Behind the Golf Brand Podcast with Paul Liberatore

#57 - ECCO Golf Shoes: Jesper Thuen (GM North America)

August 23, 2021 Paul Liberatore Season 2 Episode 57
Behind the Golf Brand Podcast with Paul Liberatore
#57 - ECCO Golf Shoes: Jesper Thuen (GM North America)
Show Notes Transcript

We made it to Episode 57 of the Behind the Golf Brand Podcast.  In this week's episode, I interview my good friends Jesper Thuen the GM for North America of ECCO Golf Shoes. 

Jesper, a former touring professional, has been with Ecco Golf since 2002. Previously, he held the position of Global Marketing Manager for more than a decade before his move to Singapore in 2016 to oversee the brand’s activities in golf’s emerging markets such as Japan, South Korea and China. As part of his role, Jesper is in charge of all global sponsorship related activity. Ecco shoes are worn on tour by Thomas Bjørn, Fred Couples, Lydia Ko, Minjee Lee and Caroline Masson, among others and are some of the most comfortable golf shoes on the market.

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Speaker 1:

Today , we play a golf. Let me show you how we do it in the pros. Welcome to behind the golf brand podcast. I'm never missed with the seminar , a conversation with some of the most interesting innovators and entrepreneurs behind the biggest names in golf. My friends were the golf clubs. I lived on the golf course. I lived on the driving range from pro talk. You should learn something each and every single round you play to fun from on and off the green. Why would you play golf? You don't play it for money. Just let me put the ball in the hole. This is behind the golf brand podcast with Paul libertory .

Speaker 2:

What's up guys, Paul from golf authority. Welcome to the behind the golf brand podcast. This week, I have my good friend Jasper doin from echo golf shoes. Echo is if you don't, you probably don't have a job and you probably don't play . Oh , because they make the most comfortable golf shoes and work shoes. I was just told just for my story about my , my shoes around. So I'm really excited I have on the show because they're legend in the shoe world without further ado. Welcome to the show. So Jasper , where are you right now? And I am in

Speaker 3:

A, in Denmark. So a man echo this Danish company. And , uh , currently I work out of our headquarters. Um , we are a bit on travel restrictions at the moment. So , uh, so I'm back in , uh , in , uh , in Denmark where I am born and raised. So I'm all good here. It's summer. And it's really nice. It's a nice, no summer here, winter, not they're nice, but the summers are great. And then a lot of people golfing, which we love, of course.

Speaker 2:

So do you to have like weird lockdowns right now?

Speaker 3:

Now we , uh, we have been fortunate in Denmark and they have a number of cases is , um, um, it's not a huge and , uh , and we are basically fully open. So almost back to normal, I would say despite , uh , and that's not the case in the rest of the world, but we have been, been fairly lucky. So , um , instead of that long, small country, we only five and a half million people here. And , uh , people have been, been good at following instructions to stop the spreading of the virus.

Speaker 2:

So there's like no weird lockdowns right now or anything.

Speaker 3:

No, not really. So the only thing that's not really open as nightclubs , uh , restaurant and bars can be open until two, but other than that, yeah,

Speaker 2:

COVID there was that like super strict , cause you were saying you went back to , if you're in Boston, then you went back home in March and then you'd never been able to come back essentially right now.

Speaker 3:

So , uh , so there's travel affections from, from Europe into, into us. So I'm not allowed to travel into the us at the moment from , uh, from Europe. So I haven't been back since March last year, which is a bit strange and I haven't been on an airplane, you know , for one and a half years, which I can't remember when that happened the last time, but hopefully things open up soon again and , uh, I can travel and I can go back to you as I really enjoyed being there. So I'm very eager to get,

Speaker 2:

I do

Speaker 3:

Nothing like American sports. Uh , that's definitely something I miss in Denmark. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Soccer team, right. That's I mean,

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Soccer is big here, handball, which you don't play in U S a and not really my thing. So , um , I'm a kind of a hockey guys. I love to go out . Yeah . You guys play a lot there , like in quite a bit actually. And uh , yeah. And we have a few Danes actually over in NHL, which is quite amazing because we only have 16, 17 rinks in , uh , in Denmark. So it's not a lot considering, you know, the size of the country and how many players, but how are we doing all right. But of course it's nothing like going to a hockey game. And when the last time I went in , um , was based in Boston and went to watch a few college games and I thought it was amazing ,

