On this episode of the Healthy Wealthy and Smart Podcast, Shannon Sepulveda guest hosts and interviews Shayla Swanson on her company, Sauce. Sauce was founded by a former Canadian national team cross country skier as a way to support her ski racing. Sauce founder, Shayla Swanson, was frustrated with traditional winter headwear that she found to be too hot, too itchy & too ugly. An avid sewer, Shayla set out to create functional, stylish and comfortable products that met the needs of elite athletes and outdoor enthusiasts alike.
In this episode, we discuss:
-The story behind the beginnings of Sauce
-How Sauce tailors and personalizes their products from Bozeman
-What is in the future for Sauce
-Shayla’s advice for female entrepreneurs
-And so much more!
20% off with code “hws19” on: Sauce Website
For more information on Sauce:
Sauce was founded by Shayla Swanson, a former Canadian national team cross country skier as a way to support her ski racing. Sauce founder, Shayla Swanson, was frustrated with traditional winter headwear that she found to be too hot, too itchy & too ugly. An avid sewer, Shayla set out to create functional, stylish and comfortable products that met the needs of elite athletes and outdoor enthusiasts alike.
Sauce started as a hobby for Shayla while she was ski racing and working through her degree in Exercise Science from Montana State University. She began selling Swift Toques to teams and clubs who wanted a custom item for their group. The product line evolved from there, and soon saw the additions of the Swift Headband, Ventilator Headband, and the fleece-lined Chill Toque. After several exciting seasons of ski racing full-time and a near Olympic team miss in 2010, Shayla decided to jump into Sauce full time, putting 100% of her enthusiasm and effort into the entrepreneurial venture.
Commitment to pursuing one’s goals, a strong belief in one’s own potential, and using constructive evaluation for growth, are all important ingredients for a successful athletic career. While skiing and sewing hats are not the same, it turns out that those behaviors are also the key to making it as an entrepreneur. The lessons learned in Shayla’s ski career have helped her navigate the business world and grow Sauce into a company with distribution across North America and beyond.
For more information on Shannon:
Shannon Sepulveda, DPT, M.Ed., CSCS, WCS is the owner and Physical Therapist at Shannon Sepulveda, DPT, PLLC. She is an Orthopedic and Women’s Health Physical Therapist and is currently the only Board-Certified Women’s Health Physical Therapist (WCS) in Montana. Shannon received her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College, Masters in Education from Harvard University (M.Ed.) and Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) from the University of Montana. She is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). She has been a practicing Physical Therapist in Bozeman, Montana for over 6 years. In her free time, she enjoys running, biking, skiing, hunting and spending time with her husband, son and daughter.
Read the full transcript below:
Shannon Sepulveda: 00:00 Hello and welcome to the healthy wealthy and smart podcast. I am your guest host, Shannon Sepulveda and I am here with Shayla Swanson. Can you tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?
Shayla Swanson: My name is Shayla Swanson. As you said, I am the owner of a company called Sauce and we specialize in headwear and select apparel pieces for endurance athletes. My background is in Nordic ski racing. So I spent my teens and twenties training really hard to try to make the Olympics in cross country skiing. I didn’t quite, but I got close and I got to do some really amazing things. The other thing is that I was always a sewing nerd and I love to sew and make clothing. So I began making headwear for my ski team and other ski teams. In the early two thousands, we found that most of the headwear we were given was really hot, too itchy, really ugly.
Shayla Swanson: 01:02 And so we set out to kind of fix that situation and things moved from being kind of a hobby or an accidental business and to being a real business. So that was pretty exciting.
Shannon Sepulveda: Take us from your competitive Nordic ski days to just like why you started the company, where it was, what you did, like the start of the company.
Shayla Swanson: The start of the company was really just me talking to a couple of teammates saying, hey, I have this idea, let’s make some hats and try to sell them to stores and then we can make a little money to help support some of our ski racing. And I had at that point made maybe a couple of orders for local ski clubs and then realized I didn’t like sewing that well. So I got some people to help me. My tolerance was about two CD’s worth of sewing.
Shayla Swanson: 01:59 Like I would listen to two albums and then I was, I was done but that didn’t get me very many in the grand scheme. So these teammates of mine said, yeah, we’ll help. And we basically devoted a weekend to cutting and sewing and making hats to try to sell to some of the local stores and our connections in the ski world helped us. So they said, yeah, we’ll put these in our store and put a little tag on them that says the proceeds benefit you guys. And so that was kind of your one. And then from there things changed and you know, some of my teammates weren’t interested anymore and they didn’t like sewing all that well either. And so we basically, from there it was kind of me and one of the teammates, my friend Rhonda, that continued on with the business.
