Podcast

#003 Fanny Toorenburg of Hill Road Merino

Hey everyone! Thank you for tuning in for this episode of Colorado.FM – the Colorado podcast.  In this episode I will be speaking with Fanny Toorenburg of Hill Road Merino, a merino clothing label based in Nederland, Colorado.

Our conversation covers how Fanny unexpectedly ended up in Colorado as an adult after dreaming about it as a kid.  We also get into the inspiration for starting Hill Road Merino, juggling life as an athlete, parent, and entrepreneur, and some current challenges facing the growing company.

Finally, Fanny talks about life in a small but supportive community like Nederland – both family and business wise.

You can find Hill Road Merino online at hillroadmerino.com and on Instagram also @hillroadmerino.

My favorite quote from the conversation:

Most of the things I learned in life wasn’t sitting behind a school bench, it was playing outside, riding my bike, running, thinking about how beautiful nature is.

So here we go, my conversation with Fanny Toorenburg of Hill Road Merino.

 


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Selected Links from the Episode

Hill Road Merino

Wild Bear Nature Center

Neptune Mountaineering

Durango Outdoor Exchange

Ned Ned 5K and Half Marathon

Eldora

SMBA – Singletrack Mountain Bike Adventures

Tin Shed Sports

Salto Coffee Works

Born Wild Project

 


Show Notes

[1:30] How the love of outdoors brings Fanny from Montreal to New Zealand to Nederland

[10:00] Inspiration and evolution of Hill Road Merino

[17:10]  Made with remnants and maintaining authenticity through scale

[19:00] Current business challenges and juggling family with work

[22:00] The perfect Colorado business trip!

[25:00] Crushing the Ned Ned

[29:25] Favorite spots with the kids in Nederland, and who Fanny would love to hear on this podcast

 


 

Transcript:

Fanny Toorenburg of Hill Road Merino

Hello everyone and thank you for tuning in to this podcast episode of Colorado.fm – The Colorado Podcast. In this episode I’ll be speaking with Fanny Toorenburg of Hill Road Merino, a clothing label based in Nederland. Our conversation covers how Fanny unexpectedly ended up in Colorado as an adult after dreaming about it as a kid. We talk about the inspiration for starting Hill Road Merino, as well as juggling life as an athlete, a parent and an entrepreneur.

Finally, Fanny talked about life in a small but supportive community like Nederland, both family and business wise. And you can find Hill Road Merino online at HillRoadMerino.com and on Instagram at Hill Road Merino. So of course all these links that we discuss in a conversation as well as finding Fanny will be in the show notes. And I’m really excited to bring you this conversation.

So here we go. My conversation with Fanny Toorenburg of Hill Road Merino.

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Okay Fanny, thank you so much for taking the time to come down to the studio and talk to us a little bit about yourself and kind of how you ended up in Colorado and of course Hill Road Merino, your new company.

Fanny Toorenburg:             Thank you Doug, thanks for having me.

Doug:                                         I appreciate it. So as we got into in the introduction you are from New Zealand. Maybe you can tell us a little bit about your journey, how you ended up not only in Colorado but actually in the really funky little town of Nederland. And what that journey was like for you and how that’s been, maybe some of the surprises along the way. What really brought you to Colorado?

Fanny Toorenburg:             Well firstly I’m French Canadian. From Montreal. So I spend half my life there. Grew up in a big city. And for me the outdoors was, it’s my thing. So it didn’t take me long to move from Montreal and go to New Zealand to study. So I was about in my early twenties when I did that. So in New Zealand I lived there for about 15 years and studying and bumming around. I only owned a car, I didn’t even own a car. I owned a bike and a bag. And that was about it until about I was 30. And living in New Zealand, I guess that’s where I met my husband which was a successful entrepreneur at the time. He started his own company there but it grew and it became international reasonably quickly. He had an office in Broomfield, so we got relocated to Broomfield in 2015, to Colorado in 2015.

After a year in Boulder, I don’t know, Boulder’s great but I love the mountains and I love small communities and so it didn’t take me long to say, “Hey the snow’s up, Nederland way, and that’s where they’ve got all the mountain bike trails and we can’t find a home in Boulder. Well I’m gonna look in Nederland and see what we can find.” And that’s how I ended up in Ned.

Doug:                                         Gotcha. So it wasn’t necessarily, so the company already had an office in Broomfield and so maybe that decision was made for you guys. But clearly Colorado wasn’t hard for you to accept as far as a nice outdoorsy place to live, it sounds like?

Fanny Toorenburg:             It’s kind of interesting because I’m a bit of a dreamer. I have these dreams. When I was a little girl I had my walls plastered in back country skiing pictures of Colorado. For me the outdoors was my main, my love I guess. I guess my journey goes this way, I love skiing and I wanted to go to Colorado but it was way too expensive for a 14 year old to afford a ski holiday in Colorado. It’s crazy, so I never made it here. I thought, “Well back country skiing, I need to be fit for that.” And I worked out how fit I needed to be so I started riding my bike and running and swimming. And I ended up becoming a top triathlete. I had a really successful sporting career in triathlon and cycling. Even handball, a team sport, so various sports.

When I was an elite triathlete I wanted to come to Boulder to train as a logical progression once you get to that point. But I saved all my pennies to come and train in Boulder but then I had also applied for scholarships to go to New Zealand and I got the scholarships. So I was like, “Oh, okay well I’ve got this little bit of pennies. Which one do I go to, New Zealand or Boulder?” And I guess New Zealand won because of the attraction of the outdoors and the mountains. I needed a bigger adventure. So I ended up there and never came back to Canada.

Now how I came to Boulder, the company was relocated here. There were a few options before that never really eventuated. It’s like, “Oh Boulder, if that’s the way I’m going to Boulder I guess I’m going to Boulder.”

Doug:                                         So the dream was already there it’s just something that happened maybe a little later. Later than you expected.

Fanny Toorenburg:             There’s no way I would have figured out how I was going to get here. In the very round about way. But that’s …

Doug:                                         That’s so interesting. What a great story. And then as far as, I hear this a lot, when we moved to this area as well, which is, but we look at it from the other side where a lot of people move down into Denver and Boulder, say when they have kids or for work reasons or things like that, but they say, “Well I used to live in the mountains, but now I live here.” Whereas when you’re like me and you have lived in New York City and out on the west coast, I thought we were moving to the mountains. The fact that there’s some mountains in the backyard, I can see them. But I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. It is interesting what a different community you get and also just a different setting, half an hour up the road. It’s such a different town, such a different setting, you’re up there, you’re getting a lot more snow than we are obviously. Your access to all those activities that you want to do is just even that much closer I guess.

Fanny Toorenburg:             For me living out in the mountains, life is not about the high pace highway that people perceive it to be. And people live in their little cocoon and they drive in and out of their garage. This is not life for me. I’d much rather step outside and there’s a trail and there’s a mountain and a view. Most of the things I learned in my life wasn’t sitting behind a school bench. It was playing outside, it was riding my bike, or running. Thinking about how beautiful nature is. I studied environmental science and surveying as well. You have, if you experience the outdoors and the way you’re in it, then you appreciate all the different ways in how you want to preserve it for generations to come. For me it’s a no brainer. I want my kids to experience it and to live in it if I could. I totally understand that it’s hard for a lot of people to actually have that chance. But because it was there and I could take it up.

Growing up outside is just the most wonderful thing. It’s priceless.

Doug:                                         Sure I agree. That’s why we’re raising our kids here. I want them to be outside just as much as possible. I think one of the reasons that I wanted to have these conversations with people is because I think that’s a common thread with the people I’ve spoken with is whether they moved here and have had that lifestyle. They realized very young that they wanted to just have that outdoors active lifestyle as a very core part of their whole life. Or if people wake up one day and just want to make changes, and there’s a lot of people moving to Colorado because that’s what they’ve got going on as well. They just want a different, they want to change their environment, they want to bring that into their life or bring that back into their life maybe if it’s been missing for a little while.

That’s just really one of the things I’m finding is very interesting about the conversations I’m having is how people are fitting, they love the outdoors or maybe experiencing and participating in sports at a very high level like yourself, with having businesses having families, all of these things and making them all work together. Speaking of that, let’s move on to Hill Road Merino and how that evolved. I was reading on your website that it started, so here you are, you’re living this outdoor lifestyle, and part of that is having the proper gear. So you were getting worn out other pieces of merino clothing as your blanks, and maybe starting with the kid’s clothes. I don’t know that’s what I read on your website, maybe you can elaborate on how merino, Hill Road Merino evolved?

Fanny Toorenburg:             Firstly, I believe that life is what you make it. So I guess I always had that entrepreneurial spirit in me. And always wanted to have my own business which was linked to something I loved. I tried different things and they worked but it wasn’t like a love inside me. Like a passion. So I ended those ventures. The merino, in New Zealand, merino is a staple in everybody’s wardrobe. That’s where Icebreaker started. Icebreaker started actually in Wellington more or less at the same time as I was there. It kind of evolved along the journey of Jeremy Moon at the time. I had three children, I wanted them to wear merino, I couldn’t afford it, cause it’s so bloody expensive it’s just for the top five percent income earners.

So I used my old merino to make them clothes. But in New Zealand a business like that is, everybody wears merino, so it was never going to be anything. When we found out we were relocating to the US, I thought, “Merino, the US hasn’t gone through that craze yet. So I wonder if I could do something with it.” So basically, we packed up the house and as I was driving to the airport I kept a spot in the airplane, luggage allocation, for one box of merino, and I drove past the merino factory, filled up the box, and took it on the plane with me, thinking maybe I’ll, we’ll test the waters and see what happens.

As I said I was making various clothes for my kids. Once I got to Boulder we were in the Shining Mountain Waldorf school community and wool is a big thing in the Waldorf philosophy. I was like, “All right, well I’ll sew up a few garments for the winter fair, and see how that goes.” So I spent the summer sewing up kids clothes with a lot of the remnants that I had. I had probably one of the worst spots for my booth. For the whole fair, I was at the end of the room. It was in an old two by two meters. I had just one rack, no advertising, all my clothes were jammed into a [inaudible 00:12:30] rack. It was totally not idea. And then I pretty much sold out of everything I’d made. Plus I had another one to two orders to fulfill for the Christmas break.

