Dom Tyson Interview with Zero Digital Media - October 2021

Dom Tyson Interview with Zero Digital Media - October 2021

Former North Melbourne, Melbourne and GWS midfielder Dom Tyson has made a smooth transition from AFL footballer to small business owner after being delisted by North Melbourne at the end of 2021.

Tyson managed 113 games across stints at the three clubs, with a series of injuries limiting him to just six games in three years at North Melbourne.

The 28-year-old has since turned a negative into a positive, with the inaugural Giant now sinking his teeth into start-up small business Clutch & Co. The company is a golf clothing and apparel brand with Tyson turning his love of golf into his new profession

Speaking exclusively with Zero Hanger, Tyson said that the business had started as a hobby but had quickly grown into much more.

"It was initially a hobby business while I was still playing footy and I was studying commerce at Deakin University as well," Tyson said.

"I was a bit time-poor but I still wanted to try something. Jack Watts started Skwosh, which was an e-commerce brand and I picked his brain a bit. I then had another mate who had started another business, so we sort of linked up very early to do the trademarks and domains.

"My Dad's been in sports manufacturing and distribution for 20-25 years. I combined a lot of that, plus the fact I loved golf and thought 'let's give it a go'."

Tyson said that while the business had suffered in its infancy from not being his number one priority, it was now starting to grow as he invests more and more time into it.

While COVID-19 and Melbourne's strict lockdown laws have seen many small businesses suffer, Tyson used the time to knuckle down and take Clutch & Co to the next level.

"It sat idle for the best part of two, two and a half years," Tyson admitted.

"It was just my third or fourth priority after footy and uni and playing golf. It probably wasn't until that first lockdown in March 2020 where I guess that transition from bricks and mortar to an e-commerce platform.

"We noticed a pretty decent sales spike without too much input and then from there I've really sunk my teeth in and committed to marketing, new designs new orders and upgraded the website design.

"When we first launched it and went live, we had an email address linked to the website and linked to when you put an order through but we had no one working customer service. If someone had a size request or wanted an exchange their email was just unread. So we were really poor for our first 100 orders. It was probably one of the biggest teething issues.

"Now customer service is probably the second most important thing behind getting the product right. So I love doing that because I'm into engaging and connecting with the customers."

Tyson was not offered a new contract by North Melbourne at the end of the 2021 season with the midfielder set to miss out as younger players cut their teeth at Arden Street.

With an impending feeling that he wasn't in line for a new deal and some open communication from the club, Tyson was able to start planning for life after footy and has seen some great returns as a result.

"I think I put in a six-seven hour day the day after I was delisted and that was fully engaging and fully energising," Tyson told Zero Hanger.

"I'm hitting off 16.6 now," he said.

"It should be a lot better for a guy with a golf apparel brand but I'll blame a few injuries. I've got a big few 12 months on that handicap ahead, I'll try and get out there a bit more and I think if I really put my time into my chipping and putting I reckon I could get to a 12. A 10-12."

In terms of what's next for Clutch & Co, Tyson said that there were quite a few plans in the works for the upcoming months now that he has more time to dedicate to the business.

"We've nailed that lower price point while still maintaining quality," he added.

"We had a billboard go up on Swan Street and we've seen a little spike in traffic because of that. We are going to do a women range. 20% of the participation rate of golf in Australia is women. If we are ignoring that we are missing 20% of the market. We've got six items on the way.

Speaking about where the company could grow and what it could potentially reach, Tyson said he was cautiously excited for the future.

"I suppose you can't look too far forward, I'd love to have it as a fully established e-commerce brand. A recognised brand among those who play golf and to have it alongside some of those other brands people know," he said.

"We will probably look to get a showroom as we look to work with wholesalers. To get a sales rep in and to keep growing the range."

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