#13: Megan LaMothe, Founder of FORAY GOLF

After attaining an MBA at NYU and working several internships in the fashion and retail world, Megan worked a handful of jobs from marketing at Fox News to a directing design operations at Victoria's Secret. In 2016 LaMothe launched FORAY, a women's golf-wear brand.

What do you consider your top 3 core values and how do they affect how you lead your business?

1) Authenticity:
Our brand and all our product starts from here—being real—above all else we want our customer to feel like her most authentic self. Before we launched Foray, most golf clothing felt like a costume: conservative and old-fashioned. There was very little innovation in fabric and styling, and even less attention paid to what the consumer was interested in her daily life. Foray brings real ready-to-wear relevancy to the course—think Chanel meets the LPGA. So, if she’s a fan of a designer or in love with a trending style, chances are we translated that somewhere in our golf line.
2) Candor:
We’re not big on mincing words. It slows down just about everything. We also don’t believe in pandering to our audience or amongst ourselves. If you have an opinion, just say let it out. We have a tradition in the office where people can call out “HATES IT!” if they don’t like something—from things as small the candy in our office to the ideation of a new style. It’s obviously a funny way to diffuse tension, but really does let every team member feel like they’re free to express how they feel.
3) Fun:
If we’re not having fun, we’re doing it wrong. And yes, sometimes our idea of fun is just a tremendous amount of hard work (I’m personally a glutton for punishment). Part of this is allowing each member of the team creativity and autonomy within their function. We also have a “no-jerks” policy, that is in theory self-regulating—every one of our partners has to pass the “airport test” (i.e. if your flight was delayed, could you survive hanging out in the airport for 6 hours).

Can you share a time you either thought you failed, or actually did fail? How did you react and move past it, and what impact did it have on business decisions?

When starting a new business you fail—A LOT. Way more than you think. The key is to fail small and fail forward. That is, we’ve made all sorts of mistakes but most of them we haven’t made twice.
Of course there are times when there’s a complete crisis and you have to figure out how to pick up the pieces and move on—while at Victoria’s Secret, one of our candle factories burned down (!!) causing us to miss a major Holiday deadline. We had no choice but accept the liability and keep going.
Entrepreneurship is hard. Especially in the early phase, which is a total rollercoaster. And just like the laws of physics, each success has an equal and opposite reaction. With growth comes new problems: hiring employees, building info systems and manufacturing at scale. Dealing with failure is something every business owner should get used to and learn not to be shaken. I’ve personally changed a lot and as a leader it takes WAY more to make me waiver.

What types of projects do you have coming up that we can look forward to seeing in the future?

We have a lot of cool stuff coming up. I am looking forward to opening a second store location in Carmel, California (aka the home of Pebble Beach). Our Southampton store will open again starting Memorial Day weekend with a totally new assortment and some new partners. I love having a physical location because I treat these stores as a testing ground—somewhere we can take chances on new ideas and get immediate feedback from the customer. Does this color work? No. How about the fit of these style lines? Yes! Let’s bring it to our green grass accounts. Our stores also allows us to understand how we can meaningfully broaden our product assortment to non-core golfers; think leggings, workout shirts, sweaters. Even swimwear isn’t totally out of reach (due to the inherent properties of our core fabrics).