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    Live Boldly Blog — Sweaters

    Rhonda Swenson - The Inspiration Behind Krimson Klover

    Rhonda Swenson - The Inspiration Behind Krimson Klover

    Krimson Klover founder Rhonda Swenson knows a thing or two about sweaters. No surprise, considering the nearly 30 years of work she’s put into creating them. A knitter from a very young age, Rhonda has always had a feel for quality yarn and great craftsmanship. In fact, she’s even earned the nickname “Sweater Girl” among the locals in her hometown of Boulder, Colorado — a name that’s cute, but doesn’t do justice to the true nature of this generous, passionate, sophisticated, and accomplished woman.

    Rhonda’s story starts in 1985, when she was working as a flight attendant for American Airlines, a job she took to offset the cost of visiting her Australian boyfriend. In her travels, she met a woman who owned a boutique sweater company. They hit it off, and before long Rhonda was traveling to South America to help oversee the sweater production. “The knitters work was incredible. These women left a piece of their soul in each sweater they created,” she says of the skilled craftswomen she met on the job. Soon she was designing sweaters and within three years, she’d bought the company. The rest is history.

    After nearly three decades in the sweater business and three successful brands later, Rhonda has never looked back. Originally from Austin, Texas, the passionate traveler says she inherited her wanderlust from her mother‚ but it’s her father who taught her to embrace life in the moment. And that’s exactly the spirit she’s trying to create with her designs for Krimson Klover. “Our clothes are easy — they look great and make you feel great,” she says, which leaves more time for hiking, skiing, entertaining, and traveling — or all of the above. “Life isn’t only about work,” Rhonda says. “People need to get out there and live life.”

    Below, we get inspired by Rhonda’s favorite places in the world, her wardrobe staples and her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs.

    Other than here in Krimson Klover’s home base of Boulder, what are the top five places you’d rather be?

    • Walking through the Serengeti. My brother owns a walking safari company called Mark Thornton Safaris that has exclusive rights to parts of the Serengeti that aren’t open to the public. You can walk for days and days and not see another person.
    • Hiking through the Cypress trees in Beirut’s Chouf Mountains. My other brother married a Lebanese woman so we flew there for the wedding, and no place has surpassed it for me. It was one of the most beautiful places I’d ever visited.
    • Essaouira in Morocco. It’s like stepping back into the 1950s: a hip, rad California-style beach.
    • Skiing in the Alps. My favorite thing to do is ski from hut to hut in the Bernese Oberland -- it’s so incredible.
    • I’m on Habitat for Humanity’s Eagle Country International board and lead a build every year. We’ve been to Cambodia, Nepal, and Malawi. This year we’re going to El Salvador and I just can’t wait!

    What’s your go-to outfit?

    • I love my Krimson Klover Raven dress. It’s an Andean textile dress that hits just above the knee and looks super cute with my Lucchese cowboy boots. It’s easy, it’s not fussy, it fits really well, and it makes me feel really good.

    Walk us through your typical morning.

    • I wake up at 6am and work with my factories for a couple of hours since they’re in Asia. For breakfast, I eat a couple of eggs or a make a green smoothie. I’m a big coffee drinker but can only tolerate one cup per day! Then I take my Australian Shepherd, River, for a walk. If i’m up in Vail, then get to do all of this while looking at Vail mountain, but in Boulder I live downtown, so I walk to work, which I love.

    What’s your best advice for aspiring business owners?

    • It takes a certain personality type to start a business. I’m a crazy risk taker. You know, jump in with both feet, figure it out later. So if you’re starting your own business? Just GO for it. It’s easy to have an idea, but you won’t know if you can make something out of it unless you do something about it. I’m of the mindset that  failure is just not an option, so just keep going. You can always figure out a way around an obstacle.

    The Story of Our Clothes: Adopting a Sustainable Approach Toward Fashion

    The Story of Our Clothes: Adopting a Sustainable Approach Toward Fashion

    Typically when we shop for new items to add to our wardrobe, we look at the value of the garments in two ways. First, how much does the piece cost and and second, what does it say about my personal style?

    These days fashion is fast and fleeting and we are forever trying to keep up with the seasons and the trends all while trying to stay stylish yet practical. However, there are trade-offs when garments come cheap that have serious and lasting effects not only on your pocketbook but on this very place that we call home: Earth.

    Ok Earthling, you do your best to avoid garments that are manufactured in factories that ignore the welfare of their workers. You donate your gently used pieces to the needy. You may even shop local and buy American made when possible. But when curating your wardrobe is it possible to stay fashion forward AND eco-conscious? We think so!

    Here at Krimson Klover we hope to stay true to our values both in our design concepts and our commitment to positive change in the world.

    Sustainability begins with our designs and our designs are closely tied to the fibers they are constructed with. We have a deep rooted and ongoing love affair with the sweater that has grown into a knitwear brand that worships the miracle fiber that is wool. Merino is our medium and let me count the ways for which we fell in love.

    For starters, wool is a natural, sustainable, rapidly renewable, recyclable, and biodegradable resource. Our sweaters start on the farm so we must consider the source when looking at where our fibers come from and what it takes to get them from ewe to you. The supply chain begins with only the highest standards for animal husbandry. Happy sheep make the best sweaters after all.

    Merino wool is an especially good choice for performance apparel due to its ability to warm in cold weather and cool in the heat. It's a durable fabric with built in climate control and it's naturally stain resistant.

