How ‘Shark Tank’ helped drive Scottsdale’s Bad Birdie
Arizona native Jason Richardson’s life changed when he couldn’t find a shirt.
“A bunch of friends invited me to a golf tournament,” Richardson says. “I went to a golf store and came out with a solid-colored, boring polo and thought there must be something better that people are selling. I did some research and I didn’t find anyone doing that.”
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After years of working with companies like Nike, Apple and Taco Bell, Richardson decided to the matter of boring golf apparel into his own hands and launched Bad Birdie as side hustle.
An appearance on “Shark Tank” — and a deal from Robert Herjavec — has turned Bad Birdie into one of the fastest-growing brands in the golf industry. Az Business sat down with Richardson to learn all about Bad Birdie.
Az Business: What makes Bad Birdie stand out from other golf apparel brands?
Jason Richardson: We stand out in two ways. Our brand is like no other brand in golf, in that we are purely focused on the fun side of golf. You look at any other golf brand and they are selling performance or tradition. We doubled down and built our brand around the fact that golf is fun. Then, there’s the patterns that we put on our shirts. No one is coming up with stuff that is as bold and fun as ours.
AB: Who is Bad Birdie’s audience?
JR: We sell to people of all ages. We have a youth line that usually drops once a year, and we sell all the way up to guys in their 70s. Our target audience, though, is that 20- to 40-year-old golfer.
AB: How has the pandemic impacted the business?
JR: It’s actually helped it a ton. Golf blew up during COVID-19 because you can play it outside and you can socially distance. Bad Birdie and other companies skyrocketed because everyone was outside playing golf.
AB: In 2020, you were on Shark Tank. What was that experience like?
JR: It was very nerve-racking, but also super fun and super challenging. I had to know the business inside and out. Robert Herjavec offered $300,000 for a 25% stake in Bad Birdie. They had a 10-foot putting green on set. I challenged Robert — if he sank a putt, he would get 25% equity. If he missed, he would get 20% equity. Robert missed.
AB: How has being an Arizona-based company helped grow your business?
JR: We sell the most per-capita of Bad Birdie in Arizona. I always say we are in the golf mecca of the U.S.
AB: Where do you hope to take Bad Birdie in the future?
JR: I would like to continue to grow our product line and expand into more lifestyle products. I also want to continue to be the most creative, fun brand in golf – creating more content, more partnerships, connecting with our customers in new ways. Just doubling down on our brand and how we can share our brand and our vision with everyone else.