We had the good fortune of connecting with Maris Johansson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maris, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I was thinking a lot about the experience of becoming new parents and navigating the sea of gear, clothing and parenting advice. While I relished the access and knowledge facilitated by my smartphone, I often felt isolated and longed for more in-person connection. This was when I began building the foundation for what would one day become Broomtail. I imagined a different shopping experience for parents, one grounded in community that could help make the experience of modern parenthood more fun and connected. There are so many digital resources for parents, but I saw a big gap locally for spaces and businesses built to support new parents. I spent years taking notes on my phone in spare moments until I felt like I had enough to take the first real steps. It was scary with two young children to care for and support to leave a reliable paycheck, but I was so passionate and connected to the concept behind Broomtail, that I couldn’t get excited about doing anything else. I found my retail space at the end of 2019 and got the keys in March 2020 (yep, great timing!). I opened in May of 2020 and have loved every day since! Despite pandemic challenges, I have loved meeting customers and hearing their stories and I’m excited about the road ahead.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am from Denver and loved my Colorado childhood. I left for college and stayed away for my first few jobs in San Francisco; then stayed away longer for grad school and more jobs in New York City. As an anthropology major, I eventually stumbled my way to gainful employment in the field of marketing. I loved the blend of art and science, but the big-company slow pace made me restless and I missed the mountains. My husband and I moved back to Colorado five years ago and I joined a small startup as a marketing director where everything moved at lightning speed. I loved building a brand that connected with people and stood for more than just something to buy. As a competitive person, I initially loved the challenge and pressure of meeting investor expectations and growing the business, but as time when on, I felt we were getting further away from a purpose outside of profit. Starting from scratch as a team of one has certainly had it’s up and downs, but getting out from behind an excel sheet has been re-energizing and I love the community-building aspect of brick-and-mortar retail.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Visit: Denver Botanic Gardens, Red Rocks, Washington Park, Chautauqua Park in Boulder, Clyfford Still Museum Shop: Tennyson St in The Highlands, Cherry Creek North, Pearl St. in Boulder Eat: Avanti Denver/Boulder, Mercantile Dining & Provision, The Universal for Breakfast, Sushi Den
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
You go into it thinking as the owner and founder, that you are the one starting the business, but you quickly realize your whole family shares those shoes with you! My husband deserves a thousand shoutouts for encouraging this crazy dream and picking up all the slack at home. There’s an amazing entrepreneurial community in Denver and I have benefited so much from the many other shop and business owners who have shared their experiences and advice; I am excited to pay it forward!