Travis Brasher & Ryan Ellis of TravisMathew are on Callaway Live

TravisMathew CEO Travis Brasher and President Ryan Ellis stopped by the Callaway Live studio to chat about how they started the company, NOT chasing trends and if the "OG" polo is still in.

Released on 11/16/2017

Transcript

00:01
Oh man, I'm so excited to have you guys here.
00:03
The guys from Travis Mathew.
00:05
I mean we've got Travis, we've got Mathew.
00:07
And we're going to talk great products tonight.
00:09
We'll really excited to be here and talk about
00:11
how great our products are.
00:12
Can't wait.
00:13
I'm really excited too, but it's not Mathew
00:15
it's Ryan.
00:16
Yeah, whatever Mathew, but I wanted to just talk
00:18
real quick about-
00:19
like this pullover for example,
00:21
I like it because I can wear this out at dinner.
00:23
I can wear this out on the golf course.
00:25
I can wear this anywhere.
00:26
I mean, genius work here, Mathew.
00:30
And this polo, I gotta tell you, every time I wear this
00:33
my wife wants to slow dance with me.
00:35
And I mean, thanks a lot Mathew, you're a king
00:38
in my house right now.
00:39
Yeah this is a great shirt.
00:40
It's one of our better fabrics.
00:42
We like to call this the double seven version.
00:44
It breathes, it's got the nice casual feel to it.
00:47
It really looks great on Ryan.
00:49
Was that, you mean Mathew?
00:51
No, Ryan.
00:52
Because it's Travis Mathew, it's not Travis Ryan.
00:54
It's Ryan.
00:55
Don't you have a show to do?
00:56
Oh!
00:57
Live show, no script?
00:58
What could possibly go wrong?
01:01
Are you kidding me?
01:02
I told you we should have named the company Travis Ryan.
01:04
Especially after today.
01:09
(applause)
01:14
(upbeat music)
01:26
(cheering)
01:29
(upbeat music)
01:33
(cheering)
01:36
(upbeat music)
01:47
Alright, here we go again!
01:48
Yes!
01:49
Never a dull moment at Callaway Live.
01:51
(applause)
01:52
How's everybody doing?
01:54
(cheering)
01:55
Yes!
01:56
Thank you very much.
01:57
What a seamless production we run here.
02:00
I'm Harry Arnett.
02:01
This is Callaway Live.
02:02
And tonight, on a very special Callaway Live,
02:05
this is our season finale.
02:08
I'm out of breath.
02:09
That was a lot of running.
02:11
Of season three.
02:12
And what better way to signal the end of another
02:16
successful season of Callaway Live, but to bring-
02:20
we're going to call this our innovator series
02:22
of Callaway Live.
02:23
And it's not much a series because it's only one show.
02:26
(laughing)
02:27
I'm filling time while I catch my breath.
02:30
(laughing)
02:31
As you an see.
02:32
Whoo!
02:33
Okay.
02:34
You know what we're going to do next season
02:35
instead of me running I'm just going to have a little
02:38
elliptical for some light,
02:41
some light, moderate cardio before the show.
02:46
But 2007 was the year.
02:49
And if you think about style, if you think about golf style,
02:52
you think of two periods.
02:54
You think of life before 2007
02:56
and you think of life after 2007.
02:58
Why?
02:59
I don't know.
03:00
But I'm reading off the cue card right here.
03:02
There's no cue card.
03:03
Everybody looked.
03:04
(laughing)
03:06
You think I have cue cards on this show?
03:08
(laughing)
03:09
This is all real as it's happening.
03:11
But that was the year that a couple of guys thought,
03:14
you know what, style in golf is boring and we need
03:16
to do something about it.
03:18
Ad tonight on Callaway Live we have two of the guys,
03:21
the founders, geniuses, the men with the plan.
03:25
Who started the company Travis Mathew.
03:28
Travis Brasher, Ryan Ellis, right here on Callaway Live.
03:31
Please say hello to Travis and Ryan.
03:34
(applause)
03:36
There they are!
03:37
There he goes.
