Getting a perfect fitting belt on the golf course is a must for me. If I’m walking around on the course having to continually adjust my pants, my golf game suffers. I am one of those golfers that needs all the help he can get so Mission Belt solved that problem for me, not just for golf but everyday life. No-holes — the micro-adjusting Mission Belts give me the perfect fit so I can concentrate on my game and not on sagging pants or an uncomfortable too tight of a fit.

The fit and feel is only the first thing I thought golfers would love. Mission Belt also has great styles and colors that speak to golf specifically. I myself love to wear the Americano buckle — red, white, and blue — with either a red or blue leather. It’s smart and anyone who knows Mission Belt can tell you don’t just look good — you feel good too.

And it isn’t just the fit and finish that we’re talking about. Every Mission Belt is tied to a micro loan somewhere in the world that is helping hard working people with a hand up to fight hunger and poverty in a meaningful way. Each customer is really part of our Mission while exercising and enjoying the great outdoors with friends on the course.

With that in mind, the very first retail location we approached was the local country club. They went crazy for the look and feel of the Mission Belt. From that first pro shop at the country club, several key store owners in the community encountered Mission Belt and brought them into their stores to great success. You could say that golf literally teed up our current wholesale business.

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MATT WARD: What specifically differentiates Mission Belt from your competitors?

ZAC HOLZAPFEL: The biggest difference is our Mission. Not only do the belts look great and fit perfect — but on top of everything, when you buy a Mission Belt you’re also becoming a part of a great philanthropic effort, or as we like to call it — “The Mission.” We don’t just want our customers to look good — we want them to feel good too. That’s why a dollar from every belt goes to fight global hunger and poverty.

MW: Do men and women approach the purchase of belts in a different manner with a different emphasis?

ZH: Typically, women look at our belts as great gift ideas for birthdays, Father’s Day and Christmas. Men, on the other hand, love to support brands they’ve seen from our appearance on “Shark Tank.” This explains why our leading purchasers look very similar to the Shark Tank’s viewers.

MW: The PGA Merchandise Show just concluded its ’16 version in Orlando. How do you see the mood for this year’s forthcoming golf season in terms of consumer confidence and activism in spending dollars tied to golf?

ZH: We felt the mood was exceptionally optimistic at ’16 PGA Show in Orlando. We had fun mixing and mingling with the vendors and visitors of the show. We’re excited to put the rubber to the road in 2016 and getting Mission Belts in the hands of more and more retailers.

MW: Outline the percentage of sales for Mission Belt through green grass shops, online and via brick and mortar outlets?

ZH: From our success on the hit show “Shark Tank,” we’ve seen robust growth in our online sales. We’re also now in over 1,000 retail shops all over the nation with approximately 30 percent of those being golf related. We expect that number to grow substantially in the near future as more and more people become familiar with the Mission and the belt that always fits.

MW: How does Mission Belt solicit customer feedback?

ZH: We do our best to get customer feedback via whatever channel possible. Currently, our biggest resource for feedback is the Mission Belt support line found on our website. In addition, we have also sought to use social media as a means to hear what our consumers have to say and not just a platform for us to speak. 

MW: How does such feedback play a role in future product development?

ZH: It’s plays a huge role! If a brand doesn’t listen to it’s customers, they likely take their business elsewhere. We have placed added emphasis on actively taking inventory of ideas we receive from our customers and looking for ways to implement them into our brand. 

MW: What attributes must a belt have when playing golf and how does using Mission Belt do that better than others?

ZH: A belt must be as vibrant and versatile as the golfer who wears it. Mission Belt not only has a wide selection of colors and widths, but also offers a ratcheting technology that boasts quarter inch adjustments that allow you to get the perfect fit no matter how your body fluctuates throughout the day.

MW: If you could change one thing in golf what would it be?

ZH: Lower the price of golf balls! Those tend to get away from me out on the links.

MW: Best advice you ever received was what?

ZH: Be a producer. Whatever you’re doing add value to everything you touch.

MW: What future trends do you see happening in the belt category – short and long term?

ZH: People are fed up being constricted by one-inch increments on traditional belts. Short-term — I see people flocking to the Mission Belt brand to buy the belt with the perfect fit. Long-term — I think more effort will be placed on producing belts providing a more precise fit.