Denver Flea Blog - "Meet the Maker" (This is an interview with our owner, Jeremy Dougherty)
- Article by Devon Klug (November 18th 2017)
A first Holiday Flea vendor, Maroon Bell Outdoor is a fashion-conscious outdoor apparel line started by Jeremy Dougherty, a fourth generation Coloradoan. Launched just over six months ago, Dougherty was inspired to start Maroon Bell Outdoor out of his love for fashion and the outdoors, paired with his goal to create the next great American company. Whether you're hiking in the morning or meeting pals for a drink downtown, Maroon Bell's t-shirts, hats, and accessories will make for the perfect outfit. Best yet? 3% of the company's sales are given back to non-profits who are helping to make the world a better place.
WHAT DOES YOUR BRAND MEAN TO YOU?
Maroon Bell Outdoor is the embodiment of what can exist by visualizing your dreams for long enough. Eventually those dreams become your destiny and that destiny morphs into a reality. Maroon Bell Outdoor is what is possible.
FIRST PRODUCT YOU CREATED?
Our first product was a 70% Bamboo T-shirt with our logo on it. My uncle was in town that night and the whole family was at my parent’s house for dinner. After dinner we all put the shirts on and played pool. It was a pretty exciting night for me.
HOW (OR, HAS) YOUR PROCESS EVOLVED?
Every single process has evolved. I started from scratch and didn’t know anything about this business. I was spending money blindly because I didn’t know what I needed or how I needed it. Every single thing was brand new for me and every day I learned something else. I barely knew what a success or failure looked like. Now I am actually analyzing data and making strategic business decisions. I can see over six months what good decisions looked like and what bad ones looked like so I can map out a more effective process in the future. What is interesting about this evolution is that today, even after everything I have learned, the company is in a brand new space so in this place I am at ground zero again. You have to constantly learn and do everything you can to make good decisions by using your past actions as a guide. Sometimes I feel like I am playing chess and every day the rules change so I have to figure out what those new rules are.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PRODUCT OR COLLECTION YOU'VE CREATED?
For sure the Campfire Flannel. We worked on that for almost 11 months and my neutral opinion is that its perfect. I shops a lot and love clothes and I wear this flannel every day. The fit, color and structure of this garment is incredible. On top of that it has intricate findings and leather patches around it. This was one of the first things I had ever created from nothing and it was a really incredible feeling opening up the box for the first time.
WHY DO YOU DO WHAT YOU DO?
First off I never wanted to work for someone else forever. Secondly, I believe we all have a piece of gold inside of us that if exploited will make us the greatest there ever was in our own right. The trick in life is finding out what that is for you. Everyone is different and everyone’s piece of gold is different. I set out years ago to try and find this gold, try to achieve my own greatest potential. Sometimes you have to look in odd places, or climb deeper into the crevice as they say. I got a degree in accounting and was a financial analyst when I decided to start Maroon Bell Outdoor. A lot of people thought it was nuts but I love fashion and followed my gut instinct. I am doing this because I love it, I am passionate about it, and for this time and place it is my journey to achieve my greatest potential.
WHAT'S THE BEST PART OF YOUR DAY
I have a lot of best parts of days but one in particular is on Thursdays; my wife and I work out at Orange Theory at 5am. The best part is at 6:30 am, after I get home, take a shower and sit at my desk with a cup of coffee and read the front page of Google news. It’s a really incredible feeling.
BEST PART ABOUT BEING A COLORADO MAKER?
Colorado is the cool place to be in the country right now and our city is achieving its greatest potential. I feel like so many folks want to be from here and I am. There is a certain pride and ownership I feel for Colorado because of the fact that I was here before all of the excitement. I feel like Colorado is one of my family members or a best friend. I am so proud of it for achieving so much! Having said all of that, being an entrepreneur in Colorado is almost as brand new as the new phase of the city. I go to these events around the state and I see so many young entrepreneurs. Sometimes I feel like we are pioneers just starting out with a brand new city. We will always be the first ones in the new lights of the future Denver.
ON THE DENVER FLEA WISH LIST:
The new tri-blend red Maroon Bell t-shirt to add some color under our black North Face puffer jackets!
QUICK FACT #2
After I set up the company I had no idea how to start a fashion line - one day I was talking to my barber about the company and he connected me with a former Ralph Lauren designer, who stemmed to four other connections that led to the designer I'm working for today.
QUICK FACT #3
Last summer I started a T-shirt company called Peak Shirts so that I could learn about supply chain as well as how to run an e-commerce business. We made $5 the entire summer.
Rocky Mountain Bride
Maroon Bell Outdoor's Mystic Blue Hat is spotlighted in the Fall/Winter edition of Rocky Mountain Bride. See the link here and get a copy on all news stands in Colorado the last week of November.