03:38
There he goes, don't do that,
03:40
you're going to be out of breath.
03:41
Here they come.
03:43
(applause)
03:47
How are you?
03:48
Good man.
03:50
Good to see you.
03:51
Have a seat, have a seat, have a seat.
03:52
I don't think I would have made it going twice.
03:54
No, good to see you bud.
03:56
(applause)
03:59
You guys need to quickly sit down because you're both
04:02
like nine feet tall and I'm not
04:03
so I felt really short.
04:05
But it's been a decade of Travis Mathew
04:08
and I remember it like it was yesterday.
04:10
The first time I ever saw the brand was on John Mallinger.
04:13
Who might have been your first guy, first player to wear it
04:17
and I thought that is different.
04:18
But how does it even happen that you guys create
04:21
what has become what is this global icon in Travis Mathew?
04:27
How does that happen?
04:29
I don't know, I've never thought it.
04:30
That's actually very-
04:32
[Harry] Write that stuff down.
04:34
Global icon?
04:35
Yeah.
04:35
Yeah, right.
04:36
It might be aggressive but okay we'll take it.
04:38
We don't even sell internationally.
04:40
This national icon.
04:42
There you go, in California.
04:44
This regional juggernaut.
04:47
Nobody dominates the zip code of 92008
04:52
just like Travis Mathew does.
04:54
That's why we were so excited about Callaway.
04:56
We're like we can actually do $2 international sales.
04:59
(laughing)
05:01
No, you guys have like almost 100% market share
05:03
in my closet right now.
05:05
Awesome.
05:06
So congratulations.
05:08
I mean if you think about where you guys started
05:10
I know it was sort of-
05:12
I know your story cus I stalked you a little bit
05:15
but it just started with sort of a dream, didn't it?
05:19
It did.
05:21
A dream and a boredom actually.
05:24
I was working at a country club in Huntington Beach
05:26
and was a club pro and was basically was looking
05:29
to figure out how to not stand behind a counter
05:32
and sell golf balls anymore or golf clubs.
05:34
No offense Callaway.
05:35
(laughing)
05:37
It was a long time nobody sold our golf balls either.
05:39
So good for you.
05:40
You can see why this type of charm and charisma
05:42
I did really well behind the counter with the members.
05:45
(laughs)
05:46
Exactly.
05:47
As eager as I was to get out of there they were more
05:49
eager to get rid of me.
05:50
So it was a win win.
05:52
One of the guys I gave golf lessons to gave us some money
05:55
and kind of kicked off the dream so to speak.
05:58
Yeah you know you have an awesome personality when someone
06:00
writes you a check to leave their country club.
06:03
Yes.
06:04
They signed a petition when I got the job
06:06
to not have me get it
06:08
so at least it was consistent from beginning to end.
06:10
But what were you seeing, Ryan, when you looked
06:12
at what was going on in starting in golf apparel and style
06:17
that you felt like there was this opportunity?
06:19
Yeah, it's pretty easy, there was an opportunity
06:21
for a cool brand but I always say-
06:24
that's a funny way to say it but it's like a color bomb
06:26
went of in golf and it was bright yellows, greens,
06:29
all these florescents.
06:31
And we launched the first line, it was Travis's idea,
06:33
world of black and white.
06:34
Literally no color.
06:36
So what do guys wear?
06:37
We look around and black, white, gray, blues.
06:40
It's getting back to that classic look
06:42
and the traditional look.
06:43
Photography was easy, you didn't have
06:45
to do color photography it was black and white.
06:47
Perfect, it was perfect.
06:48
But I remember, I mean you think like black and white,
06:49
that seems sort of too subtle, but in that world
06:52
where everything was athletic and bright.
06:55
I like to wear the belt even now.
06:59
But when you get out of belt right.
07:02
(laughs)
07:02
But when you guys brought that it was like the whole
07:04
world was like holy cow there's something brand new
07:07
and fresh about this brand.
07:09
Yeah, it was honestly really simple.
07:11
It was clothes you could wear on and off the golf course.
07:14
And for us, you walk into a bar, especially when you're
07:18
a little bit challenged in the looks department
07:20
you gotta make sure you're not standing out
07:22
with a florescent orange shirt or yellow and it's hanging
07:26
you got short sleeves but it kind of sits
07:28
in between short and long sleeve.
07:30
So yeah, it was a tough time.
07:32
I got a little offended of the use
07:34
of the pronoun you there.
07:36
(laughing)
07:37
I think you meant when one hypothetically
07:39
doesn't have much in the looks department.
07:42
(laughing)
07:44
And I remember you guys were pretty well know originally
07:48
from having like a very distinctive look.
07:51
Where did that come from Ryan?
07:53
Because in your vision of where you thought-
07:57
Well I'm not going to take all the credit here.
07:59
Definitely early on we had a lot of people with the vision.
08:01
We took it from dress shirts.
08:03
It's not what you told me back stage!
08:04
You're like I'm the guy, make sure you give me credit.
08:07
Well, there's people watching.
08:09
Hopefully those people aren't any of them watching.
08:12
Right.
08:13
But we took the concept off dress shirts.
08:15
You know, that's what guys wear out.
08:16
They wear dress shirts out.
08:17
So how could we make a polo look more like a dress shirt?
08:20
How can we make it not look like a uniform?
08:22
Because that's what everyone was doing.
08:24
They'd golf, they'd be done with golfing,
08:25
take off their uniform like a basketball jersey
08:28
and put something they'd want to wear on.
08:30
So that was the inspiration early on and we kind of got
08:31
known for that chest stripe
08:33
and now we've kind of evolved from there
08:35
and continued to get more lifestyle.
08:37
And the attitude of the brand I thought was also something
08:40
that was so different early on and has maintained
08:43
through the life of the brand it sort of had an irreverent
08:46
take on things that typically people speaked in kind
08:50
of hushed tones in our sport, golf especially,
08:53
but it had a much different way of attacking life maybe.
08:59
Am I right, Travis?
09:00
We seem so eloquent.
09:02
(laughing)
09:04
Yeah, no, we definitely come- both of us were born
09:07
and raised in the Huntington Beach area.
09:08
So we come from a surf culture.
09:10
I've actually surfed twice in my life
09:12
and it went really well obviously.
09:14
(laughing)
09:16
So I turned to golf.
09:18
But I did always respect what the Quiksilvers,
09:21
the Billabongs, the Hurleys of the world were doing
09:25
and we took a lot of our marketing ideas
09:27
from the surf companies.
09:30
And using that inspiration, we're all-
09:33
there was about five of us when we started.
09:35
We were all inspired by music so all of those things
09:38
just the Southern California lifestyle came into play.
09:40
Were there ever any-
09:42
Which for golf is very different.
09:43
Yeah.
09:44
Were there ever anything that you guys did
09:46
that we maybe didn't see that you felt like you
09:48
pushed it a little too far?
09:50
Yeah, I'll take this one.
09:51
(laughs)
09:52
So the very first season, the first polo.
09:53
One of our best selling polos is called the OG.
09:57
Just a pocket polo.
09:59
Very simple, clean, hard collar.
10:01
Collar stays in it, four button placket and pocket.
10:04
Well the way it started was designed up as your collar would
10:07
pop up in the back and it'd finish up and there was a big
10:11
Travis Mathew on the back of it.
10:13
And the first person I showed the line to,
10:16
they didn't see the back of it.
10:17
And I showed it to them and I said this is our pocket polo
10:20
and she went, what do you need a pocket on a polo for?
10:24
She goes do you put your cigarettes in there?
10:26
(laughing)
10:27
And I realized oh my god this is way too progressive
10:29
so I never turned the shirt around.
10:31
Went right back and said guys, let's remake this thing.
10:33
Let's just make a regular collar on it.
10:35
And it turned out three, four seasons later we had it in
10:37
six colors, one of our best selling polos.
10:39
And now the weed pocket is one of the best sellers.
10:41
(laughing)
10:43
That you've got.
10:45
Which is amazing.
10:46
Sometimes the best innovations
10:47
you don't even know are coming.
