Building the Brand: Our Story

Building the Brand: Our Story

During my final winter break as an undergraduate at the University of Washington, I spent some time skiing in Whistler. Traveling from Seattle without a ski bag, I strapped my poles to my skis with bungee cords and was surprised at how well this makeshift bundle performed. I walked through the Whistler Village with my gear like this. At the slope, I simply slipped the bungees into my jacket and put my skis on. Looking around, I counted at least a dozen skiers struggling to carry their equipment. Learning to ski at the age of 2, I took for granted how easy it was for me to carry my gear. Yet, there I was with a solution for those who didn’t. 

It just so happened that the next quarter I was taking a course for entrepreneurial students wanting to start a business, titled Creating a Company. I met Mikey on day one—despite his skiing inexperience, the confidence I delivered my skis strap pitch with convinced him. Only a few days later did Rory join the class. After talking and learning about his entrepreneurial and military background, we knew he would make the perfect addition to our team. After conducting market research, customer discovery, and pursuing alternative solutions, we agreed stick with the ski strap. Rory came up with the clever company name, Yardsale, referring to a ski wipeout leaving all of your gear scattered on the slope. From there, we further researched the pain point of carrying heavy and bulky ski equipment, developing the very first prototype for what would later be named the Ski Hugger™. 


However, we quickly learned through our lack of engineering and manufacturing experience that it would take much more time to develop a viable product than we had for the class. Our answer to this problem was t-shirts, which we sold within our networks. While we made a profit and passed the class, it wasn’t in the way we had hoped. I was graduating, and Mikey and Rory both had another year in their respective programs. Yet, we all believed in the product and company we wanted to build. We didn’t want this journey to end.

To further grow our idea, we applied for a business accelerator program through the entrepreneurial department at UW Foster. Being accepted to the 2023 Jones + Foster Cohort i was reassurance that others believed in what we wanted to build too. Again, we set our sights on manufacturing the Ski Hugger™ for the upcoming season. While setbacks prevented an official launch, we worked to get the V1 into the hands of local ski shops to demo and collect data. With the help of our mentors, this program proved invaluable in our growth as a team and individual entrepreneurs. We also spent a lot of time thinking about what type of brand we wanted to build beyond the Ski Hugger™. Apparel was already in the picture, but we dreamed of building a community excited not just about skiing but living a fun and active outdoor lifestyle. This is how Yew Ride was born. We envision a line of products that improve the way “yew” ride, on and off the slopes.  

Since graduating from the business accelerator, we’ve continued designing the Ski Hugger™, which I am thrilled to announce will be officially launched before the 2024/2025 ski season! This product has evolved into something we are truly proud of. But our sights are set beyond, having already begun to develop new accessories and a functional, yet fashionable apparel line to embolden the Yew Ride community. This is just the story so far—year one. We are so excited to share what we have in store for skiers, boarders, and outdoor lovers. 2024 is a big year for the team, come join us for the ride.

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