Shelley Carter-Farro

CEO of LaaTeeDa Sports

Shelley Carter-Farro, is a Marketing Consultant and amateur golfer, turned fashion designer/CEO for LaaTeeDa Sports, out of passion and necessity. For the love of sport, golf and fashion she stepped up to create a stylish sportswear collection for athletic women.

As an avid amateur woman golfer, she was always struggling to find golf clothes that actually fit and that she liked. After many years of not finding the type of form fitting Athletic Wear for golf that she and her friends wanted to wear on the golf course, she decided to do something about it. Along with the support of her husband, Brian Farro, she went about researching and developing a line of golf wear that women would want to wear on the golf course and off. The initial challenge was to create a balance between the strict golf country club dress code rules and develop a line that would push the boundaries but not cross them as far as being classy and not trashy.

“Investing in your own ideas, brand and product line that you are passionate about is not for the faint at heart. It is terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time. You have to step forward with a ton of faith, a willingness to take risks, a commitment to invest a ton of research, hard work and money.”

Where did the idea for LaaTeeDa Sports come from?

I went golfing with a friend at a local Country Club years ago and as we picked up our cart and headed to tee off, we got called out for not wearing the proper “golf uniform”.  Since there was nothing worth purchasing in the pro shop,  we headed home to change into our collared man cut golf shirts, the longest pair of Bermuda shorts we could find and a tennis skirt that might just make the cut. As we drove home my friend turned to me and said… “Well, la-di-da!”.  We laughed and joked about how horrible women’s golf clothes were and I I committed, “One day I am going to change that!”

Realizing that nothing much had changed in women’s golf wear since that sunny, summer day in 2015, the timing seemed right to take on this next career challenge.  Every weekend I would get out golfing with my friends and listen to how they too struggled to find golf clothing that they actually felt good wearing.

Today LaaTeeDa Sports is working on changing fashion in women’s golf wear!  I have personally tested and refined each design along with feedback from family and friends.  Whether you are just starting out or have been golfing for years, LaaTeeDa Sports has the fashion forward, functional and comfortable athletic casual wear designs that you will want to wear on and off the course!

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

You have to set a balanced schedule as to set aside time to build your business without sacrificing family. As I grow the company, I know I will need to have someone assigned to monitoring at least some of my communications, however for now I dos a ton of this on my own with the help of one employee, partner designers/manufacturers and contracted fulfillment center personnel.

– Get up early.
– Check and respond to emails and Social Media engagement – Set aside time to check 2-4 times a day ~ don’t let your email and social media channels control and waste your whole day – Stay Focused.
– Check on advertising analytics and spend by channel. Evaluate and make adjustments as needed.
– Review PR opportunities and any new marketing tools that can help us scale.
– Review new sales opportunities – affiliate marketing and direct Pro-Shop sales that can be developed and targeted for the year ahead.
– Set time each day to research and develop new pieces for the upcoming season. Testing & development take a lot of time so she needs to commit a certain amount of time each day to keep moving forward on new designs and new product development.
– Work with designer and manufacturer on prototype designs, size grading and sample testing as required.
– Review sales, any returns and product reviews feedback. Address any issues that have come up.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Look to find a current gap in the market today or an improvement that you could make to an existing product.

Research your options and refine your design. Test it in every way possible before manufacturing and bringing it to market. Don’t be surprised if you miss some little details that you will need to refine in the second production run.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Our world is changing and one business trend that excites Shelley is how Ecommerce is predicated to only get bigger and better as the year moves on. The coronavirus has changed things all over the world, and it’s expected that buying behavior is likely to boom. As of mid-April, revenue growth had increased by 68% on a year over year basis, and there’s been a 129% year over year growth in US and Canadian ecommerce orders. Conversion rates have also increased to almost 8.8%. The year of Covid-19 has laid ground the importance of having an ecommerce business, and now, it’s easy to say that if you don’t have an ecommerce business, you are missing out on serious revenue.

Also on a side note, seeing more and more young women getting into the sport of golf is another trend that really excites me. It is great to see on so many levels as this sport has so much to offer!

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I like to gather as much information as I can before making a critical decision moving forward. Whether it is researching a new product or tool to help you bring that product to market, a bit of research and testing can save you a ton of money and even time in the long run.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Believe in yourself and know that you can do anything you set your mind to.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

I honestly couldn’t think of anything that is true that almost nobody agrees with me on.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Research, research, research… and don’t be afraid to ask the advise of other people, but don’t get stuck on a few people’s opinions – a product for everyone is a product for no one. Follow your gut instinct but do your homework first.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Look into tools that will help you automate. Spreading the word about a brand or new product takes a ton of effort and money. If you can find a tool or tools that can help you automate some of your marketing activities without seeming robotic, invest in those tools and people to help manage. You won’t be able to do it alone.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

There are no short cuts and very few true ‘experts’ that you can trust.” I invested in a company that positioned themselves as an expert in the Fashion Industry that could help develop and bring my designs to market in the beginning stages of building the company. I failed to do the research I would normally do and thought this company could help me skip ahead on the knowledge and background I needed to start this new company. It unfortunately ended up just being a good lesson on many levels and instead of helping it just delayed my launch and wasted a fair amount of money.

When you run into these situations, you have to just learn from the mistakes and move on as a stronger and wiser entrepreneur because of it. To me, I looked at it like paying for a college degree, learning what I could from the experience.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Rather than just giving away one specific business idea that might not spark someone’s personal passion (which I think is critical to developing and launching a successful new product/service line), I would like to challenge people to think about a product/service that would solve a problem or maybe there is a product out there that just isn’t quite perfect but you have an idea to make it perfect. For example: Take a look at the Golf Shoes available for women. Women want shoes and clothes that make them feel good about wearing them but they also want them to be comfortable. How can you develop a women’s golf shoe or how about a golf boot for colder weather golf that is not only comfortable, but also functional, versatile and pretty? Improve on something or design something different than what is already in the market.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Partnering with the right influencers can make or break your marketing budget. We recently got aligned with a professional women golfer out of Florida with a strong following and great engagement – We believed she was on the edge of peaking in her career and had her trial some of their clothes. She charged $100 to promote on her page. This $100 can go so much further than just spending $100 on Digital advertising since you have a face behind the brand and it also allows you to get more user generated content to gain trust and followers of your brand.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Shopify is not only a great e-commerce platform, they also have a ton of apps that help you manage and grow your business.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Purple Cow by Seth Godin – Purple Cow is a marketing concept developed by marketer and entrepreneur Seth Godin that states that companies must build things worth noticing right into their products or services. Within the book Godin explains how a product that isn’t in itself unique and somehow remarkable – like a purple cow – is unlikely to sell, no matter how well crafted its advertising. Godin believes that creative advertising is not enough in a media landscape that has people tuning out. With people skipping ads on television and having more control over what they watch and when they watch it, Godin argues that now, more than ever, it is important to remember the importance of creating remarkable products.

What is your favorite quote?

“In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.” Seth Godin

Key Learnings:

  • Fill in a gap(s) in a specific niche market with a new product line or design something that is better or more remarkable than what is currently available.
  • Focus on developing a product or service for something that you are personally passionate about. Not just because you want to get rich.
  • Research and testing is key to not only developing your idea and bringing it successfully to life, but also to market it.
  • Invest in tools that will help you automate and scale your business as you grow.
  • Stay focused and patient as you scale your business. It may take more time and money than you think.