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Founder and chief executive officer Megan LaMothe is all teed up for next month’s launch of Foray Golf. With a six-person team based in offices at 12 East 49th Street in Manhattan, Foray is scheduled to go live July 7 with its direct-to-consumer site to try to attract some of the summertime golfers.
LaMothe most recently worked at Victoria Secret as director of design operations. Earlier in her career she was an assistant for Jack and Suzy Welch while they were working on the book “Winning.” Her competitive spirit was evident from her undeniable zeal for all things golf and her rapid-fire responses during a phone interview last week. “I know I sound like a golf nut. I am,” she said.
A former competitive tennis player and self-described “first-generation golfer,” she gave up tennis after tearing her ACL. LaMothe unexpectedly picked up golf six years ago on what was the third date with her now husband. “He played golf so I thought, ‘Let’s go hit balls at Chelsea Piers.’” After he hit a few balls and gave her the rundown on a few basics, she had a try, hitting the ball perfectly 200 yards straight. “I didn’t realize until that moment that something was missing and I had missed being a competitive tennis player,” she said. “Our relationship and our life are really built around golf. Every time we go on vacation we go to a golf course. We belong to a golf course on the East End of Long Island. He proposed to me on a golf course. My daughter Rae is named after Rae’s Creek in Augusta, Ga., because we went to the Master’s there when I was pregnant.”
Those golf skills served her well while working as the director of design operations and a member of the innovation team at Victoria Secret, especially when dealing with vendors in Asia. “It’s one of those sports you can’t be lukewarm about. You’re a golfer and you’re a fanatic. It’s just part of you. It’s a little bit of a gateway drug,” LaMothe said. “As exclusive as people think it is, anybody can play because of the handicapping system. It’s such a social sport.”
In October, she exited Victoria Secret after more than five years and started her own company the following month, though her business plan had already been ironed out. All designs are first tested in the golf course before going into production and technical fabrics are routinely used. Having studied operations, strategy and marketing while getting her MBA at New York University, LaMothe said in her former job she was always envious of how Victoria’s Secret could chase the most trending color in eight days because of the amazing supply chain it has built. To give the label a fashion edge, the model Agnes Sokolowska was recently shot wearing Foray by Marcelo Krasilcic and styled by Joanne Blades. Kabuki handled the makeup and Ted Gibson was in charge of the hair. Noting that the U.S. is the largest golf country in the world, accounting for nearly half of the 35,000 golf courses globally, LaMothe said big brands tend to produce more bland designs in order to reach margins.
Accustomed to obsessing about fit, thanks to her Victoria’s Secret experience, LaMothe wanted to be sure she got that right. One of her former colleagues, Andrea Ashton, who served as director of design for Body by Victoria, is also on board at Foray as chief creative officer. Another diehard golfer, LaMothe’s sister-in-law Patricia Figari, is overseeing social media, marketing and business development as chief marketing officer.
The collection retails from $150 for polo shirts to $500 for highly technical jackets, with the bulk of the collection in the $150 to $200 range. Some skirts and shorts have hidden pockets to stash cell phones, golf tees or other items. Bodysuits, designed to keep golfers’ stomachs covered when they swing, are another example of the collection’s functionality, she said. Entirely U.S. made, Foray uses production facilities in New York and Los Angeles. “With L.A. taking a lot of hits lately with BCBG, Bebe and American Apparel, there is a lot of capacity there [for production],” she said. “The consumer today wants constant newness, speed and trend. Part of the reason I wanted to be able to manufacture in the U.S. is to have that speed-to-market. So we can see a trend that’s coming out and chase it in about 16 or 18 weeks.””
This summer Foray will sponsor special events at Children’s Museum in Bridgehampton, N.Y. It is also partnering with the LPGA-USGA’s Girls Golf program, which teaches golf and life skills to girls. Although golf as a sport is declining, there are now more women under the age of 30 playing the sport than ever before, LaMothe said.