The Spider Chalk Story

The Spider Chalk Story

I'm James, the Owner of Spider Chalk. I launched Spider Chalk in 2015 and since that time, we've remained the only USA manufacturer of gym chalk.

People often ask me how I started Spider Chalk so I want to share the Spider Chalk story. I hope it encourages athletes to support US companies and motivates entrepreneurs to manufacture in the US instead of importing.

The Dirty Secret Of Chalk

In 2015, I ordered liquid chalk for the members of my CrossFit gym. A few minutes later I received an email saying, "Your order will arrive in 4-6 weeks."

I immediately called customer support who explained all the chalk in the USA comes from China on a container ship. Every website selling chalk, and every brand of chalk, was the same product shipped from China. The only difference between hundreds of brands of blocks, liquid and powder chalk was the labels.

I searched Google for "USA Chalk" and "Chalk Made In The USA." Zero results.

CrossFit Gym 2008-2016

Until this point, I somehow falsely believed that one chalk brand was somehow better or worse than another. The truth is it was all the same chalk with different labels.

The Start

I needed liquid chalk immediately for my gym so I decided to make a batch. It was disastrous. My first mistake was following the "make liquid chalk at home" videos I found on YouTube, which told me I could put chalk and alcohol in a blender. It made a mess and the results were unbelievably bad for several reasons:

  1. The chalk came from China and turned into a goopy mess in the blender.
  2. The chalk lasted about 5 seconds before rubbing off.
  3. My gym looked like a chalk bomb exploded with chalk marks everywhere. 

I reached out to a few chemists that helped me formulate a better, longer-lasting version of liquid chalk I called Spider Chalk. 

A few days later I received a call from an online retailer who requested wholesale prices. They ordered 50 bottles. Apparently, other companies were tired of waiting on imported chalk.

The Crazy Idea

Everyone loved our liquid chalk. We sold thousands of bottles and people went crazy over the formula! But as our liquid chalk became a best-seller on Amazon, I received hundreds of requests for block chalk.

Most lifters use compressed chalk blocks and were tired of the crumbly mess from cheap 2oz imported blocks. As I researched the methods of manufacturing, I discovered that 2oz imported blocks used a binder to make the chalk stick together. That binder became a lubricant when wet. Every time your hands sweat, they also become slippery and the more chalk you used the worse it became. 

For 18 months I obsessed over how to make blocks, often driving across the country to meet with people who could shed insight into the process. Finally, after months of research, I discovered a completely new process to make better, denser blocks.

Then I designed a machine to form dense chalk blocks using only 100% pure, lab-made, magnesium carbonate. 

The Growth

The next year our business grew fast! After our four children went to bed, my wife and I would sneak down to the basement to fill orders.

Packaging circa 2016

As Spider Chalk grew, we had many large companies reach out, including one sporting goods store with 850 locations, wanting to purchase block chalk. Most of these offers we turned down due to our limited production capabilities.

Eldest son with our original Spider Chalk 8oz bottle

Then in 2019, Spider Chalk turned the corner. Our processes improved to the point we could hire workers and pay them a fair wage. Our workers now produce large batches in only a few hours, allowing us to work with larger clients.

In 2020, we reached a distribution deal in our 20th country, making us a global company and the largest chalk manufacturer in the USA. Our little basement start-up has now become a true manufacturing company.

One of the first 5.3oz Mega Blocks ever produced... in our basement

As a business owner, one of the challenges is finding good people. Spider Chalk has been blessed with consistent and eager workers who are thankful for the opportunity to serve the world by making better chalk products. 

The Future

As of 2024, Spider Chalk has begun to automate our factory. Automating puts our business in a unique situation to scale rapidly and decrease prices. Spider Chalk will be the first and only fully-automated chalk manufacturer in the world.

As we grow into the future, I will never lose sight of my original goal - to make better chalk and make it here in the USA. That will NEVER change.

Product packaging from 2019 - present

The Goal

For several years, people often snickered when they saw my dogged determination to produce chalk in the USA. A smarter person would have given up. But the challenge of making chalk became an obsession that turned into a business.

I hope you will try our chalk and feel the difference.

Spider Chalk isn't a lifestyle brand, and we don't have ambassadors or influencers selling our products on social media.

Spider Chalk does one thing and does it better than everyone else on the planet, make great chalk.

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