I was like, “Okay well that’s good. I guess that works.” Again I was in the Shining Mountain community so I already had an in on the wool stuff. People already sold on wool. But the moms were like, “Oh the kids love their merinos. Do you make any women’s garments?” Well maybe next year. So the following year, then I made women’s hoodies, so people knew. It wasn’t even, the week before the winter fair, everything I made was gone. Well I need something on the rack for the winter fair. So at that point I already had some sewing contractors that would help me, and they just kept working through the night to get enough garments to put on the shelf for the two Christmas markets I did.

Doug:                                         Oh interesting.

Fanny Toorenburg:             Again, all the women’s stuff sold out, no advertising, I didn’t even have a website. Nothing. And then I got the husbands to say, “My kids have merino and my wife’s got a merino hoodie. I want one too. They love it, they wear it all the time.” I was like, alright. So that December last year. So January 2017, just this past January, I thought, “Well maybe there’s a business in there, so I would just do the business,” and I started to be a bit more official. And I started making men’s hoodies, so I walk around with my bag of, “Hey what do you think of this?” “Oh, how much?” And I sold all my samples, just walking around the block. It’s like, “Alright, I think these men’s hoodies will work too.”

So now I’m producing men’s hoodies, and I guess that’s how the business grew.

Doug:                                         That’s the best way for it to grow, when it’s just, “Well, this stuff’s flying off the shelves, and people want it, and I know my kids have the woolies with the knee patches from I think maybe that first round of winter fair stuff that you did. So those are already popular ski garments in our house. So that’s amazing just to keep getting that feedback from your community. So now that you’ve got that, you’ve got the kids, you’ve got the women’s hoodies and the men’s hoodies. Where is this thing going now? Are you still distributing through little fairs and popups and things like that? Are you selling mainly through your website? Are people starting to, is this showing up in stores anywhere? What’s your next phase?

Fanny Toorenburg:             One of my things is, because when I started, merino wasn’t affordable, one of my things is to keep my prices below the big brands just to make it more affordable for people. And the fact that it’s made with remnants. Merino, everyone should have merino in their wardrobe, just it’s such a wonderful fabric. So by keeping my prices lower, I prefer selling direct to customers, cause my margins are a little bit smaller. But saying that, I prefer selling online, but selling online doesn’t work, I just put my stuff online, people see the pictures and they give me a call, so I don’t actually sell direct online. Just people come in to my house or they want to meet up with me and I just take the pictures off the website.

So it shows I don’t have any sales because everything’s sold, everything’s gone. But saying that though, I want people to know about what I’m making, just I don’t want to go beyond my circle of friends or my network. So I do have two stores in Nederland, one it’s called the Wild Bear Nature Center. Which have the kid’s garments. And there’s a women’s store next door, it’s called The Shop, have my women’s hoodies. And now just recently I’ve done a big push in outdoor store, and in the fall I’ve got some orders from a very big mountaineering store, Neptune Mountaineering will have my garments there in Boulder. And I’ve just partnered with the Durango Outdoor Exchange, so they have some of my garments there.

Plus other order pendings and some key small mountain towns. And it’s super easy. I walk in, and I toast the people, ten minutes later I come out with a purchase order. So you just have to show up basically.

 


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Doug:                                         That’s nice. It was funny, two questions, one are you still making it mainly from remnants? Is that what you mainly use as your product, first of all?

Fanny Toorenburg:             It’s a bit of a mix. End of rolls or smaller rolls. Now that I have to produce more like hundreds of garments I have to buy the rolls. What I do is I love the garments to be unique. So the inside of the hoods, they’re all different colors. That’s what people love, when I walk into a store, they don’t want to buy twenty blacks and twenty greens. They want blacks and blacks and greens, and green with an orange hood. They just like the variety because it’s different than what the big brands offer. That’s what they love, or stripy body, or orange arms, or whatever. That’s what they love, and that’s part of my brand, I guess it’s about having a unique garment that has a personality.

Doug:                                         That’s hard to find. That’s another thing people are looking for. I think that’s really interesting. Even if you get to the point, where because of the scale that you’re working at, you said you need to buy the rolls now for the main body of cloth. You’re still finding ways to keep pretty much each garment unique, whether it’s the inside of the hood or a random sleeve or something like that. You’re not just going to walk into a store and see twenty of the same thing sitting there which is really amazing. I’m sure that’s part of your success. I think a challenge might be in the future how do you hold onto that uniqueness when your numbers are growing. How about, so it sounds like this has been the dream entrepreneurial journey. You made something for yourself, for your kids, that other people want. It’s taking these steps.

Were there any other unforeseen challenges along this journey? Was there anything that you just didn’t expect? I think entrepreneurs, they always have to tackle problems and be creative, not just in their product, but in how they’re managing their business. Is there anything that stands out?

Fanny Toorenburg:             The main thing, which I actually identified earlier on was the merino supplies. Because I’m still small, I can’t buy 600 yards of one color. As a minimum from a supplier. So I really have to put a lot of time and energy to find the right supplier for the right price and I have a variety of colors. And now a lot of the merino is actually, the merino fabric, is made overseas. And the minimums have increased exponentially over the last year. So I’m at a cross point now. Everything’s been self funded so far. And in trying to stay cash positive and all that, but now I need some funding to grow to the next level. And oh, how am I going to afford 600 yards of one color, or even 200 of four colors. That’s a big … I guess it was foreseen but the scale of it was likely unforeseen. So I need to find some parlor tricks or grow exponentially over the following year.

I guess it’s hard to juggle and doing this business or growing this business, being a full time mom. And then the costs of childcare are enormous so I’m basically funding myself with the business but also if I want to grow the business I have to pay for childcare and it’s like a double whammy. That’s slightly unexpected right there. The amount it comes up to is, I don’t want to count.

Doug:                                         Right yeah. It’s really interesting, there’s only so many, you have limited resources, whether it’s money or time. When one starts pulling both of those things in your equation, you gotta figure out how to plug those holes. You’ve been super creative with your brand and everything so far so I’m sure your creativity is working on that as well. It’s really fascinating. I think it’s just unbelievable because a lot of people out there, when you speak to other entrepreneurs, you think about those brands where you’re constantly trying to push, push, push. You are being pulled along, almost. That’s just really, some people might think, that’s the best place to be, everyone wants my product, and I’m selling out every time but it does lead to other entrepreneurial challenges like you’ve said. From scaling and funding and things like that. Those are real challenges.

Fanny Toorenburg:             At the moment, my brand is me in some ways. So if I go in front of someone and I have a conversation with them, I’ll come out with a purchase order. So I can’t send somebody else to do it. So I need the time to be out networking and talking to people and being in front of people. And then I’m just overwhelmed by how much support I get. People love it for all sorts of different reasons so it motivates me to keep going. Then you have to go in front of people, so you have to have that time. Who’s going to look after the kids? But last week I had the chance to go away on I guess a business trip. Which I took my tent, my skis, my mountain bike and my car. That’s it, all my life, packed into my little car. And I just drove off in southwest Colorado. That’s for me, that’s life. You know?

You don’t need anything apart from that stuff. I just stop at all the mountain towns, talk to people in the stores, got some orders, talk to different companies, I just played outside all day. Tried all the trails, and worked in my tent that night. It’s life. I do what I love and I love what I do.

Doug:                                         The perfect Colorado business trip, right there.

Fanny Toorenburg:             Yeah perfect. I’ll do that anytime, I’ll be on the road like that anytime, all summer.

Doug:                                         You were telling me a funny story, actually, Jessica Beacom had relayed that story to me a little bit. Of course, Jessica Beacom is a friend of ours in common and the first person to help me by being on this podcast. So be sure to go check out her episode. Jessica Beacom is of the real food dietitians and you can find them at their website and they have an amazing food blog and just a really awesome community around healthy food and healthy living so be sure to go check that out. But anyway she was telling me a couple stories about you when I asked her at the end who she would love to hear on this podcast, you were the first person and you were the only person that came to her mind.

So she was telling me how you were listening to her podcast in your tent during a crazy storm in southwest Colorado and I was just thinking, “Wow I’ve only done like a few of these episodes, and I’m already getting these awesome stories.” I can only picture just listening to the podcast that we’re making in a tent during a storm. That sounds super funny to me considering this journey has just begun. She also relayed to me a really amazing story, it was how you were at a race. I guess you showed up at the finish line before the organizers were even expecting people to finish. So the finish line wasn’t even up yet. Is this a true?

Fanny Toorenburg:             Yeah pretty much.

Doug:                                         Alright, so let’s talk about this. Let’s just shift to this a little bit. Again we spoke about, you you’re running a business, you’re being the mom and you’re also an athlete. And I think that’s something people, especially in Boulder, but people in Colorado can identify with, trying to juggle all those things. So tell me a little bit about this race. What race was it and what happened?

Fanny Toorenburg:             I was at the Ned Ned last year. So basically I haven’t raced really for about ten years, having kids and other priorities in life during those years. When I came back to Boulder, it’s like, “Oh man I’m in Boulder and I’m not training, I don’t even own a pair of running shoes. I have to do something about this.” So I started running again about a year and a half ago. You know, just slowly getting back into it, not racing, really. It’s like, “Okay, I should probably enter some races.” So I entered some races. I entered Ned Ned, we just moved up to Ned, and no expectations. In my early years I wanted to win, I wanted to be selected for something or whatever. Now I’m just doing it for fun. I just show up and have a nice time.

Anyway, I show up to this local race. And it’s at altitude, it’s eight and a half thousand feet up there. Just started running, it’s like, “Oh I’m doing okay here,” but I wasn’t, I was juts in the front group, but nothing. It’s like, “Oh, okay three miles to go, I think I’ll just push it a little bit, see what happens.” It’s like, “Oh okay I’m first, oh whatever.” First I’m in overall in front of the boys too. And then I just turn up, “Oh it’s the finish line.” And then nobody said anything. And I walked in and it’s like, “Oh, you’re already there.” My support crew wasn’t there, my kids weren’t even there, they were not expecting me. Nobody was expecting me. And then other people started coming in, it’s like, “Oh we missed the first person.”

Doug:                                         That’s unbelievable. I love that. That’s just amazing. So what is your, so are you training really regularly? I know like you said, just being even prepared, not competitively, but in order to back country ski, and just really be functioning at a high level out in the mountains, what’s your training regimen look like?

Fanny Toorenburg:             Pretty much every morning I’m out the door by six. When the kids sleep it’s the only time I can go training. If I miss my 6 am spot that’s it for the day pretty much. For me it’s just going out training. It’s about having a balance in life. And just clearing my mind for the day. Because I know it’s pretty intense looking after three children for the whole day. There’s never a break, like never. If you think you’re having a break, somebody’s going to jump on you, that’s for sure. So I have to get out everyday, and I have found an amazing coach which is my friend as well. She lives in Neds so we train together sometimes. She’s a woman and having a woman’s coach is just so valuable. I suppose, her name is Kathy Butler. Back in Ned.

