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G&E Magazine aims to deconstruct the journey that golfers and entrepreneurs alike take on their road to success in the world. Their achievements, as well as their trials and tribulations, serve to inspire us. Our goal is to pass that inspiration along to our readers.
We sit down this week with Jason Richardson from Bad Birdie Golf. This brand is edgy, and they are shaking up the golf apparel industry. If you haven’t heard of Bad Birdie Golf, now is your chance to see what they’re all about!
Hey, Jason – thanks for taking the time with us today! Before we jump into Bad Birdie, we usually like to start off by getting some general background info on our guests…
Sure, well I grew up in Scottsdale, AZ and moved out to Los Angeles for college. I’ve been here ever since. I also got a marketing degree and my first job in advertising out here.
Great, and how did you get into golf initially?
My first job was caddying at Forest Highlands Country Club in Arizona when I was 12 years old. That was my first real introduction to golf, and I’ve just had an interest in it ever since.
Awesome, let’s jump into Bad Birdie Golf now. What made you want to start it up?
Absolutely… So, I went shopping to find a new golf polo to wear to a tournament and realized everything looked the same. Solid colors and stripes dominated the clothing racks. The only difference between the polos was the brand name on them!
At that moment I realized that I’m not always a solid color and stripes kind of guy. I also realized that my dad would wear 99% of any golf polo on the market, so there was an opportunity to make something new. Stance Socks and Chubbies were the first brand inspirations that came to mind.
You’re right, there’s definitely an opportunity to do something different there. So tell us more about the name… “Bad Birdie.” How’d you come up with that?
Actually, one of the toughest parts of starting Bad Birdie was naming it. It took me two months to come up with designs, create the patterns, test them out, and finally have a polo in hand. During that time, I would be obsessing on names but never landed on one. I kept a list in my phone and would ask every friend I saw for ideas. I’d get multiple texts a week with ideas, but there was never one that really “clicked.”
Quick side story… The first time Bad Birdie polos were in public was at the Waste Management Open in Scottsdale. A friend and I went to see if anyone noticed them. People did notice them. They would stop us and ask, “Woah sick shirt! What brand is that?” I’d be like “Uhhh, it’s a sample for a friend’s company, and we’re testing them out.”
So, we tested names, pricing, got people to feel the fabric… all that stuff. Everyone loved the polos, but nobody liked the names. I kind of just gave up on naming it for a couple weeks, and then I was sitting in my room late one night and decided to go over my list again. It was in alphabetical order, and I started at the top with some alliteration ideas. After I got through “A” I went to “B” and Birdie was on the top of the list. I said a couple things like “Bold Birdie.” Lame… “Bro Birdie.” Nah… “Bad Birdie…” I said it a few more times, and I felt like it clicked. I had some friends over in the other room, so I walked out and declared “Bad Birdie.” Everyone stopped and was like “that’s it.”
And so Bad Birdie came to life. Great name. Now, did you have any experience running a business prior to Bad Birdie?
Yes, I ran a small commercial photography company for about a year.
So you know what it takes. How do you see the doors opening for Bad Birdie?
I think the door of opportunity has been opened. That, or it’s in the process of opening. We keep growing and getting more repeat customers, word-of-mouth purchases, followers on Instagram, emails of people saying thank you for finally making something like this for golf…
A lot of companies start and have to fight to open that door and differentiate themselves. I think for us, it’s been pretty easy to make that headway. I’m not trying to come off cocky, but there’s just not really anyone making polos like we do. That being said, we have to actually follow through and keep building the company down that road of opportunity. There’s a long long way to go…
That’s great… So let’s stay on that subject – what is your vision for Bad Birdie Golf?
I’d love to have Bad Birdie in every golf shop and major sporting goods store that sells golf apparel. The vision is to bring some more style and personality to the golf course through clothing.
And what have you learned since starting Bad Birdie?
Starting a business is always a steep, uphill climb. There’s always a never-ending to-do list. People will always want to give their opinion on how to run the company. To be honest, my life would probably be a lot easier if I didn’t have Bad Birdie, but I’m not really interested in living an easy life.
I love that. So, how does Bad Birdie engage with the community?
Our primary engagement with the community is through our Instagram channel. We get a lot of direct messages from people who have interest or questions about the company. We also get a lot of requests for donations to charity golf tournaments, so we’ve been involved in some of those in the SoCal area over the past year.
Great, now we’re going to jump into some rapid-fire questions if you don’t mind. Who or what is your greatest inspiration?
There’s not one specific person. Anyone around me… Friends, family, bosses… Anyone who has set an entrepreneurial goal, taken some risk, and achieved it is a huge inspiration.
Great answer, what’s your favorite time of day to play a round?
Summer dawn patrol. 5am at sunrise.
Love it – if you could play a round with anyone, who would it be?
I’d play a round with Rickie, Jordan, Smylie, and Justin during #SB2K18. [Laugher]
Favorite course beverage?
That’s a no-brainer. Other than Bad Birdie products, have you made any golf related purchases lately that you’re excited about?
Getting a new box of Pro V1s is always a great purchase.
Can’t argue with that. Do you use any tools to help run Bad Birdie?
Sure, I use Evernote and Dropbox to keep organized.
And how do you structure your day?
I love the mornings. I get up at 5:30 am and go to the gym from 6-7am Monday through Friday. I come home and usually spend time getting ready, making breakfast, and I’ll enjoy a little quiet time to get focused before the day starts at 9 am.
Do you commonly recommend any reading materials?
I like to recommend the “How I Built This” podcast. I’m also reading Phil Knight’s “Shoe Dog” right now, and it’s great.
Cool. Well, thanks for your time today, Jason. We know how busy you are, so we really appreciate it!