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Shaun White launches snowboard brand

Olympic snowboarder Shaun White is outfitted in Whitespace branded gear.

Olympic snowboarder Shaun White. Photo: Courtesy of Whitespace

Whitespace, Shaun White's active lifestyle brand, is partnering with retailer Backcountry, the Olympian tells Axios.

Why it matters: The fledgling business will raise a round of funding from friends, including high-net-worth individuals and family, White says, with the aim of forming additional strategic partnerships and an advisory board.

Details: Whitespace, grounded in snow sports, has a two-year exclusive partnership with Backcountry tied to manufacturing, distribution, and sales of its line of apparel, gear, and outerwear, White tells Axios.

  • He cited Backcountry's 25-plus years of experience in the space — "I'm old enough to admit I don't know enough to go find a factory that's going to produce this and get it to us in the timeline that we need," he says.
  • Partnering also ensures getting the customers the right products, White says, because snowboards and gear vary from person to person.
  • "I want to earn the trust of the consumer," he says. "We get only so many first glances at the brand."

What's next: The founder is currently in Switzerland testing new products for the next winter season.

  • White also says he wants to bring in a handful of snowboarders from the next generation to give their input on brand direction and to help create content.

The big picture: "I do see us living in many different spaces, and other sports," he says.

Of note: For the initial launch, White wanted to offer the kind of products that he would typically take on a snowboarding trip.

  • The next step was to create versatile garments, with removable linings and zippers that prevent snow from getting stuck in them, for example.

One fun thing: The brand name Whitespace came from a conversation White had with colleagues when they were discussing what to call the company.

  • Their main question: "What's the whitespace?"
  • Frustrated with how the question was framed (in that White wasn't making a run a specific void in the marketplace) the idea began to dawn on him: Why not just call it Whitespace?
  • White explains that is a play on both his name and snow-covered landscapes.

Flashback: White has competed in five Winter Olympics, winning gold in the snowboard halfpipe in three of them.

💭 Our thought bubble: Celebrity-founded brands are ubiquitous these days, but it's not often that you get a line of products deeply informed by a founder's expertise and direct experience, as is the case with White.

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