FootJoy are on a roll, as the momentum of last year continued into 2022. We caught up with Russell Lawes, FJ Brand Director UK, and Guy Smith, FJ Product Manager, Footwear, to find out why they’ve seen such success and what retailers can look forward to from FJ in 2023.
Russell Lawes FJ Brand Director, UK
Despite more competitor brands, you have increased your footwear market share to 49%*. What do you attribute that success to?
There’s no doubt that our product range has resonated with golfers tremendously this year and there really is something for everyone in the line-up.
FJ FUEL stands out as one example that appealed to golfers that hadn’t purchased FJ before. The additional sales we’ve seen in that category while continuing success in other areas prove just that.
On top of that we made an early decision to fly in product in order to ensure that it was in store ready for the season to begin. That commitment came at a considerable cost to the brand, but ultimately it enabled us to carry on the momentum we had built in 2021.
Your apparel sales have grown significantly too. Why have you done so well with your shirts and trousers in particular? Where do you see FJ apparel going moving forwards?
Our spring/summer colour collections continue to go from strength to strength and huge amount of credit has to go to our product design team.
Prints continue to be hugely successful and the fact that our designers continue to produce refreshing and stylish options impresses us year in year out. At the other end of the spectrum, we continue to see great success in our essentials range throughout the year whether that be team orders or individual crested items, which is a huge credit to our relationship with accounts and the green grass market.
What do you do for the retailer that makes you attractive to work with?
First and foremost, we have a range that golfers trust and want to purchase time after time. Golfers will come into our partners’ stores looking for FJ products thanks to the brand’s, and its respective products’, reputation alongside the investments we make in marketing and on Tour to continue to further build momentum.
We provide a range designed for performance, comfort and reliability but beyond that we have options to suit all golfer types so partners can work with our sales team to select a range that is perfectly suited to their customer base.
Following recent Golf Datatech numbers, owning six out of the top ten bestselling footwear models, including all top five positions, further demonstrates the diversity and strength of offerings across the range.
With such dominant numbers where do you go next? How do you keep growing your business?
We will continue to excite and engage golfers and establish brand fans who time and time again come back and ask for FJ products.
Our marketing strategy has evolved dramatically in recent years; allowing us to develop engaging stories alongside product design. This pays dividends when it comes to bringing product to market.
Activations such as our recent sponsorship of The Open Camping Village are great examples of how we are engaging with golfers in new and exciting ways. From shoe fitting to player interactions and limited edition product offerings, the campsite activation created over 29 million digital impressions globally through FJ owned channels and media coverage. That sort of energy during arguably the biggest week in the 2022 golf calendar ensured we stood out from a very crowded space and meant that FJ was at the forefront of golfers minds this summer.
Guy Smith, FJ Product Manager, Footwear
Ahead of AW’22 and the beginning of stockrooms, what can retailers expect from next year’s FootJoy’s footwear range?
Under the headline stories of Finely Tuned and Modern Classic we have a line-up that covers the requirements and preferences of every golfer type. The Finely Tuned, multi product category goes under the strapline “Empowering the Golfer Athlete” and is designed to deliver solutions on and around the course to enable golfers to look, play and feel their athletic best. The category is led by the new HyperFlex, a stunning design with fresh colour combinations and a performance story to back up the bold look.
The Modern Classic story is “Inspired by Then. Supercharged for Now.” Building on the incredible momentum of Premiere Series and Traditions, this category will continue to inject energy and modernise the classic segment of the marketplace – showcasing our authentic position while highlighting leading performance & innovation.
Both of these key stories will integrate head-to-toe product (shoes, apparel, gloves and socks) and provide dual gender storytelling that showcases FJ’s unique, golf-centric approach to equipping the modern golfer.
What are the benefits for retailers to set up stockroom visit with FJ?
Firstly, nothing beats seeing product in person to touch, feel and run through details with our Area Sales Managers. Our partners can really get a sense of our upcoming products and understand how this would work with their customer base.
Secondly, with a range as wide and varied as ours it’s hugely beneficial to sit down face to face and ensure that the selected range covers all key customer requirements. Again, for our partners to be able to tap into our ASM’s knowledge and best understand how to build a complementing range is hugely valuable and each of our ASMs are there to work in close collaboration with partners to help them achieve their goals and desired offerings, the stockroom is often the first step of that process.
FJ Footwear range continues to grow, how is FJ working with retailers to manage product for 2023 and what benefits does the brand’s large range provide retailers?
SKU count hasn’t gone up in recent years, but I understand how that might seem to be the case as we now have more product stories to tell throughout the range than ever before, instead of a more linear focus on one or two key models.
For the vast majority of accounts, it won’t be the right decision to take every shoe model in the range. We would suggest going deep from a size and width perspective in the models that are best suited to customer needs and are going to be the “winners”.
With a broad range like ours, it allows accounts to bring detailed sell through data to the stock room, and we’d encourage to bring as much as possible, which can be used in planning out a range that will cover all the required bases. GR