I’m pretty sure that Nike, Adidas, FootJoy, Under Armour and the other giants were hoping some small outfit with limited resources would try to take them on in the dog-eat-dog apparel business.
Enter Paul Dorn and his Wocket shorts, part of a Wocket Performance Apparel line that he soon hopes will include clothes for tennis, fishing and made-to-order slacks.
What are Wocket shorts? They are golf shorts that come with a golf towel sewn into the back-right pocket. Does that sound silly? Nobody who has worn them for a round of golf, including me, thinks so. That back-pocket towel is always handy, unlike the one you usually forget back in the golf cart, and it’s an instant new habit.
There’s more. Wocket shorts are wife-friendly.
“You put these shorts on, your wife is gonna say, ‘I like those shorts,’ ” said Dorn, a marketer based in the greater Atlanta area.
What if you’re not married? “Then girls are going to like ’em,” Dorn said.
Wocket Performance Apparel was born of necessity. Dorn is an avid golfer and a dew-sweeper. He likes to carry his own bag and play early, when courses typically are wet. He’d lay a club on the ground, the grip would get wet and . . . where’s a towel when you need one? So, he sewed one into his back pocket. Well, technically it was his sister who did the sewing on the first prototype, using Dorn’s favorite golf slacks.
“I played with them the next day, and it was a revelation,” he said. “You simply pull the towel out, leave it out and unconsciously use it, like, 250 times per round.”
The rest is golf history. All that’s left is the part about selling several million pairs of Wockets and becoming a household name.
And about that name: Wocket?
The first brainstorming session with Dorn and a friend came up with DryPoc. “We went with that at first until it started sounding like a dental problem,” Dorn said. More word-association games followed until suddenly someone blurted, “There’s a wocket in my pocket!” The name stuck and Dorn was able to obtain a trademark, even though author Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, used the word prominently in his children’s book, “There’s a Wocket in my Pocket.”
“We never looked back,” Dorn said. “Wocket just works.”
The same can be said of the shorts.
“It wasn’t enough to have a functional towel,” Dorn said. His is made of double-sided split microfiber. “People told me, ‘You’ve got to have a short that works on every level that also has a towel. It has to be a great pair of shorts first.’ So that’s what we made.”
Dorn and a friend wore their prototypes to the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando and showed them around. They got great feedback, so they made 400 pairs. The problem is, he didn’t get them in hand until last September, after the shorts-buying season in most of the country.
You can buy Wocket shorts at www.Wocketapparel.com, for $55. They’re also available for $59 from www.Amazon.com, where they have received five-star reviews. The shorts are polyester, comfortable and upscale-looking. Full disclosure: I am a satisfied customer who has played golf in the shorts several times and (don’t tell anyone) worn them on non-golfing days with the towel discreetly tucked into its deep pocket. There’s a regular wallet-sized pocket in addition to the towel slot, by the way.
Dorn and his business partner offer a second model of Wocket shorts made from stretchy spandex that sells for $60 on the website. “I wore them to play tennis and there’s a picture of me with eight tennis balls jammed in my pockets,” Dorn said.
Eight tennis balls? Well, he is Wocket Man, lord of the shorts.
“I know there’s a market for them,” Dorn said. “Everybody loves the product, especially serious golfers. Response has been good. We just need eyeballs. We need people to try our product.”
When Dorn first started wearing the shorts, they made him feel different.
“They created a sense of intent when I put them on,” he said. “It felt I was gearing up for a game instead of just getting dressed. It’s like putting on a helmet and pads. The Wocket shorts put me in game-time mode, but I can still wear them to dinner.”
Dorn came up with a better idea. Now all he needs are the sales to prove it.