Proof Eyewear

McCall Lacewood Gray

McCall Lacewood Gray

Eyewear is having a moment – even people who have perfect vision are wearing frames! There are plenty of stylish brands out there, but Proof Eyewear sets itself apart from the pack with a focus on eco-friendly design.

Proof Eyewear was founded in Eagle, Idaho in 2010 by three brothers who were inspired by their Grandpa Bud’s strong work ethic. He’d opened a sawmill 60 years ago that, despite setbacks, prospered thanks to his hard work and tenacity. CEO Brooks Dame told us that he and his brothers grew up with “sawdust in their veins,” working in the mill. Today they continue to work with wood, incorporating wooden frames and details into their collection of handcrafted, innovative and environmentally friendly eyewear.

Read on for a Q&A with CEO Brooks Dame about their experience on popular show Shark Tank and just what makes this rapidly growing company tick…

Q: What motivated you all to try out for Shark Tank? 

A. We were fans of the show first and saw the success of other companies that had been on it. We really saw it as an opportunity to find a good partner and raise some additional funds to grow the company.

Q: What was the biggest challenge in developing eco-friendly eyewear? 

A. We wanted to develop the most eco-friendly line in the world. With that goal in mind, it got us really focused on the design. Every decision we make on our line has to pass the “Green” test. If it harms the environment, isn’t eco-friendly or biodegradable it doesn’t make the cut. Putting that stake in the ground early on has made decisions much easier for us. It gets us really focused and we’ve had to work hard to find quality manufacturers and suppliers. We’ve had to travel around the world to find the best of the best, but once we find them things move pretty smoothly.

Q: Where is inspiration for designs found? 

A. Nature obviously inspires us. So you’ll usually find wood or wood accents in most of our products. A lot of our models are inspired by vintage frames that we pick up in boutiques or on Ebay. All of our models are also named after places and people that are near and dear to us. The Bird model for example is named after our Grandpa. His nickname was Willy Bird. The model has a flat top and our grandpa was in the military and always wore a flattop. So the inspiration comes from a lot of different places.

Q: What is something readers would be surprised to know about you or your business?

A. It started in my garage with an idea to make bamboo ski poles and quickly morphed into an international company. Or the fact that we still are a small company run by a handful of people but most people believe we are a lot larger than we really are.

McCall Stained Bamboo Gray

McCall Stained Bamboo Gray


Q&A with Founder of Powder Gems

Q&A with Founder of Powder Gems

Q&A with Founder of Powder Gems

Last week I scoped out the latest and greatest in snow sports during SIA 2014 at the Denver Convention Center. SIA is a trade show for buyers, the media, and other industry professionals to get a peek at what respected snow sports brands are launching next – and who the up-and-coming names to know are.

One exhibitor that caught my eye was Powder Gems, a line of ski goggles that are taking your bundled-up slopes outfit to the next level. With 100% ultra-violet protection and polarized anti-fog double lenses, they’re both functional AND chic.

I’d never seen anything like these limited edition, Swarovski-crystal embellished goggles before, so I chatted with founder and Colorado native Heather Campbell to get the scoop.

Q&A with Founder of Powder Gems

Q&A with Founder of Powder Gems

1. How did the idea for Powder Gems come to be? What do you most love about your line of work? 

I made a pair of blinged out goggles a few years ago, and every time I would wear them to the mountains everybody would stop me and ask me where I got them.

The motivation to start Powder Gems came after I went through a horrible divorce where I lost everything.  Throughout that difficult time, I still loved being with my two daughters and I loved being on the mountain!  I was boarding with my daughter one day and thought, I should make a snowboarding/skiing apparel line.  I went out on a limb and started the company, with the help of a friend that wanted to invest in my dream.  I decided to start with the goggles that I made and to grow from that.

My daughter, Kenzie, and I would love to eventually donate some of our proceeds to a charity of some kind to help women and children of domestic violence.  Hopefully down the road we can really help some families that are down and out and give them hope for a great, strong future!   The thing I love most is making people feel beautiful and having my daughters see their mom as a strong survivor.

