Archives: Featured Company

Featured Photographer: Ashley Kidder, Urban Safari Photography

If you’ve been to our homepage recently, you’ll notice a new portrait of the three of us at BE. The original one was fine, but we wanted to step up our game a bit. So, we went searching for the best new photographer in the Denver area.
Where we ended up was having a discussion, and subsequent photo shoot, with Ashely Kidder of Urban Safari Photography.
And after hiring her to help us with our latest photo shoot at Union Station, we are convinced that Ashley is our new BE photographer. Indeed, you’ll continue to see a few photos on the Instagram/Facebook/Twitter circuit that are taken by Brett with his semi-professional eye and me with my, ummm, cell phone skills, but for the important shoots, we’ll be working with Ashley.
Consequently, who better to interview on the BE blog than the girl behind Urban Safari Photography?!
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1. [Bespoke Edge] So, you have an interesting background – you used to teach high school French, right? What made you want to take the leap into photography full time?
 
[Ashley] For the past five years, I was a high school French teacher and department chair at Northglenn High School.  While I was teaching, I realized I didn’t have a legitimate hobby, aside from grading papers, planning lessons and chaperoning dances (and those don’t really count as hobbies anyway, let’s be honest).  I had always enjoyed photography when I was younger, so I decided to invest more of my time + interest into learning the craft.  At the start, it was exactly as I had wanted: a weekend hobby to distract me from the ups and downs of teaching.  However, after shooting more and more, and branching out into portrait photography and weddings, the time I spent working on building my photography business slowly transformed into a full-time job.  All the while, I was still teaching and working at the school upwards of fifty hours per week.  I didn’t really have a personal life or any time for interests outside of teaching + photography, so this past May, I resigned from Northglenn High School in order to focus all of my efforts + time on my photography business.  I really miss my students, but I do not miss the politics and negative atmosphere of teaching.  It is a draining job, and I knew that I just couldn’t do both photography and teaching at full-speed at the same time any longer.
 
2. Obviously, there are many wedding photographers out there, how have you managed to stand out?
 
Many of my colleagues + friends have noted that I have a keen eye for urban photography.  I find it so easy + nerdily exciting to seamlessly blend my portrait subjects with the textured urban backgrounds + striking architecture of Denver, without having the cityscape overpower the subjects of the photos.  My clients have also remarked that they’ve never felt like they were “taking photos”; they felt more that we were simply out on the town having fun together, and I happened to have my camera along with me.  I never want my clients to feel uncomfortable in front of the camera.
 
3. What’s the most challenging thing about running your own photography business? Any tips for aspiring business owners?
 
More than anything else, I would recommend upping your business game.  You can be the best, most amazing photographer in the world but if your marketing + business skills are lacking, your career will fall flat.  Having excellent customer service, consistency in delivering your product and upholding your professional persona both online + in person are a few of the key traits I believe all successful business owners possess.
 
4. Are you seeing a lot of grooms wearing suits for their wedding versus the more traditional tuxedo?
 
I am, and I’m loving it!  There is something so chic about a custom-made, fitting-in-all-the-right-places suit on a groom on his wedding day.  Nothing against the traditional tuxedo, but I love seeing grooms experiment with less classic colors + options on their wedding days.  I would love to see more tweed, all shades of grey, suspenders + vintage navy blue suits.  The bride shouldn’t be the only one on the wedding day to have a little fun with attire + accessories.
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To contact Ashley or learn more about Urban Safari Photography, visit her at her website here.
Those of us at BE consider her to be the best in the business – smart, professional and with a great eye for urban landscapes!

Introducing our first featured shirt – the Daily Rider

2015-spring-fashion

If you’ve been wandering around our online store lately you probably noticed a category of shirts designated as Featured Shirts.

What we’ve done is created a place for our collaborative shirts to live. What does this mean? Well, a collaborative shirt is one that we helped build with the help of another local business that we really admire. To help kick off this series, we teamed with the wonderful cyclists over at The Bespoke Pedaler. We gave them full control over the shirt’s style and detailing.

