A resurgence in golf has given a welcome boost to golf apparel company Red Belly Active, which saw sales surge and now has its eyes on the vast U.S. market.
Golf has seen massive growth during the COVID-19 pandemic, with Australian golf apparel company Red Belly Active benefiting from the boom by reworking womenswear on the course.
The sport is thriving worldwide with tee times on fully booked courses, memberships, and even a delay for bespoke golf clubs and equipment.
Helen Haynes, Active Director of Red Belly, said that Stockhead’s growth was driven by the fact that golf is ideal for social distancing and experiences fewer COVID disruptions than team sports.
Haynes said the shift to work from home has also been a positive catalyst as it gives people more time to play this time-consuming sport.
“You can sneak out and play golf early in the morning before work starts at 9 am, or play into the evening with 9-hole comps that are becoming increasingly popular,” she said.
Haynes said previous players had returned to the sport while new players got “the golf virus” with around 10% of the Australian population, or 1.3 million people, now regularly visiting the course.
“According to Golf Australia, there were 253,000 more people playing golf in 2020 than in 2019, so it has grown significantly in a year,” she said.
“In the US, the number of new women golfers has increased by 8%, with around 6 million women playing the sport – the highest increase in five years.”
Red Belly Active improves the fashion on the course
For Red Belly Active – named after the many red-bellied black snakes that inhabit Australian golf courses – the renewed popularity of golf was a welcome boost for the company, which Haynes founded with her friend Shannan Webber in 2017.
Haynes herself is an avid golfer whose husband is a pro and trainer in Sydney, while Shannan’s family is also heavily involved in the sport and their talented son wants to become a pro.
“We grew by around 300% annually and are back on a massive path,” she said.
Since golf apparel specifically for women has changed little over the years, Red Belly Active was at the forefront to make it more stylish and practical.
“Golf is a very traditional game and the clothes women have to wear haven’t really changed with shorts to the knees, longer skirts, thicker fabrics and a really structured feel,” said Haynes.
“The clothes didn’t have a lot of shape and it was a very conservative look and over the years women have looked for something different.”
“We tried to design clothes that were light, sporty, more figure-hugging, more comfortable and lighter – and they were exceptionally well received.”
While Red Belly Active also makes apparel for male golfers, Haynes plans to continue to focus primarily on the female market.
“Golf is a largely male-dominated sport and the big brands have mostly focused on the male sport,” said Haynes.
“We flipped it to focus on women because we firmly believe that female golfers deserve a brand that is dedicated to their needs, wants and style.”
“Our mission is to revolutionize the golf apparel industry and attract more women to golf.”
Company starts crowdfunding as a spearhead for future growth
Red Belly Active will launch an exciting crowdfunding campaign on Wednesday to fund future expansion, particularly into the emerging US market.
“We did well in Australia, but we want to hit this US market hard. It’s massive, and an incredible opportunity for us, ”said Haynes.
Haynes is confident that people’s love for golf and Red Belly Active will continue beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are maximizing the opportunities in this booming market and bringing our golf apparel brand worldwide,” she said.
“All of these new golfers need clothes that look good and fit their busy lifestyles and wear.”
For more information on equity crowdfunding from Red Belly Active, visit Birchal.
This article was developed in collaboration with Red Belly Active, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publication.
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