Not only do I get to talk to and interview people from Disc companies, but I get to talk to companies from all parts of Disc Golf. One of the companies that I have seen recently from the last two years is DUDE Clothing. When I wanted to talk to DUDE I got to talk to the “dude” behind DUDE, CEO and founder Chris Finn. A little bit about Chris is that he is the founder of Dude Clothing, Event organizer of the Aussie Open. As well as a course designer of over 20 courses in Australia including the Mundaring Disc Golf Park, and a multiple times Australian Disc Golf and Frisbee Champion. He was an amazing person to talk to and had a great amount to tell about the DUDE clothing brand.
Chris’ story into Disc Golf is unique to his person just like all of ours are. To start off, Chris told me that “I was 11 in western Australia and grew up 200 feet from a Disc Golf hole.” The course he told me about just so happens to be “The oldest Disc Golf course in Australia.” So, after being around the sport for a while he eventually started to play it. He told me “We started watching a few people playing ultimate, so we got into that and love for frisbee sports grew into Disc Golf from there in 1987.” One of the people he told me that got him into the sport was Brian Allen. He went on to explain that “Brian got introduced when Dan “The Stork” Roddick introduced him, so I have to thank Dan Roddick as well.” His career has had some ups and downs, but he continues to throw and play today all while running DUDE.
Since Chris has had such a long and interesting career, I had to know what a few of his favorites were in regard to discs and courses. To my surprise when I asked him his favorite disc he told me “for a frisbee, it has to be the Ultrastar, but Disc Golf is the Aero or original Eagle.” The new eagle is a common disc in todays game, but an Aero is not so common. The Aero was the first patented beveled edge disc and Chris says, “I have to keep one in my bag for an assortment of shots.” I have never seen anyone choose that disc, but, I think that it goes well with Chris’ historic past. Chris had many different types of courses he said were his favorite. To start off, he told me “one of my favorites is because of the feeling and not just the course, which is the Japan open course in the Nasu Highlands Golf Club” The course there is beautiful and I like that he enjoys a course for the feel as well as the looks. To no surprise his next favorite course he said was the Mundaring course in the Aussie open, it was the first 1000 rated course in Australia and one of if not the the only permanent major course layouts in the word.” I knew he had to talk about the course in Australia, it is gorgeous course and home to an amazing event that is the Aussie Open.
Now, I wanted to know all I could about DUDE Clothing and how it got its start. So, I asked Chris on why he started a Disc Golf clothing brand. Chris told me that “I had started a couple of companies in AUS, but at the time there wasn’t anybody custom making clothes for Disc Golf worldwide” From then on his vision grew larger and larger. He went on to tell me that “I saw an opportunity to get Disc Golf out there and was introduced to some designers, I wanted Function over looks to help your game.” Boom, the DUDE clothing name was then born and began its growth within Disc Golf. The company as Chris says is “based in Western AUS but the key office in the US is in the East Coast in Pennsylvania.” So, there is growth coming to the United States which is great to see for a company like DUDE.
With every company there comes a philosophy that they follow, DUDE is no different. Chris told me that the mantra is “Don’t take it too seriously, have fun and help people along the way.” That mantra seems to hold true when looking at what DUDE has done over the years. Chris told me that “I personally try and get out into the community, supporting events, kids’ events, just getting behind local shops and TDs.”
Chris wants the DUDE brand to be good and helpful within the sport, synonymous with charity and giving back to the community. That seems to be the biggest idea that I noticed when talking to Chris. He was all about giving back to the community. He told me “we try not to say no to people, and i also try to be personally available to anyone who can reach me.” Which is not something you see a lot when it comes to the CEO. Another fact he shared with me was “I answer every email and message personally, we try to support our team members with growth and advice too.” This is what I think sets DUDE clothing apart from big business brands in any sport. The CEO being Chris, is answering messages and emails personally to help grow the players and community.
A big part of the DUDE clothing company is getting out to events. So, DUDE clothing made it out to events in all forms this year. Chris said, “Had some pro/am events at the beginning of the year but we wanted to do more in the community.” He later told me “The small events help keep the truck on the road.” Which is fair and honest when it comes to the brand and business. But, there is a bit of information that that I learned that makes DUDE interesting. There is a Community website that DUDE clothing runs for players. Chris told me that the website “is for people to book pro players and post their own events for free.” It is a hub of information for people to use regarding pro players or tournaments in their area.
Just like any other brand, DUDE clothing is looking for specific people to join their team and rep their clothing. Chris said, “I am trying to get behind the touring pros as they are committing themselves to the sport first and foremost, trying to get behind some of the best players because they’ll be in the spotlight a bit more as well.” Now, fear not, he does not just want the best of the best. His other qualifications are “I want solid characters, what they do in the community, the sport, in the future we want people who are good in character rather than just sport.” So, there is hope for individuals who are growing in the sport and may not be in the spotlight just yet. Help out your community and be a good person and there is a shot you will make it on this team and many like it, they are on the look out and plan to release community ambassadors in January 2018.
As always, I want to know advice about anything from the people I interview. Chris’ advice was all about business and community, and I think it was very insightful and helpful to anyone wanting to help build a business of their own. Chris’ advice was “Never doubt yourself, if you want to do it then do it. Seek advice from other people, reach out and see if your business has potential.” He also added “Hit me up, I will help if I can and plan to fail.” Being able to take this advice and go with it is great. He has made more than a few successful businesses and I think the advice he gives is valuable.
The final piece to all my interviews is asking the individual if they have anything else they would like people to know about them that they may not. Just like everyone else, it took him a minute to think on it but he gave me a great response. He told me “ It’s not about making money, it’s about awareness and growth in a cool way, I left a highly successful role managing an Engineering company I started up because I am so passionate about the sport and how I can help to make it more widely known, doing so has been the toughest but most rewarding decision I’ve made. And hopefully with the support of the community, together we can make the brand and the sport grow”
I would like to thank Chris Finn for taking the time out of his day to answer my questions and let me interview him. He was a pleasure to talk to and a wealth of knowledge that I was excited to learn from. If you would like to contact Chris you can find him on all forms of social media. If you want to know more about DUDE clothing you can visit https://www.dudeclothing.com/ for more about them! Look out for more coming soon!
Picture credit goes to DUDE clothing