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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.
Like some outdoor clothing manufacturers, Moab-based Jagged Edge Mountain Gear can meet the extremities for any outdoor destination. But for Margaret and Paula Quenemoen*, the company’s founders, their reason for creating excellent outdoor gear isn’t for the destination at all. It’s for the journey.
And their journey into outdoor clothing began about 10 years ago. At the time, the twin sisters were living a world apart. Margaret was in Telluride, Colo. spending time climbing; Paula was in China studying Mandarin. Both were seeking adventure. Then, Margaret suffered a broken ankle, leaving her unable to climb and in need of work. She was nearly living in her car when she thought of creating and selling simple fleece headbands. To her surprise, they sold well, and she began selling them on the streets of Telluride as quickly as she could make them. Based on that success, she created a fleece vest to sell as well.
Soon, what had been a somewhat desperate attempt to make ends meet turned out to be a lucrative venture. Margaret was making money. But she needed help to keep up with demand. So she turned to her sister Paula and asked her to come home from Asia. Paula obliged, and upon her return in 1993, the two were soon focused on opening a retail division with three to five stores. They also began selling to wholesalers and direct to customers through a mail-order catalog. Along with the headbands and fleece vests, they added jackets, pants, gloves and hats and arranged for manufacturing abroad.
By 2000, Jagged Edge had grown to include a small staff of workers. But to keep operating successfully, Margaret and Paula recognized a need to move. As Utah natives, the sisters chose Moab and relocated there last April. Now, in its new home, Jagged Edge has planned a more aggressive approach to expand its market and reach a projected $3.2 million in sales. To their list of distribution channels, they’ve added a web site at jagged-edge.com where online shoppers can order the apparel.
Based on its performance, I believe Jagged Edge is destined to become a major manufacturer. But in the meantime, Margaret and Paula are just enjoying the journey.
For Zions Bank, I’m Fred Ball. I’m speaking on business.