Speaker 2:

Uh , college hockey, Boston it's insane. It was good. Yeah. And

Speaker 3:

Of course, men console a few and Bruins games as well, which I really enjoyed. So yeah. So I kind of wait to get back to you so

Speaker 2:

You you're gonna be able to come back. I don't think it's

Speaker 3:

Going to be before January right now. We know where hopefully the PGA show will , uh, will happen . And we really look forward to go to Orlando in January and see all our colleagues in the industry and see a lot of our accounts, which we haven't seen for a long time and , uh , hard for you.

Speaker 2:

Right. Because with your role, it's like you came and be in the United States. So now it's like all zoom calls or whatever. Right.

Speaker 3:

I have taken my fair share over zoom and calls and then there's like a difference

Speaker 2:

And it's six hours, six hours

Speaker 3:

Time difference, spend a bit of evening work . It's all right. I mean, there's many people around the world who are having a much tougher than I am. So I'm definitely not competing.

Speaker 2:

Are you at a golf pro or something, or like, well , how did you get into the , yeah,

Speaker 3:

So actually I have a dad who's a PGA professional. So I basically grew up in the back room of a pro shop. Um , um , my father is still a golf pro just by you turn 70 next year. And I think he been a golf pro for 45 years now . Shasha all of us that basically , um , grew up in the game and started playing when I was like four years old and , um, had a little stint as a, as a professional back in , uh , in the nineties, played on the challenge store here in , in Europe. Um , and that was actually how I got into to echo because I was the first player that, that EchoSign back in the days when we started making gold shoes. And yeah , so I have a bit of history with them , with a company, echo golf basically started off as a hobby project and it's been just an amazing journey over these last 25 years. We can actually celebrate 25 years and virtually this year. And now we consider ourselves with one of the world's leading golf shoe brands on them. It's been a tremendous, tremendous ride.

Speaker 2:

You grew up playing golf and then you go to school. Like, I don't know how it works in Denmark. So do you like, do you go to college and play golf or then , or you go like from no ,

Speaker 3:

You basically go to school and then, then you play golf after, after school . And , um , that was a bit of a golf team in the school I went to, but it was not like an official program in the school or anything. Um, so that is I'm in the club. So of course I, I played in the club where my father was a golf pro and , uh , yeah, play golf all the time. Not so much in the winter here and too much snow and cold there too , but the summertime and the whole summer holiday, I mean , I was in the golf course every, every single day. And then I got into the national team when I was around 14, I think. And , uh , and then it got a little bit more serious , um , and got to travel around Europe and play . So that was great.

Speaker 2:

So you played professionally for how many years? Five years.

Speaker 3:

So when I was trying to five , then I was not really good enough, you know, to, to make it to the big stage. And , uh, so I took my five years and then , uh, and then most time together, I probably

Speaker 2:

Be , but I mean, he was a job though. So it was like, you gotta get a job when you got out of playing professionally, then you already working with echo because they were sponsoring you with them .

Speaker 3:

I worked in a few other companies before that. And then , uh , I joined our distributor in Denmark for echo golf in 2002. And in 2004, I am joined the echo headquarters, which is located down in Southern part of Denmark and the border to Germany. And then I had various roles over the years. I started as a sponsorship and PR manager and then turned into global marketing manager. And then I went to Asia actually for , for three years and was in charge of our Asian Gulf operations based in Singapore and then onto us. And now I, I hold a role as GM for , for echo Bolton in us.

