The glamorous aesthetic of ‘Poolside Gossip,’ photographer Slim Aarons’s 1970 opus, depicting a pair of lounging socialites with a third approaching, cocktail in hand, connected with a brand-new golf apparel brand. The vibes of the idyllic mid-century modern scene with a Palm Springs desert mountain dreamscape in the backdrop hit the cover off the ball for Goldie Byrd, a chic golf fashion upstart intent on creating an industry splash.
Aarons’s indelible image inspired the brand’s photoshoot for their debut line, highlighted by their wild cherry red, ‘everyday’ dress cinched with a built-in belt, which has become their bestselling item out of the gate.
“It’s just so eye-catching and it’s been interesting to hear the feedback,” Julia Roper, Goldie Byrd’s co-founder, explained.
“To be honest I was worried about the dress translating and these are serious golfers that are loving this dress. It gives us the assurance that women want this kind of style,” she added.
The brand was conceived after Arielle Solheim, great-grand-daughter of Ping founder and Anser putter designer Karsten Solheim ran into Roper, an L.A. fashion industry veteran who logged time in at Clare V. and later launched her own activewear label, at a dinner event in Napa Valley.
Solheim grew up in the industry and put in time at the only big five OEM that remains a family business before leaving for stints in commercial real estate and asset management. But golf was such a central part of her life that it was only a matter of time before the game and her career once again aligned.
With female participation in the sport surging, she identified significant white space for a women-centric apparel brand. This was particularly evident since legacy brands, still overly focused on the Men’s side, continued to treat women’s fashions as an afterthought. When the idea was gestating, using Ping as a springboard to launch the label did cross her mind but she quickly realized, the company named after the chiming impact sound its early club’s made, wouldn’t be the right fit.
“Ultimately, Ping is a different brand. I felt that if we are creating something purely women-focused we had to create our own brand that was 100% geared toward women, appealing to them on both fit and style,” Solheim explained.
Birds of a Feather
Arielle had the idea for a chic golf clothing line, ideated on the name Goldie Byrd and was looking for someone on her wavelength to help execute her vision. With Roper’s experience bringing fashions to market coupled with Solheim’s product knowledge and marketplace awareness, the newly acquainted pair figured they’d flock together on the venture.
“Fashion in general is so saturated but it really feels like this space in the market is untapped and we want to be that brand that women associate with if they’re going to play golf on the weekend, they’re maybe a casual golfer and don’t have something to wear yet. We want to be the brand that comes to mind,” Roper said
Goldie Byrd, which only launched a few weeks back, is currently a D2C play but has its sights firmly set on expanding into wholesale channels and getting in front of retailers. They feel the versatility of the sporty brand which crosses over well into other club sports, like tennis and pickle ball, will resonate with buyers.
The goal is to gain a presence in mainline bricks and mortar retailers such as Nordstrom while also getting virtually stocked on the racks of multi-brand online curators like Net-A-Porter, Revolve and Shopbop. On the golf side, Solheim is targeting the pro shops of select resorts while also eying collaborations with college golf programs
Their current brand awareness spreading strategy calls for leaning heavily into influencer marketing with a focus on golfers with a proclivity for fashion. But if they eventually do go the pro endorsement route, names like Nelly Korda and Charley Hull are at the top of their leaderboard, as far as pros they’d love to dress.
Solheim is confident, she dreams big and feels that Goldie Byrd, down the line, could one day even be as big as Ping.
“I know the owner of Vuori and I got to see how that company started from the ground up, how quickly they grew in a market that was untapped and unserved. I completely believe in the potential of what we are creating. As long as we stick to our strategy and do things the right way, the sky is the limit,” she said.