And the result? An absolutely wonderful shirt that is truly one of a kind. Jointly, we decided to name it the Daily Rider in honor of it’s urban cyclist inspiration.

Now, you can find many of the shirt’s details on our website, but we wanted to go a bit deeper and really explain how this shirt came to be and go into more detail on the shirt’s unique styling.

Enter Emily Hogle and Rick Evans – the braintrust behind The Bespoke Pedaler, a retail shop in Denver geared towards the urban cyclist. We thought, who better to help us design a great looking business casual dress shirt that a guy can wear on his bike and then actually want to wear to the office after he arrives?

Here’s how the shirt turned out…

The fabric

Rick selected a versatile fabric that he could both dress up for the office with a great looking neck tie, but also one that he could roll the sleeves up and comfortably ease into happy hour. This chevron check is made in one of our finest cottons and comes in a medium weight. Perfect for layering under a cable knit sweater as you pedal into the office!

A subtle chambray contrast collar helps to ground the shirt and the dark buttons don’t overly call attention to themselves. It’s important that the details don’t clash with the bold red and black check pattern.

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The cycling details

Firstly, you’ll notice a fun cycling contrast fabric on the cuffs. This is a real fun fabric that you’ll find nowhere else.

Secondly, Rick wanted to have a little more room in the shoulders for when he’s riding down on the drops or in an otherwise crouched position. BE founder Ron Wagner suggested an inverted box pleat to give him the room that he was seeking. And the great thing about this pleat is that it’s very subtle, especially so in this particular fabric. It almost blends in because of the check pattern. In contrast, if the fabric was a solid French blue, such a pleat would become more obvious.

Furthermore, the tail of the shirt is rounded. It’s a little subtle, but you can see in the image below that the shirt tail isn’t as pronounced, or for that matter, as long, as your typical dress shirt. Rick and Emily chose this style because Rick knew that he would often be wearing the shirt untucked and didn’t want to have a shirt tail so long that he may be sitting on it! However, we were careful to not cut the tail too short that it wouldn’t cover Rick’s back fully.

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And just for good style…

Rick also had a couple other details he wanted to add to round out the shirt and ensure that it was truly one of a kind. He chose a corner cuff because of its contemporary style and side gussets on the side seams since he would be wearing the shirt untucked much of the time. It’s worth noting that these side gussets are an often overlooked aspect of many shirts. Nowadays, it’s becoming a bit of a giveaway of a custom shirt.

The contrast fabric on the collar and the placket is also a fun choice. The grey chambray really works well to complement the grey and black in the shirt fabric. A bright color, for instance, would clash with the strong red and black so a somewhat subdued grey was a great choice.

Wrap up

We had a great time designing this shirt with The Bespoke Pedaler and we couldn’t be happier with how it came out.

If you’re in the Denver area, swing by the Pedaler and see the real deal on display. And the shirt is available for purchase at the BE store (so long as the fabric is in stock!).

By Ryan Wagner

Featured Company – The Bespoke Pedaler

Recently, we caught up with a very cool retail shop in Denver – The Bespoke Pedaler. They specialize in offering very distinctive urban cycling apparel, footwear and gear. And a quick tour of their beautifully designed shop on Platte Street will convince you that what they offer is indeed very unique to the area.

I sat down with owners Emily Hogle and Rick Evans to learn more about the shop.

[Ryan] So, the two of you have non-retail backgrounds. Can you tell us a bit about how you two made the leap to opening a retail shop?

[Emily] Right, Rick is an architect by trade and I am an interior designer. We’ve both spent the better part of our careers specializing in resort and hotel design so it may seem like a leap. However a number of experiences between us led to and inspired the concept of The Bespoke Pedaler. Namely, we both have a vibrant history with bikes and share a love for bicycling and all the social and technical qualities that surround it.

