With 50 years experience between them in the clothing industry husband and wife team Rob and Tamasine Hart launched Bunker Mentality over a decade ago. A strong brand that is not only functional but also offers the comfort and flexibility required to play golf, the brand has gone from strength to strength. Golf Retailing’s Miles Bossom headed to the company’s HQ in Nottingham to find out more.
MB – What was the company’s ethos when you launched the brand and has it changed since?
RH – The same as it is today, to dress our golfers in clothing that has a sense of style and looks fashionable. We see golf clothing as a life style product and our mission was to dress the golfer from the ‘first tee to last orders’ in the bar.
MB – What is your business model for getting your products into the hands of the golfing public?
RH – We design, manufacture and distribute everything from our HQ in a little village outside Nottingham. We have distribution partners in 10 countries around the world including Japan where we are particularly popular; they love British brands and Bunkers unique British Style. We also sell through our website where we ship to the world.
MB –To date which have been your most successful markets?
RH- I would say Japan. They are so hungry for new design and innovation and they picked up Bunker Mentality very early. Germany has also been a good market for us; German golfers are not as conservative as they think they are! The UK is our largest market.
MB – How have attitudes changed to more ‘in your face’ golf apparel over the last ten years?
RH – I’m not sure we would say we are an in your face brand but I do think the market has become much more energized as there are now several companies doing bright colours which is great for the market overall. We focus on what we call ‘Modern British Golf’ as we think that golf is a game should be played with style and the clothing should be modern and fashionable using dynamic colours, graphic energy, attention to detail and an irreverent sense of humour. For us humour is important and it makes the game much more open and sociable to the customers. As a brand we take the game seriously … but ourselves a little less so.
MB – How would you describe your product range?
RH – We have a complete range of clothing for the quality modern golfer that reflects their lifestyle. Clothing that is modern in both the technical and the casual lifestyle range.
MB – Do you get much customer feedback about what they are looking for and how do you get that?
RH – We do get wonderful feedback from our customers. They are very keen to let us know how much they love the brand and that its what they have always been looking for from a brand that is totally golf focused. They feel that they can share their thoughts and opinions with us which is great.
MB – Are you planning to increase the number of UK golf retail outlets selling your products and if so how selective will you be?
RH – Yes we are, because it seems crazy that we are better know in Japan that in the UK. We did sell in UK green grass pro shops a number of years ago but we had problems finding sales agents to work with at the time. Other countries were picking up the brand to distribute so we focused on them.
We need to work with retailers who understand our brand and can see the longer term potential based around golf lifestyle. It’s important that we start with the correct retailers who will help establish the brand in their stores.
MB – Why should a Pro Shop stock Bunker Mentality, what are your unique selling points?
RH – The brand delivers on several levels. Firstly, we have a strong modern offer that appeals to a broad age range from 30 to 50 year olds. Secondly, we do an excellent range that covers all aspects of the modern golfers lifestyle from a trip to Portugal with the lads or the family holiday to Florida. We are a brand that has great ‘gift appeal’ so superb in the run up to Christmas.
MB – Do you offer the retailer support in terms of point of sale, discounts over the web?
RH – We will offer as much POS as they can make use of and a great margin on our products.
MB – You recently announced sponsorship of the Lee Westwood Golf Tour. What’s involved?
RH – Yes they approached us and we are a Nottinghamshire brand and Lee is a Nottingham player so it’s was a good pairing. The tour is also focused on younger golfers and we are very keen to help the game at that age group.
MB – Do you have any tour players wearing Bunker Mentality or have any famous customers?
RH – We have several Pro’s across the Challenge Tour, Europro and we also sponsor the Jamega Pro Tour here in the UK. We have worked with Robert Rock and Paul Waring on the European Tour and we have several famous footballers such as Teddy Sheringham and Vinnie Jones and recently Sean Dyche the manager of Burnley FC was seen on Soccer AM wearing a Bunker shirt. There are quite a few more, but we can’t divulge that info in the public domain!
MB – How do you think golf clothing will change over the coming decade?
RH – We I think it will continue to grow as the most important product area for retailers as it gives better margin and a faster sell through than drives or irons. In terms of styling it will become more colorful and fashionable as younger people are attracted to the game. We will hopefully take it more toward lifestyle rather than just on-course wear.
Further information at www.bunker-mentality.com