Lisa Friedman Clark interview

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President and Co-founder of Tall Order, a men's and woman’s accessories company
Posted on
February 7, 2023
by
M. James Ward in ,
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

The Friedman Bio

President and Co-Founder of Tall Order, a men's and woman’s accessories company launched in 2017 by her and her twin sons, Mike and Dan, who at eleven years old, lost their dad in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center.

Prior to that she was a Senior Vice President with Fleet Bank (now Bank of America.). Friedman graduated from Cornell with a BS in Electrical Engineering and spent the first 10 years of her career at IBM.

The Friedman Story

When my twin sons were 11, we lost my husband, their dad, Andrew Friedman, in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center. At the time my sons were quite tall and sadly and ironically were often called the Twin Towers.

In an effort to try to find their dad, we took to the streets of NYC on 9/14/01, visiting police stations, firehouses and hospitals, searching for information on Andy, all while giving out socks to first responders (as their feet were getting wet on the pile at Ground Zero.) Since then, socks have always represented hope for our family.

So many people from all over the world reached out to help us, and we always said it would be a Tall Order to pay it back.

Sixteen years later, we launched Tall Order Accessories, and make the world most comfortable socks and other accessories for men and women of all sizes, up to shoe size 20+ as Mike and Dan stand 6’11” and 6’9” respectively and have very large feet.

We give a portion of what we make back to charities that help families and youth including Tuesdays Children and the Aaron Judge All Rise Foundation and to date we’ve donated over $300,000!

Without getting into too much detail, at the request of Joe Lee and Rob Cucuzza of the NY Yankees Clubhouse, we began making custom on-field gripper socks for Aaron Judge in April, 2021, and the rest is history; Aaron voted with his feet! He is now an equity partner of our company along with United Legwear and Apparel.

We will be launching “The Game Changer” elite performance sock which we’ve adapted from his baseball version for all sports including golf. We can make these, or any other and items, custom for any event, company or club.

You wake up in the morning - what's the driving passion?

The driving passion is my family; to keep Andy’s legacy of giving back to the community front and center of everything we do; for my children to help them turn a horrific tragedy into a triumph for us and all those who benefit from wearing our products in practice (like Aaron), and for my husband Bruce, who believed in our mission and purpose and became our first angel investor. They are all the “wind beneath my wings!”

 

What was the genesis for Tall Order?

We launched Tall Order 5 1/2 years ago in memory of my husband Andy with plans to donate a portion of our proceeds to others facing difficulties as we did.

We originally focused on fun dress socks for all but quickly pivoted to include sports socks with cushioned soles, moisture wicking, seamless toes, heal tabs to avoid blisters and slipping into shoes, and arch support.

Lisa Friedman Clark interview - Tall Order

How does the company differentiate itself from your competition?

Besides the story and giving back, we are the only company that has sizes up to 20+; size inclusivity is very important to us at Tall Order.

Also, because we are equity partners with one of the largest, privately held accessory companies in the country, United Legwear and Apparel, which is in joint partnership with Puma NA, we are able to provide a very high-quality product and customize almost anything for your resort, club, company, event or organization.

We are also a small, hands-on, family business and make sure every order is treated with that in mind.

 

How was the company name "Tall Order" determined and the reasoning behind it?

Well, we are tall (mom is 6’1”, Dan is 6’9” and Mike is 6’11”) but that’s not the reason. We always used to say it would be a Tall Order to pay back the country for their generosity and kindness after the horrific attacks on 9/11.

Tall Order is involved with Yankee superstar Aaron Judge -- how did the relationship start and what role does he play now with the company?

The Aaron Judge connection is almost unbelievable. I’m still pinching myself. Joe Lee, the Assistant Equipment Manager, knew of Tall Order and out of nowhere reached out to us stating they had a “sock emergency” in the summer of 2020.

Apparently, the socks Aaron was wearing were way too small, his toes were being squished, and the heel was slipping down. They were causing him discomfort and they wanted to know if we could engineer a larger sock with more compression, cushioning, support and grippers on the bottom—to his specifications!

On April 6, 2021, Aaron debuted his socks in a game against the Orioles, and the rest is history. He calls these socks “Game Changers” and is now an equity partner in Tall Order; clearly, he voted with his feet!

 

In approximate percentage amounts  how are existing sales split between online, green grass shops and brick and mortar retail outlets?

Our business is approximately 80% online but with our new partnerships with Aaron and United Legwear and Apparel, we anticipate that changing rapidly.

We have begun getting custom and catalog orders from many green grass shops, including Adios Golf Club in Coconut Creek Florida, and the Boca Raton Resort, to name a few.

Lisa Friedman Clark interview - Tall Order

Companies routinely tout the importance of customer service. Define the term and the approach you follow.

Every single order at Tall Order is personally packed by one of our team members, with a personalized note as well. Our reputation is our most important asset so we treat every customer like family, the way we want to be treated. To us, a happy customer is our best referral.

 

What makes the golf industry an attractive one for Tall Order to be involved with?

Andy was an avid golfer and passed his love of the game to both Mike and Dan. Everything you can do to improve your game, from a club to a ball, to a piece of equipment, is critical.

Our All Sport Game Ready Elite Performance sock does not compare to anything currently on the market. The technology gives you the support and foundation to optimize your swing. Nothing would make Andy prouder than knowing we created something to enhance the sport he loved so much.
Lisa Friedman Clark interview - Tall Order

Biggest challenges facing the company short and long term is what? And what specific strategy is the company implementing to deal with that?

Scaling is always the hardest part for a company. Being partners with United Legwear and Apparel, who have been in business since 1998, is a huge advantage for us.

They have the infrastructure and experience to grow us at the proper pace.

 

Best advice you ever received, what was it and who was it from?

From my husband, Bruce Clark, former ABC Sports and CBS Sports Producer:

“Inch by inch, life’s a cinch. Yard by yard, life is hard.” Go slowly, stay focused, don’t get over your skis, and make every day productive."

***

For more info go to:
www.tallorder.com

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About M. James Ward

A GWAA and MGWA member, the 66-year-old from the USA has covered golf in all facets since 1980, notably the major championships and other high level events. He has played over 2,000 courses globally and has competed in USGA Championships.

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