She's the Sh*t: Abby Capalbo

This time our She’s the Sh*t blog features Abby Capalbo, a editorial stylist in various capacities including editorial and photoshoot styling, brand consulting, social media management, one-on-one consulting, and interior and event e-design styling. You could say she does it all in terms of making your digital and online presence look beautiful. However, she is just as focused on “actually making her life as pretty and full as it seems on the screen.” As shown in her interview, she truly knows what is important.

Favorite part of your day:
I’ve always been a morning person, so definitely the first few hours of the day. We have a fun little routine in the morning I look forward to every day. My husband and I drive to get coffees with our dog, Otto, and then he heads to work, and the pup and I walk home. I cherish those few moments of peace every morning. They fuel the entire day.

You were at Style Me Pretty during the early days - what was that like and what were some of the things you did to help them build their brand?
I loved the early years at Style Me Pretty because we worked our little tails off on every aspect of the brand. There were only a few of us, so we all wore so many hats. It was a wonderful learning experience.  

What was the pivotal moment that pushed you to go out on your own? What was that like?
Oh it was totally terrifying, and I worked part time at SMP up until last year because I was so scared to make that last final leap. But it was definitely time. I loved my time at SMP, but once it got to a certain place - I was ready to challenge myself creatively again. And I really wanted to get out from behind the computer a bit.

What is your typical day-to-day being your own boss? I know I have issues with being productive when I’m not that busy and would love some tips!
It’s really important for me to embrace the times when I know I am the most productive. I love the mornings, and I know I work so much better during the beginning of the day than at night. I also make sure I take time to get outside for at least an hour a day. It just helps me refresh and feel human again. And I try to give myself normal, human hours. If I can disconnect over the weekend, I let myself. Because that’s the time I get to spend time with my husband, and that’s time is super important to me. I try to prioritize my life, because that tends to inspire my work. Being your boss is not easy, and I definitely don’t have it down to a science, but after working from home and on my own for so many years, I do think taking care of yourself is a big part of being successful at being your own boss.

Merino Wool Series: Allbirds

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Allbirds is a sneaker and shoe company rooted in creating a revolutionary textile using renewable, natural materials to design an incredibly comfortable shoe. Allbirds uses ZQ Merino from New Zealand to ensure proper treatment of both the sheep and the land that they live on. Its co-founder, Tim Brown, grew up in New Zealand and recognized that it had so many great qualities along with being sustainable that would make it a perfect resource for footwear. Merino Wool is especially good for footwear because it minimizes odor, regulates temperature and wicks moisture. Merino Wool is good shit from head to toe!

merino wool materials matterallbirds blue runner

She's the Sh*t: Brittany Mumma

Meet badass thrill-seeker, Brittany Mumma. Britt is a photographer and associate producer at OneEyedBird, a boutique creative house that produces innovative and powerful film, television, and digital content to build brands and promote awareness of subject matters. “Alaska grown,” Britt now resides in Jackson Hole, WY, but she is always travelling and hopping from adventure to adventure focused on making a positive impact along the way.  

Dirk Collins STIK motley beanie Britt Mumma

Eagle River, Alaska

Current Location:
Jackson Hole, WY

Favorite part of the day?:
Whether it's sundowners on Pride Rock or shooting timelapses in the Tetons, sunset is my favorite part of the day.

With your job as a photographer and associate producer at OneEyedBird and your influencer status, you have a platform to make an impact and do good. What are some causes that you feel strongly about right now?:
Since my first trip to Kenya in 2012, I fell in love with the country, it's people and the wildlife.  It is where my passion to protect elephants and rhinos began.  I’ve had to opportunity to spend time with some of the amazing people who are leading the anti-poaching movement in Kenya including the Dyer family who own Borana Lodge & Conservancy and Craig family who own Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.  Both families work together to protect the rhinos and elephants that roam their land, save wounded animals across Kenya and help the local communities that surround them.  Talk about incredible people doing incredible things for no reason but to do good in this world.
Bringing the topic a little closer to home, with the current state of political unrest in our country, it is so incredibly important to be involved and outspoken about the protection of our national parks, monuments and key land decisions that are being made today.  By undoing monument designations, allowing oil companies to drill in sacred places like Pebble Creek in Alaska (which would be the equivalent to putting a giant pit mine between Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park) and leaving the Paris Climate Agreement, we are not only destroying mother earth and its necessary resources for humans to survive but we are setting ourselves and our children up for a complicated and dismal future.

