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Golf Brand Is a Family Affair

An Idea That "Came Out of Nowhere" is Really Just for the Fun of It.

Article by Eric Niemi

Photography by Eric Niemi, Drake McNamara & Michael Beightol

Originally published in SW Lake Lifestyle

A local golf apparel brand was launched during the pandemic, and it’s thriving. Eric Niemi is the founder of Snowman Golf, but his teenage daughter, Mia, was the one responsible for the distinctive Yeti-style logo that now adorns a variety of products that include shirts, hats, ball markers, club covers and gloves. SW Lake recently talked with Niemi about his start-up.

SW Lake: What was the impetus for you to launch a golf apparel business?

Eric Niemi: The idea really came out of nowhere. I was golfing with a friend, and he was yelling “Snowman” at me after scoring an 8 on multiple holes. An idea just kind of clicked. I came home that day and asked my daughter, Mia (a freshman at Lake Zurich High School) to come up with a logo which she created that day. We started an Instagram account, developed a following, and decided to launch with 12 hats to see if there was a market for a fun new golf brand. 

SWL: What sets you apart from other golf apparel brands? 

EN: We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We have six key ambassadors, including Christian Sereika (skateboarder), Adam Pawlak (chef), AJ Cole (NFL punter), Beau Kuther (drummer for alt-rock band Smallpools), Stephanie Hoffman (welder), and Tyler Barham (country singer/songwriter). They are all really good at their day jobs, and simply enjoy golfing. They fit our tagline to a tee: “Enjoy the Game - Embrace Mediocrity.” Also, our Yeti character has been widely embraced. There are endless opportunities for art and collaboration. My favorite so far has been a custom polo we designed for DJ Kilmore from the alt-rock band Incubus. It features our Yeti head as “Chuck,” a figure that has appeared on several of their album covers. It has been beyond exciting getting to meet new people and designing something fun and unique that is specifically for them. I even had the chance to play a round with DJ Kilmore during a stop in Chicago on the last Incubus tour.

SWL: What was the inspiration for the name of the company—Snowman? 

EN: Golf is hard to play, and most people aren’t great at it. The focus is to not take the game too seriously. Our apparel adds a dynamic of fun and relatability to the game. While you may not play any better, our gear is a conversation starter and unique. 

SWL: What differentiates your products from others on the market? 

EN: Our shirts are four-way stretch (92% polyester/8% spandex), and are manufactured by the same supplier that produces shirts that sell for more than $70. Our hats are all “cut and sew,” meaning every detail is covered, 5-panel vs. 6-panel, structured vs. unstructured, flat vs. curved brim.

SWL: Who designs the products? 

EN: Other than the main logo, I design all or most everything. Most of my free time is spent scribbling on my iPad. Our hats and ball markers are made in China; shirts and apparel are manufactured in Pakistan.

Learn more by visiting Niemi has developed relationships with pro shops, such as X Golf (several locations locally, including 20771 N. Rand Road in Kildeer) and the Arboretum Club (Buffalo Grove).

  • The Yeti logo was designed by Niemi's daughter, Mia.
  • Mia Niemi in Snowman's gallery at Arboretum Club.
  • Eric Niemi, Snowman Golf founder.
  • Eric enjoying a day on the links.