SBD/Issue 87/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Grenade Launchers: Olympic Medalist Kass’ Company Profiled

Kass Finding Financial
Success With Apparel Venture
Grenade LLC, the company co-founded by Olympic Silver Medal-winning snowboarder Danny Kass and his brother Matt, is profiled by ESPN THE MAGAZINE’s Alyssa Roenigk, who notes the pair started the company in early ’01 “with funding from Danny’s contest earnings and Matt’s real estate investments.” Without a sample to show buyers at a trade show in ’01, they “collected good-faith orders for 3,000 pairs of gloves.” One week after the trade show, Danny Kass won the superpipe competition at the Winter X Games “wearing a custom Grenade hoodie.” It was at that event where some friends “began the guerrilla marketing campaign that has since defined the company,” spray-painting snowboards, trees and halfpipe walls with the Grenade logo. By ’04, Quiksilver offered Kass “a larger contract in hopes of limiting his Grenade wear to gloves.” Instead, he left his endorsement deal with the company. Kass said, “I could have made back every dollar I’d put into Grenade in one season. But it was more important to push something we started.”

FINANCIALS: Roenigk notes since forming Grenade, which “thrives more on aesthetics than technology, with gloves designed by artists and riders,” annual sales have grown from $120,000 to $6M, and the brothers “have turned down buyout offers from Quiksilver and Oakley, among others.” Kass: “We would like to hit $15[M] in sales in five years. That would be a big chunk of the market.” He said of one day selling the brand, “The company [that buys Grenade] would have to be one we respect and see a future with. It would have to feel right” (ESPN THE MAGAZINE, 1/29 issue).

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ESPN, Oakley, Walt Disney

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