I don’t need to train twenty hours a week like I used to do. Maybe ten would be a big week. And then that’s all. I’ve got the background and I’m probably racing better than I did ten years ago. And I’m in the mountains, what else? The sun rise over the mountains, you think about, you dream, you solve all the world’s problems, and then when you finish, your mind’s clear and you start your day. And then if you’ve got time to go out and do a race or something, then I just do that.

Doug:                                         And how about, some favorite spots? If you’re heading out for a nice active day with the kids, do you have any go to favorite spots up there?

Fanny Toorenbur:             We live right next to the mountain biking trails so we can go hike out from our front door. And mountain biking just near Mud Lake. I can make the rides with the kids anywhere from five minutes to five hours. It’s just right there. I guess because we’re new to Nederland, all the places like [Brandon Lakes 00:29:57] and Long Lake up there, or up at Eldora, Lost Lake. They’re just so easy access. And I think because I still have a four year old I can’t stretch too far, the car ride has to stay pretty short, just to make sure the trip is successful, the longer I make it, the higher the chance of decreasing success. Or me having to carry everybody’s stuff, and then everybody’s … And then in winter, skiing is right there, ten minutes drive to go to Eldora. So with the boys, I would take them before school if they had afternoon kindergarten. I take the two boys for two hours of skiing and a hot chocolate and then drop them off at school.

In terms of the lifestyle as a kid, I wish I grew up in a place like that.

Doug:                                         Yeah, exactly. I know, I hope my kids maybe one day they’ll realize how lucky they all are. I feel lucky to be here as well. I guess, there’s one last question I like to ask people when they’re here. Who would you love to hear on this podcast? Is there some people in your community that people should know about, what they have going on?

Fanny Toorenburg:             I have to say, I don’t know the name exactly, but the organization, SMBA, S-M-B-A mountain biking, I know that David [Femmer 00:31:25] is quite involved up in Nederland. They are amazing. Taking the kids mountain biking, they’ve got the organization sorted out to the T. They take their kids after school, from the gym, they take them for a two hour ride, or in the summertime they’ve got vans, the kids ride all the trails in groups with their friends. In so far as getting kids into the outdoors and into mountain biking, just amazing. It’s all a community endeavor as well. It’s incredible, they get them to work on the trails, to build jumps, to maintain their bikes, to be super independent. I think it’s amazing. And they also partner with a local, the Tin Shed up in Nederland, which is next to the coffee shop Salto. And then the owners and the people that work in there. The owners are Marcus and Karina. Sorry I don’t know their last name.

But in so far as bringing community together and then an active community, because that shop is also a ski shop in the winter. Getting people to come and have coffee and tacos before and after. They do a lot for the Nederland community. And then to feed that outdoor lifestyle to people. I think those two would be my top, I think.

Doug:                                         That’s fantastic, I’ll definitely try to reach out to them and see if we can get any of them. But it really sounds like a fantastic community up there. I’m only familiar with Nederland mostly from going to Eldora or heading up to Caribou or some of those other places that you’ve mentioned. I tend to swing through the town and maybe stop to eat, but I don’t know everything that’s going on up there but it’s just an amazing community.

Let’s see. I think that’s really about it. Is there anything else you just really wanted to mention about what’s going on with your business? How about, where people can mostly find you?

Fanny Toorenburg:             I think at the moment online, Instagram and Facebook and my website would be the easiest place. Or contacting me directly. Although shops I mentioned before, people are interested in my gear, so there’s two shops in Nederland, is the Wild Bear and then The Shop. In the fall, like at Neptune Mountaineering, in terms of locally, would be the best place to find me. I guess one of the things that I would like to mention is that the Nederland community is just incredible. There’s just so many skills and so many entrepreneurs up there that work out of their cabins and just get together from time to time. There’s another hat maker up there which is called Ned Gear, and then we’ve been partnering to make hats out of my merino scraps. We want to put Nederland on the map as a cool place to be, and just do our part for the community. I think a lot of people in Nederland want to do that and there’s a lot of partnering and partnerships that happen there.

And I think that’s cool. If we could identify Nederland as a cool place to find cool merino gear, then that’s awesome. But also I want to mention the Born Wild project, which there are some people at the school, like Jason Spearling is involved with, to get the kids outside. Regardless of the weather, and wearing merino so you don’t have to carry a big pack full of gear. They’ve done some, they’re doing some amazing work, and some films to help people find easy ways to get their kids outside. It’s just so important. They’ve also done an interview with me, a bit of a story, which should be out soon on their website. So it’s called BornWildProject.com. And you’ll find out some other interesting facts about me. One of them is why Indiana Jones was my childhood hero and my role model. So I’m not going to give it away so you’re going to have to check it out.

Doug:                                         That’s fantastic. Thanks for mentioning that. We’ll be sure to put the links to all this stuff in the show notes for this podcast. We’ll make sure that we’re finding out resources when they become available, and everybody can find them on the website, for sure. Of course, all the links to your website and Instagram and Facebook, wherever else you are, wherever else people can find you, we’ll have the links to all that as well.

Fanny Toorenburg:             Perfect.

Doug:                                         Alright, well thank you so much. I really enjoyed having you here and just learning more about your journey. Both as an entrepreneur and just as your person coming into Colorado and I really appreciate you sharing that with me.

Fanny Toorenburg:             Thank you Doug, it was super fun.

Doug:                                         Alright thanks a lot.

Fanny Toorenburg:             Thank you.

#002 Boulder Creative Collective – Supporting Art and Artists in Boulder

Boulder Creative Collective on Colorado.FM, The Colorado Podcast

Hello everyone, and thank you for tuning in for this episode of the Colorado.FM podcast.  In this episode I will be speaking with Addrienne Amato and Kelly Russack of the Boulder Creative Collective, a home for art and community here in Boulder.

Our conversation ranges from the inspiration for starting the BCC to how it has evolved from a series of pop-up art exhibitions to the BCC Warehouse – a permanent exhibition space with studios for resident artists of all kinds – including writers, toymakers, all sorts of creatives.

Addrienne and Kelly offer their unique insight into the creative pulse of Boulder as well as their suggestions for engaging in the art scene around the state, but especially here in the front range.

Online, you can find them at bouldercreativecollective.com and on Instagram also @bouldercreativecollective.

 


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Selected Links from the Episode

 


Show Notes

[1:25] From pop-ups to the BCC: Warehouse – the journey

[4:30] Sanitas Brewing

[8:00] Building an accessible, inclusive art community

[11:00] The BCC: Warehouse – a day in the life; the artists it has attracted

[14:30] The neighborhood – a community of artists, makers, eccentrics (and driving bulldozers!)

[18:45] Supporting the artists – Art On Loan program

[25:30] Where Addrienne and Kelly go to get inspired in the area

 


Transcript:

Colorado Podcast Episode with Boulder Creative Collective

 

Hello everyone, and thank you for tuning in to this episode of the Colorado.FM podcast. In this episode, I’ll be speaking with Addrienne Amato and Kelly Russack of the Boulder Creative Collective, a home for art community here in Boulder. Our conversation ranges from the inspiration for starting the BCC, to how it has evolved from a series of popup art exhibitions to the BCC warehouse, a permanent exhibition space for resident artists of all kinds, including writers, toy makers, and all sorts of creatives, not just visual artists.

Addrienne and Kelly offer their unique insight into the creative pulse of Boulder, as well as their suggestions for engaging the art scene around the state, but really especially here in the front range. Online, you can find them at bouldercreativecollective.com and on Instagram also, @bouldercreativecollective. So here we go, my conversation with Addrienne Amato and Kelly Russack of the Boulder Creative Collective.

Okay, Addrienne and Kelly, thank you so much for being here. As I said in the introduction, these are the two behind the Boulder Creative Collective, and they’re going to kind of take us through the story on how they got together, recognized a need for some new art influence in Boulder, so if you could just kind of take us through the journey. You started with pop-ups, ended up with a great warehouse. How did you get there?

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Addrienne Amato:

I think an important piece of the story is how this journey began, and probably how a lot of ideas in Boulder are created. We were actually hiking Sanitas, which is just in our backyard. We both live a walkable distance away from the mountains, so we were just on a hike one day, and were chatting about what we felt was missing, both having moved here from different locations. I was living in a bigger city, I was in Boston at the time. Kelly was in Park City, but we felt that Boulder was missing this essential part of our lives and daily experiences, and we felt like we needed to fill it and that’s how the idea for the pop-up began, and in the first two, was it? About two years that we did the pop-ups?

Kelly Russack:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Addrienne Amato:

We really focused on transforming people’s homes and unexpected places into a gallery-like or an event-like space, and we’d alter them drastically so they were very different from what they were. The very first pop-up we did was Kelly’s living room, but that one really ended up looking like a traditional gallery space in the end, and then from there … And I think in that very first one we also named the Boulder Creative Collective.

Kelly Russack:

We did.

Addrienne Amato:

Right? Yeah, I mean, that’s a name we’ve had since the very beginning that’s never changed, so we felt that really fit what we were trying to create and still think it fits today. Do you want to talk a little bit more about the journey beyond that? Beyond the pop-ups and sort of how we moved into the warehouse space?

Kelly Russack:

Sure. I would love to. So, we did three homes pop-ups and like Addrienne said, the first one was in my house, first floor, then the next one was in a garage and we painted it out and power washed it and buffed it so it was super inviting, and then the third was just a blowout at Addrienne’s and we were lucky enough to have an outdoor space to use because we had 200 people going through her home and so that was when we knew we had kind of outgrown the homes.

Speaker 1:

Gotcha.

Kelly Rusike:

Because who really wants 200 people going through their lives without-

Speaker 1:

But that’s amazing.

Kelly Russack:

Yeah. It was crazy. So we brainstormed and decided to reach out to our local business friends and asked … Well actually, rewind. We went public when we went to the Sanitas Brewing, and they had sponsored some beer for us for Addrienne’s event, and it was the first time that our art event was open to the public, because it was always nerve-wracking, just not knowing how many people are going to arrive and that was always definitely scary for me to let go of, because who knows? I mean, all walks of life, everyone’s invited, but then at the same time, you know, there are limitations. So, we had an event at Sanitas Brewing where we transformed their tank space, and we had freedom to do everything that we wanted.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Addrienne Amato:            Including using the scissor lift.