From Instagram, everyone can see that you “live the dream”- but in order to make your dream a reality, there’s a lot of hard work and determination involved. What are the “behind the scenes” things you do on a day-to-day basis and/or what are some sacrifices you’ve had to make in order to get where you are today?
While I often get messages from people telling me that I "live the dream”, it isn't all beautiful pictures and perfect remote locations. The nature of the business is often feast or famine.  It's a life of uncertainty where the next “gig” is in the unforeseen future.  There is no guaranteed paycheck and making future plans with family or friends is extremely difficult because I’m traveling constantly and my schedule is complicated to say the least.  To be honest, I don't think most people would enjoy a life with no security but for me, it's exactly where I want to be.

I am not cool enough to even know the correct lingo here, but you ski some pretty crazy sh*t and are constantly pushing yourself as an athlete in the outdoors. What is the coolest, most brag-worthy thing you’ve done recently?
Last month, I was in the Eastern Sierras climbing and skiing couloirs.  I have been skiing since I was 3 and rarely find myself uncomfortable on my skis.  I do however, find myself uncomfortable going up in really steep and often icy terrain.  "Trust your feet, trust your feet" is what I'm told.  That isn't always as easy as you may assume.  Though it isn't anything to brag about, overcoming my fears and progressing my abilities in the mountains is always a win for me.

Paint a picture of (well okay don’t paint it unless you’re also a painter, but describe) Brittany Mumma on a day by herself, without a phone or a camera to document anything, just a girl doing something that makes her happy:
Anytime I can get away from cell phone service is my happy place!  Since cell phone service & wifi exist almost everywhere, it is so important for people today to make that effort to disconnect from the rest of the world.
It isn't often my camera is not within reach but I  do find myself not always reaching for it.  Some of my favorite moments and memories are not documented.

Favorite STIK product and why?!:
That's a tough one!  I absolutely love my STIK hats.  One of my favorites is the GUNN Beanie because it's the perfect fit, incredibly warm and by far the cutest hat I own!

Style n' Sh*t: Glade Optics

We are STOKED about our new partnership with Glade Optics--a super stylish ski goggles and sunglasses company. They offer really high quality eyewear while keeping the prices low with a factory-to-consumer business model. Keep reading to learn more about Glade’s founding and its journey of growth since then from its founder, Curt!

Tell us a little about how the idea for Glade Optics came to be. How did you decide on the business model and design for the goggles and sunglasses?

I grew up and avid skier (snowboarder back then) and always had the itch to strike it out on my own in the business world.. I had a few projects here and there in high school and college but nothing that I was taking too seriously. After college I was working in the research arm of a large market research firm based in Boston where I was exposed to a ton of innovative companies and business models and had the great fortune of being able to speak with many of the key decision makers in these companies. Before long it became clear to me that the consumer goods/retail industry was at an inflection point in terms of low barrier to entry and a huge influx of young people who purchase items in an entirely new way.

The factory-to-consumer model is (in my mind) a fantastic way to take advantage of this changing landscape because it allows us to sells our goggles at a much more favorable price point than our competitors without skimping on quality. By avoiding retail shops and only selling online we completely cut that layer of cost out of the equation and can pass those savings onto our customers. It's a simple but powerful model.

There will certainly be a subset of consumers who will always want to go into a shop to try on gear, so we offer free returns to encourage anyone to give our goggles a shot. We find that the vast majority of people ordering our goggles just to try them on end up keeping them - our return rate is crazy low and we're super proud of that.

The design of the goggles and sunglasses is a story of constant iteration - I would never consider myself a design expert so we rely on a pretty cool combination of customer feedback and crowdsourced designs to shape the way our gear looks. We send out a survey to past customers every 6 months basically asking "what kind of gear are you looking to buy next year?" "what would like to see in our future product lines?" etc. and we get a ton of great feedback. It's an awesome way to inject the voice of our customers into our product design and this process helps mitigate a lot of the uncertainty that comes with releasing new products.

How has Glade grown and expanded since its founding? What has that experience been like for you?

It's been a wild ride. I started the brand in the winter of 2014/15 and we've grown substantially every winter (and now summers too!) since then. It has been an incredible experience both from a business education standpoint and learning the "art of the hustle" which I'm sure you guys over there are familiar with as well. There is no "off" button on a business like this so it's legitimately a 24/7 endeavor. My biggest takeaway from this experience thus far is that there really is no substitute for getting your hands dirty and simply doing the work. You can read all the books in the world and never really understand what it's like day to day to build something from the ground up - both from a problem solving perspective and balancing the emotional and 'ego' side of things.

Besides your incredibly reasonable prices, how do you differentiate yourselves from other, big name eyewear companies?