Shayla Swanson: 02:49 So Rhonda and I started turning things into a little bit more of an actual operation where we would create a catalog and send out to stores and actually try to sell at wholesale. We also had a custom program that we offered to teams and clubs and events. And amazingly enough, it kind of, it worked. So that was in 2000 probably, that was from like about 2003 until 2008 and all that time we were operating under the name SOS headwear and the name SOS came from a blog that I had and my blog was where I updated results and stuff that I was doing skiing and it stood for Shayla on Skis. So we were at SOS headwear, and then in I think it was 2009 that we decided to kind of rebrand and there was a nice little phonetic connection between SOS, which you know, is phonetically pronounce sauce and then the brand name sauce, which is the topping that you use to spice something up.
Shayla Swanson: 03:54 And so we thought that are colorful, boldly patterned headwear that kind of worked. It still confuses people and I get email solicitations from India, but that’s kind of where the name came from. 2009, we started operating under the brand name Sauce. Rhonda and I were both still ski racing, trying to make the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Unfortunately neither of us were successful in that, although we both got really close and she knew at that point she wanted to go and work in a different field. So at that point she kind of left the business and I carried on and I started attending trade shows and actually trying to sell some product. So I would say the start of the official like 100% effort toward the business started in 2010. And it’s been quite a rollercoaster ride of fun since then.
Shannon Sepulveda: 04:50 That’s awesome. So I should say to our listeners, for those of you who are not familiar with Sauce headwear, if you can picture a kind of like a workout hat and really, really fun prints, that’s how I would probably describe Sauce Headwear I know this podcast is based in New York and we were in Bozeman, Montana. But whenever I wear my Sauce hats in Manhattan, I always get comments like, people love them. They’re like, where did you get that? And I was like, I’m going to try to get Shayla to get these in the stores in Manhattan. But I was running in central park with all my Sauce stuff and I always got compliments because they’re just kind of fun. They’re not muted in any way. I did not grow up Nordic skiing because I grew up in New York, but, I did not know that.
Shannon Sepulveda: 05:43 I feel like the Nordic see culture is kind of fun in that sense. Like they tend to wear really bright, fun colors. And so that’s kind of what Sauce headwear looks like. And you now, not just, you don’t just make hats. Now you make other things. So why don’t you tell us about branching out from hats?
Shayla Swanson: We are not trying to be a huge apparel line. What I think our sweet spot is and has been, is bringing a product to the market that we think we can do a better job at, I guess do something a little different that isn’t out there and really focused on kind of our elements of like making stuff that’s just right, warm, really comfortable and easy to wear and you know, brightly patterned and really pretty. So we make a couple of leg where styles, one of them that I think is our most unique and really applicable to our female athlete audience is our flurry tight.
Shayla Swanson: 06:45 We’ve put some fleece lining on the quad and also sections of the butt where you get cold in the winter. Those are the two areas where, you know, you come in from a winter run or a winter ski and you think, Oh, I’m freezing on my butt and on my quad. So what we did was we left the rest of the tight unlined cause those areas stay pretty warm and I’m just focused on those spots. So, that’s an example I guess of one of our apparel pieces. And we also do like a winter skirt and we have a summer product line that includes some tights and a tank top. And then also another product that I think I liked this one because of the name, we call it the cheeky retreat. So what it is just a nice skirt to cover up your tush if you really don’t want it on display. Anyway, that’s some of our other stuff.
Shannon Sepulveda: 07:29 I bet you that skirt would be really good for like changing out of your bathing suit, like on the side of a river wherever you are.
Shayla Swanson: Yeah, it’s an excellent, it’s a great little coverup.
Shannon Sepulveda: Yeah, it keeps things hidden while you want to change underneath. It works out really well for that. And I have tried the flurry tights. I loved them because yes, when you’re a female and you run your butt gets cold and your thighs get cold and everything else does not. So it’s really nice to have, you know, your calves can breath. What Shayla does is also takes her hat patterns and creates leggings out of them.
Shannon Sepulveda: 08:22 So they’re just the really fun colors. And why don’t you tell us a bit about like your custom program, because I know at least for most of the races in Bozeman and probably Missoula and probably Canada to lots of light, lots of places, in our race bags we get Sauce hats or headbands that have a logo of whatever the races generally which are awesome. So why don’t you tell us a bit about that custom program?
