Washburn inventor builds business on keeping kids warm in the snow
Amy Trimbo creates Snow Sleeves and launches AdventureUs to keep the outdoors accessible.
Amy Trimbo may have solved an age-old problem.
The Wisconsin owner of AdventureUs designed Snow Sleeves, a stretchy wrist gaiter that pulls over your gloves and cuffs to trap in the heat and keep out the snow.
Trimbo recently trademarked Snow Sleeves, but the product has been in the making for years. It started with her love of sewing and getting her children outdoors.
“Her gloves would fall off or trap snow in them. Then, she’s crying, and no one is having fun,” Trimbo recalled of her daughter.
Trimbo started cutting the tops off her husband’s old socks and trimming a hole for the thumb. She tried different material, ways of construction and patterns and found what worked best.
They need to avoid retaining too much water, but they need to be stretchy and flexible enough that they’re comfortable and not restrictive. “Figuring out the size of the thumb hole was a feat in itself,” she said.
Trimbo left her day job as a bookkeeper and administrator to start Washburn-based AdventureUs. The brand, resource and retailer aims at fostering adventure experiences through affordable and practical means. At Trimbo’s Bayfield storefront, she offers Snow Sleeves, gear, zipper repair, DIY supplies and goods from other makers.
Snow Sleeves and her business took off after she won the Chequamegon Bay Spark competition for entrepreneurs in 2019 and was awarded $5,000 in startup capital. She and her family found a location to buy a storefront and expand her business.
Sustainability is key for Trimbo. AdventureUs is a member of 1% For the Planet, an organization whose members contribute 1% of their gross earnings to environmental causes.
She also uses dead stock from manufacturers or she purchases U.S.-milled fabric printed with eco-friendly dyes. There's a lot to choose from.
“We’ve got sloths and hedgehogs and unicorns and foxes and every creature and pattern and geometric thing that can appeal to any kid,” said Audrey Weaver.
She and Trimbo were friends for 10 years before Weaver started sewing Snow Sleeves, face masks and neck gaiters at AdventureUs.
“All the products we make in-house are Amy’s designs that she trial-ed and prototyped and stuck on her kids and my kids and myself and our husbands,” Weaver said.
Going into business with your best friend as your boss isn’t for everybody.
“Amy knows what’s important to her, and that’s part of why I’m here. … She’s true to what her ethics are and what she believes in and what is important in a business: giving back to community and making quality products and treating employees fairly.”
For Trimbo, the business is about much more than business.
Sharing the outdoors with her three children: Henriette, 11; Milo, 7; Remi, 4, and others is paramount. And she’s thankful that living up north allows a variety of activities.
Henriette loves swimming, but she doesn’t like exerting herself. Milo likes just about anything. Remi is fast enough to keep up.
Growing up with easy outdoor access helped to build respect for the world, Trimbo said. It's an insight that hits home.
Trimbo's father died when she was in middle school. “It was rough, and the outdoor community gave that sense of connection to me,” she said.