When I started making Bolder Bands at my dining room table in the summer of 2013, I was focused on fixing my own frustration of not being able to find a headband that would stay on my head during Crossfit workouts and runs with friends. After celebrating our second anniversary, I have found that my purpose for this business serves a bigger purpose. I am a busy mom of three kids that has found running and workouts at the gym to be a great, healthy outlet. (Wine and chocolate are close second!) I enjoy the friendly competition at my Crossfit-style gym where the workouts are timed so the annoyance of having to stop and put my headband back mid-workout was frustrating and wasted valuable time on the clock. I also was annoyed by the sweat dripping in my eyes on weekly runs with my running buddies. After running the Bolder Boulder in 2013, I became inspired to create a headband that would not come off and would keep the perspiration from running in my face.
My friend, Debbie and I decided to dust off our sewing machines and make a trip to the local fabric store to see what we could come up with. The result was a crude version of what we now call Bolder Band Headbands. After experimenting with the design and the fabric and enlisting an expert seamstress, we launched our site on September 12, 2013. What has transpired in these last two years has been nothing short of a miracle to see an amazing team of people come together to design, make, brand and market our lines which have expanded into Cold Weather Products, Fancy Bands, Palazzo Pants and Skirts and Leggings.
I am truly blessed to be a part of this company and to watch it grow into something way bigger than I ever could have imagined. At times I feel so inadequate to give any advice on how to run a business, because so many of our pieces have inexplicably fallen into place and so many of our team members are so much more qualified to give business advice than I am. However, if I could inspire other women who have a desire to build a business there are three tips I would give:
1. Surround yourself with people who are strong where you are not. My husband and I run the company together. We have different strengths that we bring to the table. Although working with your spouse is a challenge in itself (and a whole separate blog post!), we know how to work together and we know where the other one is strong. We complement each other and see things that would go unseen if it were just one of us at the helm. Also, we have been so blessed to hire people that love what they do and work so well in their element. We aren’t afraid to say we can’t do something and when we can’t, we find someone who can!! I am not tech savvy at all and can barely respond to emails but we have a web developer who is fantastic and makes our site look amazing. Our photographer specializes in active photography and he completely understands our demographic so he can get the best looks at all of our shoots. I am a sub-standard seamstress so I found the best seamstress I could to help me design and manufacture our products.
2. Be passionate and share it! Our tagline is “Be the Bold, Beautiful You!” I believe that every woman is bold and beautiful and that they need to hear it from other women. Our demographic is an amazing group of active ladies, a lot of them moms. I strongly believe in health and wellness and in helping women be the most bold, beautiful version of themselves. I also believe that we are stronger when we are together so I am passionate about encouraging woman to be active, healthy and encouraging of each other. Love people. My grandfather was an amazing business man and people person. I learned so much from him about business and life. He would always tell me how important it is to love people and to cherish them. I hope to never take one customer, one Facebook follower, or one employee for granted. People really are amazing and when you appreciate them and show them, you can really bring out the best in them. I hope that the people around me always know how I feel about them and
3. Don’t let the challenges slow you down. Owning your own business is not easy…it requires grit, leadership, thick skin and determination. I have grown a lot these past two years and I am optimistic that I will change and grow even more in the years to come! People don’t always like what you do or how you do it. My husband has thick skin and I learn so much from him. He is not easily offended and when someone offers us feedback or criticism, he filters through it to keep what is relevant and discard what it isn’t. That is a process I am working on….It doesn’t serve anyone well if you walk around with your feelings hurt all the time and can’t take it when people disagree with you.
About the author:
Amy Crouse, founder of Bolder Band headbands, is from Canon City, Colorado. To learn more about her company go to http://www.bbolder.com/.
Vela Adventures is partnering with Women's Wilderness to bring you an awesome day of rock climbing October 4th! Women's Wilderness is a fantastic program because our instructors are...you guessed it...all professional women with years of experience climbing and teaching!
On top of that, proceeds from our courses go to support our Girls' Wilderness Program, which includes an extensive scholarship program. So, when you go out and have fun with us, you can know you are also helping low-income teen girls gain access to the great outdoors.
From Women's Wilderness, here are FIVE THINGS you should know about ROCK CLIMBING:
1) Climbing is all about your FEET. People often think that you need to have amazing upper body strength to climb. The truth is, overly relying on your arms can hold you back! The muscles in your arms tire out long before the bigger muscles in your legs ever will.
2) A big part of climbing is OBSERVATION. Before you are on the rock watch how other climbers move up the climb. While you are on the rock look down to find footholds, and carefully place your feet on them.
3) You can climb EVEN IF you are SCARED of heights. You can practice going up a few feet and then hang on the rope and come down, and slowly build up to climbing higher and higher. You also can try climbs that are less exposed - climbs that are in a corner often feel a lot "safer" because you can't see as much below you.
