to a more expensive product. However, brands such as Ralph Lauren RLX and Dunning have some of the best quality I have seen at a reasonable price. Currently, our introductory price bracket is $50 for an Adidas Fashion Performance shirt. Puma shirts start at $60. Most of our brands offer shirts and shorts under $100. Then, there are the higher end products, like Adam Scott’s Aquascutum brand and Galvin Green, which makes the best Gore-Tex rain suits. Nebuloni golf shoes are handmade by Gigi Nebuloni, a special treat at $600. Pieces such as handmade shoes and Gore-Tex rain suits are investment pieces.
Most of the lines you carry are extremely fun and vibrant. Is that the image you are trying to portray to your consumers?
Actually, the focus on our brand offering is more about the quality and fit of the product.
Color is everywhere, from men’s suiting and accessories, to sportswear. It is natural that every golf brand would want to have a wider color palette these days. We strive to offer sophisticated hues for men.
We illustrate how to wear color through our blog. Features on colored chinos, how to mix patterns and how to wear monochromatic looks are available on the magazine. For shoppers who are shy about dressing in color, we have colored gloves from G-Fore, shoes with colored laces from Ecco and Adidas. Bright belts from Fedaboa and Druh are other great ways to sprinkle in a little attitude to an otherwise conservative outfit. It’s not the colors you wear, it is how you wear them, and we support color injections into any golfer’s wardrobe.
If I were a little more of conservative dresser, which brands would you recommend?
Hugo Boss is a fashion house that has done a fabulous job translating its brand DNA into its golf range. The fits aren’t too slim, the colors not too bright, the quality is top grade and the design is sophisticated. Ralph Lauren RLX is another top contender for the conservative dresser. Like Hugo Boss, the designers at Ralph have worked hard to stay true to the core of Ralph Lauren while introducing technical fabrics in a flattering fit and interesting color story. We have a lot of customers who consider themselves conservative because they don’t want a lot of color. They want clean lines, fabrics that perform and nothing too flashy. We have that. We have the spectrum.
What is the hottest brand this year?
We have a lot of top performers. We have seen a great spike in Puma and RLX this spring. A hot brand has visibility of Tour Players wearing the product. Rickie Fowler is Puma to the core. Luke Donald is a fantastic portrayal of the RLX guy. He is more conservative in his color stories, but the fits are fantastic for his body. J.Lindeberg continues to be a strong brand for us. It was J.Lindeberg that set the standard for wearing clothes that fit and have color, so they continue to be a staple for men who dress for the game and those who are becoming more fashion-minded when they play.
Is there one piece each for men and women that you would recommend as the must-have fashionable fairway item of the season?
For women: It’s a toss-up between skinny pants and dresses. We have several different skinny pants this season that are so cute and go really well with the assortment of new golf shoes on the market that are more feminine and less bulky. Ralph Lauren RLX and Lija have both designed well fitting, technical skinny pants that are really comfortable and flattering. Lija makes an amazing technical dress that is so cute on and performs in the heat.
For men: A great pair of golf trousers that look like they could be worn off the course. Because of the development of technical fabrics that blend natural fibers, there are a lot more trousers that look really sophisticated for on or off the course. Aquascutum trousers, the J.Lindeberg Nicolas pant or the Hugo Boss Hassly Pro pant can all easily transfer from the office to the course.
What’s your advice on what not to wear on the golf course?
Don’t wear anything that you don’t feel really good about yourself when you put it on. If you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see, go back to the wardrobe. Care about what you wear, it will improve your game. Your teammates will be more intimidated by your confidence. Respect for yourself and for the heritage of the game is important, so keep the jeans tucked away until after the round. Wear clothes that fit and are not too baggy or too tight. If you are self-conscious about your stomach or your legs, there are wardrobe solutions for those issues. Just call us and we can help you.
Do have any insider tips on new brands coming to TrendyGolf.com?
We are launching Leisure Society, Travis Johnson’s new line, this month. We have some phenomenal additions for autumn, which will start showing up in July. There will also be a deeper focus on women’s attire. I would love to spill the beans but that would ruin the surprise!