Golf clothing specialist drives change to hole bright future
FUTURE PROOF: Eurostyle: Calvin Klein is a fashion brand known on high streets all over the world. What might come as a surprise is that its golfwear range is designed in Cork by Eurostyle, the worldwide licensee for Calvin Klein golf.
Asked how a small Irish company landed such a high profile licence, MD Alan Dwyer says: “We were in the right place at the right time and made a good pitch. We have over 20 years’ experience designing and making men and women’s golfwear, and Klein wanted their range to have a look inspired by the countries they see as the home of golf – Ireland and the UK, especially Scotland. They also knew us as we had been their European licensee. It cost us nothing to take it on. The only ‘pain’ involved was a detailed audit.”
Dwyer says securing the licence has been a major catalyst for positive change within the company. It has provided an important new income stream, reduced dependence on sales to pro shops and opened worldwide business opportunities.
Eurostyle recently signed a new Calvin Klein Golf licensee in Asia. This operator plans to open 100 stores in the region by the end of 2014.
Just how much the Calvin Klein deal is worth to Eurostyle’s bottom line Dwyer will not divulge for contractual reasons. However he concedes it could be significant.
“Like many Irish businesses that need cash to grow, we have struggled over the last few years because the banks have basically been closed for business,” he says. “Our overdraft was cut considerably and it became very clear that, starved of cash, we couldn’t grow our turnover in the normal way.
“We trimmed costs, restructured where we needed to, made some key appointments at managerial and agency level and pointed the company in a new direction with licencing income as a key pillar of our strategy. As a result of these changes, we are a stronger, more stable company very focused on what we want to achieve over the next three years.
“Our traditional business was selling wholesale to pro golf shops. In recent years we added two additional strands – licensing and internet sales and are looking at a third, retailing, most likely with a partner.
“The last few years have been tough for golf clubs in this region with courses closed due to summer flooding and bad winters. The option to have customers outside this climate zone is very positive.”
The Dwyer family has been in clothing and footwear since 1820. Dwyer’s father, George, established Eurostyle in 1972 to manufacture shirts. By the late 1980s, however, the company was beginning to struggle against low cost competition and the family opened a golf shop in Cork to capitalise on the growing interest in the sport. They quickly discovered a big gap in the market for golfwear for women.