Shaun White launches snowboard brand
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.