She has the sort of quiet confidence that tells you she will set the world on fire. Not through force or the sheer power of will, but through grace.
Darcy Conover, co-founder of Corbeaux Clothing, knows what is important to her and ensures that her company embodies her values from source materials, through production and distribution. She is very clear that this is certainly not the most profitable way to run a company. Especially for a start-up. Sourcing sustainable materials and manufacturing in the US has a high financial cost, but one she is willing to shoulder. Corbeaux values being a socially-responsible company committed to making rugged & stylish performance clothing made in the USA from environmentally-conscious fabrics. (And stylish they are! Seriously! Check this out! How many companies are making underwear that’s fun to wear?)
Darcy and her husband are both sponsored professional skiers and mountaineers. They have traveled the world ascending peaks and descending slopes. Being dedicated adventurers, of course they didn’t spend their honeymoon lounging on a beach. Instead they climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. It was on the mountain that the idea for their company was born. As they ascended they realized how the one piece of gear they were always complaining about was their base layers. The waist was too short or the sleeves too long, the knees bag and sag, while other places had too little give. And the worst, baselayers that just shift around all the time. The more they talked about it, the more they realized that this was a real blind spot in the outdoor industry. Other than one wool fabric only company, no one was focused 100% on making quality base layers (and what about people who find wool too itchy or smelly?). Thus the idea for Corbeaux was born.
As a sponsored athlete Darcy has taken on adventures that most of us can only imagine. From ascending peaks all over the world, to dropping into off piste ski runs that would make most of us tremble. Yet she is as relaxed and humble as any other mama you might meet at the park. She talked with excitement about an upcoming ski trip she was planning to tour old abandoned ski resorts in her home state of Colorado. (Side note, did you know there are ghost town ski resorts in Colorado? Resorts that have long been defunct and just sit there? Me neither! New bucket list item!) We bonded over how horrible most kids mittens are, and the impossible task of keeping mittens on a toddler determined to freeze their own fingers off.
More than her commitment to sustainability and the instant bond found among adventure loving mamas everywhere, the thing that most impresses me about Corbeaux is their “Join the Flight” initiative. As world travelers, Darcy and her husband have summited many mountains supported by guides and porters from local communities. While the climbing and mountaineering industry is a boon for local economies, locals in these remote areas are frequently climbing to altitudes and temperatures that require gear they simply don’t have. In temperatures where frostbite is likely, these hardworking people are risking their safety and lives wearing insufficient clothing against the elements. All this, serving a mostly western population of climbers who have countless piles of barely worn technical layers, fleeces, and waterproof jackets sitting in the backs of their closets. Corbeaux’s “Join the Flight” campaign collects gently used outdoor cold weather gear and puts it into the hands of people who need it to support their work and their families. Every piece of usable clothing sent to Join the Flight is hand delivered to the places they are needed, so you know that every piece of gear is getting where it needs to go. I can’t think of a better place to send that fleece that’s the wrong color or that down vest that never quite fit just right. If you want to learn more or see where to send your items check it out HERE.
When I asked Darcy what she wanted other women thinking of starting a business to know he advice was simple. “Everything will take longer than you think. Much, Much, longer. So get started and be patient. Don’t give up.”
The older I get the more I want my life to be simple. I don’t want my life and closet filled with a thousand poorly made items that I dislike wearing. I’d much rather have a small and simple collection of quality items, made from quality materials, by quality people. Corbeaux just fits.
Learn more about this incredible company:
Join the Flight: http://corbeauxclothing.com/join-the-flight/
This post is the third in the "Women, Work, Wits" series. Read about the why of this series and find each interview linked HERE.
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