We had the good fortune of connecting with Brad Miller and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brad, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
We saw an opportunity for our business when we looked at the current state of graphic apparel in Colorado, and didn’t see anyone designing the way we thought would best convey the Colorado lifestyle through colorful, quality-built products. We knew if we could partner with the right manufacturers we’d have the edge we needed. And since my partner and I are graphic designers, we have an advantage over other brands where maybe there’s a good business person at the top, but they’ll still have to find creative talent to design the products, not to mention the look and feel of the brand – we were able to set ourselves apart early on because the of the vision we were able to directly apply to our brand and it’s products. Design can be a big hurdle for a lot of companies, but we were able to nip these tasks in the bud right out of the gate. Our approach: slow, measured growth and making sure the company stays lean and mean by keeping the size of our in-house team to a minimum.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My partner Pe Maslowsky and I had worked as graphic designers in different capacities for the early part of our careers, and when we first met working together at an agency in Boulder, we already had tons of experience working with graphic apparel and custom production houses that built and decorated soft goods, but were able to really cut our teeth on a higher level by working with brands like K2, MTV, Atlantic Records, Microsoft, and Whole Foods. A few years after we both had left our positions at that agency, we reunited to work together on the entire merch program for Ironman Triathlons North America. This kept us a busy for a few years and really taught us a lot about working on large production merchandise projects and set us up for where we are today. Looking back, it almost seems as if the universe had perfectly prepared us for what was to come with YoColorado. Now, with our own forward-facing consumer brand, we have the kind of control we’ve always wanted in terms of the level of quality we want to offer as well as color – color is monumental for us – and our approach of balancing our overseas manufacturing with locally-built, upcycled products helps us to strike the kind of balance we feel makes for a successful operation. It hasn’t been an easy journey, but is sure has been fun!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’d most likely take them backcountry skiing in the Indian Peaks Wilderness or any number of great spots Colorado has in it’s wintertime, and if in the summertime I’d take them down to my friends who operate Dolores River Campground – from there we could hit McPhee Reservoir, Mesa Verde, Durango, and the wealth of hiking and biking trails throughout the Southwest Colorado. Stops along the way would include Del Norte for pints at Three Barrel Brewing, legendary pizza at Secret Stash in Crested Butte, and Chimayo burritos in Dillon on the way back to Golden. Here in the Denver metro, I’d make sure my friend got their fill of classic comfort food from Steuben’s and then we’d head over to Happy Cones for some delicious Kiwi-style ice cream.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
We’d like to shout out to all the other small business owners and entrepreneurs in Colorado. Not only do we partner with these small businesses to supplement our manufacturing and build a better business that’s tied in with our community, we are also inspired by the entrepreneurs we’ve met over the years at the events we do here in Colorado. There is great sense of collaboration and cooperation amongst business owners in our state, and it makes us all better business people to be able to share our stories and challenges with each other in an effort to improve not only our business, but the industry in which we operate. .