4) Climbing is a great way to develop TRUST - in yourself and in other people. You learn to trust your belayer - the person holding the other end of the rope - and you learn to trust yourself as you figure out ways to move up the rock.
5) A major piece of climbing is FRIENDSHIP - making friends that will stick by you patiently while you are trying something challenging, friends that will root for you when you are not sure you can do it, and friends that you just love "hanging" out with after a great day outside.
Can't wait to see you out there on the rock with us!
About the Author:
Emily, Executive Director, Women's Wilderness
Learn more at www.womenswilderness.org
School buses roaming the streets, days getting shorter and football teams back at it…all of this can mean only one thing. Our last days of sweet, sweet summer are upon us. Instead of mourning our loss, let’s give summer a real going away party by savoring each warm moment in the best ways possible. Now get out there and start your summer goodbye tour!
It’s 11:10 a.m. on a sunny day in Genesee surrounded by tall pine trees and a view of the Continental Divide. It’s here that I watch a woman manipulate her way across a cargo net suspended 30 feet in the air. About halfway across the 40-foot long net, she stopped to gather her strength – both physical and mental. “Don’t stop until you’re proud,” she said and continued to the end of the obstacle. That simple mantra got those of us watching pumped!
Throughout our ropes adventure course we continued to support and encourage one another with those five words. And, each of our limits were different. One woman set a goal to take on each high ropes element – all equally thrilling and challenging. One woman climbed to the top of a tall pole and decided that was her limit. Still beaming with her own version of pride, and the rest of us so proud of her.
That’s why this quote really resonated with me. We all have fears, limitations and challenges that we deal with every day and there’s no easy formula in dealing with a task or problem. And, our own personal definition of pride can vary depending on what we are doing or how we are feeling. So I may feel proud that I got out of bed and went to the gym this morning, while your version of pride is putting in extra work hours to get a project 100% complete. What matters is that we recognize our own limitations, we honor those limitations and we feel proud of whatever we have accomplished when it’s our time to stop.
“Don’t stop until you’re proud.” The other thing that totally rocks about this quote is the “you’re” component. Meaning, who cares if anyone else is proud. Who cares that someone’s version of accomplishment and pride is different than yours. What is essential and empowering is that YOU are at the helm of your triumphs and YOU are the authority of defining your pride. No one else.
And, I am only too aware that we, as humans, innately care what other people think. That is a difficult truth to just step over. The other awesome component of “don’t stop until you’re proud” is it’s a baby step over that truth. Use these five words the next time you take a hike or sit with your family or complete a project. Take the baby step of knowing your limitation and when to stop, and then feeling proud of yourself for what you accomplished.
Living in beautiful, sunny Colorado we are not accustomed to the seven-day span of rainy, overcast days that has plagued us this gray week of May. People are walking around like it’s an eternal Monday – little clouds of gloom above our heads as we go about your daily business. Luckily, I spent a two-year stint in England, notorious for weeks of no sunshine, and I learned how to cope with those rainy day blahs. Here’s five simple ways to banish that little gloomy cloud of grrr that comes with frequent gray days.
You know it’s spring in Denver when you are in shorts and flip-flops one day and then in your winter parka dusting snow off the car the next. The spontaneous weather changes, the tulips, the budding trees are all promises of spring. Which means it’s time to dust off those hiking boots and get to the trails for some beautiful spring hikes. We have four favorites all within easy access to Denver:
I am having one of those crazy-insane months where I am just trying to “keep up” and, in doing so, I leave the time for myself behind. Yesterday, I took a trip to the store specifically for cat food and left with yogurt and bananas…no cat food. I have promised, and consequently forgotten, to deliver a gift card to my partner Heather no less than 10 times the past two days…no lie. And, tonight I started to make a citrus chicken recipe and opened the fridge to find I didn’t buy any chicken. It’s at the store with the cat food.
So, in an exhausting nutshell, I am doing way too much with too little time and I know I am not alone. I know you have or have had that overwhelming experience where you are just trying to stay on top of the demands of daily life and you let YOU fall to the background. Your nails may look like mine – jagged, uneven, unpolished and in desperate need of some TLC. Your bedroom may look like mine – clothes strewn on the floor, drawers open, bed unmade and in need of fresh linens. Your kitchen may look like mine – crumbs on the counters, dishes in the sink, homework on the table waiting to be finished.
We all have those crazy-insane times in our lives when daily demands interfere with that precious time for ourselves. And, we women sometimes have a hard time capturing and making sacred time set aside specifically for US. Putting ourselves first is a habit we need to form and a habit we need to practice keeping.
