Engineering a plan to work full time in the industry of the sport he loved allowed Anthony Shareef to break ground as the founder and CEO of the first Black-owned golf apparel company, Sweet Spot Apparel. A PGA Diversity Partner and African-American Golfer’s Digest Golf Apparel Company of the Year, the Atlanta-based company has established a unique presence in the multibillion-dollar global golf industry.
Over the past decade, Sweet Spot Apparel has grown from a reseller to a highly regarded manufacturer of fine golf apparel. The company also offers custom embroidery and logo development for sales meetings, corporate events and tournaments, as well as a wide variety of products including sweaters; performance knit golf and polo shirts; tailored slacks; skorts, shorts and capris for women; and outerwear and accessories.
After having attended the Black Enterprise Golf & Tennis Challenge for the past eleven years, Shareef tells Black Enterprise more about his company, why he’s coming back Miami’s Doral Golf Resort & Spa this Labor Day Weekend for the 2012 competition and how he feels the event can benefit other entrepreneurs.
BE: How did you launch Sweet Spot Apparel?
I am an engineer by trade, but I have been an avid golfer for 17 years and I wanted to work in the golf industry. I started thinking of different ideas of how to get in the industry and in 2001, I started a line of golf apparel and called it Sweet Spot.
The name came when I was sitting with a professional golfer for one of our local tournaments and I saw an advertisement on television and it said something about a ‘sweet spot.’ I thought that would be a pretty catchy name! We then came up with the slogan, “Can you hit it?” because whether you are holding a golf club, baseball bat or tennis racquet, you aspire to hit the sweet spot. When you hit the sweet spot the ball takes off and goes far and straight and that’s the question: Can you hit it?
Five years ago, when we started to manufacture, we were the only African-American manufacturer of golf apparel in the country. If you could imagine, this is a $76 billion industry of which African Americans make up less than 1 percent–from the business perspective. People like Tiger Woods are the driving force of the golf industry but when it comes to providing products and services, we are not having the gains we should…
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