“Look good, play good, baby!” -Some asshole who sucks at golf but decided to make this his personal mantra after he shot a good score that one time 12 years ago when he was wearing a brand new shirt. Also, me anytime someone compliments my outfit prior to a round. Which is actually what happened the first time I played a round wearing my aqua Andrew shirt and my navy Martin shorts from Devereux – Proper Threads. I looked fresh as fuck, they couldn’t possibly keep their compliments to themselves.
So why am I telling you this? Truthfully…because I am a non-recovering golf apparel, gear and equipment junkie and I haven’t been this impressed and refreshed by a golf clothing brand in a long time. Another reason is because we are fascinated by successful, young entrepreneurs who are willing to disrupt a market that has previously been dominated by big brand names. And Devereux does that in spades.
Devereux was founded in 2013 by brothers Robert (pictured right above) and Will Brunner. Last week, I was able to sit down with Robert, who also serves as the company’s Creative Director and has designed the entire line, to see all the new designs Devereux will be releasing this fall. Throughout our meeting one thing was clear: The Brunner Bros are looking to be trend setters in the golf apparel industry. Not with flash and insane designs that you wouldn’t want to be seen wearing anywhere but on a golf course. But by creating a fashion forward brand that provides the performance you need on the course and doesn’t make you look like a douche off of it. Simply put: Devereux goes beyond the course, something most golf apparel can’t do.
Like many golf fans, Devereux came across my radar thanks to PGA Tour pro Danny Lee. Since coming on board, Lee has been a blessing for the brand; he has not only already won on the PGA Tour, but he has one of the best personalities in the game today, constantly engaging in shenanigans with other members of the Tour and doling out top-drawer interviews whenever someone puts a mic in front of him. You might say that Lee is a refreshing deviation from the norm, just like the brand he wears.
Here is some more of what I learned about Devereux and Brunner’s successes, failures and lessons he and his brother, Will, learned along the way that can benefit a young entrepreneur. Enjoy.
BroBible (BB): The golf apparel market is kind of saturated and mostly dominated by big name brands. What led you to want to disrupt the market?
Robert Brunner: Very saturated! We saw a void in the marketplace and began to develop apparel for men that were in search of a better and more sophisticated look on course and off course. There comes a time when we men should start leaving some of the athletic brands at home in the closet.
BB: If someone who was unfamiliar with the Devereux – Proper Threads brand asked you to explain it in ten words or less, what would you say?
Brunner: Upper-casual, men’s performance golf and resort lifestyle brand.
BB: When did you first realize “this business idea is going to work?”
Brunner: There were two moments: The first moment was when we attended a tradeshow in Las Vegas and we saw how well-received our product was. This proved to us that we had something people desired in this marketplace.
The second thing that made us realize this was going to work was when people started to come to us for advice on how to dress. This meant that we had a voice in the golf community and we could really build off of that.
BB: Name one mistake in business that you’ve learned from?
Brunner: People can be full of shit! When you start a business everyone is coming up to you offering anything and everything and saying how you can benefit from what they are doing/selling. Most of the time they just want your money without giving much of anything in return. Stay true to yourself and your ideas and trust your gut. We didn’t always do that early on.
BB: Is there a book, movie, quote who changed your life?
Brunner: This a bit cheesy but the line in Troy when Achilles says to the little boy at the beginning in reference to not wanting to fight the “giant”
“That is why nobody will remember your name.”
First off, Brad Pitt was jacked as shit in that movie and he killed everyone alpha-male style. Second off, I thought that part was dope because you have to do the shit no one else is willing to do to make a name for yourself.
BB: How important is a mentor?
Extremely important! It is crucial to have someone around to mentor you to help fill the little holes of doubt that you have. Starting a business is no joke and having a proven voice on your side can keep things moving along nicely.
BB: Name a specific characteristic you think a person needs to have to become successful.
Persistence! No one wants to fucking listen to the new kid on the block, but somehow you have to make sure they hear you in order to succeed.
BB: If you could look into the future, where do you see Devereux — Proper Threads in the next 24 months?
Brunner: We see Devereux as the brand that men who want change come to for advice and apparel. We are molding ourselves to be positioned well within retail and feel strongly that in 24 months we will be a brand found on the table of your favorite kick-ass men’s specialty stores.
BB: Speaking of the future, what can golfers look forward to from your brand in 2016?
Brunner: Golfers can look forward to a brand that they can rely on as a one-stop shop for resort, travel and golf apparel. We will always provide fresh looking threads that perform like crazy. We are building a brand that caters to men who desire a new fresh look and are constantly on the move.
BB: Are there any other startup brands in the golf space that you admire or would like to partner with?
Brunner: At Devereux we like to look outside of the game of golf and work with people that are more tuned-in to fashion or art. We like selecting local artists from different cities and have them work on collaborations with us so we can continue to provide something new and different to the market. That said, the history of the game and the dapper dressers of yesteryear inspire us. When you’re designing men’s apparel, whether it is golf oriented or not, it is never a bad thing to ask yourself is this something that Ben Hogan and Arnold Palmer would have worn?
BB: How long have you been playing golf?
I have been playing golf since I was a kid. I hate golf 90% of the time but I like drinking outside with pretty scenery around so I make a compromise now.
BB: And finally, what four courses are on your bucket list?
Brunner: My four courses: The Old Course at St. Andrews, Augusta National, Pinehurst No. 2, Whistling Straits.
Not a bad list of courses…Not a bad list of courses at all.