Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Douglas College Business Management grad takes business idea to new heights

Flexibility is an important feature in your attire - especially when dangling off the side of a cliff without a harness or rope.

So when Douglas College Business Management grad and avid rock climber Bradley Spence saw a gap in the market for pants that combined style and the flexibility to climb in, he decided he would fill it himself.

What resulted was Boulder Denim. Created by Spence and business partner Taz Barrett, the company takes its name from bouldering – rock climbing without a harness or rope – and features a line of jeans that can be worn in a variety of activities.

“They are jeans you can adventure in,” Spence said. “You can take them anywhere and do just about anything in them.”

For Spence and Barrett, the thought of rock-climbing in regular jeans was “crazy” because the material is so restricting.

“We figured there’s a market for a jean that’s stretchy enough to climb in,” the Surrey resident said. “We couldn’t find anything like them out there to buy for ourselves. We searched endlessly and when we came up empty handed, we thought we were on to something new and exciting.”

The jeans have been designed to stretch like yoga pants or sweats. But don’t get them confused with “jeggings,” Spence said. Boulder Jeans are all denim.

“We sourced denim from around the world to find the perfect denim,” he explained. “We ended up using a manufacturer right here in Canada. The way our denim is woven is actually patented.”

The fabric is designed to be exceedingly stretchy but hold its shape. Spence noted that most stretch denim has a “stretch retainment” of 60 percent, while Boulder Denim has 92 percent.

“We also worked with a designer that works for one of Vancouver’s largest athletic apparel companies to help perfect the fit and features of our jeans. We decided to go with three cuts. Now, one year later, we have officially launched,” Spence said.

This past November, the two longtime friends began a Kickstarter campaign to get the ball rolling on manufacturing the jeans. In just over 24 hours, the $15,000 goal was reached, and has been growing ever since. Currently, the campaign is close to hitting 500 percent of the initial goal with more than $96,000 USD.

But Spence noted that the Kickstarter campaign was more than just “posting a video and hitting go.” Pre-promotion efforts were started months in advance, which he credits to reaching their goal.

“Both my business partner and I studied Business in college, so that helped out quite a bit,” Spence said, noting instructors Bill Archibald and David Moulton stood out from his time at Douglas.

“I used a lot of what Bill taught me to create our business plan and the sales knowledge that David taught really helped build some great B2B and collaboration relationships with like companies.”

The team is using that same drive to bring their products into stores like MEC and REI. Boulder Denim also has new products set to be released in the near future.

“The response has been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve had a lot of awesome news agencies and blogs reach out and share our project, which has really helped us out,” Spence said. “We have received hundreds and hundreds of Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter comments from people who can't wait to try out our jeans.”

Boulder Denim is currently accepting pre-orders on another crowdfunding platform – Indiegogo. To place an order, click here.