Welcome to A Quick Round. A weekly Q&A series that deconstructs the journey that golfers and entrepreneurs alike take on their road to success. Their achievements – as well as their trials and tribulations – serve to inspire us, and our goal is to pass that inspiration along to our readers.

Last week, we brought you the man that breathes life into St. Andrews with photography in A Quick Round with Kevin Murray. This week, it is our pleasure to introduce you to Jason Yip of State Apparel. Jason is bringing both style and utility to golf apparel and beyond. Keep reading to learn more about his unique perspective!

So Jason – let’s get started. Can we get a little background on State Apparel?

Thanks for having us, Matt. State Apparel is all about reinventing golf wear. We’ve transformed golf clothing into golf equipment by adding intuitive wiping layers to our clothes as an on-the-spot solution to a golfer’s persistent problem of water and dirt on their hands, clubs and golf balls. We’re inspired by the best golfers in the world, who routinely use their clothing to wipe their hands, wedge or putter face. Even though pro golfers have the convenience of a caddie, they don’t want to step away and lose focus on their shot.

Playing golf in San Francisco’s wet, links-style conditions, we noticed recreational golfers doing it too. We even saw some going as far as attaching a towel to their belt. We felt the need to bring a functional perspective to golf apparel. By stylishly designing function into our garments, we’ve taken golf clothing to the next level.

Interesting concept! I’d like to learn a little more about Jason Yip before we go deeper on State Apparel. What is your professional background?

Before starting State Apparel, I spent 13 years working in the Silicon Valley startup scene. I was on the business development and sales side of mobile apps and advertising networks. I built revenue channels for other people’s dreams from scratch.

When you’re working with a startup, it’s all hands on deck. I got plenty of exposure developing innovative products that provide disruptive solutions to everyday problems. I learned a lot and felt I could apply the same concepts to my love for golf, so I finally took the leap to build my dream and disrupting the golf industry with truly innovative golf apparel.

So why golf? What’s your background there?

Golf for me was love at first swing. Nobody in my family played golf, so I got into the game kind of randomly and relatively late in my life. I was a 16-year-old kid burning myself out on baseball. Some friends on the baseball team were feeling the same, and we just wanted to do something different. On a whim, we headed out to the local 9-hole muni. I played my first round of golf there and have been in love with the game ever since.

Golf has always been about time with friends for me. But from there, I got sucked into mastering my swing, golf equipment, the PGA Tour, course architecture… it goes on and on. With so many layers to the game, there is too much too consume. I feel like I’ll need another lifetime to understand every nuance.

Golf has that effect on a lot of people. It’s just captivating. But let’s get back to State Apparel – what sets your brand apart?

State Apparel sets out to make the most innovative and functional golf-specific clothing. We’re a socially responsible business that manufactures all garments in San Francisco, California. We use all sustainable fabrics whenever possible. State Apparel is more than just a brand – it is a state of mind. It’s how we live our lives. Play the game and compete.

Do your Cali roots shine through in your brand?

It all boils down to staying true to who we are and where we’re from. San Francisco is such a unique and special part of the Golden State of California. We do our best to convey that to the world with everything we do. From our Silicon Valley-style innovation to the San Francisco-style social responsibility and our NoCal-style vibe, our Cali roots definitely run deep.

What is the greatest challenge State Apparel has faced thus far?

As a bootstrapped clothing startup, the biggest challenge is always resource constraints. With so much to do to get a clothing company up and running, of course, we could always use more time, money and people. However, we see our constraints as one of our greatest strengths because they force us to be more creative and efficient. 

Amazing things happen when the chips are on the table. What has been the most rewarding moment since starting State Apparel?

The best and most rewarding moments are when we share our story and products with golfers and see their eyes light up. Golfers get it immediately. It’s kind of this “aha” moment that comes out as a nod of the hear or saying, “I can’t believe that’s never been done before.” They bring our golf pants or shirts home with them and come back to us to tell us that our gear is the best they’ve ever worn. Word spreads quickly, and more golfers get turned on to our gear – that is extremely rewarding for me.

What’s your vision for State Apparel going forward?

It feels like we’re just getting started, and there’s so much more we want to do. But the vision is to definitely stay true to who we are and where we’re from. Take it one step at a time. By doing that, we have the potential to be a great American brand that helps represent a shift in consumer retain to more innovative and meaningful products. Stay tuned to see our story develop!

Awesome, we’ll be watching closely! Let’s have a little fun with this with some rapid fire questions. If you could play 18 with anyone, who would it be?

I started playing golf in the era of Tiger Woods. It would be great to play a round with him and see what he thinks of our gear. Especially since our functional clothing is inspired by his pre-shot routines. Never know – he might just feel the need to wear it on the course!

Favorite club in the bag?

I’ve always loved my putter. Hard to beat the feeling of hitting greens, seeing the line and making putts.

I can relate… What’s your bucket list course?

I’m not much of a list maker and chaser. I’ll play wherever and whenever possible. For me, it’s more about getting on the course with friends and family and hitting some golf shots. Having said that, I’m excited about planning my first trip to Scotland next year with some of my nearest and dearest friends. We’re still working on the lineup, but it looks like we’ll play The Old Course and Muirfield, which will be a special experience.     

Sounds incredible. I’ll get there some day…