Kenny Flowers, a direct-to-consumer resort wear player known for their colorful Hawaiian prints and his and hers swimwear, has plunged into golf wear. They’ve just teed up their new Country Club sub-brand featuring nine designs for both men and women. The inaugural collection has a sun-kissed island vacation vibe with fresh tropical polo patterns featuring electric blue fronds and pink flamingos hanging ten on surfboards.
The jazzy aesthetic clearly takes aim at destination golfers jonesing for an escape to lush and beautifully manicured faraway fairways—most likely ones laid out a mere wedge shot away from a beach. As we come out of COVID, and pent-up vacation demand is fully unleashed, the brand extension feels impeccably timed but golf was always part of the long-term game plan for Kenny Flowers.
“I grew up playing the game and loving every aspect—the camaraderie and the fun side of it. I’d play with my dad and my best friends as much as I could,” founder Kenny Haisfield says.
In his golf glory days Haisfield played to 5-handicap, good enough to earn a spot on his high school team in Niwot, Colorado just outside of Boulder. But when he made the cross-country trip to U.N.C.-Chapel Hill for college, he left his clubs behind, putting golf on the backburner while completing his double major in Economics and Global Relations. After graduating he took a consulting job at IBM before deciding to leave the corporate rat race, strike out on his own, and start up Kenny Flowers in 2015.
Running a company can do a number on your golf game and Haisfield’s touch around the green may be a little rusty but his interest in golf has never been higher. It was piqued again while accompanying his then fiancé and now wife Christina Vidal, who runs the luxury travel blog Jetset Christina, on her globetrotting adventures.
“We’d go to all these places that have all these beautiful courses. To me golf is such a natural integration into a vacation. You can wake up, play an early round, and then you can be poolside by noon,” Haisfield says.
“We’ve been going to Mexico a fair bit in the past two years, and we’ve noticed that our friends, people who’ve never golfed before are starting to make a couple’s golf trip happen, or at least get a round in while they were at a place like Cabo,” he adds.
The four-way stretch spandex and polyester blend golf polos are made in Portugal from recycled fabrics and feature a couple of unique touches. The buttons, as on all Kenny Flowers shirts, are made from coconuts rather than plastic and the shirts also come equipped with the “first-ever built-in tee holder” in the front placket. Sure, some golfers may characterize this extra amenity as solving a problem they didn’t even realize they had, but it can sometimes be a hassle to fish one out of your pants in a pinch and it is an added convenience to have a fresh tee within reach.
“When you have tees in your pocket sometimes they hit your leg, and I’ve even had one cut through shorts,” Haisfield says of the catalyst for the innovation. The concept is a riff on the sunglasses loop found in the front pocket of most Kenny Flowers shirts to keep shades secure and at the ready that has become one of the brand’s signature design elements.
As with most D2C clothing brands, digital marketing on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest plays a pivotal role in customer acquisition for KF. But unplanned viral events like when Jimmy Buffett donned one of their shirts during his summer 2018 concert tour translated into seismic demand spikes. While 95-99% of Kenny Flowers business comes from online sales, they are carried by a few select boutiques and hotel shops and the music icon just happened to grab one of their shirts off a rack at a store in Palm Beach.
“It was a really monumental moment not just for us and our egos but for our customers and anyone who had supported us from the beginning. It was so validating, like a real-world blue checkmark. People were like ‘wow, a Kenny Flowers shirt is what Jimmy Buffett wears when he is on stage taking people to Margaritaville with him’ and he wore it like ten shows in a row,” Haisfield says.
Last year Kenny Flowers did it again, this time making their own luck by sending a wild leopard print cabana get-up to Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy. The marketing ploy paid off handsomely when El Presidente wore the wild outfit during one of his one-bite pizza reviews and sales surged.
Since the golf line just launched, there has yet to be a sales-stoking viral moment to report on but with the brand’s track record it’s only a matter of time and Haisfield did mention that it would be really cool if someone like a Steph Curry or Justin Timberlake were to rock one of KF’s new looks on the golf course.