Monday, May 9, 2011

The New Bobby Jones

There is not a name in golf with more emotional equity than Bobby Jones.

The Legend in his own time…. and for all time.

Bobby Jones remains the only golfer to ever win four major championships in the same year, the famous ‘Grand Slam of Golf.” His playing record alone is the stuff of myth, but there is also much more to his story. He is one of the most fascinating and timeless figures in all of sports.

The golf apparel line that we are all familiar with is in the midst of a huge come-back under new ownership and management. One of the most important figures in this revival is Jared Henzlik – National Sales and Operations Manager - who has a remarkable but somewhat under the radar resume. Jared is ten years a PGA Golf Professional. He has worked as the Direction of Operations at Polo Ralph Lauren, VP of Product Management at Peter Millar and President of House of Carrington. I had the pleasure of discussing his latest adventure and his enthusiasm is what made me choose that word.

Jared, the question I’m sure you are most asked is - who now owns Bobby Jones and what is their vision for the brand?

Bobby Jones is part of HMX Group which is now owned by SKNL. They are the leading textile and apparel company in India. SKNL hired Doug Williams as the President and CEO of HMX Group to oversee all brands. His vision of Bobby Jones is to be one of the premier brands in the business. This will be done by refocusing on the needs of today’s customer, and offering them the best product at the best value.

I’ve heard you describe the new business plan and design focus as “not your grandfather’s Bobby Jones.” Would you expound on this apt description?

Well, I would perhaps rephrase this a little and suggest that we still have the original product that your grandfather and father would remember and probably still own. What is important for the industry to understand is that we have tiered our pricing and are now very competitive with the usual suspects who retail between $79.50 and $98.50 for a double mercerized knit shirt. The product is beautiful and retailing very well this spring. The perceived value and brand recognition in the customer’s eye greatly outweighs our retail price hence the excellent sell through so far this season.

Tell us if you would about Bobby Jones “performance” shirts and where you see them fitting into this burgeoning category as far as golf shops are concerned.

Bobby Jones introduced a CoolPlus® performance knit shirt for spring 2011. The idea was to offer a gentleman’s tech shirt with a classic fit and styling, and the branding that everyone looks for...the BJ player embroidered in the placket. This combination has been a huge success for us and we are very excited about its future. For those clubs that are looking for the “newness factor” that generates excitement and increased sales, this is the perfect complement for their business. We feel our timing here has been just right for this marketplace...something new that already has recognition. This has been a win, win.

You have mentioned Joseph Abboud. Are you prepared to talk about the new “Trophy” label and how the concept was born?

Joseph Abboud joined HMX as President and Chief Creative Officer in January of 2010. He went to work quickly and developed an upper tier collection called “Trophy”. This was launched at this year’s PGA Show in Orlando. It is a full collection of better sportswear and a hint of tailored clothing as well. The idea was to stay true to our heritage and continue to offer the very best goods in the industry, the items people remember us for. The collections are tight, focused, and tastefully designed. The response has been positive and just as we had envisioned.

There is not a name in golf with more equity than Bobby Jones. Do you as sales manager have a “Blue Ocean Strategy” to bring it back to its prominence as the golf brand?

Well after looking up “Blue Ocean Strategy” on Google, not only did I buy the book, but enjoyed the thanks for that!

We have been on a mission ever since HMX Group was formed. Our mission was to get the product right and in line with today’s customer, and earn back each customer that took a break from us, one at a time...I guess the old fashion way. We have always had, and still do have, one of the most experienced sales forces in the industry, and with Joseph Abboud now designing great product again and the new management team in place; we have already experienced very good growth. We feel we are on our way to defining the new Bobby Jones as the leader in the industry once again.

Thank you for your time and.....

Enjoy the Masters!

Jared Henzlik

The comeback trail is difficult in any industry but with new talent, pricing and design as well as one of the most experienced and savvy sales team in the industry it seems Bobby Jones is already sprinting in the stretch. There website is linked to the right under “Sites to Visit” and Jared can be reached at 262-408-9019. He has quietly become one of the apparel gurus worth knowing.