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Community Highlights: Meet Lanny Goldwasser of Phunkshun Wear

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lanny Goldwasser.

Hi Lanny, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
A friend and I were ski and snowboard instructors at Copper Mountain. We decided to make face masks to sell in the ski & ride school locker room. We bought a sewing machine at Walmart, cleared out the spare room in my home and started designing and sewing masks.

Very quickly, our masks became a huge hit and employees from other departments started buying from us. After that, resort guests asked their instructors where they too can get these masks. By the end of the season, I was spending my lunch breaks selling masks out of my backpack instead of having lunch myself. We decided to try our luck with a retailer and went to Arapahoe Basin ski area in hopes that they would carry our product. They bought 20 masks and sold them in two days. They bought 20 more and those too sold quickly. All of a sudden, they are asking us to make dozens of masks as soon as possible as they cannot keep the masks on the shelves. That summer, we went to multiple shops around Summit county and were able to get our foot in the door with a few of them. Come fall, we decided not to return to ski & ride school and put all of our efforts into Phunkshun Wear.

After a few years of growth and expansion in Summit county, we realized that in order to take the next step, we needed to move down to the big city. Upon arrival, we hired a team of experienced sewers and bought fancy new machines that helped us automate and improve our operations. We expanded our sales force with reps across the country and made a big push on all fronts. Over the years, we continued to expand our facility and purchase more advanced machinery to improve our production. We continue to expand our product line with new products and graphics and improve and rejuvenate on the old products.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
From the get-go, we created obstacles for ourselves by setting our standards very high. We wanted to manufacture in the USA and in Colorado of all places. Finding experienced sewers has been and still is a challenge. We only wanted to use USA-made materials. We spent ages trying to find US fabric mills. Once we found them, we decided that we wanted all of our products to be made using recycled fabric. Needless to say, sourcing fabric and other materials became quite a challenge. Weather has continuously been a challenge. We can forecast as much as we want, but if it doesn’t snow and it’s not cold out, less masks are sold. So we diversified our product line to offer masks in all weights, for all weather conditions.

We’ve been impressed with Phunkshun Wear, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
We manufacture face masks for the winter sports industry. All manufacturing takes place in beautiful Denver, Colorado. We cut, sew, and decorate the products ourselves. No outsourcing over the pond for us, we prefer to have as much of the production process take place under our own roof. This is how we ensure that all our products meet our incredibly strict quality control guidelines. All of our products are made with recycled materials in our certifiably green facility. We are known for our fun and colorful masks, made with quality materials.

What matters most to you?
What matters most to me is knowing that we are doing things the right way. – We make quality products that we are proud to stand behind.

– We do it in the USA.
– We do it in the most sustainable way possible.
– We pay our employees a living wage, pay for their healthcare and provide competitive benefits.

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