Kelly Russack:

The scissor lift, and then we needed more wall space because when we first saw the space, Michael, the owner, he walked us through and each time we went back the space got smaller and smaller, because his business was growing and all of a sudden he had this gigantic cooler. Luckily it had a magnetic metal that we could use to our benefit, so we hung artwork on the cooler and that was just really fun. That’s where people … It was more inclusive just because it was open to the public, so then … Because he didn’t close shop for us, so then we just got a lot of outsiders and interest.

Speaker 1:

Sure. And that’s kind of, from what I’ve been reading and just knowing you guys, that’s really one of your common themes and one of your motivations anyway, which is bringing art to more people and kind of getting it out there, so I’m sure that really fit with you as far as opening up, I guess, like you said, to outsiders.

Kelly Russack:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Speaker 1:

That’s awesome. Was the Sanitas connection something that you guys knew of? Was that just a good example of Boulder businesses supporting people, or is that … ?

Addrienne Amato:

I’m not really 100% certain how this all … How we met him. Did we just cold-call him?

Kelly Russack:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). A lot of how we operate at the BCC is under the motto, “What’s the worst that someone can say? No?” So I think I cold-called them and just said, “Hey we’re going to have an event. You want to give us two kegs for free?” They called back after a little bit of follow up and kept kind of bugging them. I think Michael, the owner, called back and we explained what we were doing, the idea of it, and they gave us, I believe, the equivalent of about two kegs, but they brought cases, so they came to my house, so that last home pop-up that we did and served beer and that was one of our biggest shows, so that was where we made the connection with Sanitas. I think it was really, we thought they has cool space, they had good beer. They were a little bit younger at the time, not as established, but a lot of people knew of the brewery, so it just ended up with a happy connection, and they were willing to help us out, and then that’s how we got that connection to do the pop-up in their space.

Speaker 1:

That’s excellent. I love that. One of the things you kind of mentioned, when you were first both had moved here from these other places that had more established and thriving art scenes I guess, were you surprised at the lack of support for the art scenes in Boulder? Because people tend to think of it as a real creative-type town. Were you surprised that there weren’t more people doing what you guys wanted to do when you got here?

Kelly Rusike:

Well, as we all know, Boulder has changed at a rapid rate, and so when Boulder was very different four years ago, seven, eight years ago, and so there were a lot of artists, but there were a lot of people doing a lot of different things, and it wasn’t a full community effort to make this cultural impact, and so people were out there, open studios, it’s been around forever.

NoBo art district … The city was on the verge of trying to create something, so things were around, but where did we belong and who did we connect to and with? And so when we were on our hike, that’s when the idea was born, that we wanted something that fit our lifestyle that invited us in, that we felt included, that all walks of life are not exclusive. We want everyone to enjoy art, so anytime people say, “Hey, I don’t have a babysitter, I don’t know if I can come to your opening” it’s half the reason we do what we do, is because our kids … we want our kids to be surrounded by art and culture, and so that’s a driving force as well. There were things happening and then now over the course of, what are we? Four years? Almost fours years?

Addrienne Amato:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Russack:

We’re all building these strong relationships with one another and supporting each other in openings and cross promotion, so it becomes a stronger network within the Boulder city and beyond.

Speaker 1:

Sure.

Kelly Russack:

Does that answer your question?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, that’s great. Definitely as you know, you’ll find my kids at your openings and event as well. It’s an awesome family experience, and like you said, not all … We take our kids to a lot of art places whether it feels welcome or not, we like to do that anyway, but you’re right, it doesn’t always necessarily feel welcome, like you’re just kind of forcing yourself in there anyway.

Addrienne Amato:

Right.

Speaker 1:

So it’s nice to actually go somewhere and just it is feeling like a family atmosphere and it is feeling like, not like a stuffy kind of environment, which is definitely not what you guys have. Take us to the warehouse. You got the new space, and I guess by new, couple years?

Kelly Russack:

Just over a year. Yeah, we’re just over a year old.

Speaker 1:

Okay, and you’ve got tenants in there who can rent space and they’re Boulder artists of a lot of different types? It’s not just visual artists, there’s a lot of different types of people in there and even other entrepreneurs, which I guess … Has that been a surprise to you guys? Is that what you’re going for, like a really diverse set of tenants? Is that just kind of what came to you? Take us through where you are now and what the warehouse … What’s going on a day in the life at the warehouse right now?

Addrienne Amato:

Well, we view the warehouse as not so much of a gallery and more of an alternative art space, and I think when you have alternative spaces, you attract alternative types of thinking people, whether they’re businesses … We have a toy maker in there, we have a paper maker in there, we have writers, we’ve had painters, we’ve had designers, what else have we had? Photographers.

We’ve had a whole list of different types of creative outlets working in there, and I think sort of the grounding force within all of the people that have rented from us is, they can see sort of the potential in not only the warehouse, but the area of Boulder that we’re in as well. It’s a little gritty, it’s a little off the beaten path, it’s a little less shiny than other parts of Boulder are becoming, a little unordered in that kind of chaotic sort of way that’s interesting and kind of breeds that sort of creative thinking, so I think that that’s something that attracts the kind of people that are coming to us.

I don’t know if that was really what we thought in the beginning. Maybe we thought it would be sort of based in fine arts and the type of work that we do, but we uphold that end of the work and the output that goes into the space, and then there’s all these different sort of genres and types of groups and organizations and creative thinkers coming into this space working, so it’s been a good eclectic bunch that we’ve had in there, lots of characters.

And also our neighboring businesses as well are quite full, character types. If you’ve ever come out to our warehouse, it’s never a boring day out there on the lower east side, as we like to call it. It definitely has its own kind of feel over there, and I don’t think there’s any other part of Boulder that sort of still has that kind of feel. It is connected. There are a lot of local businesses over there. It is still a little weird and funky and what I think Boulder used to be and what we hear that it used to be like maybe 10 years ago, 15 years ago, so there’s still some of that raw quality left when everything is coming in and kind of being built up and the market is what it is in Boulder, so I feel like we’ve got a special little niche out there.

Speaker 1:

Sure. No, that’s fantastic. I mean, it is a great space, and some of the other businesses in the area make a visit to the warehouse more than just that, like you’re visiting all the neighbors, you’re visiting the whole experience. We were speaking to this a little bit before we started here, some of the … Do you collaborate? Do you get a chance to kind of interact and get together with these neighboring business too much and maybe coordinate different events, or are you feeding off each other in ways that have been maybe unexpected when you moved into that space?

Kelly Russack:

Well, we haven’t collaborated per se, but it’s not that we’re not going to. You know, it’s just the timing needs to be right, but we have the Green Guru, which is next door to us. They have … It’s a bike shop, they design repurposed up-cycled bike accessories, like sacks and bags and things, and then they have a brewery in there, so a little boutique brewery, which is super convenient, because then people can come and view art and go grab a beer, and then we have a bunch of car guys, like Saab and Volvo and they’re test driving and trying to find the problem in the vehicle, so they like to holler and screech.

I think the fact that we’re not a mechanic and that we bring a different vibe to the warehouse, because the Green Guru guys have been there for like, 10 years, so when we were looking at the space, they were hoping that we would come in and stick around, because they weren’t … they wanted energy, and for us, they never really know what’s happening, like last week or two weeks ago, we had a big print event, so we decided to partner with another art group in town, Flatiron Press, and we rented a steamroller, a construction vehicle, and we womanized, manned, that vehicle, and drove it over planks of wood that were all inked up and made large prints, and the guys next door definitely came over as spectators, and I think they sent their customers over to come and see what we were up to on a Saturday afternoon.

Speaker 1:

Sure, just a regular day at the warehouse, driving bulldozers, making art.

Kelly Rusike:

Just a regular day, yeah, exactly.

Speaker 1:

With the beer and bike guys right next door. I love it.

Addrienne Amato:

There is one … I’d say the biggest collaboration with all the area businesses is we created a map for a lot of businesses that were east of 30th, south of Valmont and north of Pearl, so kind of over in that east side quadrant we went around to all of the local business that were doing really interesting things, that have been there for a long time, and put together a map so people could actually really visualize and see al of the stuff that is going on. There was Colorado School of Yoga, Truman Boot company, I don’t think … Did we put Sanitas-

Kelly Rusike:

Rowdy Mermaid is there.

Addrienne Amato:

Rowdy Mermaid, they make kombucha, so lots of various different interesting businesses, and a lot of businesses that people know of, including Green Guru, Rock and Resole, it’s a huge climbing town, so those guys have been down at the west end of the building as well, forever, so we all know we’re over there, and everyone that’s over there definitely likes it for a reason, so that’s been our biggest, I think, collaboration and connection, was we organized that map project so people could see what was happening on the other side of Boulder, so it’s kind of the opposite than the west end, we’ve got the gritty east end warehouse district.

 


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Speaker 1:

No, that’s awesome. Speaking of all those other businesses, tell us about some of the things that you’re doing specifically to support the businesses and artists that are in your warehouse, so beyond offering them a space to work, I know you’re doing lots of openings, you’re obviously publicizing and trying to help them grow their business side of being artists and one of the things you mention is this art loan program, so why don’t you tell us a little bit about that.

Addrienne Amato:

the art on loan, we had this idea before we actually had the warehouse space, so I think while we were still doing pop-ups, we thought how great it would be to … Since we had kind of moved into using local businesses to do these pop-ups that were one-night efforts and it was a lot of energy to then tear it all down that night.

You’re talking three, six months of planning and then within 24 hours it’s done and over with and gone and cleaned up and the business is back to normal as usual, so we thought, what if we approach all of these business owners that we have now come to grow our relationships with, and offer our curatorial services to bring the artists that we know, the artists that we’ve worked with, into their businesses, and we really work with the business and what is their brand identity and what kind of work really fits in the space, so we’re not just going to put in random artist in there, we really try to fill in their wall space, literally, with the type of work that we feel their customers or clients or the people that just work in the space would really connect with and kind of vibe with, you know? We’re not just going to put something random in place that would totally be unfitting, so that’s one program that we have that’s outside of the warehouse.

Kelly Russack:

And then another way of supporting artists, we have our tenants, and as tenant, you have access to the exhibition space, so at no extra cost, which is great, because then an artist is in the space and creates a body of work, they have the space to put on an event and to exhibit and have their own opening. So that’s something that we believe is beneficial to artists in Boulder and obviously our tenants, so the Boulder Writers’ Warehouse, they’re in our space, and they’re always having workshops and readings and performance and the list goes on, and then for the greater population outside of our warehouse, artists … We have a sliding scale, because we really believe in artists being seen and networking with the public and having conversations, so we follow up with artists, we support them, we promote them, we guide, assist, mentor, all of the above, in order for their … What? Their …

Addrienne Amato:

Career?

