Loudmouth Golf to outfit U.S. Olympic men's beach volleyball team
Because Wednesday marks exactly 100 days out from the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in London, we thought it appropriate to start looking at some of the fashion and style partnerships, deals and sponsorships set to unspool on the world stage starting July 27.
One we're looking forward to involves Sonoma, Calif.-based Loudmouth Golf, a label that felt the boost of Olympic exposure during the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, where the Norwegian curling team turned up quite unexpectedly uniformly attired in the brand's bright argyle-print trousers.
At the time, the company reported a tenfold increase in daily Web traffic and a threefold increase in sales of said trousers. "They were in front of millions of eyeballs," Loudmouth Golf's chief executive, Larry Jackson, said recently. "Our servers melted."
Fast forward to earlier this year when the brand, which sponsors pro golfer John Daly, announced it had signed a four-year deal to sponsor Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers, the U.S. men's beach volleyball team that earned a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The sponsorship coincides with Loudmouth's spring 2012 expansion into surf-appropriate pieces -- boardshorts, swimsuits, zip-front hoodies and sunglasses -- to its collection of brightly patterned, festively colored (and often hilariously named) pants, polos, blazers, shorts and accessories for men, and pants, skorts, Bermuda shorts and miniskirts for women. (The women's apparel, which was added in 2009, has grown to represent 35% of sales.)
Jackson said Dalhausser and Rogers would be sporting Loudmouth apparel exclusively -- on and off the volleyball court -- for the duration of the London Games (except for the Team USA opening ceremony garb, which Ralph Lauren has a lock on.)
When we spoke a few months back, the design for the official uniforms hadn't been finalized, but Jackson described it as "some version of our boardshort with a compression shirt, both in a red-white-and-blue color scheme." (Made-to-order versions of the boardshort -- in a crazy quilt of colors -- can be purchased online for $70).
In addition to expanding its category offerings, the company tries to keep things fresh by rolling out 20 new patterns a year, and some of this season's standouts include Birds of Paradise (above, right, a retro-looking print of gals on the golf course, $95) and Sock it to Me (above, left, inspired by the wacky backdrop graphics of "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" (also $95).
According to Jackson, the company's future is looking as bright as a pair of its pants. Founded in 2000 by Scott "Woody" Woodworth, who's also the label's chief designer, the company did about $60,000 worth of business in 2006. By 2011 -- the year the company expanded into snowboarding pants -- it realized just shy of $10 million in sales.
"The retail side of the brand is growing the fastest," Jackson said. "In 2008 we were an online brand and now we're 50% online sales and 50% from golf and resort stores .... I think we can be a $100 million company."
That projection, Jackson says, has to do with more than just sponsorships and Olympic exposure. It has to do with something the company has discovered along the way.
"It's an extremely sticky sale," Jackson says. "Once you wear the pants, the attention you get goes up dramatically, and it's something you get used to."
Just ask the Norwegian curling team.
-- Adam Tschorn
Photos, from top: The U.S. men's beach volleyball team of Todd Rogers, left, and Phil Dalhausser will be wearing Loudmouth Golf's new surf collection when they compete in the 2012 Olympics in London; a pair of the brand's new boardshorts that are similar in silhouette (but not color) to what the Olympians will be wearing (Disco Balls Black, $70); new 2012 patterns include Sock it to Me, left, and Birds of Paradise. Credit: Loudmouth Golf