How To Start a Shirt Company, Step 1: Start an Energy Drink Company
Swing Juice. Heard of them? They’ve been featured multiple times on PGA.com, they’re developing a cult following through social media — Swing Juice’s Instagram is quickly approaching 20k followers — so there’s a good chance you’ve seen their t-shirt designs even if you didn’t know they were made by Swing Juice.
But Swing Juice, the golf t-shirt trendsetter, came to be from some unlikely circumstances, and, to put it plainly, the previous endeavor makes more sense out of the name. Swing Juice began as an energy drink company. Yep.
So, we had a short, casual Q & A with Swing Juice’s founder, Jon Mason, on the obligatory topics surrounding golf today: growth of the game, handicap, Tiger’s return, and some general background interrogations.
The Questions & Answers
How’d you get into golf, do you keep a handicap, and do you even have time to play anymore?
My dad first introduced me to the game as a kid but to be honest I didn’t take to it at first, Over the years I became more and more interested and now it’s a full blown obsession. I do keep a handicap (currently 12.1) but over the last few years haven’t been able to play as much as I’d like. When I do play now, I enjoy every minute of it.
Swing Juice is a great name for a golf company. It’s an interesting name. More interesting is probably that you began your company by producing an energy drink. Can you talk about how you started Swing Juice and what led to the t-shirt business?
I originally started Swing Juice as a beverage brand, primarily focused in New England with a heavy concentration of distribution at golf courses and convenience stores. To me Swing Juice was a great name for golf focused Energy Drink. As the years went by, it became more difficult to physically grow the distribution base. But what really sparked the t-shirt idea is that we have always had a great “fan base” of people from all over the country (the world actually) and with the growth of social media it had become much easier to connect with those people. So I decided that if we revamped the website and start to put out some fun golf-centric t-shirt designs our customers/fans might be interested. Once we did that it clicked right away and has been great ever since.
Where does your creative inspiration come from? How do you come up with your shirt designs?
I come up with 99% of the ideas for the tees and then I work with my designer to create the visual of what I dreamed up. Most of what I try to do is create fun and relevant designs that people will want to wear over and over. I have always been a t-shirtaholic and truly believe that t-shirts are an extension of a your personality. Since golf is a great passion of mine I figured why not start creating some fun golf centric gear and Thankfully there are many people out in the world that feel the same way.
How do you see Swing Juice fitting within the golf industry?
I think we can be great destination and outlet where golfers from all walks of life can have fun and enjoy wearing their passion on their sleeve (no pun intended but intended) and show non golfers how passionate they are about the golf. I guess this will be our way of helping to grow the game. We do have some other non golf related designs that people enjoy as well but golf is always our main focus.
What is Swing Juice’s mantra, and who is Swing Juice trying to reach with its style, its products?
We always talk about being about Golf + Awesome t-shirts. That pretty much sums it up for me. I believe that we are attracting anyone with a fashion forward style sense who loves golf and having fun, which is never a bad thing.
In regards to image and growth, what do you think golf’s biggest challenges currently are?
As far as “Growing the Game” in the sense of physically getting more people to the courses to play, the challenges will remain the same. However I think if we can find new ways to get people to enjoy golf and show non golfers how great this game truly is and to help them to become fans of the game, growing the game will be much easier. What those exactly are I am not sure, but in our minds, that’s what we are trying to do, help grow the game from a different perspective.
What’s your favorite design you’ve made to date?
I would have to say Golf & Tacos. Other than my family, Golf & Tacos are probably my 2 greatest loves. Put them both on a t-shirt and as one of our customers hilariously put it, “You had me at Golf & Tacos!”. However I do have to say, our new Masters & Chill tee is a close 2nd.
Plans for the future?
The plan for the future is to just continue to create some really fun designs and connect with our great customers and fans. This is truly a joy every single day and gets me out of bed in the morning. Hopefully everyone can enjoy the ride with us.
When do you think Tiger will be back?
That’s a tough call. I am as big a Tiger fan as anybody and want to see him back as soon as possible, but given his health history as of late it is really hard to guess. Hopefully sooner rather than later. I think that most people agree that a Healthy Tiger is good for the game.
Go to SwingJuice.com to see all of their t-shirt prints, styles, and now they have hoodies and hats, always at an unbeatable price. Our favorite thing about the Swing Juice tees is easily how comfortable they are. You might not want to buy t-shirts from anybody else ever again!