Kelly Russack:

Yeah, their career. Yeah, yeah. And their exposure. I guess that was the word that I was looking for, exposure.

Speaker 1:

Excellent. No, I mean it’s … We were speaking about this before, a lot of artists and a lot of just people, they have a hard time managing the professional side of what they need to do. They just want to go and create, but they’re not good at getting exposure, they’re not good at maybe handling, developing the relationships with potential customers, that keeps their dream alive, right? That pays for the space and pays for their bills and allows them to have the time to pursue that side of their life, so I’m sure your services are appreciated when maybe that’s just not something that comes naturally to some of these more artistic types, it’s pretty common, so it’s really neat. It’s not only a neat space, but it sounds like it’s a cool community, both inside the warehouse and outside.

 


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I saw, wanted to just kind of wrap up with a couple of quick questions, one art-related and then a couple kind of more, maybe Colorado-related. We all kind of moved here for our own reasons, but one of the things that is common is that we kind of go for a little more balance in our lives, like you said, you came up with this idea hiking up Sanitas, which I love. I think that really gets to the crux of what’s happening out here, but I did, when I was reading through your website, I saw on one of your artist profiles that you asked this question of them. “If money was no object, which piece of art would you like in your personal collection?” I wanted to ask you that question.

Addrienne Amato:

Oh, geez. I need to think about that for a minute.

Speaker 1:

We can edit out long pauses, don’t worry.

Addrienne Amato:

Okay. Okay. Both are kind of local. I would commission Hollis and Lana to do … They’re a Denver-based art collaboration. I think they’re partners, maybe they’re married, I’m not sure, but there’s a mural on the side of Madelife that I think actually is going to be going away soon, so if you haven’t seen it, you should drive by Madelife. It’s really organic shapes and kind of looks like bodies and flowers and it’s got really beautiful colors. I think I’d love them to do a mural somewhere wither inside or on the exterior of my house, someplace kind of unexpected, maybe an entire powder room so when you go in there it’s kind of overwhelming, something like that. I’ve always love that idea. And to have an artist like that transform a space like that would be really cool, and then if I could ever own a piece, probably one of my biggest inspirations as an artists is Clifford Still, and having the Clifford Still Museum in Denver is pretty rad, I think. It’s one, an amazing building and two, he’s an amazing artist and an artist that a lot of people actually aren’t that aware of, so that’s another space if you haven’t been there, you should check out the Clifford Still Museum.

Speaker 1:

That’s fantastic, and it’s something that I meant to ask and kind of skipped over, which is what are some of your favorite spaces in this area that you like to visit to see good … Whether it’s local or whether they’re drawing from outside of the area artists, that doesn’t really matter but what are some of your favorite spaces to go get inspired?

Kelly Russack:

I would say the MCA in Denver is pretty great. Standing out on the east side of the building and just looking out, always looking at the heart and looking out over the cars and the pedestrians down below. I really enjoy that space, and they’re always really welcoming and super cool and open and funky and just inspiring, for sure.

Addrienne Amato:

There’s a lot of co-working spaces in Denver that are really interesting. Art Gym is pretty cool. They’re sort of like us but in a different way. They have an exhibition space and they have more co-working spaces than they do … they don’t have private studios like we do, so it’s an interesting space for what they offer. You have a membership, you can go in and they have all like state-of-the-art tools, so whether you’re a jewelry maker or a print maker or a painter or a woodworker, you can go into their space and have access to tools that most people don’t …

You can use them if you go to art school, or if you’re lucky enough to connect with someone who has those tools but they’ve got this great co-working space for artists and creative people along with having the exhibition space, and they bring in a lot of really cool local and regional artists as well. I think that’s another cool space around here.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so maybe moving away from the art, when you’re not at the warehouse doing the BCC stuff, what do you like to do? What’s a great family Saturday or a great … If you can get away for the weekend in Colorado, you have any favorite, any places topping the list?

Kelly Russack:

An easy Saturday is the farmers’ market and taking a stroll down there and mingling with random community people that you bump into and getting good food and always people watching, and then to get away … Gosh, I always leave the state, which is unfortunate, but Crest Butte is on my list this summer because I hear the wildflowers are incredible and the water and the views, so that would be my go-to.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it’s an amazing place and it’s a crowd favorite in this state, right? For a reason.

Addrienne Amato:

I have an out-of-state one too and an in-state. We’ve been talking about going down to Santa Fe again. I love going down to Santa Fe because it’s not only inspiring naturally, just the real southwest feeling. We’re kind of on the edge of that here in Boulder, but there’s also the art and the artist influence down there, so you kind of get the best of both worlds. You get the nature, and then you can see why all these famous artists moved down there and left places like New York and places that we’ve lived also, and then I think in state, I’m trying to go to Aspen this summer as well, and the same thing, summertime, wildflowers, you’ve got the Aspen Museum, the Aspen Institute, again, another really cool place for the natural beauty along with some historical artist references, both historical and contemporary, so those are probably top two on my list that I could get in my car and just drive to in half a day.

Speaker 1:

Right. Those are great ideas. Finally, I would just like to ask, who would you love to hear on this podcast?

Addrienne Amato:

Local? A local person?

Speaker 1:

Or a Colorado person. Doesn’t have to be a Boulder person and it doesn’t even have to be an art or an entrepreneur, just somebody who, anybody doing something really interesting, amazing, that people should know about.

Addrienne Amato:

Well, I think Bear Rogers would be super entertaining, because he’s an amazing artist and he’s in the cannabis world in Colorado, so he has great stories to share, and also a really good friend of ours, Will Day, he’s another happy man. Leah Brenner, she’s really making a big difference in the public art scene here in Boulder, and she’s lovely to chat with.

Speaker 1:

Those are great ideas.

Addrienne Amato:

Those are all awesome, local people that are interacting with the art community in different ways. I think it would be really fun to get some of our tenants on here and sort of hear about their endeavors and the end experiences within the warehouse and why they’ve come to the warehouse and what they’re contributing to the community, so Boulder Writers’ Warehouse, Dan [Rudnicky 31:16], Maeve Falen, who else is still on there? Even Greg Afeared, who’s one of our past residents, but he’s developing a T-shirt line, so a lot of the people that have rented with us.

Kelly Russack:

Adry Norris.

Addrienne Amato:

She’d be a good one.

Kelly Russack:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Addrienne Amato:

An artist that, she lived in Lyons, she rented from us and now he’s in Denver, she would be an interesting person to talk to as well. She’s on a different artist tack, so she’d be a really good person to talk to.

Speaker 1:

Excellent. That sounds like a-

Addrienne Amato:

You’ve got a list now.

Speaker 1:

Enough to keep me … Yeah, that’s a list. That’s enough to keep me busy for a while, and I really appreciate those ideas. Well, thank you so much for coming in and telling us your story. I think it’s just amazing, and it’s been really awesome to watch you grow over there in that space and look forward to continuing to attend your events with our wild kids running around.

Addrienne Amato:

Thank you.

Kelly Russack:

Thank you.

Speaker 1:

Everyone, so, that was Addreinne Amato and Kelly Rusike from Boulder Creative Collective. Remember, you can find them online at bouldercreativecollective.com or on Instagram, also @bouldercreativecollective. Be sure to check out their website for upcoming events and gallery opening, et cetera, just some really great events going on over there. If you enjoyed this podcast, please leave a review and be sure to subscribe at colorado.fm and you can find us on iTunes. Thanks a lot.

#001 Jessica Beacom of Real Food Dietitians

Jessica Beacom (@therealfoodrds) is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist in Boulder, CO and half of the duo behind The Real Food Dietitians.

Jessica has been practicing nutrition for more than 14 years helping folks find freedom from diets and calorie counting to find true health and wellness through a real food diet.

Through their website (therealfoodrds.com) Jessica and her partner Stacie have created an amazing resource for recipes and menu planning guides that will suit any busy lifestyle.

My favorite quote from the conversation:

That floppy head of broccoli you’re wasting could have been a new pair of skis.

If you are like me and feel constantly under the gun to create good, healthy meals that the family will enjoy, but want some new ideas, this episode is absolutely for you!

 


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Selected Links from the Episode

The Weston A. Price Foundation

It Starts With Food

The Loving Diet

The Alley Loop Race Series – CBNordic.org

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

 

Show Notes

[2:45] Path to Colorado and the Dietitian world

[7:00] The Accidental Mompreneur

[15:00] Whole 30 Diet and Motivation

[18:30] Meal Planning – Secret cooking weapon!

[25:00] Favorite ski spots, activities with the kids, local outdoor activities that win

[31:00] Who would you love to hear on this podcast?  (spoiler alert: It’s Fanny Toorenburg of Hill Road Merino)

 


 

Transcript:

Colorado Podcast Episode with Real Food Dietitians

Doug Stetzer:

Hey, everyone. Doug Stetzer here, and thanks for tuning into this episode of Colorado.FM – The Colorado Podcast. Today, we’re going to be speaking with Jessica Beacom, a registered dietitian and nutritionist based here in Colorado right in Boulder. She is half of the duo behind The Real Food Dietitians, a food and lifestyle website that encourages you to eat clean, live well, and be awesome.

You can find them at therealfoodrds, that’s therealfoodrds.com, and also on Instagram @therealfoodrds. I really encourage you to check into their Instagram. It’s one of my favorite feeds to follow. The recipes and the food is amazing and, as she will get into in the interview, it’s really kept simple, something that’s really accessible, and I think that’s a challenge for most of us out there that are trying to eat well but can’t really be consumed with the cooking.

A little more about Jessica, she’s been practicing nutrition for more than 14 years, helping those she works with find freedom from diets and calorie counting and helping them find true health and wellness through a real food diet. It’s really amazing how she ended up in Colorado … her route took her from Minnesota, to Montana, to Alaska, to Boulder … and how their business has really thrived in this environment. Here she is, my interview with Jessica Beacom of The Real Food Dietitians.

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Jessica, thanks for coming into the studio. How are you today?

Jessica Beacom:

Hey, Doug. I’m good. Thanks for having me.

Doug Stetzer:

Excellent. Today we wanted to talk about The Real Food Dietitians and the people behind it. Real Food Dietitians is … From their website I’m reading, “Dedicated to sharing healthy recipes and nutrition tips that can be easily applied in everyday life.” Tell us a little bit about where you come from, how you ended up in Colorado, and were you always in food? How long have you been doing this food thing? What brought you into the dietitian world?

