B A C K G R O U N D E R . . .
Raised in and around the game of golf, Brad Franklin became a PGA of Canada Assistant Professional shortly after earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics. Having quickly risen to Associate Professional, he entered the fashion industry as one of Dunning Golf’s earliest team members. After serving as the renowned label’s Manager of Brand & Product Development, Franklin was named Head of Design for both Tommy Hilfiger Golf and AUR Golf. In that dual role, he created authentic looks that were worn by top-ranked Tour players and offered at better retailers worldwide.
T H E F R A N K L I N F I L E . . .
What really propelled me into the golf industry was when my high school guidance counselor was able to get me a co-operative education internship for a semester at the private golf club in my home city, where ironically enough I am now a member. I was able to learn and experience firsthand all areas of the club’s golf operations. I turned pro after I finished high school and took a job at the same club as an assistant golf professional while I earned my university degree.
MATT WARD: What was the genesis for the start of the company?
BRAD FRANKLIN: The idea for BRADLEY ALLAN came from the realization that very few pieces of “golf” apparel had made its way into my closet in recent years. I was choosing to wear designer sportswear or fashion brands while on the golf course because the current “golf” options, in my opinion, were not sophisticated enough. Simply put, why should I dress down when I go play golf? Given my background in technical fabrics, I felt if I could offer a premium performance story with a more refined design aesthetic, something unique and refreshing could come from it.
MW: How do you plan on separating yourself away from all the clutter that pervades apparel for both men and women?
BF: I think the use of “clutter” is an interesting choice of words. I think you will find that our visuals, our messages and certainly our product will stand out, simply because it will be “uncluttered.” Our products can be seamlessly worn on or off the course. Our product offering will be focused, but at the same time we will be launching new products throughout the year.
MW: What key lessons for all golf companies were learned from the recession?
BF: I question whether some golf companies learned anything from the recession. In a lot of cases, I find product is being introduced too quickly and product life cycles have not been shortened. Furthermore, it looks as if many collections are still too large for most golf shops to handle.
MW: Biggest mistake that men and women generally make when making apparel choices?
BF: The following come to mind quickly — wearing a size too big; not having their shorts / pants properly tailored; wearing too many logos; and white belts — please make them go away!
MW: What will be your emphasis areas for sales — green grass shops, retail outlets, online, etc.?
BF: The focus for BRADLEY ALLAN in terms of sales will be online and premium green grass clubs and resorts.
MW: A main focal point for companies today is customer service. Define the term and how Bradley Allan distinguishes itself from your competitors?
BF: The advantage of being a small company is that we can move very quickly and are very flexible. You can even come to the founder directly. My iPhone is never out of reach!
MW: You can change one thing in golf. What would it be and why?
BF: It takes too long. Why shouldn’t golf be something more people can do every day?
MW: Best advice you ever received. What was it and who from?
BF: I feel the values of hard work, honesty, respecting others and consistency that was taught to me by my parents remain extremely vital in today’s world.
MW: You wake up in the morning — what drives you to keep going forward given the tough odds you face in such a competitive field?
BF: I feel the fact that given my knowledge and experience of just how competitive the field is has allowed me to set realistic goals for the brand. I have not set out to bring down the giants, but rather to offer golfers a refined and sophisticated sense of style. I am driven everyday by my belief that golf apparel should be better than a 100% knit piece of polyester. I respect the game of golf not only for its values and traditions, but equally for its future.
MW: Golf is facing serious issues regarding overall growth. Millennials, women and minorities are being sought but have showed less of an interest than earlier generations, most notably Baby Boomers. What do you see as the game plan that’s needed?
BF: While I believe the game’s growth struggles are only temporary, I would suggest closer cooperation between the game’s stakeholders. It is needed to improve the overall health of the sport.