Today, in between an appointment and trying to reschedule a meeting I was unable to make, I promised myself next week would be different. I promised to block four hours during one day next week where I would not schedule meetings, or return emails, or volunteer at school, or run errands. I would just do what I want to do for ME and ME alone. I can’t wait for next week.
I think if I make it a habit to block a span of a few hours once a week I could really get a better hold on to my daily life. And, the more often I make putting ME first, the more engrained that habit will become.
Why don’t you join me? Look at your schedule for next week, push aside the guilt and obligations, and block your calendar for a few hours just for YOU. Take that time to read a book, savor a cup of coffee, take a walk, call your sister, do your nails, wash the dishes…whatever YOU want to do. And, do that the following week as well. Then, let’s swap experiences and discuss how our lives feel different when we put ourselves first. I, for one, will probably be able to leave the store with cat food in my bag. How about you?
We are so excited to partner with Avid4 Adventures, the awesome summer camp provider for children. We are working together to get the entire family outside and active. Read Avid4 Adventures' guest blog below for great ideas on how to take on adventure as a family.
Scaling a rock face? Check. Rafting through mild to wild water? Check. Conquering switchbacks? Check. You’ve already chosen Vela Adventures for your quests, and you know that growing, stepping out of comfort zones and trying new things in a safe environment is for everyone.
So now that you are on your way, what are some of the best ways to get your child on the path to lifelong participation in the outdoors?
Grab the family and go hiking and biking
Children are naturally curious - in the best ways, of course! Why not take advantage of their inquisitive little minds and can-do attitudes and explore local recreation spots – especially when Colorado’s climate practically begs us to be outdoors the majority of the year?
Hiking and biking are two fantastic activities to enjoy because kids of all ages and skill levels can participate – and they’re fun and engaging. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Imagine 12 miles of paved trails and 35 miles of multi-use trails for bikers and 15 trails hikers to enjoy minutes from Denver. Cherry Creek State Park has easy, rolling terrain just waiting for your family to explore. Leave your cares behind (but remember your bike helmet) and forget about how close to the city you are thanks to the natural prairie environment.
Just outside of Boulder in Eldorado Springs is the hidden gem of Eldorado Canyon State Park. Trails of varying difficulty are waiting for both hikers and bikers to discover. Spend the day gazing at sandstone cliffs or wandering by the South Boulder Creek . . . bring a picnic and make some memories, too!
Before you set out on your adventure, do a little research to learn about the terrain, conditions, and facilities, so you have the best family outdoor experience possible and avoid any meltdowns (from kids and adults)!
Enroll kids in a summer camp with authentic outdoor experiences
There’s no shortage of camp choices, so how do you know what to look for when researching a camp? If you ask your children what they want, you’ll probably hear something about awesome outdoor adventures. You might want to know a little more though.
Avid4 Adventure, the premier provider of outdoor adventures for children and teens, has got both kids and parents covered. With a mission to engage kids in active, healthy outdoor lifestyles, Avid4 Adventure day and overnight campers are introduced to the power of the outdoors in the most amazing ways!
Rock climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, stand up paddle boarding, survival skills, and outdoor education – this is not the summer camp from your childhood! Campers enrolled in age-specific groups start by sampling each adventure sport and then diving deeper into individual sports as passions grow. No day or experience is ever the same, and you won’t hear the dreaded, “I’m bored” comment!
Avid4 Adventure staff are over 21, have impressive certifications and teach not only what they love, but also what they live. With an emphasis on safety, kids become mini risk managers by learning how to assess situations, use sound judgment and make good decisions. Staff isn’t just educating kids about technical skills, oh no, Avid4 Adventure encourages kids to try activities, build skills and learn tools to be successful in life. Breathe soundly, knowing your kids are being taught by seasoned experts, using professional-caliber equipment every paddle, climb, pedal and step of the way.
Empower kids to participate in outdoor adventure
Kids thrive when they’re encouraged to try new things, increase their skill level, and stretch out of comfort zones. Whether kids succeed or fail, they’ll learn something from each experience. Just like us, kids gain confidence, learn to take healthy risks and become comfortable in the outdoors through experiences, and that’s a life-long endeavor. Making outdoor activities so engaging that kids want to participate, now that should be our goal!
Let’s start exploring, learning and experiencing everything the outdoors has to offer by signing up for an adventure! For Avid4 Adventure camp, visit www.avid4.com/savings to learn about their Early Bird Savings. For Vela Adventures experiences, visit www.velaadventures.com.
