BOAST. I love this brand. Always have. It reminds me of the laid back boys I had crushes on in my school days. IN FACT, my first kiss (7th grade, Augusta Country Club, Lee Brigham) the boy was wearing a red BOAST shirt with navy tipping on the collar. So back in 2010, when I read that the BOAST brand was purchased, I was thrilled.
As I read a little further about plans for a rebirth of this iconic brand, I nearly fell off my chair. My friend John, (another boy I always had a crush on- is it any wonder?? Here is John back in 1983- already looking cool in his BOAST shirt!) had bought the company. Amazing.
So let me give you a little background… I went to Groton School, a boarding school for very, very, very smart people. One year above me was John Dowling…a very smart guy with the ultimate pedigree. A native New Yorker, he attended Buckley, Groton, Harvard then NYU Film School. Despite all that, John is an incredibly down to earth, funny, stylish guy’s guy…
From my point of view, BOAST is amazing because of its brand history. Like Lilly, it has been around just long enough for people to wear it growing up, developing that amazing emotional connection because of the memories created wearing your favorite brand. The brief history of the brand goes like this (in Janie language, of course): it was launched in 1973 by a tennis pro in Greenwich, CT. It instantly became known for its Japanese maple leaf logo. The brand was embraced by true racquet sport players that shared a love of tennis and squash…and a refreshingly irreverent outlook on the country club life. AKA: Wearers could have a killer backhand, but chances are they might just be there for the post game turkey club and bloody mary.
A few weeks ago, John Dowling, President & Owner, and I met in downtown NYC for lunch and laughed about high school, caught up on friends, and talked BUSINESS. Here’s what I got out of him…
What a pleasure to be chatting! Start from the beginning…why BOAST?
I distinctly remember going to Windridge tennis camp and seeing the cool counselors in these polo shirts. My polo had a croc on it and I said to my mom…I want to trade up to that leaf. Ever since then I wore BOAST…so since I was 12 or something. Guys are loyal like that.
What is your FAVORITE thing about the brand?
I love the irreverence of the logo. I mean YES our quality is amazing…I have worked on making sure the shirt is exceptional…but truly…the logo is king. You never get sick of it.
What is your favorite thing about the BOAST customer?
The history is authentic…like Lilly. It was created from the lifestyle…a tennis pro saw a niche for a cooler branded polo and he established it among real players. The guy who wears BOAST is an athlete…he wins the match, but he has a completely non-deliberate approach to it all. He was a football player in high school but obsessed with photography. He wins the club championship but arrives late with a blonde on his arm (wearing Lilly, of course) and a smile on his face. The delightful balance of laissez-faire and cool, down to earth and aspirational. When you are 16 you WANT TO BE THIS GUY, WEAR THAT POLO, DATE HIS GIRLFRIEND, HAVE HIS SERVE.
Now that is well said.