Gabriel Flores 0:01
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the shades of entrepreneurship. This is your host, Mr. Gabriel Flores. Today I am here with Mike Forsey. I'm very excited about this one because we cover one of my most favorite topics, something that I'm very good at being bad at golf. Mike, how are you doing? Good, man.
Mike Forsey 0:19
I'm good. Yeah. All good. Hear me. Thank you be on the show.
Gabriel Flores 0:23
Yeah, no, thank you again for joining me this evening. I'm very excited because you know what you're doing. I'm a big sneaker head. And so what you've been doing as far as your career path goes and what you're currently doing, I'm very excited about. But first, let's introduce the world to Mike who is Mike.
Mike Forsey 0:41
Wow. So Mike is a guy that, let's see, I'm an East Coast. Born and raised on the East Coast, just a little bit north of Boston. i The only thing I've ever wanted to do, and I've had the opportunity to do it. My entire life is be in the footwear business. And so I went to school at a small liberal college called Suffolk University in Boston. I graduated on a Sunday and I went to work for my first brands pocket and Saucony on Monday. You know, I work there as what we call them in the day at Tech Rep. And I had from the keys in Florida, up to Bangor, Maine, and over to the Mississippi River. So we had three nationwide tech reps, and I was one of them. And we would call on aerobics studios and running facilities. And you know, we would do any running events like the New York Marathon and Boston Marathon, etc. Then I got the opportunity to go to work for foot Joy went to work for foot joy, just south of Boston in a town called Brockton, math, work there and development. By the time I left foot Joy, I spent a little over three years there, by the time I left there and went to Reebok golf, I was doing product development or product creation. And I would work with our factories overseas. And then I did the same thing at Reebok golf. But we also at the time, we lost our Product Line Manager. So I took on the responsibilities of line management as well as product development. So you kind of got to see, you know how to create the product, but also, you know, who you're creating the product for? What are the needs of a golfer, the athlete? How do you incorporate those into a product brief? How to, you know, create a point of difference in the marketplace. And then you have to go off and work with your design team and work with your factory partners and create that. And then I got the opportunity to come out to the Pacific Northwest and I came to work for Nike golf. And I took on a little bit more responsibility i i was in charge of all things. golf, golf, footwear, product creation, and then got golf bag golf glove. I ran the golf licensing area as well. And worked at Nike for 13 years. And then my last three years at Nike. I worked for a subsidiary of Nike called Chohan. And for Chohan, what we did was we actually sat on the Nike campus, but we created product with Nike technologies for Kohan. So Nike Air technology, lunar technology, fly wire, anything that had a Nike technology, but in a Cole Han, crafted leather product, the product creation team that I handed up, we put that together. And then Nike told us that yeah, we're going to go ahead and sell Kohan. And, you know, we got we were given the opportunity to look for opportunities elsewhere. And I actually decided to retire from Nike, they had that plan in place for us. So I did that. I started my own business, which I'm currently doing now. And it's called for C group. And about 18 months into our first assignment with our first client ping golf ping asked if I would come down there to Phoenix and work for them full time. and put up strategic planning for softgoods commuted down there from Portland, Oregon to Phoenix for three and a half years, loved it, loved every second of it. And then decided it was probably best that I spend more time at home and in more time with my family. So moved back up here to Portland. And about six months after that started here in Portland with Under Armour. And they had signed Jordan speech to a contract at the time. And while I had a prototype for him, there was no real commercial plan to take that golf footwear product to market. So I put that together, put the put the line together, the assortment for golf footwear, took it to market, spent four and a half years doing that, and then retired again until my wife said nope, that's not going to happen. I don't want to see you that much. So, so started chatting with David painter, our co founder with painter golf. And he always wanted to get into golf footwear. And he convinced me to do it with him. So we founded this brand, about 14 months ago. And we started shipping products the first of March of this year. And it's been fun. And I've done way too much talking now. No, this
Gabriel Flores 6:41
this, I'm like, I'm I'm lost for words, because that is. So we know, for the listeners at home. So what painter golf is, is a golf company, which actually one of the products they make are some golf shoes, which I actually own I purchased a pair of golf shoes, and let me tell you, those things are phenomenal. It's like walking on air. It's great. But what are those? What are the golf shoes? What does painter golf do.
Mike Forsey 7:10
So we also do performance golf gloves, we do we have a collaboration with a headwear company called Flex fit. We do had headwear with them, a variety of styles there. And then we also do sock a performance dock. And then if we, one of our one of the kind of guiding principles that painter golf is, if we can bring a performance advantage to the golfer, we'll bring that product to market. It's kind of what we started in golf footwear. If we can do that in other product type, you know, be that apparel or, you know, golf bag or other areas that are specific to golf, but we we feel like to stay true to who we are. We want to make sure that we're able to deliver golfers a true performance advantage. It's better than anything that's out there.