Jessica Beacom:

Okay. This is a long story. No, I’m kidding. I’m originally from Minnesota. When I graduated from college, or from high school actually, I moved to Montana to be a ski bum. As I was ski bumming, there was a university, and I thought, “Well, you know, maybe I should get a degree,” so I got a degree in nutrition. Then I went to the University of Alaska to do my internship. Then, from there, I got a job in public heath and stayed there for a few years. It was a crazy job. It was like 70 hours a week. Then I moved back to Montana and I worked in a hospital. It sucked my soul from me, and so in 2011, after my second child was born, we moved to Colorado because that’s where my husband’s from. We got here and I was a stay-at-home mom and got really into the whole Weston A. Price movement, cooking everything from scratch, soaking, sprouting, souring, fermenting, everything, just like my whole life was food. Then a huge garden, my own chickens.

Then a couple years into that, I was totally stir-crazy. I needed to go back to being a professional and having a brain again, and so I decided to go back to private practice. I worked in private practice and I specialized in digestive disorders and autoimmune diseases, and it started to suck my soul again because it was so much work and everybody was so sick. Then, everybody would always say, “You should have a website,” like, “Can I get that recipe?” Then it was like, “Oh, yeah. I should have a website where I can put the recipe.”

I met my business partner, Stacie, right about this time at a conference in New York City, one that I almost didn’t go to and she almost didn’t go to, and we just happened to sit next to each other that day. Long story short, we decided to write a book. It was going to be an ebook. It was going to be a small ebook. We’re going to give it to our clients like, “Hey, here’s our recipes you’re always asking for.” The book turned into a 96-page monster, and then two more followed it. Then we finally decided, “Yeah, we should start a business,” and so we started an online meal plan membership where you could go in and every month we would send you a menu, and all of the recipes, and the shopping list. We were pretty sure it was going to be the greatest thing on the planet, and it was total bomb. Our moms signed up and their friends. We ended up, after three months, pulling the plug on it. We refunded everybody their money and were like, “God, we’re so sorry.”

Doug Stetzer:

It’s like, “That was an experiment.”

Jessica Beacom:

Yeah, it was a soul sucker. Yeah, it sucked the life out of us. Then we decided one day … I remember it was October of 2015, we were like, “Hey, let’s just blog.” Neither one of us really knew what went into a blog, and I didn’t really know how to build a website. I had somebody build my private practice website. I flew to Minnesota where Stacie lives, and in three days we built a website and we started this blog. The photos were awful, and we were like, “Yeah, we’re gonna do this.” It was October of 2015. Fast forward 18 months now, and we have this really big blog, and I have learned to build websites and … so yeah, that’s kind of where we are, so how I got here physically and then how I got to the blog.

Doug Stetzer:

Yeah, that’s really interesting. You have this clinical background, and that environment just wasn’t really working for you personally.

Jessica Beacom:

No.

Doug Stetzer:

Although it was working for your clients, because they were like, “Hey, we want more of this. We want more of your good food.”

Jessica Beacom:

Yeah.

Doug Stetzer:

I happen to know for a fact when you’re bringing in your dill pickle carrots from the garden and things like that, that people want them. They’re like, “I want a jar of that. Stop giving me one. I want a whole thing.” I can imagine what your clients were thinking at that time. Then, it’s really serendipitous, I guess, this meeting up with your partner and then going through this really probably common and painful entrepreneurial journey of missteps and just-

Jessica Beacom:

Spending.

Doug Stetzer:                       .

.. craziness, “If you build it, they will come,” nonsense that a lot of us, I think, have been through in the web world. “I’m gonna put up a website,” and that’s it. “Stand back everyone, the money’s about to come rolling in.”

Jessica Beacom:

We were going to kill it. We were going to break PayPal.

Doug Stetzer:

Yeah, exactly. “I hope Chase can handle the money coming in,” right?

Jessica Beacom:

Exactly.

Doug Stetzer:

That’s really interesting. I think one of the things that I was hoping to identify when I start talking to people is some of these common threads that we go through when we decide we want to live somewhere. We want to live in Colorado, and so you come here, and maybe you have a regular job or maybe you’re an entrepreneur. I think there’s such a great amount of entrepreneurial spirit around here, and that’s what’s really interesting. There’s these common threads that people go through regardless of the industry, and it’s just always funny to hear what steps in the journey actually got people here.

Jessica Beacom:

Yeah. I mean, I would say I’m an accidental entrepreneur. I never planned to be an entrepreneur. When I got here and I wanted to go back to work, I applied at a local hospital. They told me I was way too overqualified, which I kind of knew based on what I’d been doing in Montana and Alaska, that I would be overqualified for a very simple clinical position, but I didn’t want the managerial stuff that came with what I had been doing. I finally, after eight months, begged this hospital just to give me a job. They kept saying, “You’re too overqualified. We can get a new grad for like 20K less a year.” That’s the thing with Colorado is everybody wants to live here. They want to be here.

 


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In my field, there’s so many dietitians and there are so few jobs available, so for me, I was an accidental entrepreneur. I was like, “Well, screw that. Now I have to figure out something for myself,” so that’s when I went to private practice, but that wasn’t a good fit, either. For me, I felt like there were so many people who could do the clinical stuff, but there weren’t a lot of people who could do … I guess I felt like my genius was food, and that coming up with stuff that’s easy, that’s super-doable for everybody every day … because that’s what people were asking for, so yeah, I accidentally became an entrepreneur.

Doug Stetzer:

Right. That kind of brings us, I think … It dovetails well into The Real Food Dietitians, your business. It’s the website realfoodrds and your Instagram realfoodrds, @realfoodrds, right?

Jessica Beacom:

Yeah. We’re just @therealfoodrds, R-D-S. Yep.

Doug Stetzer:

Okay. You mentioned that this journey is really only 18 months in the making, and here you have 25,000 followers. I love your Instagram. It’s really amazing. That’s how I, I think, interact with you most as far as professionally. Just following that and seeing your recipes and … Again, getting back to that quote that I read at the beginning, that it can be easy, and a lot of your recipes try to keep the ingredient list kind of down.

Jessica Beacom:

Yeah.

Doug Stetzer:

Tell us, I guess, first what is real food to you, and why we should all be eating a real food diet.

Jessica Beacom:

Real food, okay. To me, real food is food that, ideally, doesn’t come from a package. Being a realist, being a mom, and being, I guess, a mompreneur, I get that sometimes you have to use packages. When my real food journey started, it started because of a major health crisis I was having in 2012 that landed me in the hospital with a scary anaphylactic issue. I came home and I picked up a book called It Starts With Food written by Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig, and it talked about real food. To them, it was getting rid of grain, and soy, and alcohol, and sugar, and dairy, and just peeling back everything that could possibly be allergenic or you could be sensitive to. That was my first foray into “real food” other than Weston A. Price, which, to them, real food is sprouted greens and whole milk dairy, which we’d been doing, but obviously it wasn’t enough.

When I read It Starts With Food, I did a Whole30 and I improved a little bit, but then I went on to something called The Autoimmune Paleo Protocol. I did that for nine months and improved markedly, and so I stayed on a Paleo diet. I mean, I primarily eat Paleo now, and it’s been almost four years, but in that real food realm. When I say real food, I mean it’s not dyed. It’s not artificially flavored. It’s as minimally processed as possible. It’s wholesome, close to the earth, probably something you’re going to … like your grandma, your great-grandma would recognize. My great-grandma, if she walked into a supermarket, she’d flip out. She wouldn’t recognize half of it.

Doug Stetzer:

Like, “What is all of this?”

Jessica Beacom:

Even my great-great-grandma, like, “What is this shit?” To me, that’s real food. Yeah.

Doug Stetzer:

Okay. I want to get back to it because I definitely identify with this constant tweaking your diet because of certain health issues. My personal thing is not life-threatening. I don’t land up in the hospital, but I have skin issues. When I was in New York City and was out entertaining clients every single night and just had this insane, fast-paced lifestyle, I mean, I wore it on the outside. I have psoriasis, and you can see it. Things start to change. Your family situation changes. You’re slowing down and they’re deciding to live in a place like this instead of a place like New York City. Again, this kind of gets back to the growth in this area, and so I think it’s a common thing that is going on with a lot of people. They’re choosing lifestyles over just a constant work environment or things like that. When I get off having vodka as my primary source of-

Jessica Beacom:

Hydration?

Doug Stetzer:

.. dietary nutrition, then all of a sudden, my skin is great and I look better and feel better. It’s super weird. I don’t know. It may be magic. I’m always constantly do that. Since then, I’ve stripped out a lot of the dairy, and the sugars, and caffeine, and things like that, but because I have this real physical manifestation of when I’m unhealthy. That was just interesting. I haven’t really gone super far down the road, but I do constantly tweak my diet, and I think about what’s going in, because I feel it as soon as I veer too far off the course, which kind of leads me now … I wanted to ask you a little more about this Whole30, because I didn’t really know what it was until you were telling me that you and your husband were doing the Whole30 Diet. I researched it a little bit, but … I’ve kind of integrated elements of that diet into my life, but I’ve never done the full cleanse, the full effect.

Jessica Beacom:

The full Monty?

Doug Stetzer:

Right. Having the beer on Thursday night or Friday night is … that’s a tough one. Tell us a little bit about Whole30 and what that is.

Jessica Beacom:

Okay. The Whole30, it goes back to that book I mentioned, It Starts With Food, written by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig. The Whole30 is a program that they had designed that takes grain, dairy, soy, legumes, sugar, alcohol, and most processed foods out of your diet for 30 days. The idea is that, by taking them out, you’re able to kind of reset. Then when you re-add them back, you do so in a slow re-introductory way so you can see, “Does gluten bother me? Does dairy bother me? Does alcohol bother me? And how do they manifest when I eat them?” The other good thing is that it allows you to look at your food habits or your behaviors around food like are you addicted to sugar, or do you think you need something, or do you eat mindlessly, do you eat for stress reasons? It can be hard. It’s 30 days. You just have to commit to like, “Okay, for the next 30 days … ”

Really, honestly, I think if you have a health condition like you’re saying, and it’s that important to you to feel better, 30 days is really a drop in the bucket. I think about the 12-and-a-half years I was on chronic daily steroids because of my autoimmune disease. That 30 days was nothing to me. Then even to go another 90 days, taking out even more than what the Whole30 takes out, was nothing compared to the previous 12-and-a-half years of hell. It really depends on your motivation. If you’re doing it for weight loss, it’s probably not going to be motivating enough, but if you’re doing it because you just feel like crap, you probably can get through it. I don’t know.

