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Meet Suzanne Akin of Akinz in Fort Collins

Today we’d like to introduce you to Suzanne Akin.

Suzanne, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I always had a passion for design but thought I would be designing high-end couture, but my interests and lifestyle guided me to design casual goods that are functional for everyday adventures! I founded Akinz back in 2005 and have been aiming to inspire others through my illustrations since then.

At my start I sold shirts at events out of the back of my car and then when I moved to Steamboat, would set up sales in the ski school lounge. haha. In 2012 I decided to take the plunge of moving my side hustle to my main hustle and opened my brick and mortar store in downtown Fort Collins where we make all of our products still today!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Definitely not, I don’t think it ever is! I didn’t have a background in business so I had to learn the ins and outs of finances, taxes, licenses, etc along the way. Plus getting funding to start new ventures has been a learning process. Developing new products and processes also always takes a lot of research and a few mistakes before finding the right solution but I love new challenges, so that is the fun part for me!

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Akinz – what should we know?
We call Akinz the handcrafted lifestyle brand for the adventurer at heart. We create t-shirts, sweatshirts, leggings, handmade beanies and other knit accessories that are just as perfect for heading out into the mountains as they are for walking around town.

We’re definitely known in Fort Collins for our handmade beanies as if you stop by the store, we’ll let you pick out a style and pick your own colors and we will make it for you.

As a company, I’m proud of how we’ve been able to maintain the handmade aspect of what we do as we have grown. It’s definitely not been easy to do and keep our products at a manageable price point but it’s one of the main things I care about is creating a sustainable product that the average customer can afford.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I’ve had so many friends that have cheered me on, helped me at events or just been an inspiration for a new design. And just going out on big adventures are what keeps me wanting to create.

But when I met my husband, he’s probably the reason I decided to keep pushing forward as he helped me understand how to finally pay myself a salary so I didn’t have to stress about my own finances while trying to grow the finances of the business. I would definitely recommend to anyone wanting to start their own business, to take some finance classes.

Pricing:

  • Shirts – $24 – $32
  • Handmade Beanies – $26 – $34
  • Accessories (stickers, cups, hats, etc) $2 – $32

Contact Info:

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