Speaker 2:

What's the biggest push right now. Would you say for the golf shoe industry then, you know, is everybody trying to go for the lighter shoe? That's more of a walking shoe or is it more, you know, cause you see , I see it now, like shoes are changing a lot. Yeah. They

Speaker 3:

Are on the , over the last 10 years. Uh , I think we were one of them who , who basically started, which we don't want to call it a trend anymore because now it's real. And we went to a bit more sport issues and that's that whole thing started with Freddy couples wearing the golf street back to the masters back in 2010. And uh, and now people, you know, the shoes today, I'm much, much lighter. It's much better materials. You get better attraction shoes on . And I would say overall walking comfort in a golf shoe today compared to just 15, 20 years ago is amazing. It's always for us an eco comfort. This is the most important thing. And uh , and we want people's feet to be feeling just as good a when you walk off the 18th green as the day when, when you walk on through to the first tee. And because we believe, you know, if you get tired and your feet doing , uh , around a golf, then you'll be tired in your legs and then go tired and you have, then you don't play as much. So, so is definitely a performance feature. And then of course the golf shoe needs to , to provide enough stability and traction during the golf swing. And, but, but definitely the comfort for us is absolutely the most , no , for

Speaker 2:

Like for reals , you guys make like the most comfortable shoes on the face of the earth. I mean, my dress , like I sent you before my dress shoes are ACO. They're like wearing slippers. I've had them forever. I'll probably never get rid of them. You know, you're known for comfort, which I think is really cool. You know, there's so many shoe brands out there, but it's not, maybe they're not known for like being the most comfortable, right? Like the most comfortable I tell you right now, but that's a,

Speaker 3:

That's a philosophy and echo that all , uh , all shoes we are developing, we develop a , we call it a form, follows function. So we always develop the shoe around the foot and not the other way around. We don't come up with any fancy designs and then hope they fit. It's always the feet that comes first and we design our products to follow their , uh, the natural shapes of , uh , of the foot. And that's one of the reasons why we have really comfortable shoes. Echo has been around for more than 50 years and we have great experience in there making them comfortable shoes and golf shoes for 25 years now. So we know what it takes to , uh , to make really good, comfortable. Uh ,

Speaker 2:

What's the story with echo? Like how does it start? Yeah . And it was

Speaker 3:

Founded by a Shoemaker called culture SPE , uh, back in 1963 and he decided to start his own company down in Southern part of , uh , of Denmark. And he wanted to basically tell them to make the most comfortable and best shoes possible. Um, and it started with lady shoes to begin with. And then today, you know, we have ladies men's shoes. We have at least the shoes we have outdoor, we have kids and we have both shoes. So that's basically how it started. And then golf was actually a bit of a coincidence because Kaltura SPI , he got a set of golf clubs from , uh , from a partner back in the nineties and, and started playing golf. And he was wearing all the golf shoes that was in the market at that time. And he didn't believe they were, first of all, not very good quality and they were absolutely not comfortable

Speaker 2:

Leather. I remember like serious , they're not comfortable.

Speaker 3:

No. And , um, so he thought he could do that better. And , and he started a basic as a hobby project to make golf shoes and they came out pretty well. I good. And , um, so if there was so many things you can do with all shoes, we were actually the brand who pioneered, you know, comfort in build comfort into golf shoes, but also do them a little bit more colorful back in the days, you know, I'll go through for basically, you know, black brown or all for the good players. Well leather like yeah. Heavy

Speaker 2:

Leather shoe with like the ugliest bike . Yeah.

Speaker 3:

So we brought colors in, we brought a little bit more exotic materials into golf and we wanted to make it, then the golf shoes look a bit better, be more fun and , uh, and of course be very comfortable to wear. So that was basically how golf started. And , um, for the first number of years, it was not really a serious thing in echo for them. Then in 2002, if really took off and it was taken serious and we started building up distribution and was a bit more serious with, with design and product development. And now today we are consider this as one of the leading golf shoe brands in the world.

Speaker 2:

So who's your competitor, would you say are competitors Nike? Yeah ,

Speaker 3:

Of course. And then I would say food Joe to start with is the market leader and I'm doing extremely well for joining Nike Adidas is our main competitors, good colleagues. And they also make great products, but we try our best to,

Speaker 2:

So you guys came out in the nineties was like, so the biggest thing that I guess the difference between you and the competitors at the time was like the color, the design, like, no, one's really doing that because Nike wasn't in the shoe business back then, where are they

Speaker 3:

Now ?