Shayla Swanson: One of the really great business avenues that we sort of happened upon by accident was custom headwear for teams, clubs and events. We do two different options for custom. One is we take our stock product, so all of the hats and head bands that we have in stock and we add a logo to them. So we call that are basic custom program.
Shayla Swanson: 09:16 And it’s really great cause that allows we can do orders as few as 12 and it’s really relatively inexpensive and it’s kind of a nice option for people. And then we also do what we call our full custom program. And that involves working with a customer to put a design together that is totally unique to their event or their store. We’ve outfitted orders that are like just an event order, but we’ve also gone as big as working with the whole, Canadian Jack Rabbit program, which is a youth scaly program in Canada that has over 10,000 kids in it. And they submitted drawing ideas to us and we held a contest to see who liked, you know, which design idea they liked best. And then we turned that little kids designed into a hat pattern and outfitted the whole country’s youth programs. So that was pretty exciting for us. We currently don’t do that order anymore because they have a sponsor that outbid us, but we loved it. It was awesome. Sometimes we have worked with, currently all of our product is sewn in our facility in Bozeman. In the past we have worked with manufacturers based in Los Angeles to help us out with orders that we couldn’t quite handle on her own.
Shayla Swanson: 10:36 So the nice thing about it though is that with the options that we have, we can accommodate, you know, we can really be, you know, cottage industry and do something really small and unique for a small customer. And then we can also access those other avenues to produce larger orders for big groups. So it’s kind of fun.
Shannon Sepulveda: 10:54 So along those lines, why don’t you tell us about like your manufacturing, cause I think you do everything in Bozeman, right? Which is really awesome. So tell us a bit about that.
Shayla Swanson: Sure. Initially when we started doing this, I did not really contemplate the idea of doing all of the sewing in house. I was kind of content working with the manufacturer. But then we started just running into situations where you get a batch of hats back that weren’t quite right. Or you know, you wouldn’t be able to tweak a sizing concern until you already, you know, had placed your order with this group. And anyway, we just were running into all these situations where I thought, man, it’d be awesome if we could just make this stuff here. And so I bought some industrial sewing machines.
Shayla Swanson: 11:41 Industrial sewing machines are interesting because they only do one thing. So unlike a home sewing machine that can do a bunch of different stitches in a programmed, you know, design, basically industrial machines only do one thing. So in order to make our products, we have four different machines that are able to do all the stitch patterns that we use in our stuff. And yeah, I was lucky enough to find some amazing sewers so, Bozeman is a funny little space in the world of manufacturing because we have several different companies that are much larger than we are, but they make all of their product here. So there’s this weird little, like sims makes their waders here and mystery ranch backpacks. So we have access to are sewers in town who are, who are really skilled at what they do.
Shayla Swanson: 12:28 And I was lucky enough to actually hire on three former sims employees, sorry. Sims. And they’ve been awesome. So they love it. They are given super flexible work hours. They do what works for them and they just sit around the machines and laugh and talk and have a great time and they make all of our stuff and they’re really fast and good at it. So it’s really fun. We have rolls and rolls of fabric and the corner of our space, we have a big cutting table. We use a big upright solid to cut all the patterns out. We’re able to, you know, make small adjustments to sizing on the spot, you know, which is really great. And then they just sewed them up, finish them up, keep them in our inventory space where our office is basically a large garage. So it’s not pretty, but it works really well for our purposes. And it’s just really fun to think that of all of the love that goes into each thing that we ship out the door.
Shannon Sepulveda: 13:32 So I want to know how you create your patterns. And how you get that fabric made because you have fun new patterns every year. And I didn’t know if that was like your brainchild or if it’s a couple people’s brainchild or if it’s the company’s brainchild or how you pick what pattern you’d like.
Shayla Swanson: Yeah. So it’s not all me, that’s for sure. There are trending reports that come out for the outdoor industry and I don’t think they’re as important in the outdoor industry as they are in, you know, the fashion industry. But, but what will happen is, a couple of companies come out with these trending reports that, that show you kind of what colors they think are going to be on trend for the upcoming season. And then what we do is we are an accessory piece.
