Galvin Green - Performance Culture
by Richard Simmons
For devotees of the brand, Galvin Green defines its genre: golf-inspired outerwear that does exactly what it says on the tin. GT Editor Richard Simmons talked to the man at the helm, CEO Christian Nilsson
GT: How do you describe the essential ethos of Galvin Green the company – the culture, the underlying drivers and principles that motivate your staff?
The soul within Galvin Green is almost a faith; we're a family but not relatives, if you know what I mean. We employ people for the skills that we need to add to the company – and we have a lot of excellent people – and then it's case of working together as a group. Loyalty is highly valued. The brand is valued. The promise we make to our customers is that we never compromise and I think that it has everything to do with the fact that everyone involved in our business is interested in one thing: striving to be better. The spirit within Galvin Green is something we are aware of and talk about a lot.
GT: The Galvin Green brand is dedicated to golf and yet given the innovation and design capability you could easily move into other areas. Are you tempted?
I believe it's important to have a clear focus in life. It would be very easy to create products that could be good for something else but we are all about details, the smallest of details, and for Galvin Green that comes down to the way a product performs out on the golf course. And this focus applies to every single aspect of our business. You know, many years ago we were more diversified; In the 1980s and early 90s we had ski brands alongside golf and other outdoor sports. We had 22 different brands and it was a total mess. We had no focus. Today Galvin Green is golf. We care about our retailers; our products are sold exclusively through ‘green-grass' outlets – we actively pursue golfers [Galvin Green's online business model is such that a portal has to be related to a golf account.]
GT: A business model that is endorsed – and indeed controlled – via your distribution network, targeting premium golf clubs?
Most definitely. For me, the cornerstones of good business are product development, selective distributors, consumer confidence and guaranteed function. And that is the promise we make to our customers worldwide. I believe it's important, speaking for the consumer, for people to show other people they are golfers. We are proud to see a Galvin Green jacket or a sweater outside a golf environment because we know that it was found at a golf course and the chances are 99.9% that he or she is a golfer. The staff at our sales, marketing and design are all golf junkies. We do say to prospective employees, if you don't like golf, don't work here! Because we talk golf non-stop. It is our passion.
GT: The critical message delivered by Mats Lundqvist – effectively your head of ‘Q Branch' – is that innovation drives everything Galvin Green. It's all about “product, product, product”. Where do you and your team find your inspiration?
Funnily enough, I think that where we come from geographically is the most important influencing factor. We are in a small, tiny bit of Sweden. We have long winters – it's often dark, a lot of woods, trees, not much to see. To compensate for that we like to see a lot of bold, vivid colours! The history of where we were all brought up is key to the process, as it's also where we create. It would be easy for us to say, ‘OK, the UK market is growing, so we need to create specific products for the UK.' No, no way. We create things that we want to see, invent things that the customer doesn't yet know he needs! Our chief designer, Mats Lundqvist and his team regularly take inspiration trips to the major cities – New York, Paris, London, Milan – to keep up with the latest trends and they draw inspiration from the world around us. We are not afraid to explore new fashions, colours, cuts and. of course, materials. And it's not only nothing that interests us but architecture, cars, furniture. As long as money we spend on research and development is greater than we spend on marketing, I'm happy!
GT: Do you regard what you do as art, as much as anything else?
In a way it is. But we are so much into the technical aspect of what goes into a Galvin Green product that the artistry is determined by the materials we use and the design details that we want to include in a specific product for sheer performance and practicality. Each and every garment we produce has to be fit for purpose – and that purpose is golf. All of Galvin Green's outerwear garments, for example, involve the use of GORE-TEX – that was the best decision we ever made as a company. When we then look at the layering concept, each layer is designed to maximise the function of the GORE-TEX fabrics in the outer shell. Take the latest range of GORE-TEX inspired product, for example the super-soft Alon jacket, which utilises a brand new fabric developed in Japan, a 3-layer blending of GORE-TEX that is designed to ' side & glide' over the garments beneath. Not only is that a supreme performance jacket but a dream to wear, pure luxury.