    And this brings us to fashion's dirty little secret. Your carbon footprint often increases when you get a garment home. Laundering and washing your clothes consumes the largest amount of resources and has the biggest impact on our environment than any other step in the manufacturing process. Simply put, washing is the worst!

    Wool is already an eco-friendly fiber that requires far less processing than other textiles and this remains true for it's home care as well. There is a significant reduction in energy use when you consider that our garments will stand up to multiple wears before needing to be cleaned. In fact, washing is frowned upon in the traditional sense and with the exception of the occasional hand wash or spot treatment when necessary, Krimson Klover's pieces are low maintenance and therefore last longer.

    We are passionate about our designs and we hope to see this shift continue toward slow fashion. Our responsibility to preserve this planet for future generations of adventurous women is what influences our decision making from the initial sketch to the final sale and everything in between.

    Director's Cup 2015: KK and the US Ski Team

    Director's Cup 2015: KK and the US Ski Team

    The Director's Invitational Ski Classic (DISC), for those of you who don't know, is a fun three-day invitational ski race that raises money for charity. This year's benefactor - the US Ski & Snowboard Team Foundation (USSA).

    There was a ton of fun to be had at this year's event as the ladies of the US Ski Team (above), showed of their skills both on the slopes and on the dance floor! The Krimson Klover team is passionate about knitwear, but we're also eager to give back and support the people and organizations that promote the sport we love - skiing!

    Teams of 8 to 10 skiers, including novice to experts as well as legends and Pros (ex-World Cup and Olympians) compete head-to-head against others of the same skill level in a dual GS format race. The team with the most points is awarded the top spot.

    But before race day, the teams had to be determined. The Pros, which consisted of some serious female athletes, had to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Let the games begin!

    In no particular order, Amanda McDonald, Jess Kelley, Laura Littman, Andra Nedelcu, Julia Littman, Anastasia Skryabina, Libby Ludlow, Keeley Kelleher, and Megan McJames take their places on the auction block.

    All of these lovely ladies are clad in Krimson Klover's Fall '15 Slope Style Collection. Krimson Klover donated $2500 worth of prizes for the race winners and each attendee received sweet deals on future Krimson Klover purchases.

    There's no better way to showcase this collection of vintage inspired knitwear than to let the professionals strut their stuff. They wore it well! Just check out these beautiful hand-painted base layers.

    Jess Kelley is wearing the beautiful Apres-Ski Sleigh Ride Sweater in the finest merino wool.

    Jilyne Higgins in the Krimson Klover Heart Breaker hand-painted base layer.

    Nice hustle! Oh, and nice sweater!

    Even the guys got in on the fashion show...we're guessing that's his best ski-bunny face.

    We agree Jilyne, Krimson Klover will stick to women's wear for now.

    Sorry buddy, let's leave the modeling to the ladies!

    And to celebrate the beginning of some good, clean, downhill fun....Shotski!

    It was a full weekend of loud dance parties, silent auctions, good friends and great athletes. We are proud to be a sponsor of these amazing women and the Director's Cup 2015. A big thanks to Deb Doyle from Aspen Eventworks for making this event happen and a hats off to Pat Smith at On Target PR for connecting Krimson Klover with this wonderful group of ski enthusiasts.

    Compliments Guaranteed: Tell Us Your Story!

    Compliments Guaranteed: Tell Us Your Story!

    As our tag line states "compliments are guaranteed" when you are wearing Krimson Klover. I love the change in seasons for a variety of reasons, but perhaps the best part is pulling out my boots from the back of my closet and rediscovering my favorite sweaters. For the first chilly day in Denver and I opted to break out my Smitten Kitten sweater. It is a cozy, chunky sweater with a gorgeous space dye yarn. I paired it with boots and jeans and headed out for errands. Over the course of the day I got at least 8 compliments.  I had not put too much thought into my outfit, but it seemed that every place I went someone commented on my beautiful sweater.

    Every single time I wear a Krimson Klover piece I get noticed.  I have been stopped on the street, in grocery store and received compliments as I shop. While I see these pieces everyday at the office, they have not lost their charm, I know that if I put on that sweater I will look and feel good. I never fail to get complimented when I wear Krimson Klover and that is what we strive for.

    We love to hear from our customers, so tell us what is your Krimson Klover compliment story?

    Krimson Klover at Outdoor Retailer and Snow Show Recap

    Krimson Klover at Outdoor Retailer and Snow Show Recap

    As we enter our fifth year of production Krimson Klover is making it’s name known. Holding true to our roots, the Fall ‘14 line is full of luxurious fibers, specialty yarns and bold colors. We have taken our love of sweaters and evolved our brand to push the boundaries of the sweater as you know it. Krimson Klover is putting its name out there to the world as brand you want to wear for sophisticated, practical elegance, that is sure to get you compliments.

    Our dealers were ecstatic about the Fall ‘14 line. Our jacquards are ever present with additions of vibrant indigo, bordeaux, aubergine, and nutmeg. The rich warm colors are right on trend for all you fashionistas. Our sport collection is packed with stark black and whites accented with red, brilliant sherbert orange, grass green and bright blue.

    The eye catching displays lead customers, both new and old, into our booth at Outdoor Retailer.

    At the SIA Snow Show, Mother Nature put everyone in the mood for sweaters. As snow piled up outside we were busy showing off our newest threads.

    Thank you to Outdoor Retailer and the Ski Industry Association for putting on fantastic shows! We love all out outdoor enthusiast friends and look forward to seeing you next year!