Dynamic duos: Adam Moszynski and Darcy Conover
They make rugged, stylish and sustainable performance clothing
(Editor's note: This is one of ColoradoBiz's “dynamic duos” of Colorado business, who reflect on their working relationships, what brought them together and where they’re going.)
Adam Moszynski and Darcy Conover
The mountains were calling, and these two East-Coasters couldn’t help but head for the hills and make Colorado home. Adam Moszynski and Darcy Conover, both age 34, grew up less than 10 miles from each other but didn’t meet until 2005.
She was working for action sports filmmaker Warren Miller, and he was enrolled at University of Colorado Boulder. The two separately attended The Meeting, an annual film, music and snow sports industry conference in Aspen. They returned to the scene of their chance encounter, making the mountain town their home two years later.
They bartended by night, playing in the mountains as sponsored skiers, sports models and mountaineers and traveling the world from Chamonix to Chile for photo shoots and adventure opportunities. “We became backcountry partners,” Moszynski says.
The concept for Corbeaux was hatched on the couple’s honeymoon in November 2012, while hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro.
“We got to thinking about where there was a niche in the industry,” Moszynski recalls. “Base layers came to us quickly.”
Despite the brand ambassadors' closets full of each season’s latest and greatest gear, “We never found anything that fit well,” Conover says. Concurrently, the couple noticed that the “ultra-light, fleece-lined sailing jackets,” they wore were night and day compared with the “horrible” gear their porters were wearing on their African trek.
Combining a for-profit business with a giving arm, Mosyznski thought, would be an ideal way to compete in an over-saturated market. As their trip came to a close, the newlyweds left their outerwear with their guides and Corbeaux was born.
“Neither of us studied business, so we had to learn quickly,” Moszynski says of the beginnings of their business. However, “when you’ve put your life on the line for the other person in some of the scary, stressful situations we’ve been in together, it makes business seem less difficult.”
To raise necessary funds before officially starting up, Moszynski and Conover launched an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign and came up with designs and 3D models. What they lacked in fashion industry background, let alone sales or managerial experience, they made up for in outdoor industry relationships. Along the way, Conover says she had dozens of coffee dates, mentioning Colorado brands FlyLow Gear, Voormi and Icelantic, willing to give free advice.
By October 2014, the twosome debuted their base layer line, with a commitment to make rugged, stylish and sustainable performance clothing in the U.S. Rather than tie themselves to merino wool – the textile of choice for most base layer companies – they opted for less irritating alternatives. Nearly half of Corbeaux’s products are made at The Whole Works, a clothing production facility in Rifle, allowing for immediate gear testing. Corbeaux also maintains a donation commitment to provide new and gently used sportswear to guides and porters around the world.
In the beginning “we both did everything,” Conover says. Roughly three years later, she is the chief visionary officer, concentrating on design and production. Moszynski, the director of ideas, largely works on sales and the Join the Flight Campaign – which outfitted 40 guides last year alone. Corbeaux also garnered investment last year and their 2017-2018 line will be sold throughout Rocky Mountain and west coast retailers.
“We’re hoping to expand,” Conover says, alluding to a children’s line – now that the couple has a 1-year-old daughter – and more lifestyle clothing.
“I’ve been really impressed with him,” Conover adds of her business and life partner. She says communication is key to working through the ups and downs.
“They have the same aspirations and they treat each other with respect and candor,” says Meegan Moszynski, Adam’s sister and president of the Quarterly Forum Group Inc., in Denver. She adds: “They know when to take a break and … how to have fun, too.”
Though neither skis competitively anymore, the duo, both remain active. Adam Moszynski will work part-time this winter as a ski instructor for Aspen Ski Co. for further Corbeaux exposure.
When asked how their multifaceted partnership works, Adam Moszynski says, “As far as being in love and working together, we made that commitment before starting a business."