Shayla Swanson: 14:24 And so really we don’t need to follow, we don’t need to create our own trends, but we need to kind of follow what the other brands are doing. So if we see a company if the trending reports are coming out that, you know, really muted colors are, are going to be more prevalent than we want to try to offer some of those colors in our prints and patterns so that we can match your jacket from say Patagonia or something like that. So what we do is we just tried to I work a couple of different graphic designers who specialize in textile design and they’d come up with some concepts based on textile trends as well as color trends. And then we put that all together to try to make our line a really nice, complete offering to people cause you also want to make sure, you know, we want to make sure that if somebody loves pink, they can find a little pink in one of our hats.
Shayla Swanson: 15:11 So we try to make sure kind of every main color is offered as well. So it’s something between the science and art, I guess it’s not all just creative energy going into that. We have to also look at some of the other factors and figure out where we fit in the mix. It’s pretty fun and exciting. I wish I, I can’t, I’m not as adept to the graphic design part of things. So I don’t do a lot of the actual design, but I get to pick what I like best and, and where to go next. So it’s really cool.
Shannon Sepulveda: Especially because I love you Patagonia, but this year their colors were terrible. They were all these like muted colors. They had maybe like one bright color. And so I was like, I guess I’m just going to have to get a muted color and like wear a fun sauce hat.
Shayla Swanson: 15:58 Well, I hope you were at least able to coordinate one color out of our hat with your jacket.
Shannon Sepulveda: I was, yes, I was. I appreciate that you have fun colors. Oh, I’m hoping next year Patagonia, we’ll have more bright colors. Bright colors will be back in season.
Shayla Swanson: Right. What I’ve actually had to do is, because I’m always going to be wearing one of our hats and I don’t want to buy a new jacket every year is I’ve had to resort to black and gray in my outdoor apparel, because then I know I can always look okay with whatever hat I’m wearing and not have to buy a new jacket every year.
Shannon Sepulveda: Yeah. I also think another great thing about Sauce hats, so, so Shayla and I both have kids is that and we both have a boy and girl is that, you can throw a toddler girl in all boy clothes and put a really fun toddler pink sauce hat, and then they look really, and then they look really cute. Yeah. So it’s pretty awesome. Oh, why don’t you tell us about your Kiddo?
Shayla Swanson: Oh my. I have two little ones and they are really fun and really hard at the same time. But it’s been kind of fun because we made a baby hat for a while. And I was sort of like, yeah, it’s really super cute, but I couldn’t really get behind it as far as like whether or not it was a great product for kids. But yeah, we have this little chill hat that we make and I should also mention, we call our hats tukes that stems from my Canadian background.
Shayla Swanson: 17:32 Winter hats in Canada are called tukes and it’s spelled in a way that makes everyone want to say Toke or Torque even. So, it’s a little confusing for people. But anyway, we make a little chill tuke for kids and it’s been like the best hat for my young ones. I can’t believe it. It’s like I just have this constant stream there. I start them in the small move them up through the other, the other sizes. And what’s great is that they’re tight enough that they stay on their heads and I think they forget that they’re on, which I think helps they so they don’t pull them off. And the other thing is that they’re warm but they’re not like so hot that the poor little kid is like drenched with sweat underneath their hats.
Shayla Swanson: 18:12 So they don’t try to rip it off because they’re uncomfortable either. So our chill tuke for kids has been amazing. My daughter who is almost a year, wears our large and my son who is three, where’s our toddler size and yeah, it’s been great. I can get behind them now.
Shannon Sepulveda: Yeah, they’re pretty awesome. Cause they have just like a fleece band. Right. And the top doesn’t have fleece. So like when kids are playing hard, they don’t totally sweat.
Shayla Swanson: And that’s kind of our whole little goal with our headwear line is just to make sure that we’re keeping, you just right warm. We want to make sure that you don’t notice your head when you’re out there exercising. Because I know for myself, I’ve worn Wool hats and been drenched with sweat and miserable and then you want to pull them off and then your hair freezes and then you’re more miserable.
Shayla Swanson: 18:57 So that’s kind of our whole mantra is just let’s keep you warm but not too warm.
Shannon Sepulveda: Yeah. So, along those lines, since not everybody Nordic skis or lives in a place for Nordic skiing so runners really wear these hats a lot. I see out even when I was visiting Seattle, I saw a lot of runners in Seattle wearing the hat. So why don’t you talk to us about just like other sports that they’re useful for?