Gabriel Flores 8:09
So that was kind of the original creation for painter sounds like right to kick back like, okay,
Mike Forsey 8:16
yeah, and that's why that's what attracted me to the painter brand. Initially, so the painter brand is a, a technical footwear brand founded by David painter. And what and David at all, always had plans to move into other category into other footwear categories. So that was training or running or other cleated footwear. He always had a vision to expand. And his customers began to ask him, Hey, why don't you get into golf footwear? Your product is very similar. It's a lateral sport. You know, why don't you get into golf and David didn't know anything about golf footwear. So he and I hooked up about I want to say two and a half years ago on LinkedIn. And I saw his brand and his brand mark and his marketing tagline which was performance multiplied. And I, I immediately was interested in his brand and what he was doing, it was a brand that was authentic. It was a brand that was I felt like I was part of it like it was welcoming and open and and the mark is the it comes from the tagline performance multiplied it is a stylized multiplication sign. So it's this X mark. And it's just, it's just, it's really cool and it goes with a lot of things. On product. It's very simple. It's very clean. It's it I'm iconic. And the, you know, anything that we have brought to market so far has been about how do you deliver on that performance multiplied? Montra? Like, how do you bring something that unique and different to the market? Especially since, you know, we've been making golf footwear, as a society for 70 plus years? And, you know, there's a whole lot of brands that are in this space. So how do we bring that performance advantage in that point of difference to a pretty crowded marketplace?
Gabriel Flores 10:39
Yeah, and you know, one of the things you actually highlighted kind of indirectly, which is kind of interesting is I think we talk a lot about on this show about brand and brand building and brand awareness, but we kind of talk about it from a consumer perspective, right. And consumer focuses on a brand. And it's interesting to kind of hear, you know, because it's also important as an employee, or even a co founder of a brand, you know, working with this brand, having that gut feeling of inclusiveness or feeling a part of the brand, right?
Mike Forsey 11:10
Yeah, exactly. Well, you know, a brand, it only exists in, in the consumers mind, you know, it's not, there's nothing tangible about it, goodwill, there, there's reputation, there's kind of a feeling you get with a brand. But it's not something that you can put your your arms around, it's definitely something that is. And, you know, it, it develops from out of nowhere, it develops from multiple different areas, whether that's your brand experience, or your product experience, or, you know, what the brand does, and marketing are the kind of athletes that it associates with. All of that is kind of even like your social media, what you're doing in, you know, your communication, it all contributes to our customers going to connect or a golfer and arcade, how they're going to connect to your brand. So, you know, starting from nothing, we really had to think through that and who we wanted to be and what kind of experience we wanted to deliver to golfers.
Gabriel Flores 12:23
So one of the things you've talked about, right? Is the performance improvement of the golfers. How do you do that by making a golf shoe?
Mike Forsey 12:32
That's a really good question. And it's, it's something that if you look at, you know, golf is played in foursomes, and you know, golf is played in all kinds of weather conditions. In golf, it's as much about the golf swing as it is about walking the course, and walking the course for four and a half, maybe five hours. So golf footwear is kind of the ultimate balance between taking care of the biomechanical needs of an odd course needs as a golfer. But golfers also care about how their product looks. And, you know, it's as much about the aesthetic, and the fashion piece of it as it is about the performance piece of it. But when we looked at the market, we felt like the pendulum had swung too far to the fashion side of the business. And for pain of golf, what we think about is that, you know, golf footwear is your only connection to the graph, just like your, you know, your your hand is the only connection to the club. So, if you look at the modern golf swing, the modern golf swing is about athletes or golfers that use the ground as leverage. So you push into the ground, and you get that back and energy return in anything that you do. It's Newton's third law, right? For every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction. So if you push into the ground, you get that back and responsiveness and energy return and power that the golfer can bring to the ball and in their golf swing. So when you study the biomechanical movements, or the natural motion of the golf swing, there's certain things that you can design into golf footwear, that will give that consumer that golfer a performance advantage. But you can't forget about the aesthetic either there needs to be this balance, because you know, nobody wants to show up on the first tee and have your buddies, you know, give you a hard time because you've got something that is, you know, foreign on your feet or something that's not as aesthetically pleasing. So there's a there's a balance there, but So we wanted to start with the performance and delivering on a performance advantage. And then make sure that it was aesthetically where it needs to be at the same time.
Gabriel Flores 15:11
So nice. So so for the listeners at home, could you briefly kind of or, you know, just generally summarize the various stages of, you know, producing an actual golf shoe, I think, I think that would actually be something a lot of people just don't really know about what all goes into actually creating a shoe in general. But more important, yeah, you know, what, what are those stages of the production process?