Secondarily came the unshakeable desire to experience humanity and the power of connecting with people in a very direct way every day. The bicycling culture has this quality – it is a very social and human activity. Bikes are human powered of course.

Finally and more practically we realized that bike shops focus on the bike more than the rider. Apparel, footwear, and other accessories for the bicyclist are secondary and often tertiary to bike sales and service. People love to create their own expression of themselves through fashion. People love to feel safe and protected with their gear. Particularly in Colorado – we love our performance wear. So we endeavored to curate a collection of technically refined lifestyle wear that seamlessly transitions to all activities in life. Whether that is biking, walking, hiking, traveling, dining, working, presenting, wandering…

Bernard

Are there a lot of people cycling to the office these days? Any notion of what the average commuting distance is?

There are many more people cycling now than ever before, however, it is still a small percentage relative to the number of people who commute in cars. According to a 2013 report from Bicycle Colorado, there are approx. 11% fewer cars on the road annually across the state and the number of everyday bicycle commuters are up 57%. That’s pretty significant and is worthy of trendsetter status among other states. Denver is 6th among US Cities for bike commuting according to the US Census.

There has also been a lot of recent discussion about younger generations and the “future workforce” being far less inclined to own a vehicle than previous generations. The average bike commute according to the Downtown Denver Partnership Commuter Study in 2012 was 4 miles. That is likely still the same or similar.

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Any tips for guys that would like to cycle to work, but think that they will be stuck wearing clothes that clearly aren’t ‘business casual?’

The notion of high-style, high-performance lifestyle wear is still relatively new both for the consumer and the fashion industry so it’s easy to think that this type of apparel is really just another version of Patagonia or that it has a more urban edge like Chrome. However, there are a few particular brands that are focused on truly supporting the business casual commuter and we offer those brands, among others. Blazers, trousers, dress shirts and dress shoes are all available in our shop. One might also include fabrics in the wardrobe that are naturally breathable, temperature regulating, fast drying and/or anti-bacterial such as merino wool, tencel and bamboo. These natural materials are prevalent in technically refined lifestyle wear for their beautiful look and feel and they provide properties that outerwear companies have been trying to replicate synthetically for years.

What challenges have you encountered in opening a retail store and what have you done to overcome them?

In opening a retail store, we have been challenged with realizing that the vision of the bike apparel industry or even our own vision for our shop is not necessarily perfectly synced with the collective attitude of the city of Denver just yet. As such, we were immediately tasked with listening, observing, and dynamically evolving to resonate as clearly as possible with the people of Denver.

The concept of bicycling as a lifestyle is huge in Europe and very new in the US, although much bigger in coastal cities. Ultimately for us, this is about the people. So our number one job is to listen to what they want and marry that with the products available in the market and our hope to contribute to a more bike-able world. And when we don’t see what people want out there, we want to push for it.

Let’s say I have a 9 mile commute to the office on my bike – how can I stay dry during the ride and not walk into the office looking like I just finished a workout?

Staying dry is a balance between the right equipment, the right pace and the right apparel. It’s hard to tell the agro commuter that he will stay dry on his 9 mile ride when he likes to push 15-20 miles an hour and make it a workout. But for the daily commuter, a bike that supports commuting (not racing) is ideal because it will most likely have a slightly more upright positioning which keeps the body more comfortable.

A few dry runs on the weekend might be helpful because you can select a pace, time it, and gauge the “sweat factor”. It’s important to remember that bike commuting is not necessarily about saving time (although a majority of the time it is faster than driving). It is about a human powered existence. Movement = breath = energy = health.

