Industry Profile: Sandra Frame, NOTORIOUS Red
Sandra Frame knows the struggle hockey players (and parents) endure when it comes to smelly equipment.
As a roller derby competitor for many years, the Los Angeles resident tried endless sprays, solutions and homemade concoctions in an effort to combat the sweat and stink that soaked elbow and knee pads, helmet liners and skates.
When she eventually discovered a recipe that worked and it caught the attention of her teammates, she realized she may have a marketable product that could be in demand well beyond the roller derby world.
Along with husband Stephen Greenberg, she started the company Notorious RED (NotoriousRED.com) and began selling their first product, Notorious, three years ago. Since then, the company has expanded to reach athletes in sports across the spectrum.
Frame recently spoke with California Rubber about the couple’s unique product and the challenges of running a home business.
CR: What exactly is Notorious, and what do people use it for?
SF: It’s a deodorizing spray that’s all-natural. People use it for anything that stinks, so it’s not just for hockey pads or roller derby pads, but running shoes, boxing gloves. We’ve even had police officers use it on their kevlar vests. We recommend that people use it after every time they use their gear. Our slogan is, “Smell clean even if you play dirty.”
CR: What is it made of, and how did you come up with the right combination of ingredients?
SF: I was using a spray for my running shoes that I was buying in a store, and they stopped making it, so I went online and did some research. I started mixing ingredients and, over the next five years, I perfected it. I can’t tell you the exact recipe, but I can say that there’s tea tree oil, peppermint and witch hazel in the product.
CR: When did you first start selling it, and how big is the company now?
SF: My teammates were always asking me what I used to get the smell out of my equipment. So I started selling bottles to friends, and about four years ago we decided to make it into a real business. We currently have 37 dealers in the United States, Canada and Australia, and we’re getting new dealers every day. The product is currently available in the pro shops at Toyota Sports Center (El Segundo), The Rinks-Anaheim and -Westminster Ice, Skating Edge Ice Arena (Harbor City), Iceoplex Simi Valley, Iceplex Escondido and Jake’s Pro Shop in El Segundo.
CR: How did you expand from roller derby to hockey and other sports?
SF: Hockey players are the only athletes we knew that smelled worse than roller derby players (laughing). It’s a testament to the sport how hard the players compete. It was a natural extension beyond roller derby, and there are a lot of people who play both sports, so we thought maybe there was a market for our product. With hockey being such a prevalent sport in California, we thought there was an opportunity.
CR: How do you convince people that it works?
SF: When we go to events and set up a booth for people to test out the product, it sells itself. Moms walk by and ask if it really works, because they use Febreze or some other spray that doesn’t. We tell them to bring their kids by with their gear, then we spray it down and let them decide for themselves if it works.
CR: Where do you see the business going?
SF: We have pretty lofty goals. In the short term, we want to get bigger and more well-known. We have this product that actually works, and people get excited about it.
– Compiled by Greg Ball