Gifting a hug: Cole & Dainer blankets capture warmth and friendship at the Vail Farmers’ Market and Art Show |

Gifting a hug: Cole & Dainer blankets capture warmth and friendship at the Vail Farmers’ Market and Art Show

Ella Srholez
Special to the Daily
Nicole Hustad's favorite part about selling at the market is forming friendships with her fellow vendors and customers from the valley and around the globe.
Ella Srholez | Special to the Daily

When Nicole Hustad gives one of her handmade-with-love blankets, she knows it’s like “gifting a hug.”

Hustad owns Cole & Dainer, which makes appearances at the Vail Farmers’ Market & Art Show and sells blankets for people of all ages, from child to adult. As she puts it, “you’re never too old.”

The universal appeal, of course, is no surprise — with eye-catching patterns and a silky-soft interior fabric, there’s an unmatched attention to detail and obvious care in each part of the process.

Cole & Dainer has been in operation for five years, and is a three-year returnee at the Vail market. Hustad notes that from her experience at the market, the community is very friendly, welcoming and full of opportunity for both business owners and prospective customers.

“It’s a great platform to grow a small business,” she said, and the the friendships she makes with both customers and other vendors at the market are key for Hustad.

Hustad points to her left at her market neighbors and recounts fondly how for all three years she’s been selling, she’s grown to consider them her market “parents.” To her, they are friends who offersage business advice. One of the hardest parts of sustaining a small, entrepreneurial venture is finding points of contact, but the market is full of friendly faces and veteran vendors to make the experience all the more enjoyable.

With Vail the global tourist destination that it is, customers from all over the world are drawn to the market and to Cole & Dainer. Families from Saudi Arabia and England come to Hustad’s booth at the market time after time, drawn in by their love for the blankets. Many friendships Hustad has made are local as well.

“I often remember people by the pattern of the blanket they buy,” she said. “I know it’s weird, but it’s just something I remember them by.”

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