Buttendz Hockey Grip: Can You Change A Habit?

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Meet Buttendz. A golf grip for your hockey stick. The idea came to Rob Lalonde, a former professional hockey player, late in his college career. He hated that his fresh tape job would get ruined halfway through his game. After his playing career, Rob teamed up with his childhood best friend, Kevin Lonergan, to start prototyping a rubber grip for the butt end of your hockey stick.

Buttendz started selling in 2014. Today, they have 79.5K followers on Instagram, 30K followers on Facebook, and 173.8K followers on TikTok.

So How Are Their DTC Sales?

Shockingly low. I was excited when I saw this brand. I thought this was an under-the-radar brand that a decent-sized business on a unique idea for hockey.

Over the past 17 days, they have processed 205 orders. That is about 12 orders per day. Their average order value is $25 – $30. That means they are averaging about $300 – $350 in revenue per day and just under $10K of monthly revenue right now.

I am shocked at with the social following they have that their website sales are so low.

Is This Is Dud of A Business?

Maybe not. You can find Buttendz grips in about 400 retail stores in North America. Wholesale could be their focus and DTC could be a secondary thought.

On their social media, you can see Rob hustling at hockey rinks promoting this product. You can see him showcasing the product at NHL practices (Rob has successfully gotten a few NHL players to use his product). Butt Endz grips is stocked at Pure Hockey (the largest hockey retailer in the Northeast United States).

It seems entirely possible that the wholesale side of the business generates 90% of the overall revenue. In fact, it looks like they just switched their website to Shopify last month (maybe a sign they are going to try to focus on DTC a little more).

The Packaging

Butt Endz does a great job with their packaging. They sell one grip for about $25. My estimate is it costs them about $1-$3 to manufacture one of these grips. And if I only received the grip, with no packaging, I would feel like I am getting ripped off. After all, this is essentially a golf club grip, and you can buy those for $4-$6 retail. But the packaging makes it feel like I am getting something of value here, something more than just a piece of rubber.

Change of Habit/Culture

This might be the biggest challenge for Buttendz. They have change a habit of a hockey player. If you have ever played hockey, you probably know what I am talking about. Before a hockey game, it is a habit to hang in the locker room and tape up your sticks. It is an art for many, and they take pride in their taping skills.

Can they get hockey players to change this habit and accept a rubber grip instead of their tape job? I think their best bet is to get young hockey players to accept this product before they adopt the culture of taping their stick.

Audience Demographics

Facebook Advertising

Buttendz has 19 ads active on Facebook. All of them are a variation of a static image of the product on a hockey stick. If I didn’t already know what this product was, these ads give me no compelling reason to check the product out or to try it.

See Buttendz Facebook Ads

Google Ads

Currently, they are running no search ads.

Influencers

As I mentioned before, Buttendz has had and still has a few NHL players using their grips. However, because of the NHL rights of their players, Buttendz is unable to use these players in any sort of promotions. If Buttendz was able to get NHL players to promote their product (like an influencer would), I bet they would see a drastic uptick in sales. Hopefully, they can find a workaround to use NHL players in their promotions (it may be they just have to pay for it)

Inventory Issues?

I still have high hopes for this brand, even though I was shocked at how low their DTC sales were for the past 2 weeks. I am curious if they are having inventory issues. A lot of their items appear to be out of stock on their website. And I know it has been a struggle for the past 6 months to get your hands on golf grips. It is very likely that they are experiencing the same supply chain issues as golf grips.

Hopefully, it is supply chain issues dragging sales down for them, and when we are past these issues, we will see their sales come up to levels I was expecting to see (A couple million dollars a year in DTC revenue)

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