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Tuesday, Sep 26, 2023

TravisMathew’s New Drive: Women’s Wear

Lindsay Browder, who played Division 1 golf at the University of Colorado and is a former PGA professional, was annoyed at the golfing outfits for women.

“That was always my biggest beef” with female golfing outfits, Browder told the Business Journal.

“These women have careers, are successful and dress beautifully in their everyday life, and then they go to the golf course and all of a sudden, it’s this bizarre costume that only makes sense on a golf course.”

Browder has been working to increase those options on behalf of Huntington Beach-based TravisMathew, where she’s spearheading the firm’s expansion into female apparel.

TravisMathew, best known for golf clothing for men, is clearing space for its quickly expanding women’s line, projected to make up around 25% of the retailer’s sales in the next few years.

The company, a unit of Carlsbad-based Topgolf Callaway (NYSE: MODG), is aiming to triple its annual sales to $1 billion as part of that effort.

The female line first launched 15 months ago with 20 pieces. By 2025, the company expects to have 400 items in this category.

Across its 41 retail stores, the golf and lifestyle apparel company has expanded all the display spaces for the women’s category. Starting this year, the items will be sold to wholesalers and specialty stores, two years earlier than expected.

“For the most part, we want the products to be something that is a bit more effortless, and transitions through your day and your life with complete ease,” Browder said.


Browder retired from golf in 2010 before joining retail brands like Peter Millar and Garb Inc.

She joined TravisMathew in 2021 to oversee the collection’s development, taking on the title of director of women’s product.

“I wanted to go to a brand that was really committed to having some longevity in the women’s space,” Browder said.

Even though the retailer didn’t cater to women, they still made up 30% of the customer base.

Chief Executive Ryan Ellis was thinking about this category when he hired Browder.

“It was [his] largest initiative as far as growing TravisMathew,” she said.

Browder had known the brand and its leaders for over 10 years before joining the team.

She had originally met Ellis while working for a high-end golf club company.

The pandemic presented the time to finally approach the women’s category and Browder was brought on to flesh it out.

A TravisMathew saying is “your polo shirt takes you from the board room to drinks with your buddies.”

Browder’s job is to find the women’s version of that message.

What’s Working

The first test was a three-piece his & her collection in 2021 which sold out instantly, according to Browder.

To further gauge interest, TravisMathew then released a 20-piece collection with apparel from a range of categories.

It has since expanded its golfwear, loungewear and even beachwear to include pieces for women.

One of its two biggest sellers has been the fleece pieces, or “cloud” collection. Outerwear from this capsule, such as the fleece jacket, has graduated from seasonal to the women’s core line where it will be in stock year-round and in more colors due to the customer response.

A test launch of its first women’s activewear line this year will lead to a full rollout of the collection in April 2024.

Browder and her team are also starting the groundwork for athletic and lifestyle brand partners to represent the women’s collections. Existing high-profile partners for the men’s line include actor Chris Pratt.

“We have some very notable women that we’re in discussions with now to come on as brand ambassadors,” she said.

Active Lifestyle

TravisMathew was acquired in 2017 for $125 million by Topgolf Callaway, which is known for brands like Topgolf, Callaway Golf and Odyssey.

Topgolf reported first quarter revenue climbed 12% to $1.2 billion. The company’s active lifestyle unit, which TravisMathew is a part of, grew 28% to $320 million.

“Despite more challenging market conditions this year, this brand is on track for another strong year of both bottom- and top-line growth,” Topgolf CEO Chip Brewer told analysts in May about TravisMathew.

TravisMathew’s sales have grown from an estimated $55 million to $60 million in 2017 to around $300 million last year. Company officials have told analysts that they are aiming for the brand to triple annual sales to nearly $1 billion.

The women’s line is expected to help drive that growth, with a focus next year on channel expansion.

Nordstrom, already one of the company’s largest partners, will be rolling out the women’s category this November.

“The main focus is really on fabrication and fit and comfort and have it not look like you’re going to a yoga class 24/7,” Browder said.

Other retailers include Dicks’ Sporting Goods and golf accounts such as Greengrass. Browder said they have barely scratched the surface of the wholesale channel.

“[Understanding] the vast amount of accounts we have on the wholesale side of the men’s business, we haven’t even begun to touch women’s specialty retail,” she added. “We’re just now getting the line out in front of tens of thousands of resort and golf customers across the country.

“The second we flip that wholesale switch in a big way, which we’re just now starting to do, I think that’ll be a tremendous driver of brand awareness and revenue as the brand goes forward.”

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.

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