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Grenade CEO on expansion into moto apparel

By Tiffany Montgomery
March 22, 2010 7:08 AM


Grenade, a Portland-based company best known for its snowboarding gloves, is branching into moto apparel.

The line will debut in the fall. I asked CEO Joseph Condorelli about the new line and the challenges of expanding from snow to moto. Professional snowboarder Danny Kass owns Grenade.

Grenade is currently hiring a sales force for the launch.

Will the sales force be in-house employees?

I expect about half the new sales force to be in-house (manufacturer’s representatives) and the other half will be independent reps.

How many people are you hiring?

Eight new employees overseas and about that same number – six or eight - domestically.

What retail channels are you targeting with the moto apparel line?

We’re targeting 50 percent online sales, 50 percent brick-and- mortar stores. Exactly where is hard to say right now since many of the deals are still in the works. But obviously we’re looking at venues where motocross gear is sold as well as bigger stores.

The appeal is that you take a guy like Danny Kass, a snowboarder, and his passion and way of life are going to crossover to action individuals like motocross enthusiasts. Danny was raised in the snow, they were raised in the dirt and desert, but deep down they are all the same kind of guys.

So, we’re going to continue our collaborations with brands that have had success in motocross, such as Brian Deegan's Metal Mulisha and Hart & Huntington. Our brands just align so perfectly and we’re going to try to use some of their same distribution networks.

GrenadeAre the clothes for casual wear or are they to wear while riding?

Our line of casual wear is already in place. Now we’re moving into the actual technical riding gear, such as pants, jerseys and jackets with leather and Kevlar re-enforced panels.

Grenade glovesHow many styles are in the line?

The startup line will include an entry level and a middle level. We’re also planning a top level and we'll use that gear to start building a team of sponsored riders, similar to what we do with snowboarding.

What is the biggest challenge moving beyond snow to a new market?

The hardest challenge we’ve encountered is managing our different sales forces. Shoe guys know how to sell shoes. Snow guys know how to sell products for the snow. Motocross guys have a special finesse with that field.

What I’m saying is that all these guys have a special passion for their own products. So we’re trying to separate them. We’ve already built a successful sales force for the snow and now we’re going to do that with motocross.



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