Editor Emma Ballard speaks to Jessica Picton, Founder of She Swings about launching her own golf fashion brand whilst establishing herself professionally in the golf industry

Jessica Picton can only be described as a force of nature. I say that in a positive way. You cannot fail to speak to the founder of SheSwings and not come away inspired but also know that with women like Jessica, the future of the golf industry is very bright.

Jessica not only has her own clothing brand SheSwings but she also has a full time job at Performance 54 as a Golf Operations Events Executive which sees her travelling the world.

Early this year, Women & Golf spoke to the golf business entrepreneur about her passion for the game and how she wants to play her part in building confidence amongst young women golfers with her brand and break down the stereotypes of what could be perceived as a traditional man’s job in the industry with her day job.

How did you get into golf?

I started playing golf around age 13, influenced by my Dad, who signed me up for Lancashire Girls despite my lack of experience. My initial foray into golf was intense, and I eventually quit. However, my parents both played, and as an only child, weekends revolved around their golfing activities and the lively stories they brought home. This created a homely and social environment at our golf club, drawing me back into the sport.

As my interest in golf rekindled, I aimed to go professional, practicing relentlessly. At 16, I enrolled in college to study Golf Management at Myerscough College, moving 40 minutes from home to fully immerse myself. Unfortunately, within a few months, I suffered a debilitating trapezius spasm, immobilizing me for three weeks. The incident highlighted my underlying lupus condition, affecting my joints and muscles, and led to a year and a half of intense physiotherapy.

Where did the idea of SheSwings come from?

This period of physical and emotional struggle coincided with my growing awareness of the disparities in women's opportunities in golf. I learned about the financial challenges and unequal treatment female golfers faced, which made me reconsider my professional aspirations. Competing against highly skilled male golfers further exacerbated my anxiety and self-doubt. My injury and the resulting drop in performance led to feelings of embarrassment and frustration.

Realising I might not reach the top as a professional, I decided to pivot my career within golf. Inspired by my personal experiences and the broader issues faced by women in sports, I focused on creating a women's golf clothing brand. The dissatisfaction with existing women's golf attire, which was often ill-fitting and unattractive, drove my ambition. I wanted to design clothes that made women feel confident and perform better.

Jessica Picton She Swings

During COVID-19, I delved into this project, designing pieces that appealed to my tastes and potentially to other women. My final year dissertation explored female anxiety in male-dominated sports, reinforcing the significance of appropriate clothing in boosting confidence and performance. Through interviews with athletes across various sports, I confirmed that both men and women felt that their attire impacted their performance. This realisation validated my pursuit and solidified my commitment to enhancing women's experiences in golf through better clothing.

In my research, I discovered that many girls stop playing sports like netball and hockey after leaving school. This revelation greatly informed my dissertation and my passion for my clothing brand.

My clothing line aims to strike a balance: to look classy and well-put-together without being overly flashy. This stemmed from my own anxiety about not wanting to stand out too much but still wanting to be noticed. The designs feature black, white, and grey with red stitching, offering subtle distinction.

Tell us more about the SheSwings brand.

SheSwings is about creating a global sportswear brand for girls and women, providing clothing that fits and empowers them. Initially focusing on smaller sizes to bridge the gap between junior and women's clothing, the aim is to expand to all sizes. The brand is driven by the desire to eliminate barriers that discourage girls from participating in sports, such as the lack of suitable sportswear.

My experience as an academic student in a sports environment, where I often felt out of place, fuels my commitment to this cause. I understand the challenges girls face, from dealing with anxiety in mixed-gender spaces to preferring female coaches. Therefore, SheSwings aims to create safe spaces for beginners to develop their skills and confidence.

Ultimately, SheSwings is not just about sportswear but about fostering a supportive community where girls can thrive, find their passion for sports, and eventually compete confidently. The vision includes initiatives like a SheSwings tour for girls who aren’t quite at the professional level, providing them with competitive opportunities and a sense of belonging.

What about the day-to-day with SheSwings?

I handle most aspects of the business myself, from design to manufacturing. My Dad, knowledgeable in business, serves as my Managing Director. Two girls manage my social media, but I do everything else, including accounting and design. While at college, I balanced launching the brand with my studies. After graduating, I had to focus on a career, initially pushing the brand aside. Now, I strive to juggle both my career and my passion for my clothing line.

Tell us about your job at Performance 54 (P54)?

When I started at P54, I was an intern rotating through three teams: Player relations and Marketing, Staging and Operations, and Guest Services. I enjoyed Staging and Operations the most because it allowed me to travel and be out in the field rather than stuck in an office. Despite my petite appearance and initial doubts from colleagues, I excelled in this role, taking on tasks like shifting boxes and coordinating logistics.

My previous experiences in sports and my comfort working with men helped me thrive in this male-dominated field. The job is fast-paced and intense, especially with the demands of the LIV Golf season, but I thrive under pressure.

I've also started working on the internship program, having been the first intern myself. This initiative aims to provide opportunities for others, particularly women, to break into the golf and events industry. I want to show that despite the male dominance in this field, women can thrive and bring valuable perspectives.

Jessica Picton balancing the day job with She Swings

How has your job progressed at P54 since you started?

At P54, I quickly moved from intern to executive, handling responsibilities such as arranging team flights and accommodations. My boss has been very supportive, recognising that the team needed a woman's touch to improve operations. Although there are barriers, especially when dealing with suppliers in places like Saudi Arabia, my confidence and skills help me navigate these challenges.

My work at P54 involves long hours and frequent travel, yet I remain passionate about my role. It's akin to a traveling circus: building, running, and dismantling events in rapid succession. This environment has allowed me to build strong relationships with colleagues and suppliers, creating a sense of community despite the demanding nature of the job.

How do you manage it all and what are your hopes for the future?

Balancing this with my clothing brand, SheSwings, is tough. I often work on my brand during weekends and evenings. While the brand is growing slowly, I remain committed despite the challenges and scepticism from some people. I rely on support from my Dad and manage most aspects of the business myself.

Ultimately, my experiences highlight the importance of perseverance and passion. Working in a male-dominated industry like golf can be daunting, but it's also incredibly rewarding. I hope to inspire more women to pursue their interests in any aspect of the golf industry, showing that with determination, they can succeed and make meaningful contributions.

To find out more about SheSwings please visit www.sheswings.co.uk or check out the Instagram page @sheswingsclothing and email Jessica here.