Q&A: Michael Birch

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick April 20, 2023 10:01

With its re-emergence into golf, 2022 proved to be a busy year for golf bag designer OGIO. We caught up with its sales and marketing manager for the EMEA, Michael Birch, to hear all about the brand’s plans moving forward.

How was 2022 for OGIO Europe?

It was a very successful year for us. We saw overall double-digit business growth, largely driven by the brand’s reintroduction to the golf marketplace. The full waterproof golf bags that we launched were released with full colourway patterns as we tried to do something different – trying to disrupt the golf bag market space, which has been really successful so far.

Our golf travel covers have also been a huge success for us – we were sold out of all travel covers last year by May – and our non-golf business has really started to grow and pick up as well. We did a lot more business direct to consumers and really tried to drive those categories that work well for us.

OGIO has re-emerged back into the golf world. What do you offer that’s different?

The key for the brand is to differentiate from the competition and be disruptive in a very cluttered and busy marketplace. Some of our products will definitely have that Marmite effect of loving or hating them, but we are OK with that as it’s better to stand for something and back ourselves. The golf bag market and the golf travel cover market are littered with bags that are solid colour patterns with very similar products across several brands, whereas OGIO is trying to stand for something different with colourful, eclectic designs and patterns.

It’s not just colours that we offer that are different, its technology features too and the re-introduction of silencer technology in our 2023 cart bags is another key development.

How great has it been to get YouTube influencer Peter Finch involved with the brand?

Peter’s been a fantastic addition as a global golf ambassador for OGIO. I think it just shows the appetite, the desire and the aspirations of the brand to elevate itself to a much higher level. Working with one of the biggest golf YouTubers in the world, and one of the most influential people in golf, demonstrates we are serious about our business within the sport going forward.

You recently launched your new golf travel covers. With more and more people playing the game, and following the re-emergence of travel after the pandemic, have you had to change anything from last year to tackle this increase in demand?

What we’ve had to do is be really conscious and careful about the products we’re bringing in. We’ve tried to make sure that we’ve got the right volume for 2023 that can satisfy the marketplace and also grow our business at the same time.

This year we’ve got a lot more colour options than what we had in 2022. Our prebook for our travel covers has been phenomenally successful which has really set us up for a great year. Partnerships with the likes of GolfBreaks.com have also helped us elevate the brand at the same time, and bring the golfer, the OGIO brand and the travel business closer together.

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick April 20, 2023 10:01
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