By Jamie Siebrase | Aug 08, 2016
After completing an undergraduate degree in finance and economics, Norwegian-born PK Rustberggard moved to Keystone, where he launched three companies: a commercial real estate firm, Norski Sport Rental, and HookFish Branding.
Since 2012, HookFish has produced custom promotional apparel and printwork for an array of clients: Jim Beam, Mad Greens, Smashburger, and Facebook, among others. At the same time, Rustberggard's fiancé got deep into yoga; she dropped big bucks on name-brand gear, and Rustberggard wanted in on that market, too, with a business focused on manufacturing quality, Colorado-themed yoga pants, shirts, and accessories.
From the company's name to its vibrant, trademark prints, everything about Colorado Threads screams Colorado -- and Rustberggard has further infiltrated the local model by resolving to sew his clothes in-state. "We produce everything here in the U.S.," he says. "We wanted to build up the local economy."
Sustainability spans beyond the economic realm: Colorado Threads makes smart fabric choices, including recycled PET plastic, for example, along with organic materials including bamboo, which should debut soon in a forthcoming run of ultra-soft T-shirts and tanks.
Rustberggard isn't shy about touting his products' quality, saying, "People love the feel of our fabric." Consumers also appreciate the durability.
Screenprinted apparel typically fades with washing. "With our process, the design will not wear out or fade," Rustberggard says. "The pants will rip before that happens."
That's because Colorado Threads relies on dye-sublimation. Designs go through a heat press, whereby prints are dyed into white fabric. "It's not just a picture lying on top of fabric; we use a chemical reaction that puts our designs into the fabric," Rustberggard reiterates.
At first, Colorado Threads called its stuff "yoga apparel," Rustberggard says, "because that's how my fiancé used it." But the brand is way more versatile than that. "It's performance clothing," says Rustberggard, naming applicable activities ranging from running to CrossFit.
Colorado Threads products are currently sold in 25 local stores and boutiques, including Denver's Blue Ruby Boutique and Sumits Yoga in Littleton. "We mainly sell online through our website," Rustberggard clarifies -- although Colorado Threads is "signing up for more retail locations every week."
Two years in, the company's growth outlook looks strong. "The first year was a test year," says Rustberggard. He and his partners experimented with fabrics and sewing methods, and learned a lot about the athletic wear industry in the process.
"Now we've really got a product we're satisfied with," Rustberggard says. Colorado Threads will continue to grow while staying tuned into the theme it was founded on. "We might sell to other states," says Rustberggard, "but we aren't going to start selling California pants. That's not the goal right now."
Challenges: Sewing yoga pants was an entirely different process, one Rustberggard and his partners hadn't encountered through Hookfish Branding. "We had to hire different sewers because it's a very hard sew to do," he says.
With that initial challenge settled, Colorado Threads is working on "managing the dye process," says Rustberggard. "It sounds easy, but a lot of external factors go into it," he explains. Humidity, heat, and other environmental elements impact the outcome of Colorado Threads products, and that's been a trickier challenge to solve.
Opportunities: Colorado Threads is focused on the development of new products, and Rustberggard says he plans to expand its line with new offerings it will unveil in the coming year.
Needs: "We're looking at new locations," says Rustberggard. Based on its growth pattern, Colorado Threads will need to move to a bigger facility in about a year to increase production, but the company has no intention of leaving Denver.