Style and skiing go hand in hand, according to University of Colorado student Jim Borchardt, founder of Boulder's Bloom Outerwear.

The difference with Borchardt's online apparel company, is that his version of style is based on talent on the slopes -- not from attire.

"To be honest I haven't been really intrigued by (fashion)," said Borchardt. "I really appreciated just simpleness, kind of toned-down and attention to detail."

The 22-year-old business management major has been busy launching his new ski/snowboard outerwear company, all while balancing the rigors of school.

Bloom Outerwear launched in June 2011 when Borchardt transferred from the University of Denver to CU-Boulder, but he said the company has been a long time in the making.

He began screen-printing T-shirts when he was 17, and soon after, sought a new challenge, so he tried his hand at designing outerwear.

After trial and error, Borchard said his company is finally yielding profit.

The journey was rough, he said, after going through the tedious process of creating an initial prototype jacket. Luckily, Diane Boyer, a friend's mother and owner of winter sportswear company Skea Ltd., was able to guide him.

Boyer, who has more than 35 years experience in the ski clothing industry, coached Borchardt on how to take a simple design and turn it into a jacket.

However, Boyer said she could not guarantee Borchardt success.

"I've been in the ski clothing business for a long time and what you have in your mind and what actually comes out for a prototype are often quite different," Boyer said.

Borchardt experienced this struggle when he received his first creation in the mail.

"I designed it all, I put a lot of money into it, and after nine months, the first prototype ... looked so bad," said Borchardt. "It was awful. I actually started crying because of how bad it looked."

Half of the $1,500 needed to create the prototype came out of Borchardt's pocket -- his parents, supporting their son's ambition, matched the other half. Although the prototype lost Borchardt money, it gave him valuable experience needed to move forward, where learned to push through the failure until he reached success.

"I'm making profit, not much," he said, "but I made my money back and sales are up from last year."

After a successful turnaround, Borchardt said he is now focusing on improving existing designs while creating new products for next ski season.

As for the bright neon colors all over slope outerwear, don't expect Bloom's new designs to keep up with craze. Instead, he said he'll focus more on details that make a quality product.

"I'm not super critical of searching for the next big thing," he said. "I just want to keep things simple and functional."

Being the sole employee of his startup as well as a part-time student tests his time management skills, he said.

"Instead of going out and having a drink with my friend on Tuesday night I'll stay home doing accounting work," he said. "Its not bad, it just requires planning in advance and willingness to sit down and miss out on doing some things."

Bloom Outerwear team rider and long-time friend, Kjell Ellefson said he is impressed with Borchardt's time management.

"If you get to know him he's a pretty goofy guy," said Ellefson, a CU senior. "He's fun and loves to go out and ski whenever he can, but when it comes to the business, he gets serious."

Ellefson, who also participated in Vail's Winter Games last month, said he is proud having Bloom Outerwear as his sponsor.

"It's awesome, since Jim is a startup company and he's from my hometown its nice to ski for a company where I know the owner," Ellefson said.

Bloom Outerwear sponsors more than a dozen upcoming skiers and snowboarders from across the U.S. and Canada, whom Borchardt said are critical to the company.

"Thank you to all the athletes because they do a good job of making it (Bloom Outerwear) look good and just getting the name out there."

 

Bloom Outerwear

CU student and founder of Bloom Outerwear, Jim Borchardt, has created high-quality, slim-fit outerwear that provide more function than fashion.

Bloom Outerwear will have a spring clearance sale starting April 21, where all items will be 50 percent off. Visit bloomouterwear.com.