Foray Golf CEO Megan LaMothe might have a photo of what she was wearing in her first round of golf, but she’s not eager to share it.
“These terrible khakis,” LaMothe moans. “They didn’t fit and were really tight around the waist because the fabric had no stretch. The pockets did not function. I was a new player, so I needed a lot of balls and didn’t know where to put them. I had on an oversize shirt I bought in a pro shop, a vest, some kind of hat.
“I had real golf shoes. But it was awful. There I was in Manhattan, and we’re surrounded by shopping, but there was no golf clothing anywhere. And if it’s not here, where is it?”
Today, “it” is in Manhattan but you can get it anywhere. Made in European fabrics the big activewear companies cannot afford to use, it has stretch and it has “sneaky” pockets. And, best of all, it’s unique and up-to-the-moment on trend, because Foray Golf is producing new collections every few weeks in such limited quantities, no one else at the club will be wearing your outfit.
“We’re trying to get women involved in golf,” said LaMothe. “All of the research indicates that fashion is one of those barriers to entry. That’s crazy that it is. But that’s why we exist – to give options to people who care about how they look, and about fashion and fit and performance.”
LaMothe, a bundle of energy nicknamed “Megatron,” received her MBA at NYU and became the Director of Design Operations for the lingerie chain. There, she learned “how to build product,” and saw how long it took for Victoria’s Secret to engineer a bra, test it on all the employees, manufacture it and get it into 1,500 stores.
Two years ago, she gave birth to her daughter, Rae, and was inspired to become a better role model. “I had an aha moment one day, and everything I do is about showing her what you can do if you work really hard and have an idea and a passion. Everything I do is for her.”
Thus, the name of the company, Foray, or “for Rae.” It’s woman-owned and operated; there’s one male employee. The mission statement includes giving back, in both the local community and the golf community, and Foray has formed a strong alliance with <a href=”www.girlsgolf.org”>LPGA-USGA Girls Golf</a>. Everyone in the company plays golf, a game LaMothe embraced on her third date with her future husband. They went to Chelsea Piers to hit balls. He gave her a few tips, she connected on her first shot, and love blossomed with both man and game.
LaMothe had no trouble dressing for the range, but that first round of golf tested her fashion know-how. Nothing at Victoria’s Secret had prepared her to meet dress codes, move comfortably, and look stylish. But her colleague there, Andrea Ashton, joined her as head of design for the new venture.
“What does the woman golfer really want?” they asked themselves.
“Stuff that performs, so we have to get the best fabric,” they answered. “She doesn’t want to wear something everybody else wears, so we have to do limited quantities. We want her to be able to buy right now. We also want to be able to react and learn.”
Unlike the big apparel companies, who will go to the PGA Expo in January 2018 to show summer and fall clothes, Foray Golf was founded on a speed to market concept giving them the agility to showcase exactly what’s on trend in the fashion marketplace at the moment.
And unlike the big apparel companies, Foray Golf does not make a shirt for $10 dollars that it then sells for $25 to a pro shop that sells it for $50. “They have to capture margin by making a cheaper product,” LaMothe says. “I wouldn’t dumb product down just to make margins. With us, selling direct means I can use better quality fabric that costs more. And the magic of what we’re trying to do is the limited quantities. You shouldn’t be able to get it anywhere.”
There’s a Core Collection of polos and skirts that’s not so limited. But, no longer can one get the Fancy Chicken collection of sleeveless polo, skirt (LaMothe rejects the term “skort” and calls it a skirt with attached shorts) and metallic boucle bomber jacket. The Hot Mesh collection is almost gone, and the blue and white Ghost Dog ensemble LaMothe considers to be their best yet is selling fast.
Soon to come: Foray’s first pant, in a waterproof, breathable fabric that LaMothe hopes will constitute the “best golf pant ever.”
Yes, it will have lots of pockets. And yes, it will stretch. And she’ll probably be happy to show you a photo.