About Avid4 Adventure’s Blog Writer: Lynne Marsala Basche spent most of her career on the island of Manhattan at two New York publishing companies. A multi-year Avid4 mom and a new contributor to the Avid4 website, Lynne’s writing adventures also take her to championing volunteerism and regional recreation stories as a staff writer for the Castle Pines Connection newspaper, as well as supporting separate large corporate communications programs. By trying to keep pace with her mountain biking, rock climbing, snowboarding, lacrosse playing, unicycling, tae kwon do-loving 11-year old son, she, like most Avid4 parents, loves sharing the value of outdoor recreation and its positive influence on children’s health and confidence development. Lynne lives in Castle Pines, Colorado and regularly immerses herself in outdoor activities with her family where she also runs her freelance writing company, Blue Spruce Creative.
Happy New Year! We are recharged, ramped and revved for an amazing year. In fact, with all the new and exciting things going on at Vela, we have dubbed 2015 as “The Year of Adventure.” And, we are going to be taking you with us as we make 2015 the most unforgettable year yet. Get ready Vela ladies, we are coming for you!
We have been quiet the past few weeks but we’ve been busy. We are so excited to announce our new Vela programs, expand our offerings to more Colorado cities and plan our second year of Camp Vela.
We have heard from many of you asking when our next calendar of adventure outings will be published. We so appreciate hearing from you and love your enthusiasm and loyalty. One of Vela’s biggest changes will be the format of our adventure offerings. We are focusing less on our monthly calendar and will, instead, focus on custom outings as well as our brand-new Flash Outings.
Vela’s new Flash Outings really capture our love of spontaneous adventure. They will be mini-adventures that will be offered periodically with maybe only a few days’ notice. When it looks like we will get a warm, winter day that would be perfect for outdoor archery, or a couple days after a big snowfall for snowshoe, we will blast Flash Outing information to our newsletter list, Twitter account and Facebook page with all the details.
If you are already sick of the snow and cold; and dreaming of those warm, summer days then you will be as excited as we are about Camp Vela 2015 – Colorado’s only summer day camp for women. Camp Vela was such a big success last summer that we are not only bringing it back with new summer adventures but expanding to more Colorado cities. We will be announcing our dates and summer camp adventures soon so keep an eye out for our early bird discounts.
Word-of-mouth is one of Vela Adventures’ most powerful marketing tools. And, as we broaden our horizons we know how important it is to build a network of women who can tell their friends and family members, their co-workers and neighbors how Vela Adventures can help them live and love life through adventure. We are looking for a few awesome and adventurous women to join the Vela Adventures’ team. To learn more about being a Vela Ambassador click HERE.
We have much to look forward to this year and none of our growth could be possible without the continuous support and excitement from our awesome Vela customers. We’ve developed such great friendships by sharing your adventures with you and we can’t wait to form new bonds and friendships this year. More exciting news to come soon!
One of the many things we do as the owners of Vela is to “test drive” each adventure and “interview” the professional guide or instructor. We continue to be surprised at how many amazing opportunities we have as residents of a state that produces talented and successful athletes, instructors and guides. At our fingertips we have outstanding access to exciting adventures and the professionals who revel in them.
Just last week, we were out sampling one of our upcoming adventures at a really cool and unique indoor adventure park. Here you can learn to snowboard or ski – all in the comfort of indoor heating. You can learn to skateboard on special rubber flooring. And, you can progress to learn how to perform jumps, twists and turns on special trampolines and mattresses. We had such a blast trying out some of these fun activities, and meeting the skilled and awesome instructors (also owners) who love what they do. Not only that, they have world champions who are training in their facility. And, the fact that we get to bring our Vela ladies in to the same place and do some of the same activities as world champions in these sports made us so giddy with excitement!
Right after our totally rad indoor adventure park experience, we headed to Boulder to try out an aerial fitness and trapeze facility. We were able to participate in a group class full of men and women who were completely dedicated to perfecting their aerial fabric, trapeze and rope skills. Admittedly, we felt a bit silly working on getting a few feet off the ground while surrounded by twisting, turning, swinging upside-down athletes. Some of the people training around us were trying out for Cirque de Soleil while others were University of Colorado Boulder students training in one of the nation’s only aerial dance certification facilities. We were seriously impressed with what these talented individuals could do and felt really lucky that we have the opportunity to sample some of the amazing aerial feats. Again, we were super excited to get our Vela ladies to this amazing place.
At Vela, we always say you only get one life so live the heck out of it. And, we are passionate about helping women do just that. But, what’s even more awesome is the fact that we get to try some amazing feats with world-class instructors in superb facilities! We often forget how lucky we are to live in a state that offers so many high-quality adventures and adventurers that are just waiting for us to experience. So, take advantage of what is at your fingertips and join us for some once-in-a-lifetime adventures to enrich your life! And, trust in the fact that we’ve previewed, sampled and tested them for you already. Hey, it’s what we do and we love it.
Vela is all about fun and adventure!