2.  Tell us a little about your background. Have you owned a business before? 

I am a hair stylist so technically I own my own business. I had rented my own booth before, but I have never started a company like this. Powder Gems is definitely the first company that I completely started on an idea.

3.  What is something readers would be surprised to know about you or your business? 

I think that people would be surprised to know that my main goal in all of this is to help other women, with children, in domestic violence situations get real help.  I want to be able to get them on their feet and get back their confidence.  Just for them to know they are not alone. I am still trying to figure out how to exactly do that but it was the main inspiration behind launching the line, and eventually I hope the collection expands so I can do this full time, be able to take care of my girls from this company, and find a way to help other women.

4.  What is your business’s biggest challenge?

 I am a single mom, I have a full time job, and I am starting my own business.  Pretty much doing it all by myself is the biggest challenge.  The other would be is that nobody knows what Powder Gems is, so getting my name out there.

5.  What do you most love about Colorado? 

I love that Colorado has so many fun things to do!  Snowboarding in the winter, wakeboarding and camping in the summer.  Awesome weather, it’s always sunny!  It’s also very safe, and has great schools.

6.  What is your target market?

I would say my target market is confident women and girls that like to attract attention.  Stylish women that love to look great!


Colorado Companies To Take Spotlight at SIA

Colorado Companies To Take Spotlight at SIA

Colorado Companies To Take Spotlight at SIA

The SIA Show  (Snow Sports Industries America) is set to open at the Colorado Convention Center this Thursday. Among the thousands of retailers are several Colorado companies. One of those is Gyst Concepts (short for Get Your Stuff Together), which is based in Louisville, Colorado.

Dominique Aris, who is originally from France, launched the company in California 3 years ago. The idea came to him while he was surfing in California. “I used a big plastic box to step into and remove my wetsuit. Then I realize since everyone else around me was doing the same so I invented and patented the only bag line you can step into to change gear before and after exercising.”That bag has become one of the most advanced backpacks available for triathletes to set up their transition station.

I caught up with Dom to see what else we can expect at SIA and also from the future of this company.

Carri: What else will you be showcasing at SIA?

Dom: We will be presenting a line including duffels, backpack and our 2014 innovative products designed to be used on muddy and snowy parking lots.

Our new duffel bag the DB1-14 is big enough to carry all your snowboarding or ski gear and features our clean mat system.

Carri: What is something readers would be surprised to know about you?

Dom: From the best of my knowledge we are sending devices to Mars but we had to wait till a few years ago to see GYST introduce the only bag that can be used in soiled surfaces in parking lots to provide a clean space to change and that will stay clean once closed. If you think about it it means we did a better job in spacial programs than at solving a problem every athlete is dealing with !

Carri: What do you most love about Colorado?

Dom: Without hesitation “Coloradians”. As you can tell from my accent I am a “US adopted kid”. People all over the state have welcome me and my innovative brand with countless encouragements to develop the line for outdoor and winter sports.


College Student Launches Successful Business Making Workout Headbands+ Your Chance To Win


 Win a Roo Epic Workout Headband!

1. Like Catch Carri on Face Book. 

 2. Email and tell her your favorite work out! (Emails kept private and are used so we can notify the winners).

Do you remember when you were 21-years-old and balancing college, work and still trying to fit an active social life?  Now imagine running your own company at the same time. That’s the name of the game for Colorado native Rylee Burrows, a junior at CU Boulder. When Rylee was on a quest to find a snazzy headband, nothing surfaced. So the innovative gal took matters to her sewing machine. The bands, known as RooEpic Headbands,were such a hit that she started taking orders. The business has grown rapidly over the years and is even the official headband of the Women’s Rapids Team and supports members of the U.S. Ski Team.

