Handup is known primarily for their comfy bike gloves and bold, party-driven designs. Started in 2014, the company has grown slowly and steadily, winning over customers with casual and affordable cycling apparel. After years of grinding, the company finally found just enough breathing room to launch a program that recognizes individuals and groups that are making a difference in the cycling community, and to give back financially through a product line called Gloves That Give.
“We wanted to give back for a really long time, but as a small business, it’s hard to give back while you’re also trying to grow and keep the lights on,” says Troy Stewart, head of Marketing. “And we’re just now getting out of the ‘keep the lights on’ phase.”
The first glove in the series comes from self-taught artist Duane Koyawena, a Hopi tribe member living in Arizona. The Strong Life glove features Hopi pottery designs and uses traditional colors and imagery. Koyawena says, “the images depicted in this design represent important values held by Hopi people.”
He goes on to say, “This design was inspired by the challenge and joy I get from mountain biking. It has been a good way for me to get out and spend time with my daughter and friends. This design for me brings together my ideas of wellness, health, and my appreciation of the land.”
A portion of the sales proceeds from the Strong Life glove will be donated to the Hopi Education Endowment Fund. Handup says between ten and twenty percent of sales ultimately go toward deserving groups, depending on production costs.
In creating a product for the Gloves That Give line, Stewart says it’s important to align a compelling design with both a story and a cause. “There’s a lot of variables outside of just being a group that does something ‘good.’ A design has to come to play. It has to actually [have] an audience to sell it to.”
The brand is not without its critics however, notably for past products that included offensive wording. Handup says they stopped selling the gloves in question soon after the problem was brought to their attention and are interested in giving “back to underrepresented community members of the mountain bike industry.”
In May Handup released the second product in the Gloves That Give series, this time benefitting MTB Norcal. Held together, the gloves spell out “Dig It” in honor of the builders who create and maintain local mountain bike trails. Proceeds from the sales of this glove will benefit the club.
Each design in the series will see a limited run. The Strong Life glove is almost completely sold out, with only size extra small remaining.
Stewart says, “The real goal is to have like a badass glove on top of something badass to give back to, and then it’s a given [that] everyone’s down to support [the product] at that point.”