Bentonville company Junk Brands is launching new partnerships with the NFL and NHL

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 3,097 views 

Craig Lile, Junk Brands president and general manager.

Apparel and manufacturing company Junk Brands in Bentonville, known for its athletic headbands in various styles and patterns, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. And is still growing.

Later this year, Junk Brands will relocate to a new, larger headquarters in Bentonville. President Craig Lile said he’s hopeful the 34,600-square-foot building at the corner of Southwest I Street and Melissa Drive will be finished by December and occupied in January.

Clinard Construction Management of Bentonville is the builder.

“Our current building looks like something from an episode of ‘Hoarders,’” Lile joked in a recent interview. “This is space we’ve needed for some time.”

Physical expansion isn’t all Junk Brands has on the horizon. The company has new partnerships with the National Football League and National Hockey League. Junk Brands already has a licensing agreement with Major League Baseball.

“Major League Baseball has been great for expanding our business,” said Lile, a South Africa native and two-time All-American golfer at the University of Arkansas. He won more tournaments (5) than any golfer in Razorback history before playing professionally for several years. “These two [NFL and NHL] are more partnerships than they are licenses. They see the potential for both sides to gain things from the association. They’re talking about things we can do together that will actually help them.

“I’m not gonna lie. Sitting in an office in Bentonville, Arkansas, and talking about things we can do to help the NFL is really fun to say out loud.”

Lile said the region’s growing cycling and mountain biking profile is also a boon.

“That fits us well from a business sense,” he said. “When we travel and go to events all over the country, you talk to people about Bentonville and Northwest Arkansas, and there are more and more people who pivot the conversation to talking about bike trails and how great the area is.”

Kourtney and Beau Barrett launched Junk Brands in 2011, then sold the business to Bentonville headwear apparel company Outdoor Cap Co. in 2017 for an undisclosed amount.

Junk Brands, which has about 80 employees, designs and produces its headbands in Bentonville, and the company turns out between 5,000 and 6,000 units per day.

Besides its e-commerce business, numerous specialty retailers sell Junk Brands headbands.

Lile declined to discuss the company’s financials.