Posted: May 01, 2012
Colorado cool stuff: Yay! Magnets! Scorzie, Snapbagger, Deny DesignsBy Eric Peterson
YAY! LIFE! MAGNETS
In 2009, Rachelle Reichley baked a pumpkin pie for her now-husband Carl, who responded, "Yay. Pie." She added exclamation points in a sketch. A dog walk later, YAY! LIFE! was born. Today the Reichleys make more than 700 magnets and greeting cards sporting slogans from "YAY! CHOCOLATE!" to "YAY! BIGFOOT!" as well as local favorites like "YAY! COLORADO!" and "YAY! 14ERS!" (People can suggest new YAY! slogans online.)
Carl says the market spans "kids and Harley dudes and parents and grandparents. It’s all-encompassing." After selling their wares as "An army of two" at festivals in 2010, the Reichleys hooked up with a distributor and now the domestically made YAY! LIFE! products are available in more than 250 stores nationwide. "YAY! LIFE! has far surpassed anything on a magnet," Carl says. "We’re definitely onto something – people are just hungry for positivity." $3 to $6 retail.
Made by YAY! LIFE! LLC, Denver, www.yaylife.com. A store locator is on the website.
Aaron Polack and Larry Witt spent many a weekend together playing kickball, washers and other games, drinking beer. The problem? Nobody can remember the score, and beer doesn’t help. "Necessity is the mother of invention," Polack says.
Thus the patented Scorzie came to be. Launching last summer, the insulated beer coozie keeps score with two rotating rings that click from zero to 21. The Scorzie is taking off: Corona is branding a batch for an upcoming campaign, and the promotional-products market is eating them up. At a recent trade show in Vegas, "I thought, ‘We have a home run,’" Witt says. $12.99 retail ($9.99 each for two or more).
Made by Scorzie (a dba for Next Level Enterprises LLC), Denver, (720) 675-9180,
Melanie Romero describes a childhood on a small farm in New Mexico. "I had a knack for looking at everyday problems and finding my own solution," she says. A longtime sales manager, Romero invented the SnapBagger in 2000 when she lived in Dallas, where raking leaves can be a pretty big chore. The patented product holds a garbage bag open so you can easily rake leaves into it.
Last year, she launched the poop-scooping Yard Pup as her second product, gaining notice at the Global Pet Expo in Florida. "It’s not just a me-too dustpan with a garden rake," says Romero, adding that she loves inventing. "This is what I want to be when I grow up." About $30 retail.
Made by She-Edison LLC,
Aurora, (877) 271-7627,
www.sheedison.com. SnapBagger also available at numerous Walmart and Ace Hardware stores in Colorado.
Dustin Nyhus saw a need for more custom housewares after working for a wholesale manufacturer, so he started DENY Designs last March, starting with a vertical jewelry case called the Bling Box. Now he’s expanded into shower curtains, duvet covers, blankets, sheets and clocks emblazoned with images from dozens of artists based everywhere from Denver to Norway.
"Everything looks like a piece of art," Nyhus says. "It’s a different and unique way to decorate your home." The products are printed in Colorado after the order is placed; it takes less than a week before they are shipped. Most products $75 to $250 retail.
Made by DENY Designs
(an S-Corp), Denver,
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