Shayla Swanson: Our line has now expanded to be a 12 month, you know, four season line we have some of are products that are ideal for summer activities. And then we also have our winter product line. So our winter product line, I would say we’re kind of geared really, you know, well basically any activity really, I mean anything where you want to be comfortable and colorful and you might work up a sweat.
Shayla Swanson: 19:54 So that might be running or hiking or skiing. And also we’re a great little, like if you’re an alpine skier and you wear a helmet so you don’t really need a hat while you’re skiing. We do make a helmet liner that fits under helmets. And then we also make a lot of our products are great little like lodge hats. So if you want to cover a pure helmet head and feel like you have put a little bit of effort into your appearance our products are great for that. And the other thing that we have when we expanded into this spring summer product line, we’ve introduced a couple of visor styles that have really flexible brims. They can be worn under helmets if you’re a cyclist. They are great for running and hiking. And then we also have a product that’s like a kind of two ways visor that can be worn.
Shayla Swanson: 20:37 It’s really if you’re hiking and you’re not sure what the weather’s going to do, so you can cover, you can kind of cover up or wear less people say they love those on a boat too, because it keeps you from burning. That’s our viser. I think what the feedback that I’m thinking about what’s coming from this woman who said she loved, she always wore her hair in a ponytail and she always had like a part in her ponytail, in her hair, you know? So the way she would brush her hair back, she would always end up with like a sunburn in that area. But she said that with that product, she loved it because she still had plenty of room to like get her hair out the back, but she could kind of pull that piece back and so she didn’t burn her head.
Shayla Swanson: 21:21 So anyway, just little random stuff. Some of the stuff that, some of the benefits we claim are things that we thought of. A lot of them aren’t benefits that we didn’t think of, but there were people have decided works well for them. So that’s pretty nice to hear that stuff too.
Shannon Sepulveda: Why don’t you talk about your tassels because I feel like you’re the only, I don’t know. I haven’t seen any other hats that have flower tassels.
Shayla Swanson: The Flower Tassel. Yes. So, so our idea was kind of to bring a little bit of fun and spring summer brightness to the coldest dreariest winter day. So along those lines, we started using these little tassels on the top of some of our hats. Some people love the tassels, some people hate the tassels, but there are enough that love them that we definitely keep doing it.
Shayla Swanson: 22:11 And so we offer three different styles of Tassel on the hat. And one is like a traditional kind of looks like a graduation tassel. And they’re kind of popular in the Nordic world and maybe not anywhere else, but a runner sometimes or sometimes they bounce a little in your head. So, yeah. But they’re cute. They’re cute. And the colors are really pretty. The other type of tassels that we make is a flower tassel. And those come with mixed reviews. But again, it’s one of those things that people who love them love them. We have a few stores that order exclusively flower tasseled hats because they know they will sell them because people think they’re cute. In our offices I will say that we don’t love the flower Tassel because while we’ve been able to outsource manufacturing of most of the tassels just cause they’re kind of a pain, we have, we still make the flower tassels.
Shayla Swanson: 22:58 We’ve tried to find someone who can help us make them but no luck so far. So, so we have some weird weird little non transferable skills that we joke about in our space where like we’re really good at tying knots really quickly because you need to tie four knots on a flower tassel. And then we have a pom pom we can put it on the top of our hats too. A little pom is really cute. We get lots of different colors and anyway, that’s another piece when we try to pick our prints and patterns, we have to try to figure out if we have tassels that work with the prints and patterns.
Shannon Sepulveda: And so if someone wants to do a custom order, they can pick their hat print, tassel, logo.
Shayla Swanson: 23:44 And that’s kind of what’s nice about say working with us versus other larger businesses that do custom work is that we can really say like, you’ll get, you know, get an email saying like, these are all of your tassel choices, these are your fabric choices for your hats. It’s kind of very customized. Very cool.
Shannon Sepulveda: So why don’t you talk a bit about your price point? Because for the life of me cannot understand how you make everything in Bozeman and the hats are still $30. Wow. Because that’s pretty awesome, I think for a company to be able to do that.
Shayla Swanson: 24:20 Yeah. The honest truth of it is this is the healthy, wealthy, smart podcast. Let’s just say I probably won’t be getting overly wealthy, but I love what I do. And so it doesn’t matter too much. But it is true. There’s something, the reality of it is that if you want to be really profitable in the apparel industry, I think you definitely have to send your stuff to places where they don’t have to pay people much to make it the reality was sewing a hat or a piece of clothing is that it’s touched. Every single seam is basically driven by a person. There are a few exceptions, but in general, a person is responsible for every seam on your clothing.
Shayla Swanson: 25:11 Unlike an injection mold plastic piece or something like that where it’s, you know, where it’s really mechanized and automated. And so, yeah, as far as our price points go, we have to maintain some level of competition or competitive, you know, placement in the industry. So, yes, it is true that our profit margins are not as great as they could be, I suppose. But then we couldn’t offer, we really, I think that we wouldn’t have a business if we outsourced to somewhere like Asia or places because they have high minimums. They can’t offer the flexibility that we can. So I feel as though, it’s an interesting situation because I don’t think we could do what we do using a different type of manufacturing model. Yeah. So what’s really been great for us is that we have, this year in particular, we have really streamlined a lot of our production processes.
Shayla Swanson: 26:07 I think we’re getting faster and faster at everything we make, we’re cutting down on complication and skews and things. Anyway, everything we can do to basically improve our efficiencies and make sure that we can be competitive with our price point and also be a healthy business. Yeah. So, yeah. So it’s interesting.
Shannon Sepulveda: Can you talk a bit about the contest? It seems like you have every year where someone designs a hat.
Shayla Swanson: Yeah, that’s a fun one. So one thing that we have started to do, well I guess it’s been probably five years of the contest now. We have a contest that runs every year in August or September, we call it our special sauce design contest. And what it is, is we basically send out a little pdf template and people can download it and basically send in a design idea.
Shayla Swanson: 27:04 And what’s really great is that we used to get comments, people would email us and be like, hey, why don’t you have any hats that are blue? Or why don’t you do this, this, this, or the other thing. And so it’s been really great to be able to put the ball in our customer’s court and have them tell us what they want to see. Every year we receive entries and we put them up on Facebook and we also allow people to vote on our website. You know, Facebook may or may not be a great avenue for that but yeah, people vote for their favorite designs and then we make them. So this year we had two really beautiful, we had a really beautiful floral that came through. We had basically two that were really neck and neck for first and second, so we decided to produce them both.
Shayla Swanson: 27:49 And this graphic designer in town here in Bozeman that submitted this ridge line mountain design. And then what’s really cool is that at the end of the year we kind of tally up how much we sold and then a percentage of the sales go back to the winners chosen charity. So yeah. So this year one of the hats we’ll be donating to a foundation called the neo kids foundation. It’s up in Sudbury, Ontario, which is where the winners of the contest live and that’s where they wanted their proceeds to go. And then one of the designs here is going to go back to basically a fund for the Bozeman education. That foundation that supports kids that are homeless basically, who come and need some assistance that way.
Shayla Swanson: 28:41 So we’re really excited about that part of the contest too, cause it just gives us a chance to give back.
Shannon Sepulveda: So we can find you in Bozeman. We can find you online. So why don’t you tell us a bit about like where you’re located in the country, what types of stores and like if people want to check out your products, where would they go?
Shayla Swanson: We are carried by about 200 retail locations across North America. So if you go to our website does have a store locator, which I will admit is about 90% complete. It’s really hard to stay on top of all this stuff. We are distributed in the types of stores that carry us or generally like running shops. More like outdoor stores.
Shayla Swanson: 29:32 Also anything that’s kind of got a Nordic edge to it. Those shops typically carry us. So yeah, so we’re available online. They’re available about 200 retail locations and if somebody out there can think of a store that we should be in in that we’re not, we always take suggestions for wholesale accounts that we should be reaching out to. So that’s where you can find us.
Shannon Sepulveda: Yeah, I was thinking about that when I was in Manhattan in November. I was like checking out stores. I was like where it just be as so many people complimented me on my hat. Cause I feel like New York is a lot of people tend to wear more muted things. Or in big cities in general, I think it’s more muted. It’s more muted.
Shayla Swanson: 30:22 And that is one thing I will say is that we do, well, a lot of our patterns are kind of bright and colorful. We always make sure we have a black and white option. We always make sure we have a gray, you know, it’s like we try to make sure we can also appeal to the more subtle Palette. Our winter product line has men stuff. And we always carry a black plain old basic black as well too. Our neck gator product is called our frosty. Kind of like the buff is sort of the Kleenex or the bandaid. The brand that became the thing. So, my parents used to call it a chill choker.
Shannon Sepulveda: 31:10 That was a new brand, like back in the 80’s. But we as children, I was growing up, we used to always call the chill choker. And I feel like it was wool and we wanted to just like rip your neck off and awful. And then they were like turtle fur, do you remember that?
Shayla Swanson: Well and that brand is still that brands still around there. You see them in places that carry us as well. Occasionally. But turtle fur is still around. We have a product coming out next fall. We currently make a like a neck breeder, but it’s a lightweight net gate or color frosty for the neck. Next season, next fall we have a product that’ll be coming out called throat coat. It’s our aligned neck warmer.
Shannon Sepulveda: 31:57 Oh, that’s such a good idea. My son had, I think I got it at your clearance sale at the Cammo. But it’s really good idea to get, um, like a fleece lined one for the really cold days for, especially for downhill skiing.
Shayla Swanson: And the product we’re, we’re using the liner, we use them polar tech products to line our stuff. So for installation their fabrics and we’re using a kind of a mid weight style, so it’s like warm, but it’s not going to be like saturated with breadth and moisture, like a fleece might be. And then it like freezes and it’s stinky. My team might still be stinky, hard to say, but yeah, there anyway, all this stuff you try it, you try to think about, but it’s something that’s just a reality.
Shannon Sepulveda: 32:49 There’s a place in Bozeman where you can Nordic ski and it’s like all sourdough, right? So it’s all up for nine miles, go all the way up for 10 all the way up for 10 miles. And so you get super sweaty all the way up and then you come down and you pretty much don’t really have to ski on the way down and you’re buff just becomes like an icicle because just like knock knock, by the time you get to the trail head because you’ve sweated all the way up and then you just freeze, freeze all the way down, all the way down. That’s a tough, tough trail to dress for. You have to have like a backpack of layers to it. Right. To get down, to get down comfortably. I typically choose to just be really, really cold at the bottom. Yeah. And then turn on and then get in your car and turn on your seat heater. By the time you get to the house, then the cars finally warmed up and then you feel pretty good. What’s new in the future? What can we look forward to?
Shayla Swanson: 33:50 We have a few new products next season. We have really cool new patterns that are kind of basically images of our natural world that are going to be placed in the hats and the headbands anyway, so we’re venturing out a little bit from what we typically do, but I’m really excited about. It’s been well received by the stores that have seen the line already. So we have some new prints and patterns. It’s usual. And then we have a couple of new headwear products that are sort of like hybrids of stuff we’ve already been doing just to I guess diversify the line a little bit and make sure everyone can find products that are aligned and warm enough for them.
Shayla Swanson: 34:37 Anyway, that’s kind of confusing. But I guess just in general, I’m our main product designer and I’ve been having children for the last few years and I haven’t been feeling overly creative. My mom brain has, has really, I would say, shut that down for me. So I’m feeling like I’ve turned a corner here. I have a nearly one year old and I can, I’m feeling like I can start to think again. And so I’m looking forward to seeing what that, what that brings because it’s always when I’m outside skiing or outside running or hiking that ideas come to me where I’m like, Ooh, this is, this would be a great product. So I’m looking forward to that. And so as far as what’s coming next, I have a few things on the immediate horizon and then after that we’ll see.
Shannon Sepulveda: Cool. Yeah, I feel like you need like for at least for headwear winter headwear I feel like you need like the fleece line warm hat for like walking around town. And then you need like the thin hat for exercising and then you need the thin headband. Cause sometimes it’s just your ears it get cold. And then you need the fleece lined headband. And then you probably need more stuff, but those are like my four go tos for like winter. But you definitely need the like non, it’s nice to have the nonactive totally fleece lined hat for like warmth.
Shayla Swanson: 35:30 The two products that we make that I think are good for casual or activity on a cold day. If you will athleisure headwear, we make a slouchy beanie. It’s kind of like a slightly more, styled hat I guess. And it’s, and it’s really warm and cozy. So I, that’s my like where around Go to and then we make our chill.
Shayla Swanson: 36:19 Tuke is another one that you can wear casually in and look pretty cute, but it also works really well if you’re skiing on earth, doing something on a cold day. And that’s the one that has our little swirl closure at the top where you can kind of create some space and vent a little bit if you get too hot or you can throw a topknot out there if you, if you’re so inclined. I never have hair long enough to do that. And that wasn’t an intended benefit. The ponytail through the hole. People have figured out how to do that. Ooh, it’s really cute picture of that on our website. And right now actually of someone doing that who had long, beautiful hair and just put the hat down over top of it and it’s like, anyway.
