(First published in the May 2, 2019 issue of City Pages)
Mulligal golf attire wants to inspire more women to play more often
Chrissy Kaupie at the current pop-up location, in the Rothschild Shopko plaza, of her business Mulligal.
For some people, starting a business is a way to put food on the table and pay the rent. For Chrissy Kaupie of Wausau, there’s a greater goal. In finding and re-selling women’s golf clothing, “My overall mission is to help grow the game among women and girls,” Kaupie says. “I want to offer items that allow people to look and feel great no matter what their level, without emptying their wallets.”
That’s the motivation behind Mulligal, a local online and pop-up attire store for golfers. Golfers already get a sense of what she’s doing from the name, a take-off on the golf term “mulligan,” which means a do-over shot during a friendly game (not in competition). In charity golf tournaments, she explains, “You can buy one (Mulligan) for five bucks.”
The do-over theme is appropriate, she says, when it comes to wardrobes. “Your clothes deserve a mulligan. If they don’t fit you, they can go to somebody else.” A woman’s weight is likely to fluctuate as she moves through the years, she says, so her lower prices make it less daunting to outfit for new clothing. It’s not about vanity, she says. “If you’re comfortable and you look good, your game improves.”
Kaupie figures more women will play if they feel good about appearing on the course. Expensive apparel is a barrier, she says. “I don’t think golf clothes should be so cost-prohibitive, like skirts running $75 to $120.” Items on her website—shoes, skirts, shorts, tops and more—are priced at around one-third suggested retail.
For now, given the size of the Wausau-area community, she doesn’t see a permanent brick and mortar location in her future. It’s too much of a niche market, so she’s going to stick with online sales and pop-up shops like the current one that’s open through Thursday, May 9, in Rothschild, next to Shopko. Her inventory is a mix of new, resale and consignment golf apparel. Most of it’s for women, though one section also offers new and used clubs, bags and some men’s clothing from Buck’s Golf Shop. Well known to area enthusiasts, Buck Welsch is the Wausau East High School boys golf coach and currently the pro at Wisconsin River Golf Club in Stevens Point.
Mulligal mainly offers “Women’s everything, even rain gear, in sizes 0 to 3X,” Kaupie says, with the merchandise coming from across the country.
Her entry into the business was kind of a fluke. From Wausau East High School, she had gone to UW-Madison intending to enter medical school like her father, family physician Robert Kaupie. First, though, she decided to spend a season skiing and working at Vail, Colorado (she had raced in high school and college). “By the end of the season, I was one of the managers.”
Kaupie stayed, working in investor relations. Then came a master’s in business administration from Loyola in Chicago, work at an options trading firm, and a position as senior finance manager for Proctor & Gamble. Through all those years, Kaupie found that golf was a perfect way to make new friends, learn about a new city, and network.
Then, four years ago, her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Kaupie returned home to Wausau to help. After her mother died, Kaupie stayed in town, heading the local office of Interim Healthcare until she had a health setback of her own recently. Temporarily unable to work full time, she started Mulligal. “This is something I’ve always wanted to do,” Kaupie says. “I’ve been golfing since I was 9 years old.”
Mulligal will be open Sunday, May 5, noon to 5 pm; Mon.–Thurs. (May 6–9) noon to 7 pm. Call 715-350-1400, or find Mulligal on Facebook and at Mulligal.com.