Interview with Matt Ward
Our story is one of many intersections — California natives, UCLA graduates, moms to boys and lovers of golf. When our sons started playing baseball together — we instantly hit it off. After successful careers in business and raising our children — we both took up golf and began playing with our husbands, traveling to some of the most beautiful courses in the world. While doing so — we found ourselves perplexed by the lack of quality apparel for women.
Both of us shared a common thought — we know what we want — we could do this — and can do it better. Our feelings were based on knowing what we wanted to wear — but it was nowhere to be found. While neither of us had any fashion experience, we were expert consumers who loved to shop. On the positive side our husbands said the three magic words — “Go to it.”
At that moment — Lizzie Driver was born. We joined forces and set out to create beautiful golf apparel for women that seamlessly transitions to and from the golf course. How was the company name selected? We both share the middle name of Elizabeth and we wanted to include the name of the golf club that goes the farthest to represent our aspirations — hence the name Lizzie Driver.
Our mission then — and now — is to help women feel confident in a very male-centric and sometimes intimidating environment. Women today are busy, so anything that makes our lives easier is a plus. As active, busy mother’s ourselves, we shared the combined vision in creating clothes that work for everyday women, no matter where her day takes her.
Matt Ward: What’s the greatest challenge in women’s golf fashion today?
Lorrie Forgatch: Finding something that looks great, but more importantly, makes you feel good. Step ONE is feeling motivated to go out and play golf well.
Matt Ward: What are the key factors that influence buying decisions for women?
LF: Color combinations, a certain silhouette and the element of surprise. Women don’t want to see what they expect.
Karen Preston: Women appreciate value – knowing that no matter what they paid for something, it makes them look great, feel like themselves wherever they wear it and that they have a variety of opportunities to wear it.
MW: How do women differ from men in making such determinations on what they consider and ultimately buy?
LF: Women buy more emotionally than men. Men buy for practicality – what they really, truly need. Women fall in love with something and whether they need it or not, it gets in their heads . . . and they go get it.
MW: What impact does the LPGA have on women regarding fashion selections?
KP: Fashion gets noticed. When players distinguish themselves in their fashion choices, it is very noticeable.
MW: From a visibility standpoint outline the role green grass shops, retail outlets and online purchases play. Is there an ideal percentage you see for each?
LF: Women might go by or through their pro shop every time they play golf at their club, so if there’s a merchandiser who’s on it, a woman can see a variety of looks and combinations with each golf outing. Retail outlets and online marketing can show a woman in a beautiful image of how she might look in a certain piece or outfit and the consumer gets inspired.
KP: All outlets are important to our business because we connect with the Lizzie Driver woman in all of these areas, and her preferences for her shopping experience will determine where she likes to do her shopping.
MW: Your target customer is who?
KP: She’s probably over 30, loves to golf with her friends/family, and she has a full life with family, work, social, or philanthropic activities. It’s important for her to look and feel like herself in an outfit that works on and off the course.
MW: The biggest mistake women often make regarding clothing decision for the course is what?
LF: Thinking they have to wear golf clothes that aren’t their style, just because they’re “for golf.” Karen and I were wearing clothes from our closet to golf in before we started Lizzie Driver. Be true to your sense of style.
KP: Wearing something a size or two too small.
MW: What are the emerging trends in women’s golf fashion?
LF: Less polyester, more experimentation in design and aesthetics, and staying truer to everyday fashion.
MW: One of the big areas of emphasis is getting golf clothing to have greater elasticity to work well off the course as well. In the past golf clothing clearly was limited to when playing. How is Lizzie Driver approaching this dimension?
KP: Women today are extremely busy. It is critical that whatever fashion choices we make in the morning will work throughout the rest of the day into the evening.
LF: We are dedicated to providing women the most comfortable golf apparel that is completely cute and exactly right for work, meetings, social events, etc. Right now its 4:41 PM, I’m sitting in my office, wearing the clothes I wore to play golf in this morning.
MW: There are a number of companies in the apparel area — especially for women. How does Lizzie Driver separate itself from all the clutter and be seen as the vanguard in the category?
LF: We offer on-trend colors and styles, without being trendy. We are classic, with a twist, and we strive to offer up those colors, silhouettes, fabrics and details to be beautiful on and off the course.