Locals are off to the show | VailDaily.com

Locals are off to the show

Scott N. Miller
BIZ Streetwater Gallery 2 DT 2-5-07

VAIL – The guys who run Streetwater Gallery would like to be big in Japan. Or San Diego. Or even Santa Fe.Partners David Dean and Greg T. Spielberg are getting packed for a big fashion trade show next week in Las Vegas. They’re flying out with a couple of suitcases full of printed T-shirts, some posters and empty order books they hope to fill.”There are going to be thousands of buyers there,” Dean said. “It will be very scary to come back without orders.”Like many entrepreneurs, Dean and Spielberg have taken a big risk with Streetwater Gallery, an online location for art, fashion – mostly fashionable T-shirts – and writing. They have a handful of investors and have landed a local outlet for the T-shirts at the Roxy stores in Vail, Beaver Creek and Denver.

They also have a desk full of credit card bills while they get the Web site running. Both quit their full-time jobs last year to focus solely on Streetwater. Over the last several months, they’ve picked up some part-time work, but the pair has also sold personal possessions and covered rent for each other during lean times.They drive to Denver to supervise the printing of T-shirts, and are spending a lot of their time now cutting the manufacturer labels off the latest batch of T-shirts and replacing them with their own company cards.But business is picking up.”The site’s getting better every month,” Dean said. “Since November, our hits are growing about 24 percent a month.”They’ve also gotten a couple of breaks.

A couple of well-received fashion shows in Vail prompted Roxy owner Patti Weinstein to take a chance on an unknown gallery.It also took a little luck and persistence to land a booth at the POOL trade show next week.Spielberg described the show as a chance for up and coming designers to meet buyers. But the registration deadline was in December, and Dean and Spielberg didn’t make their first call until last month.”We sent pictures from our shows, and I called three or four days in a row,” Dean said. “They finally made an exception for us.”

With so little time between getting accepted and the show, Dean and Spielberg have been scrambling to get ready, in addition to the scrambling they already do to keep the Web site vibrant and filling existing orders.So why put all that time, trouble and expensive debt into a project that may or may not work?”It’s about more than the bucks,” Spielberg said. “We like doing this. It’s a fun project as well as a business venture.”Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 748-2930, or smiller@vaildaily.com.

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