If you’re wearing a custom logo belt donning a golf club’s logo, it’s more than likely its a JT Spencer belt. Their Original Embroidered Belt was found from a vision to manufacture quality products in the United States, and today, is seen across golf shops, universities, yacht clubs and affinity groups.

We caught up with JT Spencer co-founder Steve DeWalle to chat golf, entrepreneurship and product mix. Check out our collaboration with JT Spencer in our Canine Collection, featuring belts and hats that include man’s best friend.

Imperial: Were you always into golf fashion and belts?

I can’t say that its always been a big interest for me. I played golf at Shinnecock Hills many years ago and my host happened to be wearing a belt with the club’s logo on it. I took notice and thought it was really cool. After seeing his belt, I developed a fairly keen interest in belts.

Imperial: Are you a big golfer yourself? How did you get into the game?

I’ve been playing golf since I was 9 years old when my father introduced me to the game. I’ve had periods where I played an extraordinary amount of rounds in a year and periods where I only played once a month or so, but either way golf has certainly been a part of my life for a very long time.

Imperial: What sets JT Spencer apart from other brands?

Probably the biggest differentiator between JT Spencer and other brands in our industry is that we are made in America. We manufacture right here in Richmond, Virginia, and that is something that we are very proud of. As we have grown over the last five years, we have worked very hard to maintain a small company vibe when it comes to customer service. As the owner, I stay very closely involved with all aspects of the business and even sometimes answer customer service calls and emails.

Imperial: What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs about starting a fashion brand?

The best advice I can give is be ready to work. Owning a business is not as glamorous as it is often made out to sound.  I typically work 12-14 hour days and vacations become a day off here and there rather than a week-long affair. The amount of effort it takes cannot be underestimated and a strong work ethic is, in my opinion, absolutely essential to success.

Imperial: You have other products such as headcovers and flasks, but how do you envision growth for JT Spencer?

We have a few other products that are currently in the development pipeline. We intend to grow by slowly adding to our product offerings as well as exploring additional distribution opportunities.