GOLF BIZ: Success Profile>Tony Peters, CEO, New Attitude Sports InternationalBy Charnicia E. Huggins
If you ask Tony Peters, a former Wall Street bond trader, how he made the leap from financial services to the clothing and retail industry you are likely to get one of two responses: "by divine intervention" or "by accident."
"I'd like to say that I had some grand scheme," says Tony, the 54-year old owner and CEO of New Attitude Sports International, a five-year-old company which manufactures and distributes multi-culturally designed shirts, hats, and other "golf lifestyle performance casual wear," according to the company's website, www.new-attitude.com.
Instead his "divine inspiration" occurred while he and hiswife, co-owner Suzanne Peters, were preparing to attend a black arts festival in Atlanta. She asked whether the polo shirt he was wearing with an African-looking pattern was a golf shirt. "No," said Peters, who had previously considered golf the 'most boring thing in the world' before Tiger Woods came on the scene, "but what a terrific idea." Tony, a graduate of the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business, relied on the skills of his then-boss, Penelope Marie, an "incredible seamstress," who has since become one of his designers. (The recent addition of a second designer, Brynn Thompson, brings the number of "frequent participators" in the family-run business to six, including Tony's 21 year old son, Toure, who handles the inventory and order processing.)
The vibrantly colored, silk-like fabric used for the casual wear is imported from West Africa and the Caribbean; manufacturing takes place in Jamaica. Tony plans to someday introduce fabrics with a similarly "definite ethnic flair" from Australia, Brazil and other parts of the world. Above all, he intends to make his product synonymous with the terms "quality" and "unique," as he fulfills his company's mission: "to draw from, as well as sell into, the multicultural communities from which we come." It surely seems as if Tony has started off on the right foot. In 2003, New Attitude enjoyed one of its best years ever.
Reprinted from African American Golfer's Digest, Winter 2004.
Updated February 2015
Copyright 1999 New Attitude Sports International
Principal photography by Jonathan Atkin, New York City