Design is led not so much by fashion but by the need to provide the golfer with a garment that fits him or her so perfectly that movement is unrestricted. We integrate stretch material to give a golfer freedom to swing, while the cut of the jacket these days eliminates the old problem of bulky material across the chest. Then you look at smaller details, such as the rain channels in the cuffs, or collar, that drain excess water away from the hands when you hold a golf club. Mats and his team look at everything from the perspective of the golfer – how can we do something better.
GT: Which of the current new technology in your range do you find the most satisfying?
Over the last couple of seasons, if I can indulge that question, in terms of performance there are two things for me: INSULA and GORE-TEX. We developed a brand new fabric, INSULA, with an Italian manufacturer and it is fantastic. It is light, relatively thin fabric but incredibly warm thanks to the in built air chambers which are warmed by the body heat. Not only great to wear but so easy to care for. Out of that we developed the INTERFACE, which was brand new for 2018, and if there is one jacket a golfer would choose to wear for all-round playability and performance this is it. Earlier this season we also launched a contemporary fashion-inspired range – the EDGE – which includes some terrific pieces we are all extremely proud of and extends the Galvin Green portfolio to another audience.
GT: The layering concept has been one of the key developments in apparel over the last 10 years – presumably that can be traced to your geography also?
Absolutely. Life in Sweden revolves around distinct seasons. We do have good summers but they are relatively short(!), we have long, cold winters and distinct spring and autumn climate, too. Wonderfully distinct seasons. The best of all worlds, actually. I can remember my parents and grandparents emphasising the need to layer-up to stay warm – I think that's where the idea came from for us. It's part of our culture. The innovation is fabrics enabled us to pursue the concept and today golfers take it forgranted – whatever the weather you can find the clothing to stay warm and swing freely. And the growth in this market has enabled us to create added value for retailers, too. I am particularly excited about our new Autumn/Winter collection, details of which have just been released. No previous Galvin Green collection has come close to presenting so many genuinely new garments and distinctive styles at one time. Featuring a raft of exciting new colourways the latest range of capitalises on our ability to deliver the very best layering options, enabling golfers to enjoy playing the game in the most challenging conditions.
GT; Certain brands in golf – yours among them – define their genre. How has that come about?
Consumer confidence in our quality and service is the most important thing to us. We haven't been volume driver; owe have been driven by word of mouth and demand. We are not blind to the fact there are very many good products out there and while we know we can deliver a fantastic job with the product range it's not enough just to have the best product. You need to sell it, you need to market it, and above all you need to exceed expectations. That is probably one of the most important factors of the challenge in our business. For example, we tell our customers and retailers that we will fulfil an order in three days….and then bust a gut to make sure they have it in two. What's the reaction? Wow ! It's all about service.
GT: Notwithstanding the price point, which obviously plays a huge part in identifying your customer, what type of players is Galvin Green aiming at?
So many people ask me this. Well, he or she can be any age. If you are prepared to invest in your game and you are looking for a genuine technological edge, then I say you are a Galvin Green customer. This is all about appreciating products that enhance performance and make you feel good. Age and handicap don't come into it.
DID YOU KNOW: The GORE-TEX membrane contains over 1.4 billion microscopic pores per square centimetre. These pores are 20,000 times smaller than a water droplet but 700 times larger than a water-vapour molecule, which means the GORE-TEX membrane completely waterproof from the outside while allowing moisture to escape from the inside…
GT: You identify the UK market as being one of the most valuable – it's good to know that our weather at least has some benefits!
I love the fact that the golfers in the British Isles play golf year-round. That doesn't happen back in Sweden or Scandinavia generally. Brits are unique. And so from a marketing perspective even though there are other areas that are bigger in terms of overall volume, I'm not sure there is another market that turns over so much GORE-TEX or WINDSTOPPERS or Performance Gear.
PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS: Performance you can trust…
Alon Jacket - Men's Gore-tex stretch fabric with C-Knit Backer Jackets
The latest premium waterproof full-zip jacket in ultra-light weight stretch GORE-TEX – a Japanese-made fabric that has the ability to ‘slide & glide' over garments underneath. Complex 3-layer construction makes it highly breathable and durable. Innovative rubberised collar & cuffs.
INTERFACE-1 The Lance is crafted from a lightweight windproof fabric, soft, stretchy and breathable. Purely designed for more golf, hybrid range features latest technologies to keep body protected from wind chill while offering maximum flexibility and comfort. Available in full- and half-zip.
To find out more about Galvin Green's 2018 product range visit galvingreen.com
Galvin Green at the cutting EDGE
Fashion is the name of the game as Galvin Green seeks to attract golf's uber -cool dudes with its design-led EDGE line, featuring 3D patterned bomber jackets, camo polo shirts and sweatshirts.
The Swedish brand – famed for introducing outlandish colours to conventional golf outerwear in the 90s – invited a specialist fashion designer to create a fresh golfing wardrobe composed of 16 contemporary garments and accessories branded with its own distinctive tone-on-tone logo. Almost three years after the initial brief, the resulting EDGE collection features styling and fabric designs unlike any others on the golf apparel market today, while retaining all the renowned Galvin Green technical performance benefits.
Themed in a fashionable camo-look featuring colour combinations of black, grey, green and red, the line covers most of the brand's pioneering multi-layers designed to help golfers to play more golf in all weather conditions – Shell waterproof jackets; windproof INTERFACE-1 tops; warm INSULA™ sweatshirts; and cool VENTIL8™ PLUS trousers and shirts. There are also matching camo belts and caps.
“The EDGE collection is more than just a brand statement,” said Brand Manager Nicholai Stein. “It reflects the feedback we've had from younger golfers who are very keen to be seen wearing Galvin Green branded gear both on and increasingly off the golf course.
“Until now, Galvin Green has been all about high performance clothing using the most advanced fabric technology in fashionable colours, but EDGE is all about cool looking gear you can wear anytime, that also really performs when you choose to play golf,” he added.
* Among the Shell layer garments in the EDGE collection is this waterproof GORE-TEX® full-zip jacket with mesh lining and lightly padded collar (named E-LLUSION) featuring a striking 3D pattern and articulated sleeves, plus front pockets and adjustable cuffs and hem. Galvin's legendary attention to details runs to a water repellent zipper and spring-loaded zipper puller, plus subtle branding on the chest and back of the collar.
* The two-way, front-opening INTERFACE-1™ windproof jacket (E-GOLF BASE) features a full-zip and button-down option, plus a quilted collar, rib cuffs and hem, front pockets and spring-loaded zipper puller. Another windproof INTERFACE-1™ garment to have caught the imagination of young fashion-conscious golfers is the E-CAM PRINTED full-zip jacket with a double layered collar and a smart embossed appearance with red accent on the wind panel. It has rib cuffs and hem, plus front pockets and, like all the garments in the line, is extremely breathable as well as water repellent.
* There are three stylish INSULA™ jackets – the E-INSULA PATCHWORK, the outlandish black and white E-INSULA WAVE half-zip pullover with front kangaroo pockets and the INSULA GG LOGO sweatshirt that sports the brand's EDGE logo proudly on the chest and a cellphone pocket on the front.
Complementary E-BLACK trousers with a bold white stripe are a standout feature of the line, along with VENTIL8™ PLUS shirts called E-EMPFLAGE, CAMONOIR, WHITE & RED.
Finally, the line is completed by and E-CAMO belt, two E-CAPS in red and green, and an E-CAMO Bandana.
The RRP for garments in the new EDGE collection range from Ј420 for the E-LLUSION jacket to Ј35 for the Bandana.