Finally, the right apparel – it does take some dialing in because we are all different, but the goal is breathability, wicking/fast drying and temperature regulation. In general, merino wool is the most superior fabric for these criteria. It can be expensive, but it has been used for nearly a century as cycling performance material and it is rarely rivaled, which is why many brands are placing a lot of effort on developing merino collections. Merino regulates body temperature by keeping you cool or warm depending on your needs. It is naturally anti-bacterial. It is fast drying and wicking so it pulls the sweat away from your skin and allows it to evaporate quickly. You can also select products that might support your specific “Sweat needs”. For example if you tend to sweat a lot under your arms, then a jacket with pit vents would be a good choice.

What’s the coolest product in your store this fall? Does it look like typical cycling attire?

For men the coolest product we have right now is the Down Shirt by Nau. This is a sustainably designed and constructed water resistant snap front shirt jacket with 800 fill goose down insulation. This very fine quality insulation is incredibly lightweight, breathable and of course insular. The lack of bulk makes this piece an amazing layer for under a shell in wet weather or over a sweater or button down in the office. The discreet and fitted profile appeals to the tailored refinement of a professional and the construction of the jacket is high performing for the Colorado outdoor lover.

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From those of us at BE, keep up the great work Emily and Rick!

Also, we have been collaborating with The Bespoke Pedaler on a BE custom shirt – designed with the urban cyclist in mind – stay tuned…

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The Bespoke Pedaler is located in Denver.

Visit them at 1550 Platte Street Unit A.

info@thebespokepedaler.cc

Featured Company – Armitage & McMillan

There seems to be a growing menswear trend in the Denver area.

A handful of small shops have opened within the past couple of years and they are proving to have some very unique offerings. Those of us in the BE crew are particularly excited about Armitage & McMillan – a well-curated menswear store, located in the LoHi neighborhood on Platte St.

I sat down with Daniel Armitage recently and asked him a few questions.

1.     So, you and your business partner Darin have some impressive backgrounds in menswear. How did you end up in Denver?

Thanks. We are both originally from Oklahoma. Darin moved to Denver from OK in 2002 to get a music business degree from CU Denver. Somewhere along the way he started working with a guy who bought and sold vintage ski gear. Darin wanted to split off on his own, selling other vintage pieces besides just ski and snowboard gear, so I came out to Denver and we partnered up to start our own vintage wholesale business. That eventually led us into the rest of the menswear world.

2.     How would you describe the style in your store? 

As far as the aesthetic of the space goes, I think it’s a bit of old meets new, vintage and rustic yet clean and modern as well. We wanted it to feel like a warm and comfortable space, masculine without being too manly and warm without being too dark.

 

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As for the style of the clothing, we try to stick to pretty straightforward and classic menswear.

3.     Do you think that men are more interested in style today than they were 10 years ago?

I would say that the average guy is at least more aware of style. There’s a new generation of guys that have grown up with the Internet and are following men’s fashion blogs and browsing Tumblr so they are more aware of stylish trends happening around the world. I think this has a lot of guys feeling like they need to step it up a little in terms of style.

4.     Opening a retail store is a huge undertaking. What has been your biggest lesson learned?

I learned that no matter how much money you start with, you’re going to need more. Ha.  And as a new retail business, you can’t skimp on the advertising budget. 

 

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5.     What do you think the Denver menswear scene will be like in the near future? Is it growing?

I think the Denver menswear scene is absolutely growing. A few great new shops all popped up at about the same time, that’s no accident. There are some younger guys starting very cool brands out of Denver as well and some of the more established local brands, like Topo Designs and Jiberish, are incorporating some great, classic menswear.

I see all of the Denver shops and makers coming full-circle, complimenting each other to make a cohesive scene in Denver.

 

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The details

You can visit Daniel and Darin online or in their store located at 1550 Platte St, Suite D, Denver, CO, 80202. 

Some of the brands A&M stocks include Unis New York, Steven Alan, Save Khaki, Saturdays Surf NYC, Mt. Rainier, BillyKirk, Centre Commercial Shoes, Epperson Mountaineering, FairEnds and The Hill-Side.

By Ryan Wagner

Have you been to A&M? Let us know how your experience was in the comments below!