Bright Colours: Bright Retail Prospects

When you’re in an area where you run the risk of being hit by small, hard, white spheres at high velocity, it’s safe to assume that standing out is a good idea. Maybe this explains the indelible mark left by Greg Norman with his straw hats, or, more recently, the anti-country club colours, flat-billed caps and wild hair of Rickie Fowler. Either way, golf club managers across the continent would struggle to deny the burgeoning presence of bright colours across the fairways and this has far from reached its zenith.

Perhaps that’s why, in April 2012, a group of entrepreneurs from Gullane, East Lothian, with a track record of success capitalised upon the opportunity to marry the demand for bright colours with the history and heritage of golf to become Royal & Awesome (R&A).

Since then, thanks in part to a series of innovative campaigns, the brand has gone on to become the most-talked about golf clothing label on social media – approaching 170,000 likes on Facebook – not only generating year-on-year growth, but also helping to broaden the ‘everyman’s’ interest in golf.

The eye-catching designs of Scotland’s funkiest golf clothing brand have been donned by former England rugby World Cup winner Mike Tindall, ex-England soccer star Alan Shearer and legendary cricketer Darren Gough – with even Premier League referees seen to embrace them.

With the help of European distributer JS International Ltd there has been a dramatic increase of venues stocking its wares across Europe (17 countries and over 150 retailers), which is testament to the product’s popularity.

Rather than seeing members buy their R&A clothing elsewhere, pro shops are now now stocking the product themselves because course operators want to ensure they’re part of the success story.

Retailers have seen great success with impulse buyers, whether for sun-drenched golf holiday in the Mediterranean or as a means of brightening up a gloomy round in northern Europe – Royal & Awesome adds colour to an uninspiring pro shop or brightens up any window display, simply because it stands out. And the ‘standing out’ is key, which is why the brand has also proved immensely popular as a team-wear option; turning heads by looking ‘awesome’ and unified helps galvanise teams.

Yet, just as its funky colours are a step away from traditional designs of the past, R & A also realises the advantages of utilising new, contemporary designs, without diverging fully from tradition or disregarding it, which is the reason for its tartan designs and extended product range, offering a collection of spectacular plus-twos. R&A also boasts a spectacular women’s range so lady golfers can also make their mark on the sartorial fairway, and thanks to the advent of the new Trew Brit skort which is a Union Flag-based design, British lady golfers can display their patriotism wherever they hole putts.

The new women’s style joins a range that also includes the brand’s best-selling Old Tom, Zebra to Ze-bar, Well Plaid Tartan and Pink Ticket designs, among many others – all available in trousers, shorts and skorts.

Royal & Awesome is a versatile brand that creates a buzz wherever it is displayed or worn – a fact highlighted by its continued relationship with the Sparks children’s medical research charity. The funky clothing company has kitted out golfers for Sparks charity golf events for two years, and last year’s events saw golfers raise more than £20,000.

In fact, this year sees former World, European and Commonwealth Games champion Kriss Akabusi help Sparks and R&A sound the gun for the inaugural Sparks SpeedGolf Challenge, a faster, more athletic version of golf that involves playing a round in the lowest possible number of shots, combined with the time taken to run the golf course.

What’s more, it should come as no surprise that in a recent initiative by R & A a PGA professional was able to sell more than £10,000-worth of clothing, having started with an order of just six pairs of trousers.

Through a series of simple initiatives and creative approaches to engage with people, the individual earned himself the coveted title of Europe’s ‘Most Awesome Retailer’ in a continent-wide competition promoted by Royal & Awesome, thanks to his success in selling Scotland’s funkiest golf clothing through two local pro shops. Coupled with a proactive attitude, stocking pro shops with Royal & Awesome product really is a no-brainer: the brand can be worn by all golfers (male and female) at a club – on a particular occasion or event – whether for a charity golf day, a group holiday in the sun, or sold to groups of visiting golfers or societies.

Royal & Awesome brand director Graeme Smeaton said: “Since we started the brand, we have seen more and more retailers stock the product because of its versatility and saleability. With the launch of several new designs this year, Royal & Awesome is gearing up to become even more popular.

“There is always lots of built-up demand for our new designs – last spring all three new designs were in the top-four fastest sellers – so we want to ensure retailers capitalise on the opportunity this year.”

Demand for Royal & Awesome is inevitable but it’s up to retailers to ensure their customers don’t shop elsewhere. The new lines – ultimately named Trew Brit; Blue Plaid Trews; Back to the Fuchsia; Par-tee Pants; and Pars and Stripes – are now available for order by the trade through the brand’s distributor, with no minimum order requirement. By buying now and promoting they have the new designs, retailers will get the edge to ensure incremental sales to kick off their season.

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