ORLANDO, FLORIDA | Some days when Henry Rowland wakes up, he’s convinced he is a lunatic.
“I’ll sit there and think, ‘Why don’t I use my degree and get an engineering job with a steady paycheck so I could pad my 401K?’ ” he says. “But other days you get feedback from customers that warms your heart. And you remember why you are doing it.”
This is the internal warfare of an entrepreneur, especially one involved in a golf start-up who is willing to battle established brands that have exponentially more resources. Rowland, a 32-year-old who grew up in Chicago, has a 1-year-old baby in the form of Shapland Sports Company, a throwback brand focused on quality leather golf bags. Although he receives help from family members, it’s more or less Rowland running the show.
Shapland's Sunday bags are made with top-grain leather accents and antique brass hardware.
If anything can serve as a representation of how the golf industry has evolved, Shapland Sports is it. Its old-school bags cost nearly $400 and can be customized with the logo of your choosing. People are now willing and eager to pay for that. Like all of the emerging niche golf brands, Shapland aims to fill a void that larger companies have neglected.
“Since 2008, you can see there’s been a big focus on cost cutting and all the companies have converged on a similar offering,” Rowland said. “Everything now has to be so lightweight and waterproof. I feel like that takes away from the design of the product.”
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