It gets a lot of crap. People are like, “Oh, it’s so strict,” and, “Oh, it takes out this.” Especially in my field being a dietitian, people are like, “You cannot live without grain.” Well, you can. “You cannot live without dairy.” Well, you can. You can actually thrive without these things. People like you and I who have things going on who wear our diet basically on the outside or the way we look … I mean, I walk through public spaces and I can look at people and be like, “Ooh, they really gotta get off the dairy,” or, “Oh, you know, I think gluten’s probably their issue.” Yeah, so for people like you and I, it’s a lot more compelling to take that journey. Then your 30 days is over and you go back to doing whatever you want minus whatever you didn’t like about your previous diet.

Doug Stetzer:

Sure, sure. Yeah. Again, that point about not being on a diet, right? Your motivation is feeling good, not losing a few pounds or anything like that. That motivational level is totally different.

Jessica Beacom:

That’s kind of the, I think, the premise behind our entire website and our philosophy is that we don’t talk … Even though we’re dietitians, we don’t talk about food as like, “This is a bad food, and this is good food, and this food will help you lose weight,” because it’s not going to be the same from person to person. Everybody’s essentially an N of one, so they’re a study of themselves. What works for me isn’t going to work for you. What works for you isn’t going to work for the next person. For us, it’s looking at food like, “If this is something that works well for you, then … ” I mean, and it goes beyond food. It goes beyond nutrition, too. It’s like is it fast? Is it easy? Is it nourishing? Is it something you’re not going to get totally stressed out about? Yeah, we’re really big on that whole, “Your food shouldn’t be stressful.”

Doug Stetzer:

Sure, sure. You see that all over your website, and that’s … Like you said, making things accessible. It needs to be part of your lifestyle every day, and so that’s a big part of what’s on your website, meal plans, a lot of recipe ideas that are not complex, and a clear and solid love affair with your slow cooker.

Jessica Beacom:

Yeah, and my Instant Pot.

Doug Stetzer:

Yeah. I do most of the cooking in my house, and I’m horrible at planning. I’m always just pulling stuff out at four o’clock like, “All right. What am I gonna invent, like, out of what is available?” I do not really cook with the slow cooker, but your recipes always inspire me to think about it, and so tell me, the slow cooker, is it just where it’s at?

Jessica Beacom:

It is. I mean, I think the slow cooker’s great for anybody who has the ability to plan ahead. The night before, if you can take 10, 15 minutes and set something up so in the morning you turn it on … You put it in the actual slow cooker and you turn it on and then put the lid on. When you come home … Especially on days when we take the kids to the pool, I won’t go to the pool unless there’s something waiting in the slow cooker for them, because it’s like critical mass. We hit critical mass the minute we hit the front door on so many nights. Yeah, the slow cooker’s kind of like a big saving grace for most people.

I think if you can’t plan far enough ahead … Sometimes I fall in this, too, not because I can’t plan far enough ahead, but if I’m developing recipes for the website, I’m kind of all over the place. I might be developing a dessert, or a cocktail, or an entrée, and then it’s not really anything that’s cohesively going to come together in a meal, you know?

Doug Stetzer:

Right.

Jessica Beacom:

Yeah, we could have pork chops, and pudding, and mojitos, but it’d be-

Doug Stetzer:

It’s like, “Hey, kids. Mojito-flavored … we’ll call it soup, I guess, for tonight.”

Jessica Beacom:

Exactly. For me, then, I’ve kind of switched to the Instant Pot, which is a pressure cooker, and I don’t really have to think ahead. I can convert anything from a slow cooker to an Instant Pot recipe and do it in like 15 minutes, so a 6-hour slow cooker recipe can be done in 15 to 45 minutes.

Doug Stetzer:

Oh, all right.

Jessica Beacom:

Yeah.

Doug Stetzer:

I like the sound of … That’s more my speed, yeah.

Jessica Beacom:

That’s I think what you need, that. That’s what you need. You can do it frozen. You can put your frozen chicken in there.

Doug Stetzer:

No way.

Jessica Beacom:

Oh, yeah. Totally.

Doug Stetzer:

Oh, this is revolutionary, everybody.

Jessica Beacom:

You need one of those.

Doug Stetzer:

Things are about to change around this house.

Jessica Beacom:

I know, right? Instant Pot for the win.

 


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Doug Stetzer:

Instant Pot, yeah. Okay. I’m making the notes, don’t worry. That is a good idea. Again, it has to fit your lifestyle. I am not a good planner, especially around meals or, really, much else. It’s like just throw everything in the turbo charger. That really works for me. Awesome.

On the website, lots of recipes, lots of meal prep, so the shopping actually lists that you need to do as well.

Jessica Beacom:

Yeah. We just did a big series. It was 12 weeks of meal prep menus. The idea behind a meal prep is that on the weekend you set aside a couple of hours, you go grocery shopping, you get what’s on the list that we have made for you, and then you go into the kitchen and you prep five recipes. You can do it within two hours from start to finish. Those five recipes won’t get you through the entire week, but they will at least give you a good start. You might have two entrees, a soup or a salad, a dessert or some kind of a snack, and then one other. Yeah, getting into meal prep is huge. It’s kind of the gateway drug to organization. Even for somebody who doesn’t plan or isn’t good at planning day to day, if you can plan for a weekend meal prep and knock out a few recipes, it makes a huge difference.

Doug Stetzer:

Yeah, okay. I need some rehab on that, but I’m going to work on it, because I do get tired of just … When you cook like I do, you tend to have two or three go-to things, and you’re kind of on the treadmill as far as that. If there’s a couple of winners that you know the family will eat and you know you can whip it up, you tend to just keep those things around. Even if I just added two new things to that, I think everybody in the house wold probably appreciate it.

Jessica Beacom:

Totally. You know, too, I think if you’re the kind of person who walks in and you just kind of cook off the hip all the time, you tend to have a lot of extra groceries in your house because when you go shopping, you’re like, “Oh, I should grab this, this, and this, and this just in case,” but you don’t have a plan, so you end up spending a lot more money than what you would normally spend. You also end up wasting a lot because a lot of times the broccoli will go floppy in the crisper. You didn’t get to it. You had a plan to, but you didn’t. Yeah, I think the value of a meal plan is that you can be prepared. You can just get what you need, just use what you need. Yeah, it ends up saving you money too and time.

Doug Stetzer:

Yeah. I think that’s actually a conversation we have a lot around here, which is why our grocery bill’s so huge and why … Yeah. It’s really frustrating when things are just going bad in your fridge. You’re trying to keep fresh foods around. You’re not trying to just open cans all the time, but when something goes bad, it’s just so annoying.

Jessica Beacom:

Oh, yeah, because you’re like, “Oh, my gosh. I could have put that money towards a pair of skis.” You know what I mean? I mean, that’s the Colorado mentality, like, “Oh, man. I could have put that towards skis,” or-

Doug Stetzer:

That one head of floppy broccoli could have been a pair of skis. I like that.

Jessica Beacom:

I mean, it ultimately adds up, or it could have been new mountain bike tires or something else. It’s like, “Shit.” I always see it that it’s a loss of opportunity because I let this food go to waste.

Doug Stetzer:

Totally.

Jessica Beacom:

If I didn’t make a plan and we’re like, “Oh, we have to go out to eat …” You really can’t dine out in Boulder for less than 50 bucks unless you’re going to the Mickey D’s.

Doug Stetzer:

Totally. Right.

Jessica Beacom:

Then I’m always like, “That 50 bucks,” like, “Yeah, I had to cook at home, but it probably would have cost me like 12, 15 bucks, so the other 40-something could have been towards a pair of skis.” You know?

Doug Stetzer:

Right. Exactly.

Jessica Beacom:

Or a lift ticket somewhere.

Doug Stetzer:

Oh, man. Absolutely.

Jessica Beacom:

That’s funny.

Doug Stetzer:

I totally run that equation in my head all the time. Then I’ve got one of my kids who totally prefers the house food. When I’m like, “Okay, let’s go out tonight,” they’re like, “I don’t want to go out. I want home food.”

Jessica Beacom:

Right.

Doug Stetzer:

Once you’ve started cooking-

Jessica Beacom:

Those are Boulder problems.

Doug Stetzer:

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. The home food is just better than the going out food.

Jessica Beacom:


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Yeah.

Doug Stetzer:

There’s a lot of other things that goes into that, but that’s super fun.

Jessica Beacom:

I mean, we do have awesome restaurants here in Boulder, but some days I want a break from cooking, and I’ll be like, “Oh, we should go out.” My husband will say, “No way. Your food’s better.” I’m like, “No. Come on.”

Doug Stetzer:

Yeah. It’s like, “Yeah, but I do that for work.”

Jessica Beacom:

I know. I do this for a living. I always say like, “I cook for a living.”

Doug Stetzer:

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Every once in a while, I just want it to arrive, and then I want the plate to disappear also.

Jessica Beacom:

Exactly. I know.

Doug Stetzer:

Yeah, exactly.

Jessica Beacom:

That’s how we end up at Upslope, but you cannot live on beer.

Doug Stetzer:

Well, that’s debatable, but that kind of brings us right back to where we started about my health issues.

Jessica Beacom:

Mine, too.

Doug Stetzer:

Excellent. Well, speaking of the families, I think … Again, all these recipes, all this stuff, The Real Food Dietitians website, all of this stuff will be in the show notes, these books that you’ve been mentioning.

Jessica Beacom:

The Instant Pot?

Doug Stetzer:

Yeah, the Instant Pot. Oh, my gosh.

Jessica Beacom:

The life changer.

Doug Stetzer:

I cannot wait to order one of these things. All of this will be in the show notes. Since we’ve brought up the skis, I mean, again, this is why people are moving to Colorado.

Jessica Beacom:

Totally.

Doug Stetzer:

This is what’s going on here. I mean, there’s supportive infrastructure for entrepreneurs. People are doing amazing things in a lot of different industries. Boulder, they talk a lot about the tech, but what I’ve come to learn is that there’s this amazing infrastructure for the food industry. There’s just great things going on, but we’re moving here for the lifestyle for a lot of different reasons. Since we brought up the skiing, we might as well talk about it. I would ask you what’s your favorite thing to do, but I think we all know at this point, so skiing where? Favorite spot?