GALVIN GREEN GOES FOR A EUROPEAN WIN IN PARIS
As the official supplier of outerwear to the European Ryder Cup team Galvin Green is dedicated to supporting Captain Thomas Bjorn with the most advanced waterproof and windproof garments ever put into play…and making them available to all golfers across Europe from this month.
“We've gone all out to help Europe recapture the famous trophy and are going for the win,” confirmed Christian Nilsson, CEO of Galvin Green. “Over the past two years, we've adopted an uncompromising approach to produce garments that will give Europe's players an edge in both styling and performance for golf's most exciting team event.
“All four new hi-tech garments have been designed in close collaboration with Thomas [Bjorn], who knew precisely what he wanted and was keen to blend the classic Navy and Swedish blue colourways with flashes of white and add the European flag on the back. We also took inspiration from the magnificent Le Golf National golf course to name individual lines that are now available to other golfers well ahead of the event,” he added.
Super Stretch waterproof jackets
Whatever the weather in Paris this September, Team Europe will enjoy the sartorial advantage when it comes to performance gear built specifically for the comfort and function. The flagship waterproof jackets with C-KNIT® backer incorporate a GORE-TEX® Super Stretch fabric on the shoulders and elbows that is new to golf and provides at least four times more stretch than previous versions. Extremely breathable, THE ALBATROS (named after the Championship course) full-zip jacket and the FORWARD (1 st hole) short sleeved jacket also feature the smooth ‘slide & glide' inner material of the exclusive C-KNIT® fabric.
Both jackets feature two front pockets and adjustors on the chest and collar to help with the fit and keep out the rain. In the case of THE ALBATROS, the sleeves are shaped for easy movement in the swing and the sleeve ends are smooth and soft, while the hem is laminated for a cleaner look. A touch & close fastener ensures rain doesn't intrude, along with a water-repellent zipper.
The matching pair of waterproof trousers THE JUDGES (15 th ) also come in GORE-TEX® fabric with the C-KNIT® backer for a smooth ‘slide & glide' experience when worn over other trousers. A GORE-TEX® Super Stretch panel is located at the top of the back to assist when bending over putts. An elasticated waist and drawstring provides the perfect fit, while the leg width can also be adjusted. There is a zipper fly opening and water repellent zippers, plus two back pockets and front pockets with fleece lining. A split inseam is added for abrasion resistance and a spring-loaded zipper puller features on the side of both long leg openings for ease of access. A symbol of the Ryder Cup trophy features on the left knee.
Interface™ makes its debut
Making its first appearance in Ryder Cup matches will be the lightweight INTERFACE-1™ Shell Layer Hybrid jacket UP WIND (9th ) – a super-soft, quiet garment suitable for 95 out of 100 rounds played in standard conditions.
Totally windproof and highly breathable, the jacket is made from 100% polyester stretch fabric with a PU breathable membrane and water-repellent finish. The full-zip jacket features two hidden front pockets an elastic drawstring at the hem and a repositioned side seam for optimum comfort.
“If conditions are wet during the contest, then our rain suits will help the European players to concentrate on their game, but if it gets very windy, then the Interface garment will really come into its own,” said Nilsson.
In addition to branded versions of these Team garments, Galvin Green has added two INSULA™ jackets in the same styling for club golfers to wear – the full-zip THE CROWD (18th hole) and the half-zip THE VERDICT (17th ).
Autumn/Winter Part Two Collection
The Official Supplier to this year's European Ryder Cup Team has updated virtually its entire product catalogue with an uncompromising approach to product development that permeates throughout the new Multi-layer collection composed of 76 different styles for serious golfers.
Exciting new colourways include Beluga, Lemonade, River Blue and Snow in the Men's range, plus Rose, Sea pine, Misty green, Cherry and Crystal pink in the Ladies' collection. Sizes range from XXS-5XL and some award-winning waterproof and standard golf trousers come in 26 different size options. A total of 26 accessories feature waterproof hats, snoods, belts and cold weather gloves.
The latest Galvin Green collection can be found at: www.galvingreen.com