Mike Forsey 15:36
Sure, sure. I can actually even start back with, it probably takes companies between 14 to 18 months, from product, Inception, to delivery to retail, and product Inception would be you know, you're discussing a product, you want to discuss a market, you want to discuss a point of difference, you want to brief the product so that you're uniquely different than your competition. And that that goes without saying that you need to analyze what's going on in the market, where your opportunity is, who's your competition? How do you differentiate yourself, and that goes into your product brief. And in my experience, it's always been best to have a product brief that between design development, and your line manager is an agreement. It's not a handoff. So and what I mean by that is that you all agree to whatever you put down on paper, that's what we're going to bring to market. So it's not the Product Line Manager who writes the brace, here's the price point, here's our competition, here's what are the features and benefits that we want in the product. And then they hand it off to design design sketches on it, they hand it off to development development goes and works with the factory. So in my mind, it's in my experience, that that product brief is an agreement between those three legs, on a stool that line management, design, and development. So then, once you have that, that brief, you'll put together what we would call a bomb or bill of materials. And your designer would take probably a month or two. Doing initial sketches, everyone comes back together again, you do, you might do a second sketch, you might refine your sketch, and then that goes to your factory partner in Asia. What you do in the bomb, as you also you specify what materials you want to use, what last you want to use the last one on the shoe form that you know your your product is built around. You know, what are every every item down to you know, the shoe lace, the aglet eyelet, you name it that has to go on a bomb, they know exactly they know visually based on the sketch or based on the line art, what you want to deliver. But then they also need to know physically what product or what materials you want in your product. You'll do a couple of rounds of samples. Initially, the factory will do a sample or what we call a pullover, they'll send you images of that, they'll send that to us we'll we'll make revisions if necessary. That goes back to them. At the same time you're doing for outsole you're doing 2d for two dimensional drawing of your outsole. And then once you approve on in two dimensional drawings would include cross section would include thicknesses and material differences in material. And then you'd go you'd move to three dimensional or 3d phase from a 3d phase. You would either create a digital file that you could print a rapid prototype, or you could do what we'd call a wood model. And from that file, you can create a three dimensional representation of what you you've confirmed in 2d and then 2d That pullover or excuse me in 3d, the pullover that we talked about that goes on a prototype outsole and then you look at revisions again. There's the upper match the outsole missile, etc. And then you'll do a first round sample. You'll get some what we call wear Test and fit test. And then we'll it as long as we're testing, which in golf normally takes between three and five months just based on, you want to have a durable product, you want it to be waterproof and weatherproof. You're playing in all kinds of conditions. So you know, whatever materials you're using, take a beating and golf footwear. And then you can what we'd call confirm the product. You'd order salesman samples, product by manager samples for photography, and catalog, social. And then six months in advance of delivery, you would delivery to retail, you would put place a production PIO, the factory would then take what we develop in a size nine and graded out. Whatever your size run is, we happen to go down to a size eight and up to a size 13. We do a medium and a wide with all that the factory is grading or setting up production tooling for you to commercialize the product and bring that product to retail. The same time they're ordering materials for production. And you set up a production line, which normally takes about a month from cotton, cutting and sewing down to final assembly. And then, if you're you're going by sea freight normally takes about a month to get here from Asia, you could fly some product in and that takes about two weeks. You get it in the warehouse, probably two weeks before you're delivering it to retail fulfilling orders. And then if it's direct to consumer, if you have your own website that goes live, or you ship the product to your wholesale account. So all that takes between 14 and 18 months, depending on how quickly you go from inception through to, to retail, Was that too much information or?
Gabriel Flores 22:06
No, that was incredible. And I think that's so important. Because again, this this podcast is geared towards educating, right and I want the individuals at home that are listening, you know, if this is something they're interested in doing, I just want to make sure that they know these, this is the process that it goes through, right, it's not about just writing drawn a shoe on a piece of paper than handing it off to somebody and then going from there. There's so many different steps, right? But more importantly are really are how many times do your team have to pivot?
Mike Forsey 22:36
You know, it's, I don't know if I could, if I could. Because, you know, we like to say we call it development for a reason. We don't call it confirmation there. So what you start out with, as a vision, or as a brief may not necessarily be what you end up with, is if we call the confirmation, you would you'd probably never get to market if you if you weren't open if you weren't flexible if you weren't if you didn't have the ability to pivot from Hey, you know what, that doesn't work but what if we went to another material? Or you know, that price point doesn't work? Could we put more into the products so that we could get more you know, in wholesale or retail prices? You know it all it all it you have to stay nimble? You have to you have to and again I mean you're you're talking about you know 1418 months development calendar. So, you've got about you know 12 months of those decisions that and revision after revision that you know, your plan may change. So, you have to be open to that
Gabriel Flores 24:03
yeah know what this new because this this is a new venture right 16 months you said right now have you felt at any point in time you know any self doubt in this current venture and if not, have you ever felt any self doubt in a previous venture?
