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Posted: March 13, 2013

Colorado cool stuff

Foldagram, ballet physique, all-in pillow, Brand 44

Eric Peterson

FOLDAGRAM
Jordan Bundy has had a hand in a number of startups, including an audio company in Chicago and a mountain-transportation business (Altitude Express) in Colorado. His latest entrepreneurial idea originated during a hike near Vail, when he thought of “a way to make photographs special and important again,” Bundy says. “In the digital age, you post it on Facebook and forget about it.”
His elegant solution is the Foldagram. Customers upload the image of their choice and Bundy takes care of the rest, printing a unique substitute for a postcard for businesses and consumers. “The recipient takes the envelope and folds it backwards to make a standing photo display,” Bundy explains. “It ends up being cheaper than going to the store and buying a greeting card and a stamp.” $4 per Foldagram, postage included; lower with prepaid accounts ($250 buys 100 Foldagrams).

Made by All Encompassing Productions LLC, Vail, (773) 504-5889, www.thefoldagram.com.

BRAND 44 OUTDOOR GEAR
Ed O’Brien launched Brand 44 in 2010 with a mission: “getting kids and families outside.” To this end, Brand 44 has slackline and zipline kits and accessories as well as a line of geocaching products (Geomate Jr.), with more products in the works.
Geomate Jr. has been licensed by the Boy Scouts of America for a geocaching merit badge, and parents and educators can use it to set up custom scavenger hunts. “I’ve got kids and I recognize the need for these kinds of products,” says O’Brien. “Health and wellness is important. People are not moving.” Brand 44 products range from $4 to $200 retail.

Made by Brand 44, Denver, (303) 339-0482, www.brand44co.com.

THE BALLET PHYSIQUE DVD COLLECTION
Kristen Zurek has danced since she was a kid, and when she discovered barre exercise – a workout based on ballet’s traditional wall-mounted handrail – it was a perfect fit. “It was the best thing I’ve ever done for my body,” she touts. “It works out all of the places women are worried about.”
She launched the Ballet Physique Fitness Studio, one of Colorado’s first barre studios, in 2010, and released a DVD collection based on her workouts in December 2012. The two-DVD set includes an exercise ball, but a wall-mounted rail is not required. “All you need is a chair or a sturdy surface,” says Zurek. “It’s very safe and very effective.” $34.95 retail.

Made by the Ballet Physique Fitness Studio, Littleton, www.theballetphysique.com. Also available from Amazon.com.

IT’S ALL IN THE PILLOW
Brock Matthews, the founder of It’s All in the Pillow, had an “epiphany” after a messy movie night with his wife and their then-toddler daughter in 2008. “We had pillows all over the place, but there was nowhere to put anything,” says Matthews. “We ended up with spilled drinks and spilled popcorn.”
His solution: a fully functional pillow that opens to reveal a non-slip surface in its center that locks into place to provide a spot for a laptop, a cup of soup, or a coloring book. Four patents later, Matthews launched the product in 2012 and hit it big on TV-retailer QVC in December. “It exceeded expectations,” he says. “We sold out of three of the six colors in under eight minutes.” $43.99 retail.

Made by It’s All in the Pillow, Colorado Springs, www.itsallinthepillow.com.

Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at Eptcb126@msn.com

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