Speaker 2:

That was like the only one you can buy pretty much or some knockoff brand that your dad. Yeah. So Joe has,

Speaker 3:

Has been the market leader for, for, for many, many years and they will also around them and also did good products , but we, we always try to be a little bit different and , and we want to surprise our consumers every year with new technologies or new designs. And , um, and we tried to do that every year when we bring out a new product. So we were the first brand who brought out golf shoes with anatomical shape last, which will we have an alibi, the shoes we have done Gore-Tex around with 360 breath ability. Um , we have a model out now called S3, which has three different densities in the mid midsole that gives all the features you need in a, in a golf , golf swing and , and , and walking comfort. So we have brought out a lot of technologies that , uh, that we have pioneered in the golf industry. And we can do that because we are a little bit different from , from our competitors because we own the whole value chain, which means that we have our own, tanneries where we do our own leathers . We have our own shoe factories , so we don't outsource anything. And that means we can control the quality process . Yeah. Like on

Speaker 2:

Someone else's thumb , right ? Like too ,

Speaker 3:

We can control the whole, a whole manufacturing process from, from H and M and also developing new technologies in that we believe that it's beneficial for the consumer . That's a huge benefit. We have that , uh , that we have the whole value chain and inequity .

Speaker 2:

What would you say is your most popular shoe? Right now we

Speaker 3:

Launched a product called [inaudible] , which was the fourth generation in the , in our biome hybrid , uh, franchise. And that is , um , that is our most popular shoe at the, at the moment. And , um, consumers are really happy about it. We built in a bit more stability in it . We changed the leather also, and we did, I'll say quite an extensive , uh , update , uh , product. And , uh , and the feedback is , um , it's really, really positive. Um , and they do , um , do really, really well around the world actually.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah. That's everybody knows you like , that's the word right? Who like right now, who do you have signed with echo when it comes to shoes? Yeah,

Speaker 3:

Of course. Freddy couples is still wearing our shoes. Um, I was playing golf with my, my old friend's Thomas Bjorn and a former European Ryder cup captain the other day. And he's still on contract now . We , we played on the same team actually, and we won that. So that was good. Yeah. Then we haven't had an extensive Eric from Ryan who won on the PGA tour last week at Barracuda championship. Um, on the female side, we have [inaudible] , which has been playing extremely well this year. And we haven't been dilly who just won an Avi-on and one of her first majors. So our staffers and I actually am on a roll at the moment, which is nice to see him . And Eric wore the, the age four with a hybrid outsole. Um, and I'm really, really happy about that . Uh, our happy about them. And it was really great to see him get his first win on the PGA tour.

Speaker 2:

It's pretty cool too . Like European players, like backing the brand to , you know, I feel like, you know, the us dominates so much of it. So when you see like your peer and players, like, darn it do really well. You're like, oh, good. You know, not Rory, I mean , but you know what I'm saying? Like, like Henrik and like, I don't know . Now

Speaker 3:

I spoke of course a bit, but by Radiko it's almost the other day. And , um, and of course who, what he thinks about it for, for this year, because I mean, on paper, I mean, the U S have by far the strongest team, but , but sometimes, or a lot of times it seems like the Europeans, they , they find an extra gear when it's, when it's right. A cup timeline. And I know they have a really good camaraderie on the , on that team and they have a have a really great week. It's going to be interesting again, I mean, Americans are by far big favorites. Uh, but , uh, but in Radica I was like,

Speaker 2:

You know, something will happen like last time where you guys kicked her out. So

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it was , uh , it was , uh , it was really cool down in Paris. However , I forgot that was in Paris at PGA national. Yeah. Almost was actually the Capitol . And so he still talks a lot about

Speaker 2:

You guys like playing a scramble or something, or what were you doing?

Speaker 3:

Uh , there's a challenge tore event , uh, that is part of the echo tour in Denmark, which is played in , in Denmark this week. And , uh, and there was a program on Tuesday and , um , I'm telling us , uh, kind to , to show up and play that night . I played on his team. So that was, that was a really cool experience and great to play a little bit of golf with him. Again,

Speaker 2:

What's coming out like in the next, would you say this year, is there any more releases happening or is this kind of starting to slow down?

