April to May Mid Month Roundup

Hi Alpine Fit Friends,

Once a month I put together a little story of the things that happen behind the scenes and out in public with us here at Alpine Fit! 

April went by in a snap, and we're already here pushing through late May at full steam ahead. So what happened in the past few weeks? What's coming up quick?

Read on to learn more and as always, thanks for being here and your continued support being a part of this community encouraging unique outdoor adventure gear designed for your body, and your long adventures, Made in USA!

Working backwards:

This week I am excited to join a discussion panel with Treeline Review and Garage Grown Gear about starting a cottage gear brand! Tune in and check it out. Wednesday May 22nd at 5pm Pacific (4pm Alaska Time). Registration and details here: https://www.treelinereview.com/events

info about treeline review event

This past weekend was Gold Nugget Triathlon, a long running all women's triathlon that is a super fun and inclusive event for all ages and abilities! Good luck racers! Many of the Alpine Fit community are participating this year! 

Friday was Bike to Work Day here in Anchorage, and we hosting a "Treat Station" for the after work commute from 4-6pm. Jamie and I biked in to work in the morning together, and had a ball serving some snacks and refreshments to bike commuters in the afternoon together at the Alpine Fit store with AK Cycle Chic, before hitting the road on our bikes to commute to our homes!

bike to work day at ak cycle chic and alpine fit


Mid week the last several weeks have been all about product development. We have to get new designs drafted, patterns made, fabric cut, styles sewn, tried on, iterated, adjust and repeat to bring new for outdoor clothing options into existence. It is literally so fun and so time consuming. So much research, development, iteration and hands on time goes into innovation and in some cases inventing or re-imagining how to construct or assemble something. We don't tend to think of ourselves as "inventors" but I definitely have some fanatical scientist moments where I experiment with some outlandish ideas late at night in the sewing studio with a tornado of thread, fabric and pattern making paper strewn about like an exciting explosion of creativity! Right now is the best time to get ideas for Spring and Summer future seasons made, so we can rigorously wear test them all summer to support the thesis that we should add them to the collection! So fun. So time consuming. I could literally work on it all night, but there are many other things in the business to always keep on top of, so I can't. 

jen loofbourrow alpine fit doing product development
jen drafting patterns alpine fit product development in the workshop

Last weekend we had a fabulous time at the Alaska Vintage Markets! We saw old friends, familiar faces and new acquaintances and customers! Our booth design took a long time to build but I am delighted with how open and comfortable it was to be in, despite the frigid temps of the open air gigantic barn space that the market is held in. On Saturday evening after the event closed, a few food trucks stayed open and vendors got a chance to be social with one another after a long day. In a weird way, when you are a creative person, maker or entrepreneur, and you go have a booth at one of these events, the other booth proprietors become your colleagues and coworkers for a weekend. It is a special part of the market scene that I enjoy. 

alpine fit vintage market booth

Also last weekend, we held a "Women's Day" at the Alpine Fit Shop and AK Cycle Chic and had special guest vendors with flowers and cookies, plus refreshments of course! 

Okay, working back from that? What happened in April? April was a lot of time on the road for Jamie, who travelled to Fairbanks for two shows, the Women's Affair and the Fairbanks Outdoor Show put on by KO Productions. Jamie also met up with some stores in Fairbanks and Denali and delivered some Alpine Fit gear! Check our locations list as we add a few carefully curated retail store locations that carry a selection of Alpine Fit products. If you have any recommendations in your town, please let us know! We have mostly started in Alaska, but we also think that some stores in the Pacific Northwest, West, Midwest, Northern part of the East and beyond could be a great fit for Alpine Fit! But what do YOU think?

While Jamie was on the road in Fairbanks, I hit the road to "the valley" (the Matanuska-Susitna River Valley) for the Mat-Su Outdoorsman Show at the Menard Center in Wasilla, Alaska. We had a fun action packed 3 day event alongside outdoor business vendors including everything from fishing guides to RV's. It is so interesting being a cottage outdoor gear brand, we can tow the line of fitting in the the artisanal makers markets and the big outdoor adventure product and services shows!

Cottage gear is a term I have now mentioned twice in this newsletter. I should probably write a whole separate blog post about that! In short, a cottage brand is typically a smaller and independently owned company making unique and innovative products for a niche use cases with a focus on domestic manufacturing and ethical production practices. A cottage brand typically is a unique, agile, innovative and in some cases scrappy alternative to mass market products. Their size and scale and producing small batches helps facilitate testing unique construction methods and features leading the industry in new directions! Some of people's favorite products from big brands came from them when they were small and super innovative and category defying! Not all cottage brands go on to become massive brands, not all massive brands started as cottage brands. At Alpine Fit we do as many things as we can to play with the "big guys" and have professional and scalable suppliers like wonderful fabric mills that can make our fabrics in any volume we need now or in the future, but we have our own manufacturing facility, and design, develop, and make our gear. We have many scrappy creative solutions due to being geographically located in Anchorage, Alaska, and we absolutely come up with new interesting versions of products, in small scale and do things super thoughtfully and carefully, with an ultra niche focus on products that work for multi-day, -week or -month trips. They happen to work for weekend and weeknight adventures, too, but they are niche focused. We have high standards, and limited scale. It turns out, we are a cottage brand!

a tour behind the scenes at alpine fit

We celebrated our team member Amanda's birthday during April, and in classic Alpine Fit tradition went all out with a ridiculous inside-joke hand crafted "card" ... which this year took the form of a heat transfer graphic that says "Clog Friday" and a big picture of a clog on it. Even if I explained the inside joke that has been ongoing for over a year and a half, it wouldn't be funny to anyone other than ourselves. Amanda got it, that's all that mattered! Amanda is our sewing manager here at Alpine Fit and is the longest employed member of the Alpine Fit team! 


At the very very beginning of the month we hosted the Alaska Women in Leadership in the Outdoor Industry Gathering which had 57 people in attendance this time! So wonderful to meet and learn about the people and the work that everyone does. We are working very hard at making sure these gatherings are not just small talk, but actually building the person-to-person relationships and knowing one another required to discover opportunities known and unknown for lifting one another up. We held the event at SEED Lab which is a project of the Anchorage Museum. Kaladi brothers provided the coffee. It was also in conjunction with Confluence the Alaska Outdoor Alliance annual summit conference on the Outdoor Recreation Industry. The full conference followed the next 3 days, and we bookended the conference with an Outdoor Business Showcase event at Anchorage Museum April First Friday, meanwhile the last First Friday of the "winter" season at the Alpine Fit shop at AK Cycle Chic was also happening!

alaska women in leadership gathering alpine fit

I also attended the award ceremony for Alaska's Top Forty Under 40 hosted by ADN Anchorage Daily News and the Alaska Journal of Commerce. I am honored to be featured in their print publication alongside many people from the community that I know and respect the work that they do. Thank you to the community members and business colleagues that nominated me and wrote letters of support! Thank you!

jen loofbourrow alpine fit alaska top 40 under 40


Somehow, alongside all of this, we traded skis for trail shoes and started running on the re-frozen crisp trails in the morning that rapidly melted every afternoon. My Spring running kit is one of my favorite seasons. It is SO easy and so reliable for every morning in Anchorage for the entire month of April. It's still hovering below zero in the mornings at that time so it goes a little something like this: Wool Socks like my favorites from Tough Cutie, Fleece-y leggings, Alpine Fit base layer shirt (Rendezvous Ridge Long Sleeve or Isostatic Merino Wool T-Neck top), probably with a light fleece over-top, your favorite jogging sports bra, like my fav from Lume Six, an Alpine Fit Go All Winter Merino Wool Lined Hat at the beginning of the month, and a Merino Wool Lined Headband by the end. WhitePaws RunMitts complete the ensemble. No headlamp needed yippee, and in the mornings with the low angle of the sun coming over the mountain, sunglasses are optional, the snow reflection can be really bright sometimes though!  April is usually your last chance to run free of needing to ALWAYS have bear spray with you, and sometimes you end up getting to wear shorts by the end!

last chance winter running alpine fit jen

We also launched a NEW version of Merino Wool Lined Headbands and Mountain V Merino Wool Neckwarmers in Cosmic Peak. Our first batch of Cosmic Peak was a huge hit, but we wanted to update the artwork just a bit to give you more of the parts of the print that you love. Check them out. Cosmic Peak, similar to our all-time favorite Chugach Dusk, somehow goes with everything!

Thank you for reading! Thank you for being here! Have a lovely weekend!

-Jen + the Alpine Fit Team






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