Colorado cool stuff: Fig & Yarrow, J.M.F.T., Dave’s designs, XYZbot
FIG & YARROW APOTHECARY PRODUCTS
While studying contemplative psychology at Naropa University in Boulder in 2010, Brandy Monique opened an Etsy storefront to sell “organic handcrafted apothecary products,” such as mouth rinse, hair tonic and underarm lotion.
“I was just a broke student trying to get by,” she says of the launch. Two months later, national retailers like Anthropologie and Terrain came calling, offering “immediate exposure.” Three short years thereafter she has a catalog that’s 44 products deep and 80 retailers touting her line.
“It’s been pretty tremendous,” Monique says, describing a business model that sounds a lot like destiny. “Once I knew what I wanted to do; there was no stopping me.” $10 to $46 retail.
Fig & Yarrow
Also available at Fancy Tiger and Brick & Mortar in Denver
J.M.F.T. INDUSTRIES BAGS AND FASHION
“Fashion just happened accidentally,” says Julie Tierney, whose J.M.F.T. brand is a scandalously unprintable acronym for a former boss’ nickname for her. Tierney, a former pro snowboarder, describes her lines of coats, T-shirts and handbags as “fashion meets whiskey.”
After competing on the reality show “Project Runway” in 2010, she came back to Colorado to launch the company. Made from recycled Army blankets, her zip bags are currently available, then her handbags hit the market this month and her flashy duster-meets-chic coats are slated for fall. Next up is “the first-female named bourbon,” she says. Bags $40 to $250. Coats: $600 to $700. T-shirts: $30.
DAVID RASMUSSEN DESIGNS
David Rasmussen went from making custom furniture to building accessible tree houses back to architecture to custom furniture again, landing in Carbondale in 2007. His workshop suffered a devastating fire in late 2011 – “a total loss,” says Rasmussen – so he took the opportunity to rebuild on a bigger scale. The gambit is paying off.
“We sell wholesale all over the world,” Rasmussen says. “This has been a really good year for us.” Today he’s making popular wooden plates and martini glasses as well as desks, tables and other furnishings.
“My philosophy is less is more,” he says. “I usually opt for simple, modern designs with clean lines. My signature is natural wood with pops of color.” Manufactured products: $40 to $800 retail. Custom furniture: $500 and up.
David Rasmussen Designs
Electrical engineer Kerwin Lumpkins and Steven Gentner of machine-vision software provider RoboRealm decided to go into consumer robotics last year after observing a disconnect between robots in movies and the real world.
“When kids see a real robot, “It doesn’t look like C3-PO – there’s a letdown,” says Lumpkins. “Fritz is meant to be something kids and adults can easily relate to.” To this end, Fritz is a puppet controlled robot with a user-friendly software interface, moving his eyes and mouth with a click of a mouse. The duo raised more than $40,000 to launch XYZbot on Kickstarter and began shipping the first Fritz kits in July.
“Let’s get manufacturing back in the United States,” Lumpkins says. “Let’s get in with the laser cutter and the 3D printing phenomenon.” $140 (basic kit) to $215 (advanced) retail.