Vail Daily Bizwatch: Cool Kids Caps offers sun protection as well as fun | VailDaily.com
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Vail Daily Bizwatch: Cool Kids Caps offers sun protection as well as fun

Business name: Cool Kids Caps.

Location: I am home based in Edwards, but you can shop online at http://www.coolkidscaps.com or find my hats at the Sonnenalp Club, Fitness Shop. More shop locations coming soon.

Date opened: July, 2017.

Owner: Jill Van Slyke.

Contact info: jill@coolkidscaps.com, or 970-390-6128.

What goods or services do you provide? My company is focused on providing sun protection products for kids, including unique and fun kids trucker hat designs, sunglasses and all-natural, organic sunscreens. I like to call them "mountain hats for mountain kids," but so many of the hat designs fit well in any town.

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What's new or exciting at your place? We recently visited with the preschool class at Prater Lane Playschool to help educate them on the importance of wearing hats while outside. My daughter, 8, and son, 4, helped me give each child one of our trucker hats — it was so much fun to see their excitement.

I also give a free fidget toy with any purchase over $30 and have free shipping offers.

What strategy do you use to differentiate your business from your competition? Cancer of the skin is by far the most common of all cancers, but also the most preventable. My goal is to increase awareness of skin cancers, sun safety and early detection.

Since my business is devoted to encouraging sun protection, one of my creative strategies is to donate a portion of my "mountain graphic" hat sales to the Melanoma Research Foundation. While Melanoma accounts for only about 1 percent of skin cancers, it is the most deadly and least treatable. Learn more about our "Caps with a Cause — Bills for Bills" on my website. My new Facebook page and website blogs will also include sun safety tips and facts.

What philosophy do you follow in dealing with your customers? Respond and deliver quickly, build relationships and be flexible. I will personally meet and deliver products locally.

What can your customers expect from you? High altitude hats and sun protection that your kids will love.

Tell us a little about your background, education and experience: I grew up on Long Island, New York, and graduated from Cornell University. With a love of the mountains and skiing, it was a natural transition for me to leave New York and give the Colorado mountains a try. I moved to the Avon/Edwards area in 2001 and spent an amazing 15 years at Beaver Creek Mountain Lodging by East West. However, I've always enjoyed being creative, and decided I was ready to start my own business adventure.

Living in our high altitude environment with two fair-skinned kids, and as a melanoma survivor (five years), my sun consciousness (and "life is short" realization) inspired me to develop a company focused on fun sun protection for kids. My goal is to help encourage outside adventures for kids, while better protecting the skin they're in.

What is the most humorous thing that has happened at your business since you opened? A week after officially launching my company, my family was riding down the Vail gondola with another couple, who commented on how much they liked our hats. It turned out they own a few hat stores in Denver and want to sell my hats. Cross your fingers that's not a joke.

Tell your story!

Tell the story of your Vail Valley business with a Bizwatch feature in the Vail Daily. To learn more, email Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller, smiller@vaildaily.com or call 970-748-2930.