Meet the Makers - BirdieBlue
By: Kate Harvey
Who am I to start an outdoor gear brand?
I have no formal design background.
Zero formal training.
Not one day of experience working in the fashion industry.
I had to ask my first wholesaler what a line sheet was.
But what I did have is passion and drive to figure it out one way or another and bring my vision to life.
This vision was born a few years ago (more than I would like to remember) on a 10 of 10 quintessential bluebird day in Park City, Utah. I was fresh out of college chasing my love of skiing. While my friends sat at trading desks or in large conference rooms, I sat on the Town Lift, willing myself to remember this feeling of the warm sun on my face, the healing smells of Mother Nature and the excitement in my gut knowing I was about to rip 8 inches of fresh powder.
This dream lasted a year before I too joined the “corporate” world. I wore many different hats throughout my working life, including chasing news stories all over the country as a broadcast journalist, driving efficiency and Six Sigma SWOT teams, working within hospital operations, and recruiting CEOs to run said hospitals as an executive search consultant. I enjoyed the work but always daydreamed about being able to marry my love of outdoor adventures with my “work” life.
It wasn’t until my beloved pair of ski pants (same pants I was wearing on that fateful Town Lift ride a few years earlier) ripped beyond saving. My wheels started turning. I just could not throw the pants out. The fabric is so durable and also horrible for our beautiful planet. Could I turn these old and no longer wearable pants into something fresh and new to save them from the landfill?
I bought myself a sewing machine, fabric scissors, and upholstery saws and started tinkering. After developing a few samples, I enlisted the help of amazingly talented and patient sewing partners who shared the upcycling vision. After a few years of refining and testing our first bag, the Fanny, BirdieBlue launched in September 2022. And in an ode to that gorgeous, bluebird Park City day, BirdieBlue was born.
We have since launched zipper pouches and a sling bag, all designed with the same retro three-panel BirdieBlue color pattern. Each bag is named after ’90s pop stars, beloved toys and games, and the TV shows we all grew up with. This nostalgia is meant to also inspire you to chase your passions wherever they take you.
We have saved more than 1,000 pieces of old gear from landfills and are showing no signs of stopping on our mission to keep our skies blue, our mountains snow capped and our #birdieblueadventure game strong.
We have more exciting bags launching this year, including our large tote bag, a mini fanny pack and a bike handlebar bag. Learn more about our story, our latest product drops and how you can recycle your old gear with BirdieBlue on our website: www.shopbirdieblue.com. Or watch us do it for the ’gram: @shopbirdieblue.
Read more of our stories in Issue 25 of Lake and Company.