Our customer base. Our customers are super supportive and really appreciative of what we're doing - I think the ski community in general is a great tribe to have behind you as they are generally a no bullshit community that knows what they like and more importantly what they don't like. Our Instagram channel is almost completely dedicated to customer generated content - we love seeing our products out in the wild and getting the chance to showcase the everyday skier on our Instagram channel. There is tremendous focus on the "extreme" side of skiing from our competitors - but this experience just isn't relatable to 99% of skiers and snowboarders. We think that the lighter side of skiing (hooting and hollering down the hill on pow days, reliving every turn on the lift back up, eating shit on the last run of the day, grabbing that apres ski beer with your friends) is where the real magic of skiing resides.

What kind of lifestyles or types of customers do you usually target?

Our customers are generally early adopters who aren't afraid to buy gear online and are looking for a community and message behind the gear they buy. We are definitely heavily trafficked by "Millennials", as much as I hate that generalization I think it's an accurate description of the age demographic of our customer base. Probably goes without saying that our customers are active and heavily involved in outdoor activities throughout all four seasons.

She's the Sh*t: Milicent Armstrong

Meet Milicent Armstrong, a down to earth go-getter who started her own business, Artemis Designs. Artemis Designs is best known for its one of a kind kilim loafer shoes handmade from Turkish flying carpets, but Milicent’s collections include other shoe designs, bags, and some home goods. Artemis Design’s pieces have been featured at fine retailers including Steven Alan, United Arrows of Japan, Anthropologie, Tuckernuck and Of A Kind--so it’s kind of a big deal!!

Boston, MA

Favorite part of your day:
Drinking a latte in the morning and doing work on my computer before anyone else gets up.  Second favorite is getting into bed at night.

You mentioned the other day that you took email off of your phone… can you shed some more light on your decision to do that and how it’s affected your work/life balance?
That lasted for about 3 hours….until I realized that the only way to get photos from my computer to my phone was via email.  I originally decided to delete the Mail app on my phone, because I noticed that I would check my email constantly from my phone, but never actually reply from there.  So checking my email obsessively on my phone was really pointless.
In general I’m trying to use my phone less, and less.  If I go out to dinner with friends or Brian, I’ll leave my phone at home. Just having it in your purse makes it easy for your mind to wander to other things and not focus on the people you are with. I can feel an enormous difference in my experiences with people when my phone is there versus when it is not.  I remember the first time I left it at home and didn’t bring it to the dog park with Brian and Gerry. Normally I would be using the time “productively” to instagram something for Artemis, but I didn’t and I focused on having fun with my dog and Brian, and not having the temptation to work was sounds so lame but I still look fondly on that dog park visit, and now I try to never bring my phone when I’m spending time with Brian or friends!  There SO rarely is a real emergency where you would need to have your phone.  Here’s an article about how just having your phone physically on you reduces the quality of time you spend with someone. Even having it on your desk (article) will reduce the quality of your work.
What was a major benchmark since starting Artemis that made you say to yourself, “woah this is actually working!”:
I remember the first time we were featured in a publication- it was Daily Candy- it was so exciting.  Getting a wholesale order from Steven Alan, before we even had a website was an exciting benchmark.  

When you see a stranger wearing your shoes or carrying one of your gorgeous bags, how does that make you feel? Do you ever say anything to them?:
It makes me so happy to see strangers with my products! I also love hearing when people make connections with other people because they both have an Artemis product on them, or they recognize the product on someone else.  I always say something to people when it makes sense (I don’t chase someone down the street!). I love to make the connection with the wearer and find out how they like the piece, how they found out about us, invite them to visit my studio, etc.  I love to make the wearer feel connected to the brand.

If you were to meet someone who was thinking of starting their own brand and they asked you for a few words of brutally honest advice, what would it be?
The first advice would be to make sure that you have a great product, something that someone else isn’t already doing better than you.  That’s the most important thing- make sure you are selling a new or significantly better thing, it’s the only way you are going to compete and get people excited about your brand.  
Second piece of advice is to just go for it!  You will learn so much on the way that you could have never prepared yourself for….so don’t not start because you don’t feel prepared enough.  

Girl Crush:
Probably Lulu DK

Favorite STIK product and why:
I love my white pom pom hat!  It is warm, comfy, and the pom pom is just adorable.

Merino Wool Series: Smartwool

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If you’ve ever skied or done any cold weather activity, you’ve probably worn or at least encountered a Smartwool product. Smartwool, despite its size, has made a conscious effort to source responsibly and transparently--using the best, most ethical practices at each step of production. Smartwool sources from New Zealand from a company called ZQ, which is particularly concerned with ensuring environmental, social and economic sustainability and safeguards animal welfare. Smartwool considers merino wool “nature’s finest” and appreciates that merino wool is comfortable, dependable and breathable during all seasons--in extremely hot temperatures and extremely cold temperatures.

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