Jessica Beacom:

My most favorite? I’m pretty partial to Crested Butte just because it’s big and wide-open. They just have some sweet snow. We do ski locally at Eldora most of the time.

Doug Stetzer:

Totally.

Jessica Beacom:

Just because I am not a sit-in-I70-with-my-kids kind of person. By the time you get there, all the snacks are gone. They have to pee. They have to poop. Somebody’s got to get out. It sucks, so we usually ski locally, but then if we do, we’ll go out … Yeah, I like Crested Butte. Winter Park is fun. It’s not super far away.

Doug Stetzer:

Yeah, Crested Butte’s amazing.

Jessica Beacom:

It is amazing.

Doug Stetzer:

They had their craziest season. I was just looking at some pictures of the houses buried. I did not make it out there this year, but-

Jessica Beacom:

We went for the Alley Loop, the cross-country ski race, and literally the snow banks were over the houses. It was so amazing. We ended up getting “stuck” I guess. We opted to get stuck there, and it just dumped. It was so amazing.

Doug Stetzer:

Yeah. The getting stuck when you actually … It snowed after you decided to get stuck?

Jessica Beacom:

Right.

Doug Stetzer:

Instead of it snowed before you actually got stuck.

Jessica Beacom:

Well, we knew it was coming.

Doug Stetzer:

You’re like, “Well, it’s gonna snow … ”

Jessica Beacom:

So we might as well stay.

Doug Stetzer:

Yeah, so, “We’re kind of stuck mentally. We just can’t get ourselves to leave.”

Jessica Beacom:

“We just cannot get off the mountain to get over the pass in time.” That’s what it was. The kids were like, “No, just one more, just one more run, one more run.” We’re like, “Well, you know, we’re limiting the time we’re gonna have to get over the pass,” and then there was no more.

Doug Stetzer:

That’s okay.

Jessica Beacom:

It was fine.

Doug Stetzer:

Exactly.

Jessica Beacom:

That’s the hallmark of a good Colorado parent, whether or not you let your kids miss school for skiing.

Doug Stetzer:

Oh, yeah. Yeah, it’s preferable, actually, the weekdays.

Jessica Beacom:

Right.

Doug Stetzer:

The weekdays, everybody knows that. How about here in town? You mentioned Eldora. We do a lot of skiing together at Eldora with the kids. It’s just amazing. To have that a half-hour away from the house instead of when I was driving five or six hours to go up to Vermont every weekend up on the East Coast, so that’s great. What about just on a regular Saturday? You’re getting out of the house with the kids. Favorite hikes, spots, rivers, lakes, anything?

Jessica Beacom:

Yeah, we go to Chautauqua a lot and hike up there. Sometimes we go to NCAR, which is just at the top of the hill there, and then hike from there up the hill and then back down. If we’re taking a longer trip and it’s going to be a couple of hours, we’ll go to Rocky Mountain National Park up in Estes. That’s kind of our go-to. We go there a lot. It’s easy to kind of lose yourself for the entire day, and then you leave, and then, of course, everybody wants ice cream, and just kind of a chill place to be.

Doug Stetzer:

Yeah. If you’re just coming, whether you’re from Denver or coming from anywhere else in the country to visit and you end up in Boulder for the day, so Chautauqua’s just … I mean, it’s amazing. It’s beautiful. It’s right there. There’s like millions of trails.

Jessica Beacom:

Yeah, it’s easy.

Doug Stetzer:

Then to have Rocky Mountain National Park, which I can’t really verify this, but I think it’s probably the second-most visited national park in the country to Yellowstone or something like that.

Jessica Beacom:

Yeah, I have no idea, but it doesn’t feel busy. It’s so big it doesn’t feel busy.

Doug Stetzer:

Yeah. That’s just like an hour-and-a-half, so that’s a day trip. It’s a real special treat for people who live here.

Jessica Beacom:

It’s cheap. It’s like 40 bucks for the whole year.

Doug Stetzer:

Yeah, exactly.

Jessica Beacom:

40 bucks. You pay 40 bucks and you can go whenever you want.

Doug Stetzer:

Yeah, and you’re going to see some elk, and you’re going to see maybe some bears, something like that.

Jessica Beacom:

Yeah. If your kids like buses because they don’t have to be in car seats like mine do, then you park at the park-and-ride and you just take the bus. Then you get to a trail head and then you hike from one trail head to the next place. We usually go to the top at Bear Lake and then we hike down to the falls and down to Bierstadt Lake, and then we can pick up the shuttle whenever we want.

Doug Stetzer:

Oh, that’s great because I usually just drive up there, but if you take the shuttle then you don’t have to make a loop out of it. You can just hike in a straight line and pick it up somewhere else.

Jessica Beacom:

Yeah. You park at the very bottom at the park-and-ride. You can go wherever.

Doug Stetzer:

I’ll love that. Finally, before we wrap up, I want to ask people who come on the show who they would love to hear on this podcast, whether in your industry, not, anyone else. It doesn’t even have to be because they’re an entrepreneur, just people who are doing amazing things, just anyone who comes to mind that you would love people in Colorado … just they need to know about these people.

Jessica Beacom:

Oh, totally. I have to tag my BFF, Fanny. She runs Hill Road Merino, and so she’s making wool clothes for adults and for children so that they can play outside and stay warm. Yeah, you have to have her.

Doug Stetzer:                       Yeah, and she’s got an interesting story.

Jessica Beacom:                Totally.

Doug Stetzer:                       I don’t know her that well, but I do know her through the school. We’re all wearing Smartwool these days, and these merino clothes are super amazing.

Jessica Beacom:                I think she’s amazing in that she is an elite athlete, a skier, a cross-country skier, and then a runner, and so she balances mom life with her athlete life with this business that she started as a hobby. She started making kids’ clothing to keep her kids warm, and then now she’s got this giant business. Yeah, I think she’s a great one to talk to. She’s got it going on. She makes me look like a total hack.

Doug Stetzer:                       I don’t know about that. I will reach out her with your help and try to get her on here because that would be an amazing conversation. She’s got a really cool story.

Jessica Beacom:                She does.

Doug Stetzer:                       Awesome. All right. Well, thank you so much for coming on here.

Jessica Beacom:                You’re welcome.

Doug Stetzer:                       I hope everybody has learned a lot about what you’re all about. I really appreciate it. It was a great story. Thanks a lot.

Jessica Beacom:                Hey, thanks Doug.

Doug Stetzer:                       All right.

All right, everyone. Thanks for listening. I hope you enjoyed that interview with Jessica Beacom. Remember, if you want to check out more of our interviews, head on over to the website at colorado.fm. You can also find this podcast on iTunes.

If you know somebody who you’d love to hear on this podcast and you want to reach out, shoot me a note at doug@colorado.fm. I’d love to hear from you. All right. Thanks a lot.

 

 


Colorado.FM – The Colorado Podcast


 

 

#000 Welcome to COLORADO.FM

In 2016, Colorado was the 7th fastest growing state in the US after being the 2nd fastest in 2015.

Additionally, in 2015 Denver was the fastest growing large city in the nation.  96% of the population growth between 2010 and 2015 occurred in the front range and 68% in the Denver Metro Area.

Denver has been ranking 1st or 2nd top places to live in the US.  With Colorado Springs often right up near the top 10.

With this podcast, I hope to tap into all of the positive things happening here that make Colorado such a great place to live, work, raise a family, and start a business.

Of course, If you have a business you want to talk about, or know someone who does, drop me a line. I’d love hear your stories.

Be sure to visit Colorado.FM for all the podcast episodes and other resources we come across.

Thanks for listening!


Subscribe to Colorado.FM – The Colorado Podcast – on iTunes


Podcast Links:

Colorado Economic Business Outlook 2017 – CU

Foodies Know: Boulder has become a hub for new producers – NYT

Denver Restaurants Feel Unexpected Sting from Pot Tourism – Bloomberg

Best Places to Live – US News & World Report

 


Transcript:

Hey everyone. My name is Doug Stetzer, and thanks for tuning into Colorado.FM, the Colorado podcast.

We all know that Colorado has really exploded over the last few years as the word’s gotten out about what a great place it is to live, work, enjoy the outdoors, raise kids, and start business.

In 2016, Colorado was the seventh fastest growing state after being the second fastest in 2015. Additionally, in 2015 Denver was the fastest growing large city in the nation. All the while in the last few years, Denver has been ranking first or second in the top-rated places to live in the US, often with Colorado springs right up there near the top 10.

While Colorado’s growth rate is slowing, it’s still twice the national average, and economic growth continues to outpace the national average, as does new business creation. These new businesses create almost 50,000 jobs a year.

The Kaufman Foundation ranked Colorado fifth in its index of star activity, and one of the reasons for this is networking opportunities and startups. Colorado’s collaborative nature fosters these networks, which is a huge leg up for starting a company here.

I recently read an article in New York Times about the food startup scene here in Boulder the article was titled, “Foodies Know: Boulder Has Become a Hub for New Producers” and the link’s in these show notes. The network here is an amazing resource that is supporting an array of startups in this industry, and while you might tend to hear a lot about the tech scene, the foodies are going nuts.

While I’ve already been attending event like startup weeks and admiring Colorado-based gear and apparel companies, this article really piqued my curiosity in what other industries are blowing up around here. Of course, that’s not even mentioning the marijuana industry. California is hot on our heels as far as legalization, and it’s clear that this industry isn’t going anywhere and is making real waves in other established businesses.

While the restaurant scene has seen unbelievable growth, liquor sales are actually declining, and restaurants are having a harder time competing for workers. There’s a great article on that in the show notes as well.

All of these trends and opportunities are really fascinating, and so I hope to dive into what’s going on right here in Colorado, learn more about the people behind the numbers and statistics. Of course, there’s plenty of people who wish the boom would slow down or even reverse.

While things have been great for real estate owners, renters are getting squeezed and trails and mountains are getting more crowded, and some might say less friendly. As a relative newbie myself, I can’t complain, but I can reach out, get to know my neighbors better, and be sure to wave when I’m out there driving on the dirt roads.

With this podcast, I hope to tap into all the positive things happening here that make Colorado such a great place to live, work, raise a family, and of course, start a business.

So if you have a business you want to talk about or know someone who does, or just know somebody with an amazing story out there doing something positive that we all need to learn about, be sure to drop me a line. I’d love to hear and share these stories.

Be sure to visit Colorado.FM for all the Colorado podcast episodes and any other resources we could share that you come across. Thanks for listening and stay tuned for more.