Hear what Karen Gleason, owner/founder of the popular women’s golf accessories brand Glove It, has to say about what goes into making golf bags for women.
Never in a million golf shots would I have expected my golf bag to be a dude magnet. But ever since I began taking my new cart bag, in the Tile Fusion pattern I ordered from Glove It, out to the course this spring, men keep coming up to me and complimenting me. My husband is getting a little tired of this!
Which got me thinking about women’s golf bags vs. men’s. Yes, theirs tend to be black and boring while ours come in many colors. But what else has Glove It owner and founder Karen Gleason learned after 18 years in the business of making golf accessories for women? I caught up with her in Scottsdale, Ariz., over the phone last week to talk shop.
I hope you enjoy our chat as much as I did! (And if you want to go shopping at GloveIt.com afterward, be sure to use the code GOTTAGOGOLF for a 10 percent discount.)
GGG: You started your business back in 2002. What was your inspiration?
GLEASON: I had had an accessory business before, and we’d do seminars for women teaching them how to accessorize and bring out their own personal style. One day, I was out golfing with some girlfriends and realized the only option for a glove was white! Hence, the need for more accessorizing and putting some fashion with that function. I just thought it would be a little part-time job out of my home, doing a cute little glove, and it blossomed from there with more products.
GGG: So you started with gloves. When did you venture into golf bags?
GLEASON: That was in about 2010, when I had the Nicole Miller license. I thought with the higher end brand, I would enhance that with new products. I saw the success of the golf bags and just rolled it into Glove It. And it’s our highest volume product now.
GGG: What makes a woman’s golf bag a WOMAN’S golf bag?
GLEASON: It needs to be very lightweight and be very functional, with all of the right pockets, many pockets, full-length club dividers, and with high quality along with high fashion. Plus we have all the matching accessories to complete the look. The guys, probably 80 percent of them have black golf bags. So what truly makes the difference are all the designs available, the variety, the colors. And the great accessories that complete it.
GGG: No kidding. Really, does anybody buy JUST the bag?
GLEASON: There’s a few. But we get more add-on sales. They’ll buy the matching head covers. And the shoe bag. And the carry-all bag, and the matching accessory bag. We sell at least 2 to 1 in club covers to match the golf bag.
GGG: Well, the bags are so unique, it would be hard to coordinate covers from someplace else.
GLEASON: Yes, and when you see it all together, it really makes it pop. We do have some that are solid and can be mixed with a print. The goal of Glove It is to bring out your own personal style and have fun with the game. You can also customize the golf bag by monogramming – all the ball pockets are removable, so you can put your name on there, your course on there, logo. Just make it your own.
GGG: One of the things that I’m loving is that there’s SO MUCH ROOM for storage. Sometimes I can’t remember what’s in there and where. How do you organize yours?
GLEASON: I think pockets do help keep things organized, just like in your purse. In our basic design, the long side pockets are for apparel, where I also put my bag rain cover, a seat cover for when the weather gets hot in Arizona, and whatever I might need. There’s a velour lined pocket for your watch and rings. On the other side, there’s another small pocket that I use for lipstick, aspirin, sunscreen. That’s also good for business cards, coupons. The top pocket in the front is where I put all my tees and ball makers and divot tools. Then there is an insulated pocket for snacks. I put my lip gloss in there. In the bottom one I put balls. Then in the smaller side pockets, that’s where I always have extra visors and extra gloves.
As far as the hot sellers, you can never go wrong with anything black and white, so the Abstract Pane is popular. Our Nine and Wine print always does so well, that’s a classic now.
GGG: A lot of women like to play nine holes – I have a nice little walking bag from Titleist that’s perfect for taking six or seven clubs, but I have to lay it down and then pick it up every time I have a shot. And I take a lot of shots. Have you thought about making a mini-bag with a stand?
GLEASON: At the PGA Expo, we had some there, a smaller profile top with a stand. I’ve got samples I’m looking at right now in my office. I love it for going to the range, or getting a lesson, or traveling. It can hold about 8, 10 clubs. That is something I’m considering. We did stand bags for a couple years, but we found that 80 percent of our business is cart bags. This would be smaller, kind of a “Sunday bag.” But when we roll that out I’m sure I’ll come up with a different name.
GGG: Is anything else on the drawing board?
GLEASON: We used to do a signature design made out of polyurethane, a leathery looking one, but it’s a little heavy for women. So we’re coming out with one that has a mixture of PU and nylon, so that it’s not too heavy. Women do not want heavy. This one will have not as many pockets, but still plenty for all the necessities.
GGG: What pattern are you using right now? And which patterns are the hot sellers this spring?
GLEASON: Right now, I’m carrying the Diamondback. It’s kind of Arizona-ish. As far as the hot sellers, you can never go wrong with anything black and white, so the Abstract Pane is popular. Our Nine and Wine print always does so well, that’s a classic now. But we’re known for bright colorful prints, so your Tile Fusion is also up there.
GGG: And that’s going to hold up when I get caught in a Colorado rainstorm?
GLEASON: Yes, and it’s all UV protected!
GGG: Where do you play most of your golf?
GLEASON: My husband and I like to go out at 3 o’clock and get 18 in real quick and call it a day. We play mostly at Starfire, which is right by work so I can get there really fast. And we like to play Eagle Mountain, Lookout Mountain. There are so many great courses, we like to pop all over and play them all.
GGG: Lucky you!
GLEASON: Well, you won’t be saying that when it’s 120 degrees in the summer.
GGG: No, I guess there’s not enough room in all those pockets for an air conditioner.