DENVER (AP) — A backcountry winter sports apparel company co-founded by a former Microsoft Corp. employee in tiny Pagosa Springs in southwest Colorado is getting ready to sell its first products.
CEO Dan English said his company, Voormi, started in 2010 with an idea to use technology to improve natural fibers like wool. Almost three years later, Voormi will sell base layers made of wool blended with synthetic fibers, so that the inside can wick moisture from the skin to keep the wearer warmer, and the outside is durable enough for rugged outdoor trips.
The wool is sourced largely domestically, and Voormi’s products, for now, are made at three U.S. factories on the East and West coasts, English said. The company has about 10 employees.
The base layers will start at around $100, which is pricier than what many competitors offer. Online sales are set to begin within weeks.
English said it’s not cheap to manufacture in the U.S., but Voormi contends it’s a more socially, environmentally and economically sustainable way to do business.
Southwest Colorado is home to other winter sports companies, including Silverton-based Venture Snowboards.
“Southwest Colorado lends itself to attracting interesting people, intelligent people who love to be outside, get away from (the) rat race and be able to use their products in development,” English said.
The word Voormi refers to prehistoric, Yeti-like creatures that survive comfortably in harsh conditions, English said.
He didn’t disclose how much was invested in the company to launch it.
Snow sports retailers overall have had a tough season so far. The industry group SnowSports Industries America said there were double-digit percentage declines in sales of snow sports goods in terms of dollars sold in November compared with November 2011, but sales could increase if more snow falls.
By Catherine Tsai, AP Writer (© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)