Women-owned golf apparel brand brings high fashion to the fairway
Courtesy of Lohla Sport
Building a successful clothing brand is tough enough at the best of times – let alone a global pandemic – but if there’s anyone who’s capable of making it work it’s Lisa O’Hurley, Founder and CEO of the new women’s golf brand Lohla Sport, which debuted in January.
O’Hurley is not only a talented golfer (she played in college at Baylor University and still maintains a single-digit handicap), she is also a golf industry veteran, having spent a decade as a as an executive at Golf Channel before joining Golfino, a fashion sportswear company based in Germany. O’Hurley says she first noticed Golfino as she and her husband, actor John O’Hurley, played in the Dunhill Links, the annual European Tour Pro-Am in Scotland. Lisa visited the Golfino boutique at the Old Course Hotel in St. Andrews.
“I’ve been a golfer my whole life and to be honest I’ve always looked for things to wear elsewhere,” O’Hurley told me in a recent interview. “I was shopping at Banana Republic, or J.Crew, or wherever I could find stuff that seemed appropriate for golf because I couldn’t find it at the golf store for some reason. It just wasn’t my taste or my shape or anything. So when I discovered Golfino, I fell in love with it. “
A few years later, O’Hurley ran Golfino’s US business as vice president of sales and marketing, where things turned out well. O’Hurley was in the wholesale business in the United States and the brand had a distributor in Canada. But then: Covid. Like so many retailers, the pandemic has hit Golfino hard. The owners sold and the new owners of Golfino had no interest in continuing to do business in America. But rather than lie down, O’Hurley had an idea creeping in. She had a sales team. And a designer, Paul Rees, who, before his time at Golfino, had worked with leading English brands Burberry and Aquascutum. And O’Hurley had a vision for the brand she believed in. All he had to do was make the clothes.
“I called [Rees] and I said, “What would you think if we created our own brand of women’s golf? “And it didn’t even take him ten seconds, he was on board,” O’Hurley said. “The next day, he sends me logos. We went full blast during Covid. Where everyone was sitting at home watching TV and reruns of different shows, I was really working to plan this business. “
O’Hurley wanted to replicate what she thought was Golfino’s magic – and more. Namely, she envisioned a line of high-end, sporty yet feminine looks that could rival Tory Burch Sport.
“We wanted to do something with the same type of fit as Golfino, which is, I believe, a more modern and contemporary fit,” O’Hurley said. “When I’m not playing golf, I like shopping at Neiman [Marcus] and Saks and Bloomingdale’s and Intermix. And I wanted something that reflected that kind of style on the golf course. There is no reason that just because I play golf I should lose my sense of style.
O’Hurley’s brand, Lohla Sport, debuted with a spring / summer collection that she and her team blind-sold to 61 of the 80 green turf clubs they initially launched. The brand has since expanded to 100 premium accounts in the United States and is available for purchase. online, too much.
“I think people really like the look,” O’Hurley said. “It’s definitely a European design, but we set it up in LA. He has a complete Los Angeles flair. So while people will feel the same fabrics as Golfino and certainly the same silhouettes, his look is a bit more American. And so we stick to that. So far, it has been very well received.
One way of describing the aesthetics of Lohla Sport could be “high athleticism”. O’Hurley claims that Lohla Sport’s luxury fabrics ensure that every garment is comfortable, stretchy and allows for maximum mobility. But the pieces are also sufficiently refined for an activity off course and other than golf. One of the brand’s signature bottoms, “Pull-on Fitness Pants”, is a prime example of the versatility Lohla Sport wants.
“They’re so comfortable,” O’Hurley said of the pants. “And the movement capacity is so great that you could literally do yoga in it, but you look good enough to have dinner in it.” It’s a really important part of the whole collection, that you feel you can go from a Zoom meeting here at work, straight to the golf course, straight to dinner, and I’m comfortable all the time. And I look good.
If receiving Lohla Sport’s debut collection is any indication, O’Hurley has occupied a significant niche in the market, and she has high hopes for the brand’s future.
“To be honest, when I started this I said to everyone, ‘I just want a nice little business for five to ten years. That’s what I really want, ”O’Hurley said. “But it’s going very well. I don’t want to be a hobby. I would like to see this business still in operation in ten, 15 years and be a well thought out and well recognized brand.
So far, everything has been going well for O’Hurley and Lohla Sport.