A classic dilemma: It’s cold as hell out, you need to send a text, but your gloves aren’t smartphone compatible. Alternate scenario: your gloves are compatible with your smartphone, but their design is somewhat lacking.
What do you do? Do you take your gloves off in a silent protest, losing a fingertip to hypothermia in the process? Or do you leave the phone in your pocket, and miss that important phone call you were waiting for?
Gone are the days where that choice must be made. Enter Underhanded, a glove company looking to break the mold of traditional gloves. With glove-making in their family history, and experience making performance gloves for the likes of Tom Brady, Calvin Johnson and other notable athletes, the company is making a push into the action sports market. By combining modern prints with sleek design and technology capabilities, Underhanded is definitely onto something here.
TransWorld Business caught up with Underhanded on their roots, their current successes, and what 2017 holds.
Interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Can you tell me a little about about how Underhanded got started? Where did your inspiration come from?
Led by second generation glove experts, Underhanded is a lifestyle glove brand fueled by the notion of redefining how gloves are perceived in the cold-weather accessory market. Two brothers were busy building gloves for some of the biggest sports brands in the world when they realized there was a void in the market for expressive, great fitting gloves that look good without sacrificing the functional aspect of keeping hands warm. By curating each collection from an array of vibrant colors and bold prints, Underhanded looks to free the glove from the mundane by elevating it to the posit it deserves – a place where fresh design meets hard function and great fit.
How do you think Underhanded stands out from other glove companies? What do you bring to the glove category that you think other brands do not?
The accessory is the necessity at Underhanded. Each Underhanded lifestyle glove is backed by our teams 30 years of experience building gloves for top athletes and brands. In sport, gloves add a bit of flair (American football) while still being highly functional (batting). Our combination of love for art and sport have acted as fuel to influence all Underhanded glove designs – enabling us to throw some personality into the industry while still crafting a glove with optimal function when the temps begin to drop.
Underhanded focuses heavily not just on performance, but on design as well. How did you identify the niche in the market where your gloves exist?
We have built gloves for professional and college teams, and typically they are redesigned every year. When we looked to the lifestyle category, much of the creative energy, bold design and expression was not available in gloves that were on the market. We were finding unimaginative styles that could have been carryovers from years before. While we appreciate the importance of the simple black glove, at Underhanded, we seek to elevate the glove from a common accessory to an outfit staple in everyone's cold-weather wardrobe.
What demographic are you hoping to target?
Underhanded designs for both men and women in the 18 – 34 age range. We look to craft lifestyle gloves for the active, urban young adult. Everyone from the casual city dweller to the cultured adventurer.
Where are Underhanded products carried right now?
Underhanded is currently direct to consumer with a few select retail shops. We are looking to expand distribution anyplace where active, fashionable young adults shop. With a wide range of appeal, we see ourselves from the likes of Dicks Sporting Goods to Zumiez to Kith.
Do you hope to expand into other product categories in the future?
For now, we intend to stay in the lane we know best which is gloves.
What's next for Underhanded in 2017?
We're excited to continue to roll out collections highlighting the personality and style of the those who wear our gloves. Whether they are into music/art/fashion/sport – we look forward to collaborating with individuals that are a great fit with the Underhanded brand and lifestyle. There are also licensing agreements in the works with collegiate and movie studios – so more exciting things to come from Underhanded.