Catching up with Robert Brunner, Creative designer and cofounder of Devereux with his brother Will, is a fun chat. Here’s how it went:
GFW: How long have you been in business now?
Robert: 2 ½ to 3 years
GFW: Congrats, on making that mark. Most companies fail in the first couple years.
Robert: Oh yeah, hopefully we’ll make it to 5 years.
GFW: What have you learned in that short time about the industry?
Robert: About the apparel industry, I’ve learned a great deal, about how other companies do business, the factory, timelines, everything that can go wrong does go wrong (chuckle). Within the golf industry it’s a blessing and why we are still afloat – everyone is accepting to a new idea. They’re open to it and that’s been wonderful for us and for the community within golf.
GFW: When you say things go wrong, what is one particular thing you overcame?
Robert: One thing? I don’t know off the top of my head one particular but it goes so far as small details of the apparel, whether the color is the wrong shade or embroidery stitching in the wrong placement. Those things get lost in translation because you’re dealing with foreign countries and the language barrier which can be kind of difficult at times but it’s all about having your work very detailed, very well scripted out for people to translate it. So I’ve learned how to work with foreign countries in those regards and how to communicate in a sense to make things run smoother.
GFW: So are you still going down to Peru?
Robert: I go to Peru probably 6 times a year, yes.
GFW: Did you find the golf course with the llamas?
Robert: No, I asked about it.
GFW: It’s in Arequipa
Robert: That’s in southern Peru, about an hour flight from Lima. Arequipa is known for their sweater work.
GFW: What would your one tip be for anyone wanting to do mercantile business with Peru?
Robert: Hmm, one tip, hmm. Just make sure you’re dedicated enough. Make sure you have enough time and passion to do it. In Peru it’s all about finding the right people to help you out down there because they don’t really advertise their businesses as such. So it’s a lot of knowing people and a little bit of luck finding the right person.
GFW: What other countries do you work with?
Robert: I do work in China as well. I have yet to go but I do my bottoms there, shorts, pants and one of my technical vests are done there.
GFW: So how are the bottoms selling for you?
Robert: They’re picking up a bit. It was slow at first. Customers are a little reluctant to take bottoms because of the fit and they’re not as big a seller as shirts are. You can buy a few shirts for every bottom. People have been discussing the fit and how well they are tailored and it’s picked up a lot since Orlando.
GFW: Was that a trial for you or are you committed to the bottoms?
Robert: I’m committed to the bottoms. So, yeah and I’m working on developing shorts in China that will kind of be more not fitted but a tailored and engineered garment for the golfer as opposed to a plain cut silhouette which everyone does in the industry. So we’re doing a little more unique, little smarter design.
GFW: When are you expecting to deliver or announce those?
Robert: I should announce in Las Vegas, fingers . Hopefully the time line will remain the same.
GFW: Great. Now what about that sports jacket you were talking about?
Robert: I have the sports jacket; in fact it is being made in Peru. I have a new kind of hybrid fabrication, which is about 45% wool and 55% polyester and it’s wrinkle free so it’s elegant and yet functional performance. So it’s kind of a throw and go jacket for traveling. Yeah, so I’m excited to really get moving on the jacket and start marketing it and put it out in front of people. It’s called The Phillip. It’s a blazer.
GFW: Ok, so this will be a teaser for it.
Robert: That’s right.
GFW: You have a line, “Just ask your mother.” Are you still using that line?
Robert: Yeah it’s been on our care label. So any time you read how to wash, it says, ”Just ask your Mom.” Because every time I would do clothes growing up, that’s what I would do. And I never learned until probably my third year in college when my Mom told me to stop calling her. (Laughter)
GFW: So how did you celebrate Mother’s Day?
Robert: I went in early for Mother’s Day ‘cuz I was actually at a wedding but I saw my Mom last Thurs and went to visit my Grandmother as well which is who the brand is named after. So I saw the both of them and hugged their necks, you know and gave them my best -nothing special on my end.
Robert: I don’t have a social life anymore.
GFW: (laughter) That’s the way it usually works with entrepreneurs. I’m sorry about that.
Robert: No, no it’s fine. You know I’m doing what I want to do so I’m not sorry. I thoroughly enjoy what I do. It’s still good. I somehow managed to get a girlfriend out of this deal so that works.
GFW: Well that’s good. Congratulations. What is your favorite non-golf, non-work thing to do with her?
Robert: Go to the beach. She’s from Hawaii so beach is kind of the thing. She was on the ocean and I was raised in west Texas so I’m not familiar with the ocean but I can pick it up.
GFW: Back to the clothing, what style has been the best seller in the shirts?
Robert: For this spring collection it has been the Aristotle but overall through the years it has been the basic Brunner polo. The Aristotle polo has the wave design. It’s something a little more intricate, a little more unique than what you see in the marketplace. So that’s the best seller at the moment.
GFW: What is your most successful demographic?
Robert: From Arizona to Southern California, people get to play golf year round. And also we do very well in resort hotspots like Hawaii. We do a lot of work in Puerto Rico and Cabo as well, so a lot of resort destinations.
GFW: Which do you wear the most?
Robert: I wear then all but lately I like the Lindley, it’s just the pique polo, it’s just kind of an easy shirt to wear day to day.
GFW: Will the Brunner style always have the pocket?
Robert: Yes, for design reasons it will.
GFW: Do you want to give a hint on the next colors coming out?
Robert: The next colors, yeah for fall we’re doing a deep purple and kind of a cerulean blue. It should be pretty. It’s going to have a darker hue but still fun looking.
GFW: Anything else you want to let everyone know in Golf Fashion Weekly?
Robert: We’re also featuring on our website a lifestyle blog about golf, travel, art, grooming, etc. We’ve been doing that for the last couple months. So yeah, it’s kind of a blog to grab the interest of people that play golf.