10:48
(laughing)
10:50
Let's just say popping the collar with your logo
10:52
on the back probably wasn't our best idea.
10:53
(laughing)
10:55
I still wear it that way though.
10:56
(laughs)
10:58
And then when did you guys realize-
11:00
cus I know when you're starting an apparel company
11:03
especially in something that's fashion oriented,
11:06
there's so many companies that don't make it.
11:08
When did you realize that this is actually going to work?
11:11
People are going to buy these crazy ideas that we come up
11:15
with and these-
11:16
Well until you just told us it was a global brand
11:18
I didn't know.
11:19
I believe I said global icon.
11:20
Yeah, icon, yeah.
11:22
I didn't know it worked.
11:23
Yeah.
11:24
So right now.
11:25
It's a great feeling, I gotta tell you.
11:27
No, I think we realized probably year three or four.
11:32
When we started breaking down some barriers.
11:34
I mean there were a couple key design features-
11:36
hard collars, everything at that point was soft collar.
11:40
We had a little bit different fit.
11:42
We kind of straddled in between the European fit
11:45
and what we would call the US fit,
11:48
which were the major brand of Nike and Adidas.
11:51
Finding that middle zone where, hey it's not so tight
11:56
that my smedium doesn't look right
11:57
when I walk out of the house.
11:59
(laughing)
12:00
So I would say year three or four is kind of when it hit.
12:04
Yeah, I think year two or three we found kind
12:06
of our signature fabric.
12:07
Which is like what are we going to be?
12:09
We came out and the line was mostly poly
12:11
and everyone was doing that.
12:12
And how do we make it look cooler?
12:13
And we found this cotton poly blend.
12:14
It was a plated jersey so it looked casual on the outside
12:17
but it had performance to it.
12:18
Then we found out where we lived.
12:20
You got casual brands, which is all the Nordstrom brands
12:23
and all the fashion brands.
12:24
And you've got performance brands in golf.
12:26
And we're one of the few brands we live
12:27
in that middle ground.
12:28
You hear of athleisure a lot.
12:30
But we were doing that ten years ago where we have this
12:32
lifestyle product that's very athletic at the same time
12:34
it just doesn't look athletic.
12:36
We've got Travis, we got Ryan here.
12:39
Don't go anywhere, we're going to be right back
12:40
with both of them.
12:41
I have a really important question to ask.
12:43
It's going to be about me.
12:44
So don't go anywhere, we'll be right back.
12:48
(applause)
12:53
(upbeat music)
13:02
(instrumental music)
13:06
(hitting ball)
13:08
[Man] Whoo, hoo, hoo, hoo.
13:09
Hit that ball.
13:11
Hit him in the face, hit him in the face.
13:12
Get ahead boy, hitting his head up against the wall.
13:14
Shut up, man.
13:15
(laughs)
13:17
Tour would kick you off, man.
13:18
(laughs)
13:20
[Man] That's what happens when you roll with scarface man.
13:21
(laughs)
13:23
[Man] May the best man win.
13:26
(upbeat music)
13:34
(upbeat music)
13:39
(applause)
13:41
Welcome back to Callaway Live.
13:42
Ryan Ellis, Travis Brasher.
13:44
Harry Arnett sitting here.
13:45
So when I think of Travis Mathew brand,
13:49
I think of innovation.
13:52
Which is a little different thing to think about
13:53
because typically when we talk innovation,
13:55
particularly at a company like Callaway,
13:57
we're talking about technical innovation
13:59
or making golf balls go 30 yards farther
14:01
than they ever have before.
14:03
Buy you're Chrome softs.
14:04
(laughing)
14:05
At you're nearest pro shop.
14:08
But for you guys, you guys were coming into a space
14:11
with really an innovators mind set,
14:14
an outsiders mindset,
14:16
ironically being golfers yourself.
14:18
How do you stay out of-
14:19
He doesn't play golf.
14:20
Yeah I've seen him play golf.
14:22
He owns clubs.
14:23
But how do you stay out ahead, because it wasn't that
14:26
long after you guys got started that some of the brands
14:28
you talked about, a lot of them started
14:30
to look like you guys.
