While at the Sentry Tournament of Champions on Maui in January, I had a chance to sit down with Felecia West to see what’s hot in her shop after their recent renovation.
As the area retail manager for Troon Golf, West has a keen grasp on her customer and what sells on Maui. Here’s our conversation.
Q. If you had to talk about what was going to be the thing this year, if there is such a thing, what would it be?
WEST: Well, this is not a big brand as far as golf, but it's slowly making its mark. It's Bugatchi -- it's the cutting edge. It's not your standard golf polo, but it's a polo and it's got these crazy patterns and colors. I love color and so anything that's different, I will gravitate to it. Now, I can buy solid and stripes from anybody, but anything that's going to give me some pizazz or something that says I'm out here, look at me, I'm going for that. That's what sells. It's not my number one seller because I can't buy bulk with the brand, but it's in our top five every month, it stays in the top five.
Q. As I went through the new pro shop, I wondered if you have specific things that you buy. I saw some Travis Matthews and some Puma, but not a lot of Nike.
FELECIA WEST: Nike has gone through some changes. Their schedule is more retail, so they have a shorter window and smaller Stock Keeping Units (SKUs). When Nike was really golf, it was the larger, deeper SKU's, the way most golf vendors are. When they went back to four seasons, they weren't hitting the buying season that correlates with golf, so it was hit and miss.
View of the newly renovated Plantation Pro Shop at Kapalua (Credit: Troon Golf)
Q. What is your window for sales?
WEST: Right after Thanksgiving until the end of April. After that, we get a different clientele that comes in. We get more families who are looking to buy hats, t‑shirts, golf towels or ball markers.
Q. And you know this over a history of buying?
WEST: Oh, absolutely, you just sort of learn who your customer is and who your guests are and that's how I buy. Like right now, I'm going to have to carry brands that are sort of golf specific but not really. I’m going to buy more retail brands for not just the golfer guest, but also the resort guest. I will buy the Peter Millar, Bugatchi, Polo, and maybe Travis Matthew. I’ve got that younger golfer that's a bit hipper and doesn’t want to go to the standard Nike or Adidas route.
Q. And you also mentioned FootJoy?
WEST: Yes, now that is a no‑brainer. I mean everybody buys that now whereas before it was just your midwest guy buying it. FootJoy has a new designer who is gone a little more fashion forward instead of just your standard solid or standard stripe. They will put in heather to add a little floral, they're also throwing in some plants as well as a subtle hidden print. That's really taken off. I buy anywhere from 250 units to 280 units of Footjoy at a time. We put it out on the floor and it sells.
Q. How about women's fashion, my wife is always feeling like she gets left behind?
WEST: I was getting ready to say, women feel left out.
Q. And is that a fair assessment?
WEST: That's a fair assessment. I think the reason why is because more men buy golf shirts. Women tend to buy golf outfits. I don't know if you noticed, but the last two years, there's been an uptick on dresses. Women are starting to buy golf dresses again. It's becoming more popular and unfortunately, we were sort of afraid. We wondered if it would sell. And, we sold every single one of them.