Pope is a Raleigh, NC native and graduated from the College of Charleston in ’06 with a BS in business. He is a golf and beach enthusiast and has played 48 of the top 100 courses in America. He loves building golf relationships around the country. A dog lover and has an English Black lab named “Murray.”
THE POPE STORY —
I started in the golf industry as a caddie at the Kiawah Ocean course to make money on the weekends during my time at the College of Charleston. I was lucky enough to have opportunities from age 19-27 to caddie at some of the best clubs in America: the Vineyard Golf Club, the Maidstone Club, Bel-Air CC, and ultimately at Cypress Point Club.
I was fortunate an acquaintance gave me my next opportunity from age 27-30 as a sales rep and ultimately sales manager for Tee-Links marketing. I booked golf trips and hotel reservations as a 3rd party package provider for hundreds of golf trips around the world. After work for Tee-Links during the evening I would email with manufacturing to get fabric samples, and product samples made. It took 15-18 months of prepping samples and emailing with manufacturing before I had a product ready to be launched. At age 30 I quit my job and took a pay cut to start Bald Head Blues. I opened the company n April of 2014 with a retail store on Bald Head Island. We also launched an E-commerce site at the same time. By September of 2014 we had our first wholesale customer -North Ridge CC in Raleigh. Today we service over 250 golf clubs, have two retail stores, and a thriving e-comm business — along with two players on the PGA TOUR wearing our products — Martin Piller and Joel Dahmen.
You wake up in the morning — what’s the driving passion?
Selling polo shirts to golf clubs and courses.
What was the genesis in creating Bald Head Blues apparel?
My passion for golf and beach apparel.
How long was the process from original concept to actual production of items?
Roughly 15-18 months.
How does Bald Head Blues differ from your competition?
We use very high quality fabric and have trim details that others do not. Just check out our gingham trims.
What approach are you taking in terms of marketing and sales — such as brick and mortar, online and green grass shops?
We have 10 sales reps in golf and three in boutique – I own two retail stores and have a dedicated e-com employee.
With Millennials on the ascendancy in terms of purchasing power — how are you attempting to influence them in buying your products?
We use social media to get the attention of buyers between the ages of 25-45. We also have e-mail marketing and participate in a number of trade shows.
Companies routinely tout their customer service. Define the term and the approach Bald Head Blues takes on this topic?
I am the owner/CEO of the company and all customer service still runs through me and my controller. So I’m copied on everything. I jump in and help direct and better assist our customers every day.
The biggest short and long term challenges you’re facing are what?
Short term — hire more sales reps with industry experience. Long term is building more brand awareness, sponsor more PGA Tour players, and hope we get a win on the PGA TOUR.
If you could change one thing in golf unilaterally — what would it be and why?
I love where golf is today, I don’t want to change anything. The game is bigger, equipment is more advanced and courses are better conditioned now than they have ever been.
Best advice you ever received — what was it and who from?
My dad says “your attitude affects your altitude” meaning if you have a great attitude the sky is the limit – if you have a bad attitude its going to hold you down. Its true in life and on the golf course.
For more info go to: