What do Flylow Gear, Moots, and Phunkshun Wear all have in common? In addition to their nominations for Outstanding Consumer Brand at the 2021 Colorado Manufacturing Awards, the answer is a commitment to innovation, brand values, and forward drive despite the challenges stemming from COVID-19.
Flylow Gear's founders Dan Abrams and Scott Pearson are known for designing, testing, and producing functional yet stylish ski and mountain bike clothing in the heart of American ski country. Focused on durability and versatility, the company continued to amass market share last year despite the pandemic.
"Innovation and authenticity keep us at the forefront of skiing," says Abrams, also Flylow Gear's president. "We focus on what real skiers want and need. We don't blow huge dollars on Facebook ads but instead focus on making great gear so that our biggest fans come back for more and spread their love for the brand to the people. Our community is the key to our success."
A rapid expansion into direct-to-consumer e-commerce enabled the team at Flylow Gear to expand that community, growing 13 percent year-over-year in 2020 as well as adding five jobs. "Our company is now stronger than ever," Abrams says.
Founded in 1981, Moots is celebrating its fortieth-year manufacturing homemade bicycle frames in the small mountain town of Steamboat Springs. A leader in titanium bicycle manufacturing, the team at Moots uses many modern techniques including 3D printing and in-house anodizing in the design and building of bikes that ship to discerning riders worldwide.
With 28 full-time employees, Moots generally aims for sales growth of eight to 10 percent each year. "Success for us is not in huge growth but a steady quality over quantity pursuit," says Jon Cariveau, brand spokesperson. "As a manufacturer, we have supply chain management in place to help smooth out the bumps when they arise. Staying true to our high-quality premium brand values will help guide us as we evolve even further as a trend setter in the industry."
Cariveau says that the team at Moots are very proud of how they responded to the challenges 2020 presented. "We've risen to the occasion to keep our dealers supplied with our products, kept our workplace safe, and have done so in a humble manner," he explains. Additionally, "In the last year, we have successfully launched two new bike models and a new finish. We feel we went from 'the sky is falling' in the early days of COVID to rallying around each other to make sure we made good decisions and didn't lose focus."
CompanyWeek profile (October 2017): https://companyweek.com/article/moots
A textile goods manufacturer specializing in the dye sublimation of performance fabrics, Phunkshun Wear produces tech-forward, sustainable outdoor fashion. In addition to the company's ski and snowboard masks, fishing masks, and leggings, Phunkshun Wear branched out into non-medical PPE face coverings and contract manufacturing to meet 2020's pandemic demands.
"Despite what everyone told us starting out, we haven't had to discard or compromise our values and fundamental principles," says CEO Jason Badgley. "We're manufacturing quality products in the USA with sustainable, domestically produced raw materials in our own factory, which is part of the Certifiably Green Denver program."
Badgley says the company's approach has set it apart from others over the past year despite supply chain disruptions and staff capacity issues. "We were able to react, pivot, and maintain operations, all while giving back to the community," he explains. "Rearranging our production floor and taking on additional commercial space allowed us to manufacture non-medical PPE and donate thousands of units to the Colorado Mask Project."
Phunkshun Wear's 2020 sales were 25 percent higher than the prior year, and Badgley says his team plans to continue their product line expansion. Possibilities include incorporating "more products across spring, summer, and fall seasons" as well as "establishing a stronger presence and market share in the winter sports market and focusing on growing our own manufacturing capabilities with more advanced machinery."
CompanyWeek profile (August 2020): https://companyweek.com/article/phunkshun