We had the good fortune of connecting with Susie & Katie of Buena Goods and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Susie & Katie, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I was thinking about the work life balance question in the context of the business venture Katie and I are embarking on and that’s not the whole story. The truth is, life is a balancing act. I believe in a balanced life, even with diet, exercise, time to really focus and think, and time to socialize with friends and family. With the way we all communicate in so many channels, our attention is constantly pulled in different directions, so balance is also about making sure I hear about my kid’s day, give belly rubs to our dog, and go for a mountain bike ride. Balancing life can be quite a challenge – there are so many things to do, things I have to do and things I want to do. Laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, carpool coordination, enjoying a nice dinner and trying a new recipe, bedtime stories with the kids, listening to music intently, feeding and walking the dog, calling my mom and sister for our usual check ins, coordinating kids lessons and activities, watering the plants, thinking about our future, investments, getting the oil changed, making plans for the weekend, haircuts, planning a vacation, volunteering, being a participating member of the community, watching the latest Neflix series everyone is talking about, date night with my husband, learning and reading, being thoughtful and giving to others, dentist and doctor appointments, vaccinations, buying concert tickets, staying touch with old friends, making new ones, all the things. And with all the things, I do work and I love working. I love building our company, Buena Goods. I often can’t wait to get into the sewing studio and am seldom ready to leave. I also love all the rest of it. My life is full, so it has to be balanced. I’m not saying it is always IN balance, but it’s always in the act of balancing.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Susie: We are 2 people, 2 sewing machines, and one old railroad shed. We make totes that are burley, resistant to UV, quick dry, have a high weight capacity, plus they’re super cute. The common component in all our totes is an industrial mesh. We were introduced to this fabric through gear used on white water raft trips. Salida has the Arkansas River flowing right through it, so river culture is very prevalent here. Totes are not unique or novel, nor is the use of industrial mesh. What makes Buena Goods unique is the combination of colorful design, enduring materials, and quality construction.
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?
Susie & Katie: Salida, CO is a very special place. The Arkansas River flows right through town and is the heart of the city. Both of our families ended up here because our husbands were white-water raft guides here in the 90’s. Salida’s river culture has a big influence on our bags. River gear is made to last in tough conditions. We thought it would be nice if everything in our lives was that tough. So guaranteed, if someone is visiting we take them on the river either on a SUP or a raft. Or if surfing or boogie boarding sounds interesting, there are 4 engineered rapids right in town, where locals regularly go to play in the waves. If the visitor likes to mountain bike, then the epic Monarch Crest Trail is a must. For less time and technically intensive rides, the Salida trail system has so many options for both hiking and biking. After working up a thirst and appetite, there are lots of good beer options in Salida. Tres Litros is a microbrew favorite of ours, there is also Elevation and Soulcraft for beer connoisseurs. If you are more into craft cocktails, Woods Distillery is worth checking out. That’s owned by our local mayor, PT Woods, who makes the gin and vodka right downtown. Sweeties sandwiches is a great lunch spot. Amicas is a great dinner option with salads, calazones, pizza and pasta. Salida always seems to have music going on somewhere, especially in the summer, just stop and take a moment to listen. You’ll hear a band at Riverside park, High side, Tap house, Bensons, Tres Litros or somewhere!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Susie & Katie: We are oozing with gratitude for the people around us supporting us. I love to design, sew, and make things, but I never would have taken the leap into business if it hadn’t been for Susie’s confidence and encouragement. Also, my partner Michael Buckley is an incredible artist and has contributed lots of design input. He’s not afraid of anything and that’s contagious. Hands down, the most important contributor to Buena Goods has been Lane Wilson. She taught me how to be a production seamstress. Lane is an amazing teacher, a mentor in sewing and business. She leads her company more like a mother than a boss. I am super grateful for the years I worked for her.
Lane Wilson is the founder of Oveja Negra, a designer, manufacturer and seller of top shelf bikepacking bags.
Heather Jackson Photography