Vail Valley Bizwatch: Bloom Outerwear LLC
Vail, CO Colorado
Date opened: June 6.
Owner: Jim Borchardt
What goods or services do you provide?
We offer tall, slim-fit ski and snowboard outerwear that is high quality and functional. I’ve been fascinated by ski clothing and passionate about skiing for about 18 years. I have always paid a lot of attention to the details that I love in skiwear and am really enjoying incorporating all of this into my own line. Our current line has many little, but important features that make the overall product worth every penny. Our gear has a great ventilation system for those hot spring days. Zip off the sleeves, open the vents, and you’re good to go on warmer days. We also use a fabric with a 20k/20k waterproofing and breathability rating, which will keep you warm and dry on powder days. Check out our website to see how nice our gear really is!
What strategy do you use to differentiate your business from your competition?
We differentiate ourselves in a couple of ways. Our gear is tall and slim-fit, which very few companies offer at the moment. We also made a bold move this year by choosing to incorporate a mint green colorway into our line. It has gotten a great response so far from our customers. Another cool feature that we offer is zip-off sleeves. It’s so nice to get some air circulating through your jacket on the hot days. Besides the technical features of our products, our customers get a great experience with us. We give our customers a lot of personal treatment and we also go the extra mile to keep our supporters happy.
What philosophy do you follow in dealing with your customers? What can your customers expect from you?
In my opinion, it’s essential to keep the people that support your business satisfied with the entire experience. There is a lot of frustration these days with impersonal, indifferent service. Due to the small size of our company and inventories, we are able to focus on our customers. We provide our supporters with a personalized experience that larger companies can’t offer.
I personally interact with all of the customers when they call, email or order. We also offer a lenient return/exchange policy. Our customers are excited to work with us because we are friendly, always available and easy to work with. Creating this experience for our clients helps us really define a face for the company. I think our supporters can expect a unique experience since we spend more time on the customer than any other aspect of our business.
Tell us a little about your background, education and experience:
I grew up here in the Vail Valley and enjoyed spending my time outside, particularly on the mountain. During the winters, I got out of school early and spent the afternoons perfecting ski tricks in the terrain parks. I also spent a lot of my time designing and printing t-shirts at my house. After I graduated from BMHS in 2009, I began to design ski jackets and pants. Diane Boyer from Skea guided me in the creation of my first prototype. After the production of several more prototypes, I perfected the fit and quality of the outerwear. The products we offer today are a culmination of my design experiences from my first t-shirt print to our current product line.
What is the most humorous thing that has happened at your business since you opened?
I left my office this past summer to go to my astronomy class at CU. While I was gone, a squirrel chewed its way through a window screen, ate all of my snacks and then proceeded to pass out on my leather chair. When I returned to the office, I was surprised to see a very passive, fat squirrel sitting in my chair. He had definitely over-extended his welcome! He was neither scared of me, nor was he going back outside. The sluggish position in which he sat signaled to me that he had found squirrel heaven. Eventually, he left on his own terms through the hole in the screen. When I called the landlord with my worries regarding my security deposit, she told me that he had chewed his way into every other unit in the building.