14:32
So how do you continue to stay out in front of
14:33
those companies and how do you stay out in front
14:37
of the trends?
14:39
We don't chase trends.
14:40
I think that's the biggest way to do it.
14:42
It's hard, if pink's in right now you're going to be so
14:45
far behind the curve if you're trying to chase trends.
14:47
We're not that fast fashion company.
14:51
We've found that magic balance that we have
14:53
kind of a conservative customer for the most part.
14:56
We know how to push them and how not to go too far.
14:58
And I think that's important, as you know, in golf
15:00
is you want to push that guy bust you don't want
15:01
to go too far.
15:02
So I think we've done a good job of that.
15:03
And now you're breaking outside,
15:06
you're off the golf course now because I see-
15:09
I'm hanging out at the neighborhood barbecues,
15:12
going to the birthday parties, which is weird because my
15:13
kids don't even go to them.
15:14
I just show up at these kids' birthday parties
15:16
and there are people that aren't golfers
15:19
that I see head to toe in Travis Mathew.
15:22
A hat, a pullover shirt, pants, I'm going to keep going.
15:26
Underwear, socks, shoes, keep goin.
15:29
But you're not really a golf brand any more.
15:31
Well let me give a- can I do a plug?
15:33
Yeah.
15:34
Nordstrom, we love you.
15:35
(laughing)
15:36
No, Nordstrom's been our number one customer.
15:37
They've been an amazing partner for us
15:39
for the last five years.
15:41
They're pushing the envelope of the lifestyle of our brand.
15:43
They want more from us.
15:44
They look at us, they see Tommy Bahama,
15:46
they see Peter Millar, they see that guy getting older
15:47
and still doing a great job.
15:49
But we're kind of the younger version of that
15:51
and we did 30 short sleeve wovens with them.
15:53
We did 15 board shorts with them.
15:55
We've got this long sleeve knit category.
15:56
So they really, that and our retail stores
15:58
really help push us forward.
16:00
What are you excited about when you think of the future
16:02
of the company and where it's headed?
16:04
That you'll wear a Travis Mathews shirt
16:06
when we do this interview.
16:07
Oh yeah!
16:08
(laughing)
16:09
That's all I was doing.
16:10
I was just trying to sucker Travis into sending
16:12
me a little care package.
16:13
(laughing)
16:15
But on the horizon aside from really a style icon
16:18
like myself wearing the brand,
16:21
where do you see the brand going in terms
16:24
of what the next couple of years are going to look like?
16:26
We're really excited about the retail stores.
16:28
It just gives us the opportunity to tell our own story.
16:31
Nordstrom's obviously's been a great partner
16:33
and PGA Tour Superstore
16:35
and Roger Dunn was our first customer.
16:38
Anytime all those groups that we mentioned have given us
16:42
an opportunity to sell something to sell something besides
16:45
just shorts and polos, and as you guys know
16:47
in this business, that's what golf typically is
16:50
is shorts, polos and hats.
16:52
And we're trying to get outside of that category and we have
16:55
been from day one.
16:56
We want to sell that really nice sweater.
16:59
And that tie, well maybe not that tie actually.
17:02
(laughing)
17:06
The jeans, the shoes, shirt underneath it.
17:09
Maybe even the glasses.
17:10
You know what I'm going to do, I'm going to light your
17:11
ass up on Travis Mathew Live when I'm a guest on your show.
17:14
(laughing)
17:16
I've got the Travis jeans on, which I love.
17:18
And they look great.
17:19
Yeah, thank you very much, I think they do too.
17:21
Would you guys like to see?
17:23
Yeah, everything looks good.
17:24
(audience cheering)
17:25
I know, I know, I know, right?
17:27
(cheering and applause)
17:28
One more time.
17:29
Okay, I'll do the little model walk.
17:32
Very good.
17:32
You have the step.
17:34
But I love, you know, obviously I have a gazillion
17:37
golf shirts but the other stuff you guys do
17:40
from the button downs, the wovens, the pullovers and jeans
17:43
I can't get enough of it.
