Upstarts & Line Break: CandyGrind

The CandyGrind crew.

By Michael Sudmeier

Born in Colorado in 2007, CandyGrind has rapidly developed a following for its snow and skate-inspired apparel in its home state, and is gaining a strong f0llowing across the country for its well-designed lines and unique looks across its apparel and accessories lines. We caught up with CandyGrind Sales Manager Adam Palkie to learn more about the brand’s roots and off shoots.

Adam Palkie

What's the history behind the company?

We launched out of Colorado in the winter of 07/08 with only a few t-shirts, hoodies and a headwear line. Since day one, we have concentrated on being a rider owned and operated company. We came to CandyGrind from different walks of life, but we all loved to snowboard and shared a vision for what we wanted the brand to be. We grew organically through guerilla marketing, word of mouth, and huge support from our team riders. I guess you could say we have a non-traditional approach to running a business. People often comment on how much CandyGrind feels like a family. Whether it's cooking meals, shredding and skating together, or spending Thanksgiving with our team riders, we're a tight-knit crew. This sense of community has always played a big role in defining the brand and shaping how we operate. It's helped us grow while also staying true to our roots. Through the years we have expanded our product lines, gained distribution from East to West Coast and begun marketing on a different level than just stickering up chairlifts and street signs.

What's your distribution look like?

Our distribution is very controlled. The dealers we target are specialty retailers in not only the action sports industry, but the lifestyle groups as well. We want to create a demand for our brand in these specialty retailers, causing both new and returning customers to walk through their doors every day.

Here’s a sneak preview of next winter’s line:

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What support do you offer shops?

When it comes to supporting our shops I think that limited distribution is key. We avoid having too many shops in one location. Also, support on a personal level is very important. We support shops' events and keep in close contact with them to make sure product is doing well.  Most importantly, we treat our retailers as partners. We are all in this together.

Are there any markets into which you're currently expanding?

We are slowly expanding into two new markets at this time. First would be the urban streetwear market. While not losing our roots in the action sports industry, we are starting to attract consumers outside of it.  We feel like there are a lot of consumers that should get to experience the premium products we offer. The other market we are expanding into is the spring/summer scene. We are taking the same direction in this new expansion—action sports-based while not forgetting about the streetwear customer.

CandyGrind's Denver Showroom

It seems you've grown substantially with little marketing, which is somewhat of an anomaly in the action sports industry.  What's your approach to marketing?

As much as we are stoked that we have grown this far from guerilla marketing, it's time to slowly start taking the next step. We have begun to put more into our team, website, print ads, and more. Still we will not forget our roots–we will continue to support everyone that helped us get to this point.

Although you have a full range of products, it seems people peg CandyGrind as a glove brand.  Why is this? 

I think in the end people notice a brand for the one item that really stands out. All of our products are premium goods, but it is so much easier for a consumer to notice quality craftsmanship in a product like gloves. Because of this, we have gotten labeled as a glove brand, but the same craftsmanship carries over to everything we offer.

What does the product lineup look like for winter?

Our winter line includes T-shirts, hoodies, sweaters, street jackets, beanies, facemasks, gloves, packs, caps, and wallets. We have put a large amount of time into our street wear lineup for 12/13.

. . . and spring/summer? 

Our spring products include T-shirts, tank tops, hoodies, sweaters, boardshorts, caps, and wallets.

What's the future have in store for CandyGrind?

The future not only includes new products, but a larger distribution as well. We are slowly sorting through and finding the best reps in each territory, expanding heavily into Canada and talking with distributors all around the world. When it comes to new products we have some big plans for the future—nothing in hard goods, but we have some things in store for softgoods and accessories.

Anything else you'd like to share?

CandyGrind wouldn’t be here without everyone that supports our brand. From the retailers to the consumers who buy our products, they are all a part of us. Let's all work together to do something a little different than the masses.