The A&O Spotlight showcases Portland based brands and the people that make all the magic happen.
HOMESCHOOL SNOWBOARDING// FOUNDER// DANIEL CLANCEY
Can you tell us about your business and company history?
We started the brand in ’09 to fill a void in the “core “ snowboard market. So much consolidation has happened that there weren’t really any small brands left that were bringing anything new to the table. Also, working at some bigger companies you see that a lot of compromises are made to hit price points or whatever and I wanted to make a product that would work and hold up to the unique conditions the NW throws at us with far fewer compromises.
When & how did you get started?
We started the brand in 09 after working for some bigger companies. The idea behind what we are doing is creating outerwear with fewer compromises with a “clean and mean” aesthetic and a really compelling technology story. We aren’t a marketing company, we are about the product first and foremost.
What does the name ‘Homeschool’ stand for?
The name Homeschool comes from the “idea of learning by doing ” and teaching yourself what needs to be done and how to do it. Although I have a strong background in the industry I’ve never started a business before and I’ve learned a lot through the process and we have sort of figured it out along the way, made a bunch of mistakes and kept going.
What products/services do you provide?
We design and market high end snowboard and outdoor focused apparel and base layer.
How big is your company?
We are a small brand, 4 employees and about 6 independent reps.
What obstacles have you had to overcome?
Wow, too many to list! Just getting the product made and getting it out there was a long road. There are a lot of barriers to entry in this business. Financing production, and getting outside investment has also been difficult.
What would you say is your greatest success?
Probably the fact that we are in some of the most prestigious shops in the country and were right out of the gate. Despite a difficult economy we haven’t lost any retailers and are growing. We will be in 15 accounts in Japan next year and will also have a presence in Russia and other countries for the first time. Opening up some retailers in Japan and elsewhere internationally is a big success. Japan is a tough market to get into so I’m excited about that. Our product is perfect for the Japanese market and we look to grow that business going forward.
Any exciting recent news?
I think the biggest news for us this year is that we have added a significant amount of international business. Not where we want to be yet but it’s a good start and we look forward to getting the word out about what we are doing to other parts of the world.
Around the City//
Why did you choose to locate in Portland?
Basically the lifestyle, strong outdoor culture, proximity to the mountains and the talent pool make this the perfect spot for an outdoor focused business.
What advantages do you consider being based in Portland?
All of the previously mentioned are advantages as well as in our industry it’s critical to have a strong presence in the NW, which is really a center of snowboarding. Lots of good mountains and good snow here make it a perfect proving ground.
What are your favorite things to do in Portland?
Snowboarding obviously is a big part of my life, I like to mountain bike, ride motorcycles, play music and spend time outside whenever possible. Portland also has some really great beer.
Besides your own, what Portland Company or companies do you think are doing exciting work/design?
There are so many in this town it’s hard to pin down one or two. Nike of course. I’d like to see some more small outdoor brands emerging as well as see a lot more outside investment in this space in the future.
Do you collaborate with any other companies in the region?
Lots of stuff in the works!
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