“As the requests for headbands continued so did requests for other accessories. Since then I have added a wide workout headband (Superband), unlined and fleece-lined hats, unlined and lined neck gaiters, and a fleece lined headband,” said Rylee.

With the welcome growth spurt, Rylee has turned to Ralph’s Industrial in the Highlands for support. “It is an industrial sewing machine heaven. They carry everything any manufacturer might need,” says Rylee. “They also have a co-op where new entrepreneurs can go and try out new machines and learn new techniques.”

I caught up with Rylee to learn a little more about her background.

Workout Headbands Steer College Student Through School

Workout Headbands Steer College Student Through School

Carri: What haven’t you done?!  Tell us about your background as a ski racer.

Rylee: I grew up in Winter Park, Colorado. Living in the mountains of Colorado I have a love for the outdoor adventures.  I spent winters ski racing for the Winter Park Ski Team. Most summers were spent training at Mount Hood Oregon and playing soccer. I loved racing all the disciplines but liked slalom, giant slalom best. I now coach U12 ski racers for Lake Eldora Racing Team at Eldora Mountain.

Carri: How do you balance owning a business, school and having a social life?

Rylee: I manage all my roles by first employing great people. I am super high energy and love to get things done! And like all college students, my social life doesn’t get started until about 10 P.M.

Carri: How many employees do you have?

Rylee: When I first started three years ago RooEpic was just me, now RooEpic has grown to employee three additional people and when things get really crazy I have a few more employees who come and help.

Carri: Where can we find RooEpic?

Rylee: My company RooEpic is based out of Winter Park, Colorado.  RooEpic products can be found all over the state of Colorado, including retail shops in Breckenridge, Steamboat, Boulder, and Winter Park. Products are also located in Laramie Wyoming. By visiting my website, customers can also view and buy all my products.

Carri: What do you most love about Denver?

Rylee: I love the incredible view of the Rocky Mountains from Denver! The city has all the perks about a city plus the thirty-minute drive West into the great outdoors of the Rockies! One second you can be shopping downtown and the next you can be mountain biking, hiking or skiing powder! Growing up in the mountains I really appreciate the accessibility of resources throughout Denver. Whether it be consulting with an expert at Ralph’s Industrial or touring the Denver Art Museum for inspiration.



Q&A: Founder of Customized Copper Mule Cups

Q&A: Founder of Customized Copper Mule Cups

Q&A: Founder of Customized Copper Mule Cups

It has quickly become the “It Cocktail.”  A Moscow Mule is a simple concoction of vodka, ginger beer and lime, served in a shiny copper mug. With companies like Denver Based, Custom Copper Mugs, you can enjoy the cocktail with a design of your choice. The Mustache Mule Cups  are only variety offered that has surged in popularity. Colorado resident, Robin Behrstock, has set up the business in Denver.

Carri: How did the idea come to be?

Robin: I was at a bar and the liquor rep came in with Tito’s copper mugs. Everyone who worked there was so excited to get them. At that moment I realized there was so much potential for copper mugs to be used in more restaurants and bars, in peoples’ homes and as gifts. I realized they were hard to find and quite expensive, so I used my international connections to find a manufacturer. I had a few samples made, built a simple website, started marketing and had a great response from the start.

Carri: Why did you decide to incorporate a mustache? Those must be a huge hit!

Robin: I have always loved mustaches. In fact I was voted Ms. Movember at a Movember gala a few years ago. I glued a brown furry mustache on my face with eyelash glue! But it was actually my friend Matilda who recommended I put the mustache on the mug. I loved the idea and went with it! And yes, they’ve been quite popular!

Carri: What do you most love about Denver?

Robin: Living close to the mountains. I’m a mountain girl at heart. I also have a soft spot for hipsters with mustaches, and there seems to be a lot of them here.

Carri: What is something people would be suprised to know about you?

Robin:  I set up my business so I can work from anywhere. I love to travel and have visited every continent but Antarctica… which could probably use some copper mugs… I will have to go there next!