No logo on a branded golf shirt. Seems like a bold approach for starting a brand. That is until you meet Jordan Sack. A guy who took every entrepreneurship class at the University of Delaware before it was a confirmed major. By his senior year, it was officially on the record. Jordan was the first graduate of the universities entrepreneurship program.
With a background like this, it is no surprise that Jordan is trying to change the game with his up and coming brand, Tillinger.
If you have been following G&E Magazine, you know we like people who think outside the box. Individuals who are creating unique businesses in golf. They have a different approach. One that does not just attract people within the game. It also grabs the eye of someone who may have never played before.
We also love people who work their ass off to break the norm. For Jordan, that is where his story begins. Coming out of college, he began his career bouncing around eCommerce jobs. All the while, living at home and commuting to Manhattan. Hating the long commute, he thought there had to be a better way. A more exciting approach to life.
During this time, all he enjoyed was playing golf. But the clothing didn’t match his style. He was looking for an opportunity to start something of his own and saw an opening. Why not try and make a golf shirt that he would love to wear.
That idea was the birth of Tillinger. Two years later, his brand is on its third batch of shirts after selling out the first two.
And you have to love the names he gave the polos. Maverick. Gotham. And the Charlie vol 2, make up the original apparel line with plans of big things to come.
Here is what Jordan had to say about his entrepreneurial journey so far:
G&E: Tell us about yourself, your life with golf, and when did you realize entrepreneurship was your calling?
Jordan: Graduated college in 2014 and worked a couple of jobs in the eCommerce industry. Hated the hour-plus long commutes each way. Only thing I really enjoyed in life was playing golf with my dad or my friends. Had a thought that I should try to work in an industry I loved, and for me, that was sports, and more specifically, golf. I always dreaded having to wear boxy and ugly polo shirts. Why not try to make one myself?
G&E: How did the idea for Tillinger come about?
Jordan: Similar to above. It was just a frustration with my current job situation and looking to ‘what did I love’, but also what was the pain point there. Always loved being creative and problem-solving. Figured I’d be able to do my best work in something I was passionate about.
G&E: When you first started out, what were some of the biggest struggles you faced and how did you overcome them?
Jordan: I think the biggest struggle was not knowing anything about fashion. I was 23 years old, just studied business in college, and only had a year or so work of experience. I literally knew nothing! It’s funny to look back and see how much I’ve learned over the last two years. I overcame the struggles by putting my ego aside and not being afraid to start ugly. I stapled together a couple of shirts to show my patternmaker the idea in my head. I still love that first shirt!
G&E: Your shirts have a great look with a signature touch of no logo. What inspired your design and what sets Tillinger apart?
Jordan: Thank you! So many little decisions went into the final look of the shirt. Buttons, fabric, branding, and so many more little things. At the end of the day, the shirt was specifically designed to be worn in 3 situations: golf, work, and the bar. And I think our shirt nails it. Performance fabric is standard for the course, but also key for everyday wear. When it’s hot outside and you need to commute to work you want to wear what’s comfortable. A more modern fit helps with the versatility too. And my favorite is the no logo. At the end of the day, the shirt is more important than the brand. I don’t think many people want to wear a logo on their chest or sleeve.
G&E: How long has Tillinger been on the market and since its release are there any lessons you have learned so far that would be valuable to aspiring entrepreneurs in golf?
Jordan: Tillinger launched with a small batch of shirts in April 2017 and sold out pretty quickly. We then scrambled to make more and launched a second batch in June 2017 and sold out again. We did a third (and much bigger launch) in August 2017 and things have been going pretty well.
I think the biggest lesson is to believe in yourself. If you have the talent you’ll be fine. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, what college you went to, how much money you have. It just matters if you’re good enough. If you are, you’ll find a way to make it work.
G&E: What is your vision for the brand?
Jordan: The vision for the brand is to be an exceptional performance fabric menswear company selling premium products at a direct to consumer price. Golf shirts are marked up so high due to the outdated wholesale model. We don’t really have any interest with going down that road. We started with polo shirts, but we have some exciting things up our sleeves.
G&E: Who is your greatest inspiration?
Jordan: My greatest inspiration is definitely my parents. Growing up and seeing how hard they work really set a foundation for me. No matter what you do, do it well. It also helps to have them believe in Tillinger and offer their support along the way!