Elbow patches are back: Denver native launches outdoorsy apparel lineSEPTEMBER 25, 2017
Jeremy Dougherty is ready for flannel season.
The 35-year-old, who works full time as a financial analyst, launched Maroon Bell Outdoor online this February and was shocked at demand for his hats, wallets and recently released flannel shirts at events around the state.
“You go to these festivals, and you think there’s going to be 10 companies like mine, and there is not,” Dougherty said.
He’s attending a fashion show this weekend in Vail and expects to sell $5,000 of goods. Over Labor Day weekend, the company rang up $11,000 at Aspen’s jazz festival.
In August, Maroon Bell landed retail deals in outdoor shop Feral Mountain Co. on Tennyson Street and sporting goods store Scheels, which is opening in Johnstown this month. It also released a new garment any Denver man can get behind: a $130 flannel with elbow patches.
“I’m shooting for Ralph Lauren meets Patagonia,” Dougherty said, adding that although he’s barely marketed the flannels, one color is almost sold out. “On Saturday night, I wore it to Del Frisco’s and I sold two of them.”
The new flannels, in colors like Aspen Gold and Glacier Blue Check, are made from cotton and faux leather elbow patches. The company’s other popular items are trucker hats, which cost $30 on its website.
Dougherty, a fourth-generation Coloradan, grew up in Aurora and graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in accounting. He moved to the Czech Republic after college before stints in Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, D.C., where he worked as an analyst for Deloitte Consulting. He moved back to Denver in 2014 to work at Dougherty Land Co., a real estate development company, with his brothers near Sloan’s Lake.
Upon returning, he noticed people were no longer wearing their old painting clothes to go camping, like he did as a kid.
“Everybody wanted to look fashionable in the mountains,” Dougherty said. “I just started going and looking for the apparel I wanted to wear in the mountains … I found all the outdoor companies were out-of-state companies.”
So Dougherty decided to start a side hustle, named after the popular peaks near Aspen.
He invested $25,000 to launch Maroon Bell, piecing together funds from a profitable real estate venture and a loan against his 401K. The firm’s revenue so far from selling apparel is $32,000.
It manufactures the flannels in Los Angeles, with textiles imported from India, and buys hats wholesale from a company in Portland, which manufactures them in the Philippines. Maroon Bell used a local startup to design its logo – the Denver skyline below the Maroon Bells – and uses nonprofit Mile High Workshop for sewing needs.
“Building a company in a different way was to use as many Denver entrepreneurs in my supply chain as I could,” Dougherty said.
Press Release September 12th, 2017
Denver, Co (September 12) - Maroon Bell Outdoor® is Denver’s new outdoor apparel startup. Launched in February of 2017, the owner, Jeremy Dougherty a fourth generation Coloradan is not using banks or investors in this bootstrap operation. The company is giving 3% of everything back to four local non-profits (Cottonwood Institute, Denver Police Brotherhood, Protect our Winters, Project Worthmore) and is a member of 1% For The Planet.
The vision is a fashion conscious outdoor apparel line designed for the city or the hills. Dougherty recognized a need in the industry and says “Most of us live in the city then travel to the mountains for an afternoon or a couple of nights. We don’t need a $900 jacket suitable to climb Everest for that. We need a comfortably fashionable product that can be worn on a hike above Boulder, then to the restaurants on Pearl Street without having to change.”
Maroon Bell just launched its fist custom design, an iconic Flannel, brushed cotton shirt, which can easily transition from outdoor to indoor. Launched in mid August, the small batch boutique piece is already on back order for certain colors and sizes. Prudence Cordts-Bloom, Maroon Bell’s designer lives just outside of Boulder and was Spyder’s Senior Merchandising manager for 12 years prior to working on this project.
Maroon Bell Outdoor has seen month over month growth since the launch and experienced high demand for almost all of it’s products, even hats and t-shirts; “folks love the logo, the fact that we are designing a unique, high quality product and we are from Colorado” says Dougherty.
Two prominent retailers have recently picked up Maroon Bell’s line for the fall. Feral Mountain Co. is a boutique outdoor retailer on Tennyson St. in Denver and an important space in the Denver market. Scheels Outdoor is a major retailer in the mid-west and they are opening a 14,000 square foot retail space outside of Fort Collins on September 30th.
In just six months this boutique startup launched out of a two-bedroom apartment has begun to make waves in a considerably saturated market place.
- Featured product in the Fall edition of Rocky Mountain Bride
- Fall Flannel showcased at the Slow Fashion Vail event September 22-23
- Pop up at the Holiday Denver Flea December 1-3
About Maroon Bell Outdoor: