Apparel company Glenmuir have been celebrating their 125th anniversary this year, so GOLF RETAILING spoke to two members of staff from the company to find out more about the business.
Founded in 1891 by Andrew MacDougall with just five members of staff (all called Mary as legend has it!), Glenmuir has been at the top of the golf apparel business for 125 years. The company are one of the few remaining truly Scottish brands, with the head office still being based in the country where the sport was born. The Ryder Cup has been a big part of increasing the profile of the brand, with the apparel company first becoming involved in the legendary competition in 1987. To find out more about the brand we talked to two people from the company about how they are staying true to the brand’s heritage while looking to innovate.
Abhishek Ruia, Glenmuir and Sunderland Area Sales Manager – South East England has been with the company for three years and is a former golf professional.
How long have you worked for Glenmuir for and what were you doing previously?
I have been working for Glenmuir since November 2013. Before joining I was a playing the sport professionally on the smaller mini tours of Europe, such as the Europro Tour. I turned professional in 2009 and tried to make my way up the professional ranks, with my ultimate dream to play on the European Tour. However, this did not come to fruition despite the hard work I put in, but stood me in great stead to take my golfing knowledge about apparel to Glenmuir.
How many different pro shops do you look after?
I have around 300 accounts that I service all year round, with approximately 50 per cent of them needing to have me visit two or three times a year, to present the various ranges we offer and also any ladies coffee mornings/fashion shows that we also offer.
What are some of the most popular items of clothing that Glenmuir offer?
We offer an item of golf clothing that will suit every age and size of golfer. In my opinion the most popular items are the 100 per cent made in Scotland lambswool sweaters, 100 per cent merino sweaters, the plain double 100 per cent mercerised cotton shirts and our 100 per cent cotton pique shirt. The reason these do so well, is due to our vast offering of colours in each style, with no less than 15 colours being offered per style. This gives the product great depth and they lend themselves to being the perfect crested piece for any pro shop.
Do you think pros are becoming increasingly ‘switched on’ when it comes to golf retailing?
I do believe they are, yes. A big reason for this is because our current market is as competitive as it has ever been, so if they are not on the ball they will fall behind their fellow pros. They are starting to realise the importance of cash flow, good stock holding, especially not to be over stocked, which plays into our hands due to our wide-ranging stock service. More of the pros are using sales promotions, making use of the marketing content that we suppliers provide for them and also creating shop in shops, especially with Glenmuir as we help them out with any point of sale that they may need. All of this leads to the running of a profitable retail shop.
What advice would you give to pros when it comes to selling apparel?
The advice I would give to my pros regarding selling apparel is to try and keep it as simple as possible. You want to offer items that the supplier can provide full stock service throughout the year, which at Glenmuir we offer for nearly every product. I would also tell them to offer a large selection of club crested items, as these never have a sell by date; their members have a sense of belonging and affiliation to the club they play at and they cannot be beaten on price by the large high street retailer. With both of these things they can work on good margins, tidy stock and in turn create a successful retail business.
Douglas Bryson, Glenmuir and Sunderland Customer Service Manager has over 15 years’ experience in golf clothing, having worked with the Sunderland of Scotland brand since 2001.
What does your role entail on a day to day basis?
Order book management is my main objective and I focus on a daily basis to ensure that we service our customers in a timely, professional, accurate and efficient manner with the hope that by so doing, the customer will keep coming back. I feel lucky to be part of a great team here in Lanark with everyone having a positive, can-do attitude; Glenmuir is a family owned business with the team of employees all feeling part of the same family.
How important are golf pros to the company?
As with all customers, hugely important: we recognise the Golf Pro as our main bread and butter and thus we always strive to achieve maximum customer satisfaction in a competitive market place. We know that pros are all extremely busy and committed individuals in today’s stressful environment and thus we like to think that when the customer places his order with us that he can forget about it, realising that we will deliver the highest level of product quality and bespoke embroidered merchandise on time and at a fair price. We strive to ensure that he is going to be completely satisfied and thus his end user will be likewise – we want to be recognised as the easiest company in the golf business to deal with.
How do you go out of your way to service your professional golf customers?
We have a committed and knowledgeable team within our busy Customer Service Department with each of our Customer Service Advisors (CSA) dealing with the same customers day after day, year after year. We are, in the main, on first name terms with our customers and thus encapsulate the Glenmuir family ethos. Each CSA has an excellent understanding of their own customers specific needs and strive to ensure that we deliver our best at all times.
What are Glenmuir/Sunderland of Scotland’s key benefits for customers?
A team of committed and driven personnel whom are totally customer focussed, fantastic stock levels, superb range of products utilising best design, colours and latest fabrics, short lead-times for bespoke embroidered orders due to our world-class in-house embroidery service to name but a few.