Red Belly Active scores a hole in one with strong growth and US expansion plans
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A resurgence in golf has provided a welcome boost to golf apparel company Red Belly Active, which has seen a rise in sales and is now eyeing the huge US market.
Golf has experienced massive growth during the COVID-19 pandemic, with Australian golf apparel company Red Belly Active capitalising on the boom with an overhaul of women’s fashion on the course.
The sport is flourishing globally with tee times at courses booked out, memberships up and even a delay for customised golf clubs and equipment.
Red Belly Active Director Helen Haynes told Stockhead growth has been driven by golf being ideally suited to social distancing and experiencing fewer COVID interruptions than team sports.
Haynes said the shift to working from home had also been a positive catalyst, with people having more time to play what can be a time-consuming sport.
“They can sneak out and play golf early in the morning before work starts at 9 o’clock or play into the evenings with 9-hole comps gaining popularity” she said.
Haynes said past players had come back to the sport, while new players had caught “the golfing bug” with about 10% of the Australian population or 1.3 million people now regularly hitting the course.
“According to Golf Australia, 253,000 more people played golf in 2020 than 2019 so within a year it has grown substantially,” she said.
“In the US the increase of new women golfers is up by 8% with around 6 million women playing the sport – the highest increase in five years.”
For Red Belly Active — named after the many red bellied black snakes living on Australian golf courses — the renewed popularity of golf has been a welcome boost to the company Haynes started with her friend Shannan Webber in 2017.
Haynes herself is a keen golfer whose husband is a pro and coach in Sydney, while Shannan’s family is also heavily involved in the sport, with her talented son aiming to become a pro golfer.
“We were growing at around 300% annually and are on a massive trajectory again,” she said.
With golf clothing particularly for women changing little over the years, Red Belly Active has been at the forefront of making it more stylish and practical.
“Golf is a very traditional game and the apparel women have been forced to wear has not really changed with shorts down to the knee, longer skirts, thicker fabrics and a real structured feel,” Haynes said.
“There was not much shape to the clothes, and it was a very conservative look and over the years, women have been looking for something different.”
“We’ve tried to design apparel that is light, sporty, more fitted, comfortable and brighter — and it has been exceptionally well-received.”
While Red Belly Active also makes apparel for male golfers, Haynes said the company plans to predominately remain focused on serving the female market.
“Golf has been predominately a male-dominated sport and the big brands have mainly focused on the men’s game,” Haynes said.
“We have turned it around to shift the focus to women because we truly believe female golfers deserve a brand that is dedicated to their needs, wants and style.”
“Our mission is to disrupt the golf apparel industry and attract more women to golf.”
Red Belly Active will launch an exciting crowdfunding campaign on Wednesday to fund future expansion, particularly into the burgeoning US market.
“We have done well in Australia but we want to hit that US market hard. It is massive, and an incredible opportunity for us,” Haynes said.
Haynes is confident people’s love affair with golf and Red Belly Active will continue beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are maximising the opportunity of this booming market and taking our golf apparel brand global,” she said.
“All these new golfers need clothing that looks good and suits their busy lifestyle and we know they’re not buying skorts just for golf but to go to the beach, walks, shops, for a coffee and to feel good in what they’re wearing.”
For more information about the Red Belly Active equity crowd funding visit Birchal.
This article was developed in collaboration with Red Belly Active, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
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