Courtesy of TravisMathew
Ben Donnelly’s work in Southern California often begins with an early morning surf session in Huntington Beach. Especially in the summer months, the same day can also end with his ninth hole at the Huntington Club.
But somewhere in between is where Donnelly does his best work. He’s a hard-charging lifestyle and golf apparel brand.
Donnelly’s primary mission is to curate thousands of apparel design options for the upcoming season (scheduled for Spring 2024), narrowing down those that cut into the brand’s retail, wholesale, and e-commerce offerings.
If you can get it, great job, right? Donnelly agrees.
“So far, it’s been a pretty good balance between really doing what we love and making sure we’re honed and really competitive and ahead of the competition. ‘ he said over the phone the other day. “I think the work-play mentality is an important part of our company.”
Donnelly has always wanted to work in the world of surfing and started his professional career as an analyst at Oakley after graduating from the University of San Diego.
A few years later, an informal interview with Travis Mathew CEO Travis Brasher went well and Donnelly joined the company in 2015.
As an apparel brand founded in the surfing hotspot of Huntington Beach, TravisMathew quickly made waves in the golf world with its surf and skate inspired vibe.
After playing golf with his father as a child, Donnelly quit playing in his teens due to his penchant for surfing and skating. But it was a surprise when he returned to the track in his twenties.
“I went outside, but wait, OK, I didn’t have to worry about my score,” he recalled. Golf is the greatest sport and that’s where it’s completely shifted TravisMathew also epitomizes that we’re not just a golf brand, we’re this great lifestyle brand with great people He did.”
That inclusivity is one of the brand’s core tenets.
“I think even at TravisMathew, what we really try to maintain is to bring respect to the game of golf and bring a fun and welcoming environment. We want everyone to feel welcome and hopefully that is achieved through our marketing, products and retail outlets. I think golf has a really bright future, it will get younger and more people will get involved.”
Another attraction of Donnelly’s work is the opportunity to travel. It’s not uncommon for teams to take scouting trips to Hawaii to indulge in next season’s design themes. Peru is where Travis Mathew sources his cotton, so it’s usually a destination he frequents two to three times a year.
One of the unique aspects of TravisMathew is its reach in terms of lifestyle appeal. Jon Rahm is the face of one of golf’s most recognizable brands, but he also has many ambassadors in sports and entertainment, including tennis’ James Blake, NFL’s Matt Ryan and Jimmy Garoppolo, and actor Chris Pratt. I am serving Make your brand inclusive and balanced.
One of Donnelly’s many disappointing moments at work was the opportunity to meet his childhood hero, pro surfer Josh Kerr. Shortly after their meeting, Carr also became a brand ambassador and one of Donnelly’s best friends.
“It was pretty surreal,” he said. “The relationship we have developed with our Ambassadors is truly authentic.”
What’s next for Donnelly and Travis Matthew? In the world of apparel, we’re always moving forward. Donnelly is no exception.
“I think what’s really exciting about our brand is exactly this customer-first mindset,” he said. “It’s really exciting for me to understand what they need and at the same time see that we’re moving forward and moving forward.”
Needless to say, he enjoys it.