17:44
Which is great, we liked it so much we felt like we
17:46
gotta buy the company because it's going to save us
17:48
a little money at retail.
17:50
(laughing)
17:51
I think you mentioned the retail, the thing I think
17:53
is so cool, and we try to, you know when you think
17:57
about a brand making a transition into not just being
18:01
a brand that's about the goods it sells
18:03
but really being an experiential brand.
18:05
When you go into-
18:06
this will definitely feel like a commercial-
18:08
and it's totally meant to be.
18:10
(laughing)
18:11
But when you go into a Travis Mathew retail location
18:13
it is an experience.
18:14
You're not jut going into your garden variety men's store.
18:18
It has the vibe of the brand, which I really love that.
18:22
Yeah, that was something that from day one,
18:24
we made a glass ping pong table.
18:27
We want people to be active when they walk in the store.
18:29
In today's day in age if it's not experiential,
18:32
you're going to lose.
18:33
So we're trying to obviously win all the time
18:35
and winning for us is walk into our store,
18:38
have a good time, don't be pressured to buy something,
18:40
hang out, and if you want to buy something, great.
18:44
If not, worst case scenario,
18:45
hopefully you had a great experience
18:47
and met a few nice people.
18:49
So that's really all we're going for when someone walks
18:51
into our stores.
18:52
Anything for spring, Ryan?
18:54
Color.
18:55
Color?
18:56
Color.
18:57
I told you about black, white and gray.
18:57
Yes.
18:58
When you do that ten years it gets stale.
18:59
(laughing)
19:01
We've had a lot of requests-
19:02
what's that?
19:03
[Harry] You going to add in in navy?
19:05
Navy.
19:06
And a medium blue.
19:07
[Harry] Oh and a medium blue, that's great.
19:08
We actually are now black, white, gray
19:10
and now we're a sea of blue if you walk
19:12
into the retail store so we're branching out now.
19:14
Yeah, no it think there's two things.
19:15
There's color and I think we're adding a little more
19:18
fun to the brand.
19:19
The brand was pretty literal.
19:20
You looked at it and you went okay it looks really
19:22
nice, sharp, all that but we're adding a lot of fun to it.
19:25
We've got shirts with drinks on it
19:26
and different things like that.
19:27
I talked Travis into taking the design team to Mexico
19:31
for a design inspiration trip.
19:33
(laughing)
19:34
We have those too.
19:36
It looks great on the expense report.
19:37
We did get one design out of it.
19:39
It was a Mexican blanket we turned into a chest stripe
19:41
that turned out pretty cool.
19:42
But we had a good time.
19:43
That was the product we should have cut.
19:45
(laughing)
19:47
Going back to seven questions.
19:48
In order to get that approved you have to have one product
19:50
that makes it from that trip.
19:52
We got one.
19:52
Yeah, exactly.
19:53
Well you guys know my sizes right?
19:55
So you know how to get me the care package?
19:57
We do, we do.
19:58
Hey, I'm telling you, just on a serious note,
20:01
Harry's been an inspiration to us for...
20:05
four months?
20:06
[Harry] Days.
20:07
(laughing)
20:08
[Harry] Days.
20:09
I was going to say we've known him four months
20:10
but two have been good.
20:11
Days, days.
20:12
Exactly.
20:13
I have very short shelf life, believe me.
20:16
But we really appreciate you guys being here.
20:19
We love that you're part of our family now
20:21
and can't wait to see what happens in the future.
20:24
And let's have you back on the show,
20:25
we can talk about some color on apparel
20:27
and I'll do another little fashion show.
20:29
It seemed like that went over really well with the audience.
20:31
(laughing)
20:32
Thanks a lot.
20:33
Thanks.
20:34
That's Travis, that's Ryan.
20:34
Thanks, everybody.
20:35
Appreciate it.
20:38
Next week, season in review of Callaway Live.
20:40
You're not going to want to miss that one.
20:42
Thanks for a great season, we'll see you next time.
20:45
(applause)
20:48
(upbeat music)
21:03
(click)
21:04
(zooming)
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