We're an American Made Finalist!
Posted on 15 September 2014
We truly believe in local production & a fresh perspective, but here's the inside scoop on what makes Skida really special.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS.During a rainy Christmas week in 2007, high-school skier Corinne Prevot picked up some fun fabric and made hats for her Burke Mountain Academy teammates and friends. The early prototypes were a hit and the demand for colorful hats grew, as did the variety of prints. With the help of a simple website, the buzz snowballed beyond the New England ski community and new products joined the line to keep everyone warm and colorful against the snowy winter. While at Middlebury College, Corinne continued to keep up with Skida, working closely with Margie, the secret weapon, the queen of logistics, the best mom ever. Together, they grew the business and quickly handed production over to local seamstresses. Six years later, Corinne set up Skida headquarters in Burlington, Vermont. The company has grown sales through the online store over 200 retailers, and various custom collaborative projects. Meanwhile, production continues to operate in northern Vermont, supporting local cottage industry.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR WORKSPACE, SHOP, OR STUDIO.It’s been a year since I moved the Skida operation from my college apartment to our fabulous workspace in Burlington’s South End Arts District. As you walk into the Skida headquarters, our fulfillment shelves, packing table, and small showroom display gives any visitor an ample preview of our product line. My family's old tattered American flag is mounted by the door. A marvelous part of the space is the young energy that fills it: we’re a median age of just 22 years. Our space is in a renovated mill, complete with defunct railroad tracks out front. The exposed brick walls reminds me of old Vermont, connecting us to the hard work that goes into the product line. Once a mid-century hub for manufacturing, the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont is now occupied by many skilled seamstresses who were left with little opportunity as factories moved overseas. We are lucky to work with such an impressive quality of production that is up to par with large facilities all over the country.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?I find inspiration in people, places, and things that have a story, a context, or a connection to my own life. My muses, the source of inspiration, are people who have fulfilled a life of passion, positivity and goodness, people who have successfully created a lifestyle and livelihood from their passions. Meet a couple of my role models: Whitney Chamberlain created a number of innovative businesses around his lifestyle as a photographer and continues to push the boundaries of creative entrepreneurship. Jake Burton of Burton Snowboards created a sport, a culture, and a wildly successful business around his ideals and passion for snowboarding. Sonja Rasula of Unique USA inspired a culture of creativity, passion, and savviness that has enabled other creative entrepreneurs to follow their passion with joy, happiness, and productivity. To me, these three people are emblems of innovation and originality. I hope to one day be that for someone else.
WHAT MAKES YOUR BUSINESS STAND OUT?Skida was created because I love to be outside, to ski, to embrace each season, and to combine all of this with design, color, and craft. Our hats are great for those chilly morning walks, around the campfire, or watching from the sidelines at a soccer game. Skida stands out because we make a high-quality product with creative designs in a way that benefits the local community. In addition to making a splash in cold-weather accessories, we commit to social responsibility through our donation program to chemotherapy patients. The Skida Plus One program enables online customers to donate a hat to any of our 7 participating cancer centers. The solution is collaborative: for every order that is submitted with a Plus One promotional code, Skida will donate one hat to the corresponding cancer center. We believe in a fresh perspective when it comes to the way we do business and design our products. Our continued effort to bring cheer & happiness to our customers makes our business shine.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE AN ASPIRING CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR?ALWAYS MAKE NEW MISTAKES. I think it is important to work through ideas that are on your mind and immediately available, so you can make room for future, perhaps random, acquaintances that may lead you to new heights! Get your work out there and don’t stop doing. SPREAD GOODNESS. Imagine what the world would be like if we all lived by this mantra: bring people together, encourage play, generate smiles, and make a better place. HUSTLE. If not now, when? PASSION IS POWER. To me, a fulfilled life of happiness is when you’re passionate about what you do to make a living. Stay true to what you love and it will take you places. Don’t forget to pause and acknowledge your achievements! Yay!
WHAT DOES AMERICAN MADE MEAN TO YOU?For my business, made in Vermont represents an invaluable connection and commitment to my local community. As a creative entrepreneur, I need to have a grasp of all aspects of business from product development to marketing to sales. Working with a local cottage industry gives Skida the flexibility to make product adjustments on the fly, run high-priority custom orders, and turn around special productions. It’s a dynamic relationship between Skida and our seamstresses that enables us to create the best products we can, while supporting a local operation. With factories closing and work going overseas in the past couple of decades, many skilled craftsmen have been left with little opportunity. Local Vermont seamstresses, like our Diane, have turned to cottage industry contracting, sewing from home for companies all over the country. Our sewing, despite being in a very isolated and economically bleak region, shows an impressive quality that is up to par with large facilities all over the country.