A few months ago I read an interview on Yobeat with the new CEO of Grenade Gloves Joseph Condorelli. Now the way I interpreted that interview was he’s just a really good salesmen who’s polished his turd so it’s super shiny, only problem is when you polish a turd it’s still a pile of shit at the end of the day. So what exactly is Grenade as a company right now?
Well right now they’re a mere shell of their former existence. Danny Kass is off cashing paychecks from the big swoosh, his brother is god knows where, their warehouse has moved, and most if not all of the “cool” people that worked for them have found employment elsewhere and most not by their own accord. So here’s a company that once was in every sense of the words a “rider driven” brand. They were the kings of grass roots marketing and established a name for themselves by trying to be as unruly as possible. They did it their way and went from nothing to one of the biggest apparel brands in snowboarding.
In the beginning it worked for them, the hype and team drove product sales. But like many brands before them they faced a myriad of problems. The biggest of those problems being gross mismanagement. Three years ago they tried to fix that problem by hiring someone outside the snowboard industry to run their company, enter Joseph Condorelli. But here’s the problem with hiring from outside the industry, these people don’t grasp the concept of a rider driven brand or that we’re a culture and not a sport. They see it as a numbers game which essentially it has to be, but it still can’t sacrifice what snowboarding is about. It’s a very thin red line that we walk with how fickle we ourselves can be to a rider driven brand.
The latest fiasco of Grenade proving they have no clue about the snow culture involves Canadian photographer Chris Messervey. The basic run down of the situation is that Chris shot photos of a Grenade team rider Dustin Craven, Dustin then gave previews of photos to Grenade to see if they would purchase them, Grenade then believed they could use photo’s and not pay Chris, Chris emailed them, Joseph Condorelli went apeshit and pretty much further cemented the belief that no one should work with Grenade. But if you want the full run down of the story you can catch up with it here on Chris’s blog.
Now yes Chris could have done things differently and people will argue that till they’re blue in the face. But here’s the thing if you’ve never had a problem doing something a certain way before why would you change it? You wouldn’t, until you run into a problem like this. But that is not the issue the issue is that a company that’s ingrained in the youth front of our culture has a CEO trying to be ruthless and above the law or in this case copyright law. Only problem is the law is on Chris’s side and he will win in court, although one can only gather by tossing this out on the web he’s got his own agenda to prove to people why this company fails.
Now I thought it was funny reading the About page for Grenade.
This movement has been going strong for 7 years now. We have never worn a suit to work a single day in our lives and aren’t about to start now. Our eyes are open, each day we use them to view the world in a new light, everyday we learn new lessons and we incorporate these discoveries into our products, making them better by the moment. When you fail to see new possibilities, you have become exactly what THEY want you to be. Humans are not submissive by design. They allow themselves to become that way. We are kids; we will never lose that. Even when our skin has turned splotchy and wrinkled we will still be listening to rock & roll and coming to work hung over. We are here to live on, join us!
Our products are forged from a lifestyle, one that sustains the means for our existence. We hope to deliver them to you this year in a more efficient manor. To bring you our biggest line ever, we will be running Grenade GS7 Super Logistics, a program we developed to expedite the ordering, shipping, and receiving process. This will bring us steps closer towards world domination.
As always we would like to thank anyone and everyone who has supported us over the years. You are the blood running through these veins.
I’m pretty sure when you bring someone from outside the snowboard industry in they wear a suit to work or have in their past even if they now wear your logo proudly on a hoodie. He is also not a kid seeing as he graduated college in 1982 unless he drinks of Todd Richards youth fountain. I did find it funny that they mention humans aren’t dismissive by design, yet Joseph definitely is with this situation. Kind of hypocritical don’t you think? Then again I guess Joseph isn’t seeing new possibilities either, otherwise he would have realized with all his IT training that web 2.0 can really bend you over and make you its bitch.
It’s pretty obvious that the Condor doesn’t come from the snowboard industry yet he has some amazing things to say about it in the three years that he’s worked with Grenade. Here’s a quote from his Hump Day interview with Yobeat.
Often people are shocked by my transparency; I am blunt and can be explosive and aggressive —I admit that is where my personality fails. But I’ve worked to build real friends in this industry—I try to find the people that understand my style and have the patience to get to know me. There’s nothing to be afraid of when we’re building strong, honest partnerships.
I’d definitely say he’s correct that he’s aggressive and explosive. As far as making friends that’s a crock of shit he’s burned more bridges than a lot of outsiders working their way in. His honest partnerships obviously don’t exist otherwise he would have been stoked to help out a photographer that’s shooting his team riders. But no he has the typical wanna be New Yorker mentality where he feels he can bully people and get his way. News flash buddy you’re just slowly committing brand suicide here.
One other quote from that interview that stood out as hypocritical was the answer he gave when asked if he could give one piece of advice to the snowboard industry.
Have fun. Shred as long as you can and try to find a place to place that passion when you’re not on the mountain. Everyone’s got to hustle, but if you’re doing what you love and working harder than the next guy, you’ll find success.
Well it seems Chris had a fun time shooting Dustin and the other riders. It also seems that his passion is photography and he has found a place to put it. Hell I’d go so far as to say he’s even working harder than the Condor since he was up there shooting the rider, doing follow up emails to Joseph and the team manager Jordan Brown, and has now sparked a web out cry against Grenades CEO’s brutish tactics. Meanwhile the Condor didn’t take his own advice and followed the lazy mans road rather than just do what’s right and be the bigger man.
In the end Chris might get paid but he did a better job of proving to those of us in the industry as to why we shouldn’t work with Grenade. He hopefully also taught big Joe that if you fuck with someone the web can ultimately be a tool to call out your bullshit and prove why you’re in the wrong. Grenade is on life support and Danny Kass either needs to sign the DNR order or hire a new advocate to run the show cause this ship has sunk further than the Titanic.