Dan Abrams

Founder, FlyLow Gear, Denver, CO

    Photo: Illustration by Tavis Coburn

During college, at the University of Puget Sound, I was going through a pair of ski pants a season. That was the original impetus: to make a tougher ski pant. In 2001, I was supposed to get trained as a ski guide in Alaska, but I blew out my knee. Instead I got a master's in international development at Denver University. One of my professors convinced me business is all about perception, so FlyLow started by making T-shirts. I financed the launch mostly with credit cards. And I bartended. It's amazing how much networking you can do at a bar. I'd say 80 percent of the people I talked to said I was crazy. But you know what? They were wrong. Now we've got a line of jackets and pants, midlayers, gloves, women's outerwear. We've got reps in almost every region of the U.S., and despite the recession, we almost doubled sales last year. I still ski four or five days a week, though.

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