Speaker 3:

We released the new BiOmega four, which is our big release for , for this year. Um , now for , for autumn winter, we just bringing out a few color updates on, on the existing models. Um, and we won't bring out anything new before next spring right now, as you probably heard that the most important thing for us just actually supply that , uh , that we get our products from our factories , uh, in time. Um, you've probably heard about all the issues that has been with containers and the important issues and stuff for now. It's , uh , for us, the most important thing is that we get enough products in many of us. It sounds a little bit crazy, actually, that we have these kinds of problems with them. Everybody in the industry seems to have a little bit of inventory problems at the moment. We are lucky we have our own factories and we can control a lot of it ourselves, but of course, containers and port issues that become controlled. But, but hopefully things

Speaker 2:

Problem . I didn't realize it, you know, people say that. And then when you like go to people's offices or warehouses, and they're like, we don't have anything, you know? And then I talked to my friend owns like an independent shop a couple of weeks ago. And I was like, Hey, how , how are things going? I'm like, I'm looking for a steady use cluster, somebody. And he's like, I don't have any clubs. I'm like, why? He's like, because we can't get new clubs in. So he's like, it's a 12 week wait for new clubs because it's taking forever. So people just want to buy the youth , but I have no youth clubs now and I have no regular clubs, not when am I going to sell. Right. Like, and I had no idea of that bad. You know, what's in

Speaker 3:

Them been created bad for a while now. And , um, I don't think the situation will normalize proportion , uh, sometime in 2022.

Speaker 2:

Um , and then there's the issue with the balls and if you're anything like that's been going on for a year, almost like that last September from Dean snow , he says like , oh, we can't get you anything , you know? And so it's crazy. It's just crazy right now. Yeah.

Speaker 3:

I hear from , from colleagues, you know, there's problems with supply of grips and shafts and all social components, you know, to build clubs and , um, yeah. And then all the shipping issues on top of it that it's just been an asset

Speaker 2:

Bananas right now, let a secondary golf market for like youth clubs or stuff from generation before, whatever. I bet it's already sold out. Yeah.

Speaker 3:

That's a , that's what I hear, you know, to find beginner sets and literally impossible, whatever heard. And , uh, yeah, but I mean, the Gulf had been booming, you know, basically since the COVID situation started and , uh , and seems to be continuing and , and the market grew tremendously , uh , the first quarter or the first half of this year, and people really want to get out and play golf and people feel safe on , uh , on the golf course, which, which is great for our sport. Also, we are getting a bit younger people into the game, which was really needed. So that is great to see, despite the it's on a , on a little bit of a tragic , uh , background with the pandemic.

Speaker 2:

Well, plus like you being a apparel company or shoe company and having not only comfortable shoes, but good design, like it helps because then you always new golfers coming in . They had no idea, right. Like before they think it's a stuffy sport and then were like, oh, there's cool stuff. Oh, it's comfortable. All right . Cool. Yeah.

Speaker 3:

And I think also, I really like to see, you know, that all the forms of sports, like, you know, the top golf and these kinds of facilities, you know, are , uh , showing up and people really having with golf, which I think was very much needed. And I know that everybody that goes to the top golf, maybe not go to a regular golf facility, but , um, but for sure some people will do it. And , um , and it's really good that it issues new narratives , you know, to, to bring people into , uh, into the sport. And especially the younger gentleman .

Speaker 2:

It's a crazy time. I don't know. It's just , you don't realize how hard it is to be in the golf industry made that probably will have the PGA show because they need the money. So they'd have one last year and with my name and they're the one online, but still like, I feel like the bullet blessing and a curse, right? Like you're doing the best you possibly can. And then you can get supply what you would never happen. So,

Speaker 3:

But I really hope that the PGA show will have, and we are very eager to our friends . We all a family in golf, so it's a one big family. So it's always good to go on and catch up both with colleagues, but also with all accounts of course, and see them. And of course you can do a lot to , you know , via teams or assume meetings, but it's not the same as, as meeting people in the in-person manner . Yeah. Like the first

Speaker 2:

Time I went the first time, last year, like 19, I never been here before I've reached so many people at this point. It was just so exciting to actually meet them in person to talk on the phone a million times. And it was like, it was weird. It was like your long lost family. And then you just knew them because you just become friends with them over the years . So were like, Hey, what's going on? And then you're like hanging out. I would go that I don't pay for it. People in the chat are saying, you guys need to come out with a red, white, and blue eco biome shoe in America.

