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Meet Cheryl McConnell of Ushood in Boulder County

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cheryl McConnell.

Cheryl, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
The first Ushood® was created 20 years ago for my husband, Sean who wanted to put an end to gap page. The goal was to create a one-piece base layer that eliminated the gap between a shirt and gaiter or face mask – the infamous gap where cold, wind, snow and sun inevitably sneak in. Our Mema, sewed the first “shoodie” after Sean came off the mountain and did a quick sketch of what would become the perfect base layer. It was an instant favorite. Different from a sweatshirt hoodie because of the breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics we used and maximum protection coverage – it was a true base layer for every adventure and activity. We used it while skiing, running, cycling, fishing and gardening. We wore our Ushoods on the sidelines while our kids wore them on the fields as they played their sports.

20 years and many more iterations later, my son decided to use the perfected product for his eighth-grade Capstone project. Though we had always wanted to turn the idea into something bigger, his encouragement to us to bring it to market was the catalyst for creating the Ushood® brand. Our daughter used her creativity and skills to help lay the groundwork as we launched.

After two years of research and planning, we were proud to offer Ushood® to families everywhere. As we grow, we are staying true to our values, and we are committed to delivering the ultimate in comfort and versatility, made from high-quality materials right here in the USA. We are a family that firmly believes in giving back, and through our Cher On program, $1 from every Ushood® sold is donated to a registered nonprofit, in addition to other fundraising efforts.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Our Ushood journey has been pretty smooth for the most part. Our biggest challenge has been the learning curve with textiles since we had no knowledge of the industry prior to bringing our product to market. It has been an interesting process to get a crash course, from spinning thread to understanding sustainable practices and industry trends. We work very closely with our manufacturers and have created our own custom fabric blends and colors, in addition to having on-site meetings at the plant, so we’ve gained a tremendous amount of knowledge in a short period of time.

It has been surprising to see just how much more costly and timely it is to produce items 100% in the USA, rather than other parts of the world. However, we are committed to continuing production in the US and supporting the American economy along with local communities that are aiming to thrive or even just survive at this time.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Ushood is proud to be a 100% made in the USA product. We are a Colorado-based company that produces our fabric and sews all of our apparel in North Carolina. Most companies source fabric from outside of the US and then sew it in the states to appear to be a Made in the USA brand. However, Ushood is fully dedicated to this mission in truth and not just appearance.

Our superior quality fabrics and unique, versatile design also set Ushood apart from the pack. Many of the market leaders go outside the US for their textiles, utilizing lower quality fabric, knowing their brand name label will bridge the gap. Ushood doesn’t compromise on quality, and our base layers & sun shirts are a higher-end product that performs brilliantly for everyone from athletes and adventurers to families and backyard buddies.

What were you like growing up?
I was very social and active and have always been one to think outside of the box. Entrepreneur early on in life starting with lemonade stands.

What do you like best about our city? What do you like least about our city?
I love the beauty and active lifestyle of all of Colorado. Our business is based in Boulder County, so we have immediate access to a wide variety of hiking and biking trails, which is an important part of our life. After 22 years, we have seen a lot of change in the area, and we do miss the smaller town vibe it continues to grow beyond.

Pricing:

  • We are happy to offer a 20% discount to Voyage Denver readers. Promo Code: CO5280

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Red bicyclist pic: Beck Forsberg
Landscape GNP1.jpg: Courtney Kiser
Motorcycle series: Shannon Kiss
IMG_2448.jpg: Rachel Kent

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