Owner of Haus of Grey Shares His Journey
Written By: Ian Hays
Photographed By: Erik Isakson Haus of Grey
Expert: Travis Johnson
Credentials: Founder and President of Haus of Grey
Wise Words: If Johnson could give his 16-year-old self any advice, it would be, “Don’t be so hard on yourself.”
Bellflower, CA native Travis Johnson was born with a 9-iron in hand. Golf has been his lifeblood since youth. He played for UCLA in college and went on for a stint in the pros. It was then that Johnson changed directions and decided to get into the game of golf apparel. He first founded TravisMathew, eventually selling. Over the past several years his focus has been on all things Haus of Grey. We caught up with the golfer/entrepreneur to discuss golf, his journey through clothing apparel and how Haus of Grey is set on changing everything golf apparel can be.
Q: What was your childhood like?
TJ: My parents were great role models. Virtually everything I am involved with today stemmed from them—golf, apparel, community.
Q: Did golf come naturally to you?
Travis Johnson: Golf came very naturally to me. My first golf tournament was at Gene List Par-3 Golf Course. I was five years old. I happened to be paired with local talent, Eldrick Woods, later known as Tiger. My pop took a photo of us as it was symbolic of my first tournament and is now a keepsake.
Q: During your professional golf career, how would you describe the feeling of competing at Qualifying School for the European and PGA Tour?
TJ: It was one of the most ‘alive’ experiences of my life. Standing on the 18th hole in Spain during my final round of Second Stage of Qualifying School. It was a 460 yard par-4, water right, and a road to the left lined by OB [out of bounds] stakes. The wind was blowing left to right, about 30-40 miles per hour. I had to start my ball flight left over the road out of bounds with a straight trajectory planning it to then blow back in play. Thankfully, I hit the fairway and made par. This led to a 2-hole playoff that qualified me into the Final Stage. Money can’t buy those experiences. They’re sacred.
Q: When was that “ah-ha” moment that made you decide to start your own golf clothing line?
TJ: Traveling worldwide is not easy; you’re on the road for three to five weeks at a time, lugging around your golf clubs and an additional 50-pound bag of apparel. There wasn’t one brand in our market that offered a simple solution towards making traveling easier while preserving style and quality. Golf apparel was one dimensional. I thought, ‘How awesome it would be if a brand created apparel styled and designed for wear both on and off the course?’ I imagined a brand offering collections based on easily pairable classic colors combined with a contemporary ‘off-course’ styling while preserving performance quality fabrications.
Q: How did your peers and family react when you broke the news you were leaving golf to launch a golf clothing line?
TJ: Honestly, my friends didn’t take me seriously. However, once I created it, they quickly jumped on board. My family was supportive from the get-go. But my dad still asks me regularly, ‘So, when are you going to start playing again?’
Q: What was it about the state of golf clothing that you were looking to impact the most?
TJ: Two things: enhancing the relationship between the golfer and their favorite brand of apparel and adding to the community surrounding the game. A personal mantra of mine is, ‘Capture culture by design, while promoting community through brand.’ I knew at that time the industry was ripe for a new name with an authentic vision.
Q: Since 2012, you’ve focused solely on Haus of Grey. What is your approach to the brand?
TJ: Haus of Grey serves as our holding company to our men’s and women’s house brands, Matte Grey and Heather Grey. This allows Haus of Grey the opportunity to take on additional projects within our areas of experience like brand consulting, design, distribution, event organizing, management, manufacturing, marketing, sales and/or sourcing. As for Matte Grey and Heather Grey, they’re mature and focused on building and serving our modern recreation community.
Q: What do you believe sets Haus of Grey apart from other golf apparel?
TJ: We have a loyal and active customer and partner base. Without our supporters, we wouldn’t have grown as fast as we have. We strive to constantly improve and enhance our products and services. How we achieve that is a bit of our secret sauce, but it falls within the components of our brand DNA—ingenuity of products, quality customer service and a shotgun approach to marketing.
Q: There wasn’t a large market for women’s golf apparel. Was this a factor in putting an emphasis on that?
TJ: Having both a men’s and women’s brand allows us to curate an even more direct message and focus within each brand. Our Heather Grey voice and product line can be elegant, yet strong.
Q: What is one piece from Haus of Grey that best exemplifies the brand?
TJ: Our Traveler Pant is by far the best combination of fabrication, fashion, fit and function. This pant offers the least wrinkling fabric I’ve ever worn. It’s classic with a modern heather blend. It’s not too narrow and appropriate for the office. The pant also features our center-back fifth pocket perfect for media devices, like the smaller golf range finders.
Fore! If Johnson could play a round of golf with any living person, it would be his dad because he enjoys watching his skills on the course.
Moving On Up: Haus of Grey plans on expanding their clothing line.
All Apparel Provided By:
Haus of Grey
Haus of Grey
10641 Calle Lee, Ste 161
Los Alamitos, CA 90720
Old Ranch Country Club
3901 Lampson Ave
Seal Beach, CA 90740
Fore! Travis Johnson Talks All Things Golf