Speaker 3:

They actually, yeah. I can tell you, we are bringing up. Now. We , um, uh, in, in the , in the process of settling in for, for spring summer 22 now, and there is a red, white and blue shoe and , uh , and that's in the biome franchise also. So , um, it's a great shoe.

Speaker 2:

So another person is saying they would love to see a boa option for female golfers. That's actually

Speaker 3:

Coming in already this autumn winter. So they will be in the shelves of timber October time and both on H four and there's threes . And we have an increased amount for boa products. So we are bringing out a bit more boa , uh , and , uh, and that will be both for both genders. So that will be an exit , quite a few options coming out. Um, and as I said, September, October time, they will be , uh , be available both on , on echo.com and other

Speaker 2:

Retailers . So H four just came out this year, right? Yeah. That launched back in March. Those are cool shoes. Which one do you like the best

Speaker 3:

White shoes? You know, I grew up in white shoes and then I have always, likewise , I don't play golf myself and black shoes. Um, but I think will have a of cool color options. And also the light grays , which I think is really good, done . And I'll for the women. We have a lot of good color options there , um, for men's , um, it's a little bit hard to sell bold colors on men's shoes, but for women's , um, we have , um, how, the number of really, really good color combination status. It's interesting when

Speaker 2:

It comes to shoes. Cause like in the last two, three years, there's been a lot more bold colors when it comes to men's shoes. Right. And then there's also brands coming into it, like duke, Adele, Cosma, Royal Albert Ross , three, $400 shoes that are like multicolor, you know, I mean, they're doing wow .

Speaker 3:

Like call us . So we , um, we really have to decide that we do. And yeah. So it's really nice to see you, there is a demand for four colors finally,

Speaker 2:

Right? Because there wasn't really a lot of color in golf and, you know, until like the last 10 years, and then now it's moved to shirts. Like men's shirts are more colorful, right. At the biggest dial, you know, shoe they're starting to become more colorful. I think it's cool. And that's how you're going to be able to also, you know, the next generation of golfers, that's the , they like, so it's like out with the white shoe and

Speaker 3:

Especially, you know, if , if we get more young people into , uh , into golf, you know, down a little bit more daring, I would say, and , and would like to have , uh , have more colors. So that's definitely something we look forward to. And, and, and we will continue, you know , to have a heavy focus on the Encore.

Speaker 2:

So what's your favorite shoe then right now?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I'm about , I'm a big fan of the , uh , the S3. So you see, they have these three different colors on , uh, on the mid shore and they actually have three different densities it's out . So we'd have the firmest density in the , in the, in the mid part of the shoe where you really need a lateral stability. And during the golf swing, then it's a slightly softer in the heel part. And on the red part here on, on this shoe where you still need a bit of stability, but you need a little bit more cushioning for , for when you're walking and you do your down step . And then the softest part is in the, in the front foot that , where you see the light gray and that's where you need to have all the comfort for walking, because that's where the shoe or flexing.

Speaker 2:

Yes.

Speaker 3:

So , uh, so three different densities that we are doing there, and it's just a tremendous , uh , golf shoe and extremely comfortable. Uh, but it also provide all the stability you , um , you need during the golf swing on it's , um , that is also Hannah extensor preferred , uh , shoe. And , um, and he says, it's like walking on clouds. I believe that

Speaker 2:

It's not like, you know, some brands would be like, oh yeah , we make comfortable shoes. Like, when you say that, I'm like, oh, I know now I bet it does. I'm not questioning it. I'm not gonna like , yeah . Jasper it's like walking on clouds and now I'm like up, it really does. Oh, that's so cool. I love your guys' logo too. This is a cool bottom of the shoe. Wow. I like

Speaker 3:

The, look it, I mean, it's very sleek copper, and then you have the color combinations on , on the midsole that, that gives the shoe some pop and some really nice colors on , uh , uh, on him. And they will be available in a, in a board version. Also this whole thing ,

Speaker 2:

What it , it seemed boa like what makes boas special? I guess they're always saying I forgot .

