Charlie Burgwyn, best known for creating STITCH® Golf is an American lifestyle fashion designer. Burgwyn has become known for his attention to detail in product innovation and golf trend setting. He lives in Cary, NC with his wife Kim and two sons, Will and Jack.
The Burgwyn Story
I started my career young. Growing up a middle child in the small town of Murfeesboro, NC with parents that both owned independent retail stores. I went to work with them daily and just observed. Observed how to merchandise, and I learned a lot about color and fabrics. My personal style started early. When I was 12 my parents moved to Murrells Inlet, SC and my passion for golf started. We lived on the 5th hole at Wachesaw Plantation Club and every morning I would get up and play golf. I went on to attend school at Campbell University and NC State. I earned my PGA Class while I was still in school. When I turned 24 I had the opportunity to become part of the launch of Callaway Golf Apparel and carried several others independent brands. I enjoyed working with customers and seeing the unique challenges that the golf industry presented. One of those was the lack of originality.
There are a lot of brands that follow the leads of others. One of the things I admired most about Ely Callaway was his mantra to create products that were demonstrably superior but pleasingly different. I started STITCH® in 2011 and today it’s grown to a leader in innovation, style and technology. I feel very fortunate that I have been able to combine my passion for details and style. I’m very thankful for the game of golf as it’s given me my best friends, ability to express myself creatively and create a brand I am very proud of.
You wake up in the morning — what’s the driving passion that keeps you motivated?
I set the bar very high for myself. I wake up every morning with the desire to create the most amazing apparel and gear brand to ever exist. That means creating product that has a extremely high taste level that will appeal to a broad audience without compromising my passion for details. I believe that everyone wants to feel special. I try to put emphasis in every product to ensure Stitch customers feel special.
I’m also a very competitive individual both in sports and in life. I’ve never settled for being anything less than exceptional and expect the same from anything that we create as a brand. I feel like I’m always designing, its truly my passion.
What was the genesis in moving ahead with STITCH?
The move forward point with the brand was the desire to create a product that I truly wanted. Whether it’s a golf bag or an article of apparel it always starts with a want that was maybe not available. I was very lucky that I had a high profile club that bought into the early beginnings of Stitch with our headcovers ultimately starting a company that has morphed over time into a very successful brand.
How long a time frame from concept idea to actually producing products?
This takes between 18 months to 2 years.
How does STITCH differ from your competition and when you say “style matters” what specifically are you saying?
I think there’s a lot of great brands out there in the industry which we sell into. I think what makes us different from our competitors is the focus and the authenticity of where the creation comes from. I think it’s always about being true to yourself and true to your original vision of what you’re trying to create. I think if you look at any great designer they were always very authentic to who they were. I think this leads to the consumer embracing the brand story. The term “style matters” because it shows the rest of the world how seriously you take yourself and what level of detail you are committed to embracing.
The Kohler Kingdom – Wisconsin’s Wonder
Who is your customer and how do you plan to convince them that what you’re doing is worth their attention and money?
A Stitch customer enjoys a well-made design. They want to feel and look their best on and off the course while not being afraid of cutting edge technology or in some cases trying something truly different. I don’t want them to just like our product I want them to love it.
Companies routinely talk about the important of customer service — define the term and how your approach at STITCH will stand apart from others.
I think every company sets out with the idea of producing great customer service or a great customer experience. At the end of the day we’re all consumers of product and experiences. I think if you always put yourself in the customer shoes you will do the right thing. I believe in creating product of impeccable taste and exceptional quality. The only way that I can show this is the way that we take care of our customers. We believe if you treat people like they make a difference, they will make a difference. This is true for customers, employees and management at Stitch. My parents have always been in the retail business, customer care and customer experience has been part of my upbringing. At the end of the day we don’t have a business if we don’t have customers. The customer is king.
What is the brand’s current presence on the PGA Tour?
Stitch on tour has 65-70 players a week that carry Stitch products in their bags or are wearing our apparel. From the beginning, we knew that the PGA Tour would have a major influence on growth. We are very lucky to have hired a tour rep when we started the company. This has been critical to getting product on some of the best and finest in the world including 30 winners a year over the last 5 years on tour.
If you could change one thing in golf unilaterally — what would it be and why?
I would outlaw white belts in golf because they’re really meant for people not that great at karate.
Your apparel efforts at STITCH are geared for men at this point. Will a women’s line be added at some point?
We currently offer our gear product which is designed to be unisex. I see both men and women using this product. My focus right now is creating a great men’s apparel line. Once I feel this goal has been accomplished, I will then start to look at other areas where we could grow. If we were ever do a women’s line I think it has to be authentic to our brand story and those details I’m still discovering.
Best advice you ever received — what was it and who from?
The most relevant piece of advice that I’ve received was from Marty Hackel “Mr. Style”. Marty told me that if you looked at all the apparel brands out there in golf, the ones that have most recently come on the scene, you could take all the labels out of those products, set them side-by-side and you couldn’t tell the difference from them. One of the things that he encouraged me to do is that if you take the label out of your shirt, are you able to create a DNA that is unique to your brand that customers will recognize. I think this is great advice. It is something I use in my everyday process of creating everything we do at Stitch.
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