Mike Forsey 24:22
I mean, you always have self doubt but you know, I think if you if you you know if you look at if you bring to market what feels right and what is consistent with what your initial vision was? I don't know if I think you can I think you can take that self doubt away. Like we were like from sample one on on painter golf vision. We knew we we we had it right. And you know when we first brought it out to show golfers we knew we had something. And now that we've, you know, delivered it to retail, we, we, we that we've gotten confirmation that we've gotten it right. And, you know, we've got not only accounts, but territory our sales managers sales rep reaching out to us we have, you know, PGA Korn Ferry, European Tour players reaching out to us, we're going to sign a exclusive and official footwear deal with the David Leadbetter academies. And, and that'll be announced in the next five days or so. So David, lead there has 40 teaching academies worldwide. And when he talks about what, what are some of the things that are fundamental in his teaching philosophy is using the ground as leverage. So when he saw our product, he's like, Well, wait, this is so consistent, seems like a natural fit. So we're going to have it on 150 of his instructors, 30 of his best students. It's a global venture. So our gallstone David, lead, their Academy is global, who we're going to have, you know, reach as far as South Korea, Indonesia, South Africa, the UK, British Columbia, and then here in the US, so it's, you know, overnight, you get that, you know, you kind of you kind of look for when you're when you're developing a brand new look for those moments of authenticity. And this is one of those times when they initially contacted us. And the concert, the conversation was so natural, as far as a we can fit together, because what you're doing at painter golf, is exactly what we believe at David lead better so that that you get confirmation when better players start wearing your product and like it, you know, when when, you know, retailers look at your product go, Hey, you got something here. So, but you always have that, you know, you you roll the dice, sometimes when you're doing development, you roll the dice, I mean, every step of the way, like I said before development, it's not confirmation. It's not we're going to market with this as it develops over time. So, you know, there's going to be certain times that you're like, are we going forward with this? Is this is this right? Does it feel right? Does it look right? So it's good question, that really good question.
Gabriel Flores 27:53
And that's kind of entrepreneurship, right? It's just managing risk. Right?
Mike Forsey 27:57
Exactly, exactly. And that comes from, you know, that I've got 30 plus years experience doing this. And, you know, I don't, you know, I and I say this to my children, you who are now 30 and 28, you pick a vocation that you're passionate about that, you know, you're not going to be motivated to get out of bed in the morning. Because of what's in your paycheck, you're going to be motivated by what's in your heart, which are passionate about what you are, hey, I want to do this for the rest of my life. So if you can find that, and I've had the opportunity, and the, the, you know, I've had an amazing life, because I have followed that, you know, I have had that, that passion. The I'm really I really like what I'm doing. And I've liked what I've been doing for 30 plus years. So, you know, if, if there's any words of advice that I can give the listeners that, you know, pick something that you feel like you'd be passionate about whether someone was going to pay you to do it or not.
Gabriel Flores 29:10
That's great advice for the listeners at home. Now what what, you know, you said, You've been doing this for 30 some odd years, what is something you wish you would have learned? You know, starting that you wish you knew that, you know, now that maybe you wish you would have known before?
Mike Forsey 29:26
If I could give my younger self some advice, it was? Yeah, it would be you don't know what you don't know. Right? And that's, you know, it's be open to, to learning. Be open to receiving information you learn. You know, just because you graduate from college doesn't mean your learning is over. It's just the beginning. You know, you learn it. Every day on the job. You learn it, every experience that you have. I've had the opportunity to travel the world for my work. Have you learned by being, you know, introduced the different cultures and different personalities. And, you know, it's just if I, if I knew as a 22 year old, what I know now, I'm not sure I would have experienced the journey as much as you know, I have just, but just be open to there's a lot out there that you can learn and that you can experience and you can just enjoy it and enjoying it is is key. It really it.
Gabriel Flores 30:37
Definitely looking back on everything. Would you do it all again?
Mike Forsey 30:41
Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah.
Gabriel Flores 30:45
So for the folks at home, how can how can they buy themselves some painters shoes,
Mike Forsey 30:49
you can go to painter golf.com. And it's it's all on there everything is in stock. And you know, if there's anything that you need for me, you can reach out to our Customer Care at painter golf.com. In and we look at that every day, you can also reach out to us via our social on Instagram, which is painter golf. Faith Facebook is playing a golf. You know, we've got all the social media platforms covered. But we want to be you know, we, one of the things we said from the beginning is we want our golfer our customer to have an equally good product experience as they have a brand experience. So if the customer is not happy with our product, we want to make it right. If the you know the customer is not happy with the kind of experience that they have with our brand. We want to make that right as well.
Gabriel Flores 31:52
Man, incredible. I'm excited. Mike Forsey, the co founder of Payntr golf.