Do you remember when you were 21-years-old and balancing college, work and still trying to fit an active social life? Now imagine running your own company at the same time. That's the name of the game for Colorado native Rylee Burrows, a junior at CU Boulder. When Rylee was on a quest to find a snazzy headband, nothing surfaced. So the innovative gal took matters to her sewing machine. The bands, known as RooEpic Headbands,were such a hit that she started taking orders. The business has grown rapidly over the years and is even the official headband of the Women's Rapids Team and supports members of the U.S. Ski Team.
"As the requests for headbands continued so did requests for other accessories. Since then I have added a wide workout headband (Superband), unlined and fleece-lined hats, unlined and lined neck gaiters, and a fleece lined headband," said Rylee.
With the welcome growth spurt, Rylee has turned to Ralph's Industrial in the Highlands for support. "It is an industrial sewing machine heaven. They carry everything any manufacturer might need," says Rylee. "They also have a co-op where new entrepreneurs can go and try out new machines and learn new techniques."
I caught up with Rylee to learn a little more about her background.
Carri: What haven't you done?! Tell us about your background as a ski racer.
Rylee: I grew up in Winter Park, Colorado. Living in the mountains of Colorado I have a love for the outdoor adventures. I spent winters ski racing for the Winter Park Ski Team. Most summers were spent training at Mount Hood Oregon and playing soccer. I loved racing all the disciplines but liked slalom, giant slalom best. I now coach U12 ski racers for Lake Eldora Racing Team at Eldora Mountain.
Carri: How do you balance owning a business, school and having a social life?
Rylee: I manage all my roles by first employing great people. I am super high energy and love to get things done! And like all college students, my social life doesn't get started until about 10 P.M.
Carri: How many employees do you have?
Rylee: When I first started three years ago RooEpic was just me, now RooEpic has grown to employee three additional people and when things get really crazy I have a few more employees who come and help.
Carri: Where can we find RooEpic?
Rylee: My company RooEpic is based out of Winter Park, Colorado. RooEpic products can be found all over the state of Colorado, including retail shops in Breckenridge, Steamboat, Boulder, and Winter Park. Products are also located in Laramie Wyoming. By visiting my website, RooEpic.com customers can also view and buy all my products.
Carri: What do you most love about Denver?
Rylee: I love the incredible view of the Rocky Mountains from Denver! The city has all the perks about a city plus the thirty-minute drive West into the great outdoors of the Rockies! One second you can be shopping downtown and the next you can be mountain biking, hiking or skiing powder! Growing up in the mountains I really appreciate the accessibility of resources throughout Denver. Whether it be consulting with an expert at Ralph’s Industrial or touring the Denver Art Museum for inspiration.