Speaker 3:

Yeah. I mean, it's a, it's a convenience thing. I , that you don't need to lace up your shoe and that , and you just have the dial where you can just twist and turn it. No, boy , it's a separate company, so they're an external vendor of ours. And , uh , yeah. But while you see Bo on, on, you know , basically all of our , a lot of other brands are using the board technology also. And , um, and it's getting more and more demand on us. And , um , to , in a market like Japan than , um , the majority of shoes, I would say probably almost 90% of all the shoe sold in Japan , the school , the board island .

Speaker 2:

And it's getting, I heard this week from somebody that Japan is blowing up involved right now, like blowing up. Like they said that they have inside door . They said that one of the manufacturer for clubs, 80 to 90% of their sales are coming from Japan this year of a major club company. And I was like, holy crap. And he's like, yeah, the sales suck in the United States. And he's like, but in Japan it's like biggest ever. And I'm like, really? It's like, oh yeah, but I didn't understand like, why, you know, because of COVID or, I mean, to me , yeah.

Speaker 3:

It's always depends . It's always been a big market. It's the second biggest market in the world after , um, after us. So it's a it's Europe . Yeah . So , uh, Japan and also Korea , uh , which is the third largest wealth market in the world is also grooming really get a lot of young people into the game, which is , uh, which is really great in Korea. They play just as much golf on simulators as they do on, on regular grass course. So , uh, it's quite , uh, quite interesting.

Speaker 2:

Uh, that's a big thing there, right? Like they just, I wouldn't have it on the sand where you go to a bar and everyone that's like a big, big, big thing in Korea.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. And a lot of the office buildings, you know, they have , uh , have the same layout of facilities and then people, you know, on their lunch break, they go down and play nine holes of golf in the , in the lunch break on the , on the simulator , which is , uh , which

Speaker 2:

Is, yeah , I was looking at YouTube. Some of the biggest golf, YouTube channels are like from Japan and Korea. And I don't even know what they're saying, and I don't even know what they're doing, but they're not really playing ball . It's like kind of goofing around whatever, a million views in the first day. And I'm like, what are they watching? I don't even know what it's called. I don't read Japanese, but I was, I'm really impressed. I'm like, holy crap, are you guys making a big push there? You guys don't have a pretty big presence in Japan right now.

Speaker 3:

Well , yeah, we are already there. And we have been in Japan and Korea for many years on this and we are one of the leading brands there. And , and , um, yeah, and also we are seeing some tremendous growth , uh , over the last , uh , 15, 16 months and both in, in Korea and Japan show . Um, so that's , um , that's good. Currently we sell golf shoes and we sell in 45 different countries around the world. The us is by far our most important markets. Uh , of course, because of the size it's it's by far the biggest growth market in the world, but Japan and Korea is , is spoke with office , uh , markets for us as

Speaker 2:

Well . Will you say that the SU a lot of players still wear spikes , you know , or cleat cleated shoes, or is everybody kind of moving towards just a regular grippy sole ? No, I would say

Speaker 3:

It's around 50 50 between a soft spikes and , uh , and hybrid shoes as we call them. Some people call them, spikes us . Also, we don't like to call them spike us because that's kind of say that there's no grip. So we'd like to call them hybrid shoes because we actually believe that that hybrid shoes are more comfortable to wear. You can wear it on and off the golf course, but also all the testing we have done, you have just as good grip on , uh , on hybrid out shorts in all conditions, actually not only in good weather, but also when it gets a bit wet on the, in the grass , um, on, on your playing surfaces. So they provide plenty of grip and , um, and it , yeah, and then we believe it's more comfortable to wear. So, so we are very much into , um , in , into hybrids and also all our male players, all of them, they wear , um, uh , harbored out shoulder , um, and don't wear any soft spikes that's so of course there's still people, you know, who, who , who likes to wear soft spikes and that's of course fair enough. And , uh, but we had just believed that hybrid shoes is men it's better for,

Speaker 2:

Right? Yeah . It's like, you don't want to have to impair the shoes. Like you wear a pair of shoes, go to the golf course and then drive home. Like you don't wanna have to change your shoes. And really, I dunno , that's my opinion and spice break and they got switched them out and they weren't out. I just stupid, like we'll buy a new pair of shoes, you know , we really need to, that's a gesture would say, go buy another pair of echos . I think that will be a good choice. Did you have beautiful background behind the Oreo outside? Are you inside?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I'm actually inside in a , in my little summer house. It's uh , what time is it? Is five in the afternoon. Yes, it's on there. So it's good.

