Since day one, we have always operated the So iLL office from my house. At first, a small table next to my bed during college. When our college roommate moved out, we "expanded" into a bed room with a lime green painted wall...
Take Hold - Kati Hetrick
The first offering from the Take Hold series delves into the life of Kati Hetrick. We want to go beyond the material and discover what makes her tick.
2015 Product Reel
After months of chopping, slicing, viewing, and reviewing, we are so excited to show off our 2015 product reel.
So iLL: At the Intersection of Fashion, Art, and Climbing
I was beyond thrilled to be invited as a guest to Kristin Carpenter-Ogden's awesome podcast "The Intrepid Entrepreneur". Interested in So iLL's history and what makes us tick? Give it a listen and be sure to support her by subscribing.
Completion of a product line does not end at the receipt of a solid sample. It’s only the beginning of the countless little steps that must be taken to work towards the final hefty goal – gathering the team to give our best effort in bringing the products to life through media. After a year or more of work on new products (from hold sets, to training systems, and the new sublimated clothing) once a production ready prototype is finished, we begin the task of photo shoots, video shoots, and web work to really show you the details.
There are three parts of my daily work that, while different, push toward the same goal. I simultaneously work on future projects, collaborate with our team, and dive into the day-to-day. The trick is juggling all three aspects while having each one of them enhance the other. I want to help our team internally by keeping everyone organized and on the same page. I want all of the office team, reps, and production crew to have a thorough understanding of the company and our values. I'm pretty sure it drives the team crazy that I want to be involved, to some degree, with every aspect of the business. It's not that I don't trust or work well with them. Instead, it's that I want to bring resources to the projects they are working on.
Twelve years ago, Dave and I packed a rented mini van full of fresh holds. We embarked on a journey to Arizona for an event called the Phoenix Bouldering Contest. Before leaving, we triple checked the promised policy stating "unlimited miles". We didn't understand how they were alright with 42 hours of driving and 3,000 miles being put on the van in just a few short days. We piled six people in the van, along with the products, and everyone pitched in for gas. Being packed so tight, the trip there was really long and awful, but we eventually arrived. This was an important weekend for us - the start of our business. It was the "big launch" of a tiny idea called So iLL.
With the 2014 product reel, our vision was to make the new products feel alive. Since we are primarily web based, highlighting the new line can be challenging. It is not easy to show the quality of a product on a website alone. This is why we spend so much time trying to convey the designs and aesthetics of our finished goods. Beyond trade shows, events, and Climb So iLL in Saint Louis, our website is the only place to show you the ins and outs of new product categories.
Every summer, we attend multiple retail shows around the world. These shows are in Friedrichshafen, Germany and Salt Lake City, Utah during the months of July and August. Each year, I learn more about our industry and continually look for inspiration. I am beginning to be fascinated by the world of outdoor retail. We are such a small company in this realm and feel like we are just now taking the first steps to service the retail community. For years we only serviced climbing gyms, distributors, and home climbing walls, but now that our product range is growing, we have products that are of interest to many retail stores.
A few years ago, Dave and I were sitting in the back of the room during the keynote presentation at the Climbing Wall Association. I remember thinking about how much of an honor it was for someone to share their experiences and knowledge with so many professionals in our industry. Little did I know, a few short years later, Dave and I would be giving the keynote presentation to a room of 500 attendees from all over the world.