Local resident unveiling ‘jati,’ a new outfit for kids | VailDaily.com

Local resident unveiling ‘jati,’ a new outfit for kids

BIZ Jati KA 11-30-11

EAGLE-VAIL, Colorado – Burton Falk has spent a career trying to pin down what’s cool. He thinks he may have a Next Big Thing, at least for kids.

Falk, who grew up in the valley and graduated from Vail Mountain School in 1986, is now marketing and selling the “Jati,” best described as a one-piece hoodie for youngsters, particularly young athletes.

Falk has spent about 15 years in the sports-marketing and apparel business – his established company is Brand X Gear, which specializes in gear for colleges. Being in that business, he is always on the lookout for new ideas. He’d seen a one-piece apres-ski outfit for adults in Europe and thought the concept might be popular with kids in this country.

“I’d always wanted my own brand,” Falk said. Living in a winter-sports area, the idea for the one-piece made sense for skaters, skiers, gymnasts and others who want something comfortable to lounge in while traveling to events or hanging out at the site.

Falk took about a year to nail down the look and fit – something between snowboard-baggy and pajama-comfy, with loose, longish sleeves and legs. More research was needed to find the right fabric, particularly something that was warm, comfortable and wouldn’t bunch up around the long, long zipper after the garment had taken a few cycles through the laundry.

Through it all, Falk and his family searched for a name. After some research and playing around, they settled on “Jati” – which, as it turns out, is a Hindu word meaning “birth” or “life creation.”

After getting most of the product details worked out, it was time for some market research. After putting together a few prototypes, Falk sent his teenage daughter and a friend into Vail Village wearing Jatis.

“We had a great response,” Falk said. “The kid response has just been huge.”

Since then, Falk has been listening to kids about colors – sorry, no zebra stripes are planned any time soon – and has been working with suppliers to make sure he gets the product he wants.

Being in the apparel business means Falk already has relationships with manufacturers, mostly in China. That’s essential when creating a new product, he said.

While the Jati is available online, and could be in some local stores soon, Falk said he’s taking a patient approach to getting the garment in customers’ hands.

While ski and snowboard teams are one of the target markets for the Jati, Falk said “it might be too early” to bring the thing to a big trade show such as the Snowsport Industries America Snow Show, coming to Denver in January.

“We want to control our growth,” Falk said. “There’s a lot of things that can go wrong – so many things about this are untraditional.”

But if kids want a Jati, they’ll be able to get one.

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or smiller@vaildaily.com.

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