Speaker 2:

You have some color changes happening in the fall, right. And the floors , and then bringing you'll have new stuff coming out. New shoes.

Speaker 3:

We'll have a , have a new big launch in , uh , in spring , uh, which will happen in them in , in March . And then

Speaker 2:

You'll be able to see them at the PGA show. Yes. I need to get a pair of echo shoes. I have lots of shoes, but like echo , I already know I would want something comfortable. I thought I want my feet to hurt, but I'm playing golf and stuff . So

Speaker 3:

One thing cool coming out also, actually in the , in the spring. So we will have some , um, some very , uh , breathable shoes . And I guess you , uh , sitting in Arizona, right where it's , uh , it's fairly hot. So , um, so we will bring some , uh, some good weather shoes out as well, where they , um, just a little bit water repellent, you know? So they will take the morning view if, if it's a little bit wet in the mornings, but then it's a in materials that are very well , very, very breathable. Um, which I would imagine you would enjoy where , where you are. So that's one of these , one of the new inventions we're bringing out the next spring then.

Speaker 2:

Awesome . That's cool. Yeah. It's very hot right now. I went and played golf on Friday and I thought I was gonna die. Like, I didn't play 17, 18. That's how bad it was. Cause I , and I drink a ton of water. I w I had zero energy by 17, like zero. And then I drive home for an hour. I had the worst headache and I went to bed at seven o'clock at night. Like we feed off at 1230 though. So that was also kind of stupid, but it was pretty brutal right now you can get cheap QP times, but it's like, you want to live or die? Beat the heat. Yeah, you can go earlier . I went playing on Sunday. We went like at six and with my bag one 12, I think we went and played, but was like , it never got that hot in Denmark before. So like ever, so it's right above Germany. We rarely gets over 90 . So , so how far are you from Copenhagen? I am three hours away from Copenhagen or style. Oh, east . Okay.

Speaker 3:

So I'm on the mainland , uh , at the moment. And in Copenhagen, this over on an island called Ceylon and three hours, that's a , about the longest time you can get to this a little country. So I think

Speaker 2:

Other side of the country, literally. Yeah .

Speaker 3:

I just, again, I think if you can't drive for more than four hours in Denmark, from one site to another yeah . Corner

Speaker 2:

Of you , so then how far even Germany then, and then it's , uh ,

Speaker 3:

From where I am now, it's a two and a half hours to Germany . And I'm actually where our office is, is basically on the border to Germany. So that was showing me a mile to the border too .

Speaker 2:

So like, golf is going good in Europe. There's nothing. I know England was like, shut down again for awhile down the, open it up and then they'll close it and open it up and I'll close it. But I think they just

Speaker 3:

Opened up everything over in England. Now

Speaker 2:

They've closed until June, whenever it was. And people, we never had that problem here, we were always open so well , I'm a big fan of echo . I know everybody in the chat is as well. And you guys just, we make the best, most compost shoes on planet. That's my opinion. I really appreciate you coming on the show today and telling us more about what echoes up to explaining the different shoes . Your background is . It's really cool. And now even do friend of the show. So it'd be really cool to be on the show. I didn't realize you were in Denmark . I thought you were in Boston and you're like, I'm in Denmark. I was like, oh crap. All right , cool. I felt bad. So thanks so

Speaker 3:

Much for having me on , uh , on the show. And , um , I promise we will work very hard to , to make even better products that looks better performance even better. And it's a joy

Speaker 2:

You guys . Well , cool. Well, thanks for being on the show and I'll see everybody soon.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening to another episode of behind the golf brand podcast. You're going to beat me , uh , go stay connected on and off the show by visiting golfers authority.com. Don't forget to like subscribe and leave a comment. Golf is always more fun when you win , stay out of the beach and see you on the greenery.