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Humble Beginnings: The Origin Story
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Humble Beginnings: The Origin Story

Missed us yet? Edition two of Fringe Thoughts nearly slipped through the busy season cracks but, nevertheless, we persisted in the spirit of giving Waggle the critical introduction it so clearly missed amidst our first installment’s Azalea Collection hype.

Now, the easy button would be to direct you to our primed-for-PR About Us page. And if it did what it was designed to, it’d give you the just while tugging at the heartstrings and making you feel all warm and fuzzy about getting your Waggle on. What it wouldn’t do, however, is give you the full backstory. And after all, what is a blog good for if not long-form rambling content?

Let’s start with the basics: what is “Waggle” anyway? 

Merriam-Webster defines Waggle as a verb, meaning “to reel, sway, or move from side to side.” In golf, it carries an adjacent meaning—speaking specifically to one’s unique club movement made above the ball prior to taking a stroke. Golf fans who were not already familiar with the term got a crash course when 2023 Open Champion Brian Harman’s pre-shot routine sparked NBC to add a “Waggle Counter” to its coverage (and to everyone who tagged us on social media, yes, we did reach out to his agent afterwards to see if we could strike a deal). 

But the company name wasn’t pulled out of a hat of on-course vernacular. The thing about Waggles is, they’re like snowflakes. From Harman’s 50+ twitch to your Uncle Dave’s shoulder lean—every golfer’s Waggle is different. And it’s precisely that individuality that inspired the brand.

The man behind that inspiration is Travis Baker. 

Now, those who have spent time around Travis know there’s not much he likes to talk about less than, well, Travis. That's where I come in…

Beyond a propensity for modesty, I’d describe Travis as a do-it-yourselfer, jack of all trades, student of pretty much everything and anything. All traits that are critical to elevating your business out of the basement of your post-college rental.

But let’s back up a bit. Waggle wasn’t Travis’ first crack at the entrepreneur thing. Armed with a degree in operations and four years of collegiate hockey experience, Travis’ first side hustle while working full time in demand planning was Blade Hockey—a company specializing in a variety of hockey training products (I’d list what they are but, if you don’t know hockey, it’ll mean nothing to you). And while Blade may not have been in it for the long haul, it’s here that Travis learned the ins, outs and challenges of operating a small business. Lessons that would be invaluable when the right idea sparked… 

In the years that followed, Travis’ passion shifted from hockey to golf. Like many twenty-somethings, he was fully dialed in to his new hobby, even going so far as to run a locally successful Instagram account showcasing golf courses around his home state of Minnesota. 

Ironically, it was not at one of these courses that Waggle came to be… it was at a Jimmy Buffet concert, of all places. Travis and his friends had made it an annual tradition to waste away in Margaritaville at one of the late singer’s outdoor concerts, always dressing for the occasion in the tropical button-down shirts famous of Parrotheads. As Travis weaved his way through the vibrant crowd, it struck him that not only were the shirts fun, they were unique—with no two designs exactly alike. And it was then that he asked himself, “How come people don’t dress like this for golf?”

Travis returned home and quickly put his self-taught graphic design skills to work, coming up with a few staple designs and sourcing quality manufacturers to bring them to life. He filled his basement with inventory, and started slinging polos and hats to courses and consumers alike. Three years later, in 2021, Travis quit his 9 to 5 and took the business on full time. 

To make the rest of a long story short, between then and now, the brand has grown through two office moves, fourteen employee hires, multiple retail locations, a dozen product categories and hundreds of designs—each and every one inspired by the desire to connect with our world’s many unique personalities, hobbies or interests. Or, to put it more simply, to help every person get their Waggle on.

Fringe Thoughts Fun Facts:

  • Waggle’s original 10 designs were all named after alcoholic beverages
  • Before Waggle, Travis and our now sales manager, Luke, leveraged the @LetsGolfMN Instagram account to gain media access to the industry-only PGA Show in Orlando
  • The first “Warehouse” in Travis’ basement consisted of countless hanging closet organizers a la your college dorm room (his wife was thrilled, as you can imagine)
  • Waggle has been sported by a variety of famous athletes, including Dak Prescott, TJ Watt and Chris Sale
  • From clubhouses to big box retail, Waggle is sold in all 50 states (and Puerto Rico!)

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