A passion for fashion and clothes led to Matt Cadden and his sister Veronica to start HNY BDR – short for Honey Badger.
Momentum started to pick up when the siblings wore the samples of their crewnecks and hoodies in Revelstoke. People became interested and the former Revelstoke Grizzlie and his sister made more, selling 50 crewnecks and hoodies each in three days.
“It was amazing, we didn’t expect that at all as our first order, it was great to see,” says Cadden, who played in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League for three years. “It was crazy.”
He learned many life lessons over the three years he spent in the KIJHL, in which he won a KIJHL and Cyclone Taylor Cup championship. Among them was to work hard to achieve goals.
“To achieve your goals as a team, you need to work as one,” says Matt, who had an amazing time playing in the league. “Characteristics, leadership and hard work.”
The business name comes from a term Cadden’s childhood hockey coach used to say “defend your end of the ice.” “Protect what’s yours” and “Honey badger don’t take s***” because they are mean and relentless.” After that, Matt started writing HNY-BDR on his sticks. HNY-BDR was born. The logo idea came from that, but they also wanted it to be bold like a licence plate.
“A simple bold logo that stood out, but still represented our name,” he says. “Response to the logo has been very positive.”
Their brand encourages empowerment and strength. That’s done by protecting what is theirs. “Anyone who wears our product has the confidence that no matter what is in your way you can achieve it. To be proud to protect what’s yours and be fearless.”
HNY-BDR started by selling hoodies and crewnecks, then added toques and hats as they needed variety. This spring, they will have T-shirts, women’s sports bras and they recently added adjustable facemasks.
HNY-BDR initially started with testers and supplied in 2016, then began producing in 2017 and business has been great. They ship all over Canada, the furthest east being Newfoundland with some in Quebec. Most of their business comes from the Okanagan.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made an impact, but they are making the best of it and used the time to design more clothes. The big thing was they weren’t able to show clothes, including an initial plan to attend Vancouver Fashion Week. They market themselves using Instagram to promote their product. They also launched limited edition tie dye hoodies and crewnecks during the first lock down and donated the first 10 product proceeds to their local food bank in Revelstoke.
Matt and Veronica love having their own business. Last season was Matt’s final in the KIJHL and the soon-to-be-20-year-old has been focusing on the business, while Veronica is earning her bachelor’s degree in business.
“Our favourite parts are the photo shoots and creative aspects,” he says. “Designing and planning for the next upcoming season. We also love the feeling when we see people wearing our products and tag us on Instagram.”
While they receive support from many people in Revelstoke, their biggest supporters are their parents.
“They have been there since day one. They have given us the opportunity to achieve our goals as a business and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without them,” he says.
Among their future plans is to attend Vancouver Fashion Week when people are able to attend events. They have exciting product releases for spring and summer and they are in production of releasing activewear. Matt is also happy to announce they are producing apparel for university hockey teams in the U.S.