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Woman swinging golf club wearing Foray clothing

GOOD COMPANY

Play Like a Girl

Foray Golf is giving women the fashion and fit they deserve.

By Embry Roberts

Play Like a Girl

By Embry Roberts


“Starting a business is almost like falling in love,” said Megan LaMothe, founder and CEO of Foray Golf. “There are days that are so incredibly rewarding, and there are days that are so incredibly hard... but even the hard stuff, you love.”


It’s a fitting analogy, since Megan was introduced to golf through her now-husband (one of their first dates took place at a driving range). The hobby and the relationship took, but when Megan went to invest in quality golf clothes, she had a hard time finding anything she wanted to wear.



Designed for Women

It seemed that for most golf apparel designers, the approach to making women’s clothes was simply to “shrink it and pink it.” “Everything I found was ill-fitting, made from bottom-of-the-barrel, cost-effective materials,” Megan said. “No matter what I did or where I went or how much money I spent, there wasn’t a solution to find something that fit, that looked good or modern or like my authentic self.”

The idea of dressing as one’s “authentic self” on the course is a core philosophy of what has now become Foray Golf. “You can walk down the street, go out to dinner, pick up your kid from school, go to the office… and you can dress how you feel. You’ve got a style,” Megan explained. “On the golf course, you’re wearing a costume. That was really hard for me: feeling like, ‘I’m not this girl, I don’t wear khakis, I’m never gonna feel totally comfortable.’”

Then there was the problem of performance. Having cut her teeth in operations at a major women’s lingerie brand, Megan knew that movement ought to be top priority in sportswear design. “If I’m swinging a golf club, and I’m moving my body in this way, why are they not making a shirt that performs like this?” Megan said. “There are unique challenges of being a woman: dealing with busts, dealing with shorts riding up. If you have to kneel down and read a putt, are people are going to look up your skirt?”




Fit + Fashion

Foray Golf was born of a desire to combine fashion, fit, and technology into one female-friendly package. Rather than seeing sportswear as strictly evergreen, the brand has taken a more trend-based approach, pulling inspiration directly from high-fashion runways.  “We’re constantly trying to follow what’s trending,” Megan said. “If people are really into off-white or crazy about logomania, how is there a way to make that wearable for golf? Even if [designer fashion] is aspirational for you… if there’s something you identify with about a brand or a style, how can we retain that at a lower price point?”

Then it’s time to optimize the designs for performance. Foray uses a live fit model for all sizes and styles. “We’ve taught our fit model how to play golf,” Megan said. “She takes a golf club and she swings every time we design something, and we’re like, ‘Does she have enough movement? Can she rotate? Does her shirt come up and show her stomach? Are the shorts hiking? Is the shirt pulling across the front? Do you feel like you’re covered? Do you feel like yourself? Do you feel feminine? Do you feel like a badass? These are the key features that we look for.”





Business Breakthrough

Most women reading this are probably nodding their heads, wondering where they can buy Foray Golf. But getting distribution in the fragmented pro shop market (which is largely run by men) proved challenging. “I started with this green notebook I still have in my office. I wrote out a form letter, and I used to just copy-paste it and go meet vendors and pretend I had this thing already set up,” Megan said. “I had no business walking into some of the meetings that I walked into, but that was a huge hurdle that I had to jump to have somebody else believe in the idea. We were like ‘Yeah, I have orders against this stuff!’ and they’re like ‘Oh, you have orders?’ and we’re like ‘…Yeah!’ In some ways, you just fake it ‘til you make it.”

“It was, at first, a bit of a slow burn,” Megan admitted. “My business card says ‘Hustler,’ because literally, you just have to keep grinding and trying. The thing that separates people I perceive as being successful is that they just don’t stop. Door slams in your face – OK, cool, you pivot. What’s the next thing you can do? What's a way to get around this problem? Just keep going. And don’t be afraid to ask for something you think is absurd.”



It’s certainly worked well for Foray Golf, which is now a leading women’s golf apparel brand (with a female-owned factory in NYC, to boot). The journey has inspired a nickname for the company’s fearless founder: Megatron. “At first I used to hate it, but now I’ve kind of embraced that idea of, ‘just get it done,’” she said. “A lot of people talk about something, and not everybody does something. And so, just do it. What’s gonna happen? Do a little bit more than you think you’re capable of, because you can surprise yourself, and that’s the only way you grow.”



From Course to Company

It’s no secret that many life lessons can be learned on the golf course. For Megan, the lens of golf has helped her grapple with the ups and downs of building a business. “As an entrepreneur, the highs are really high and the lows are really low,” she said. “In a lot of ways, it’s like golf. You hit a great shot and you’re like, ‘I’m the best golfer in the whole freaking world. Can you believe that?’ The stars just align and pow, it’s perfect. Then your next shot will be the most humbling thing.”

“For us, maybe we get featured in a big magazine, and then a club will decide not to buy our clothes, or we’ll have a problem in the factory,” she said. “It’s just this constant ebb and flow of resolution-problem-resolution-problem. But it’s cool to feel like you’re constantly swimming forward. And even when you make mistakes, you fall forward. Every day is different, and there’s always going to be some new challenge, and I love that.”






The Family Name

The name “Foray” is a nod to Megan’s daughter, Rae, who is 3 years old at publish time. “She’s going to grow up in New York City. She’s going to have a lot of opportunities and be exposed to things that a lot of kids don’t have. I don’t want her to take that for granted,” said Megan. “So the one thing I want her to do is to work hard. There’s no better way for me to teach her that lesson than to just show her: What does it really mean to work hard? What does it really take to build something that’s your own? I need to learn by doing and for her to learn by seeing.”

Rae is well on her way to building her own empire. “She comes into the office all the time. She picks up [our lead designer’s] pencil and she starts drawing. She bosses [the staff] around,” said Megan. “We call her ‘the big boss.’ But that’s really important… to show her you can do it, and not to be afraid.”



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