Interview with John Coleman of Fairway Styles

Some golfers get excited when they walk into a golf superstore and see all the equipment lined up ready to be tested. To many, that is considered nirvana. For me, the first time I laid my eyes on Fariway Styles, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Over the next few days we will have a complete review of their site, as well as all the brands that they carry and you will hear true confessions from a golf apparel junkie. But first we wanted to meet the guy behind the green curtain, and that is John Coleman.

THP – How did Fairway Styles come to be?

JC – I have been following golf and playing golf my entire life and I really started to notice a huge lack of style on the course. It seemed that after the 70’s and on through the 80’s up until about the early 2000’s stylish dressing golfers on the PGA tour were lacking. Then a few guys really came through and opened the doors to some stylish clothing. I started researching some companies and finding quite a few that were making some great stuff and I had not heard of them at all.

THP – Can you pinpoint a certain player or players that really opened your eyes?

JC – Jesper was one that really stands out and has always been a little different. The Europeans really seemed to have it. Frederick Jacobson is another one. I do not remember off the top of my head when Villegas came in, obviously later, but he took it to another level as well. J. Lindeberg was one of the first to hit the boat with this and it has taken off from there.

THP – What were the first brands you went with?

JC – The website started with Sligo, C-Buck, and Rosasen. Luckily with Sligo, I had actually never heard of them, but one of my good friends kind of knew Eric Axley and I looked into him and saw him on TV a few times and found Sligo. After looking at their website I noticed that they had some REALLY COOL things going on and that turned into Sligo being one of the first brands I contacted. The other two fell into place shortly after that.

THP – How do you pick the brands that you feature?

JC – Really a few things. Personal taste, meaning if it is something I like and would wear and at the same time be a little different then it gets my attention. For instance I like a lot of the really toned down black and whites with good patterns, but also love the reds, whites, pinks, oranges, and lime greens. But popularity plays a big role in the decision as well. I obviously want some of our brands to have a loyal following and brand exposure. The Hackers Paradise is really helpful. I can go on to read the reviews that you guys write, but I can also take a look at the forums and immediately get “consumer response” and feedback on what people think about brands and lines. It comes down to Style, My Personal Liking, Feedback and Loyalty, and How it will fit on our website.

THP – How often does Fairway Styles reassess the brands that it carries?

JC – Probably every single day [laughter]. I think about it a whole lot, but really we give a brand at least a full year and then after a year we can reevaluate it and if I think it has some potential still we can give it some more time, but if it is something that is just not going anywhere, we will stop carrying it.

THP – We got the exclusive news last year that you were going to add women’s apparel to the site. How did that decision come to be?

JC – We made the decision about the fall of last year and it came to be because we had a couple of brands making some REALLY COOL woman’s lines. Brands like PAHR, Quagmire, and Original Penguin has a great ladies line too. But I was talking with the owners of those companies and finding out that the percentages of sales for men and women was close to 50/50. That kind of threw a light bulb out and figured we should probably give it a try and see what happens. With the lines that these companies are putting out for 2009, we feel as though we made the right decision. The goal is to be the one stop shop for fashion forward dressing golfers.

THP – You know we like most of your brands, but what are some of the biggest sellers?

JC – Right now Sligo sells the most. PUMA does very well too. We also just launched J. Lindeberg on the site and it is off to a really good start. But it is too tough to say because of the changes we have made to some brands and additions this year. They all do quite well and the beauty is that each line has something for just about everybody.

THP – What does the future hold for Fairway Styles?

JC – Right now we are pretty happy with all of our brands. So as of right now we are pretty set. But down the road as something cool pops up, you can be assured that we will have it. But like I said, we are happy with our brands so for the future we want to focus on our customer service, reaching more people, and making sure that all of our brands are well received. We even have a contest with The Hackers Paradise that hopefully gets a few people excited.

THP – Tell the readers about the contest that Fairway Styles has thought up for them.

JC – We want to “dress” two readers from your site via gift certificate. One man and one woman. What we are planning is something that should be fun for everybody. To enter, all you have to do is take a picture of your biggest fashion “faux pas” in golf fashions that you have worn in the last 12 months. And then in 30 words or less tell us why your golf fashion could use a makeover.

THP – That sounds like a lot of fun. For the official rules on how to enter here is the forum thread.

We want to thank John Coleman of Fairway Styles for taking the time today and chatting with us. We will have the full review of his store up later this week and I assure everybody you will not want to miss it.

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