Shayla Swanson: 36:55 We have products that have more of like a standard ponytail hole right at the back of your head. But this one is kind of more at the top, which makes it a little weird, but it’s still pretty cute if you have the right length of hair. I have recently kind of refallen in love with is our Bandura and it’s basically like a kind of a pocket band. But what’s nice about it versus some of the other brands that make more of like an active pocket band is this one. It doesn’t, it looks more like an intentional addition to your outfit. So it’s something you can work casual or active and basically it just looks like a little tank top sticking out from underneath whatever your layer over top is.
Shayla Swanson: 37:39 So it’s kind of hard to explain I guess on audio but it’s like a fabric piece that goes around your waist. Elastic. Yeah, it’s like a, it’s kind of like a tapered fabric piece that goes around with the band around your waist. And it separated into six pockets and all the pockets are kind of semi secure, so they have a little flap over top and then they have an elastic drawstring waistband, so it’s got some nice integrity. If you do pack it with stuff, it’s not going to fall off. And like uses that. I, you know, I’ve been using it recently to cross country ski and I’ve thrown my water bottle in the back. And then I put my keys and my snack and my kick wax and my cork and I’m all, I’ve got everything I need.
Shayla Swanson: 38:23 And what I also like is it’s not tied around my waist. So that’s really comfortable for me too. And then but other things I’ve heard people say like I’ve been at events where someone will come by and say, Oh, I wore this and while I was backpacking in Europe, I need another one. It was amazing. Like, so she said that she wore it everyday in Europe as kind of a money belt, but what was great is it just looked like a little black layer sticking out from under her shirt. So she’s just, it was funny, she came, I didn’t expect such a rave review from somebody, but she came back and was thrilled. And then it can also turn like any, it’s great for cycling because if you want, if you want extra pockets but you don’t want to wear a jersey that has pockets. You can throw that around your waist and then you can turn any shirt into a jersey.
Shannon Sepulveda: 39:11 How about the sports bars or you’re going to start making sports bras?
Shayla Swanson: I don’t know. People ask me to, the two questions I get a lot. Are you going to make sports bras and then also are you going to make like cycling shorts with shammies? Oh, the thing I feel about both of those products is there’s a lot of r and d that goes into making the perfect shammies and making the perfect sports bra and, and I’m just not sure we’re, we’re up for that. I don’t want to throw something out to market and then being like, oh that actually is really not as good as the other ones you can find out there. So you know, maybe maybe it would be like, uh, yeah, probably not is realistically the answer.
Shayla Swanson: 39:49 But I think what would be interesting is maybe we can find a way to supply people with like cute little shammy containing underwear that, you know, I can buy from someone else and then they can make sure that they can wear it under our shorts and then it would be kind of work for that as well.
Shayla Swanson: So to answer, I guess I should probably clarify like that’s the kind of sports bra that maybe we could make, but if, but when it comes to making something that’s really supportive and actually does a great job for women who have larger breasts, I don’t think that would be hard.
Shayla Swanson: 40:33 Yeah, there are some really great brands. Like there’s actually a Montana based company called Anelle and it was founded by a woman in a small town in Eureka, Montana who I think she, well their company’s based in Eureka. I think that’s where she’s from, but they make this amazing Bra for women with large breasts and like sports bra. They do a really great job and they’re there. I see them at some of the trade shows I attend and am friends with some of the people that work for that brand, but so yeah, I think we’ll leave it, leave it to the experts.
Shannon Sepulveda: 41:06 Awesome. Anything else you want to add or talk about as far as Sauce and your company, Bozeman? Did you start it in Canada and then came to Boseman?
Shayla Swanson: Yeah. I moved here in 2003 to go to school. So I think we had made hats for one year before I moved here and then I moved here and I kind of became the US distribution center. Rhonda was still in Canada. But no, I guess, I mean it’s become this really great and exciting thing. I didn’t ever really anticipate for my hobby to grow into a business that would actually pay me a wage and it does. So it’s pretty awesome. And I really like what I do, although I do wish every now and then, there wasn’t a day when I learned, like, I kind of would like to like not learn an important lesson every day, be nice to have one or two days where I didn’t think to myself, oh, that’s something I need to remember.
Shayla Swanson: 42:01 You know, I’m sure that’s the case for most of us that you, I mean, you never want to stop learning, but sometimes you just wish it was a little bit easy for most entrepreneurs. I have been pretty good. I think one thing that has really helped me is that I truly have this, I learned how to lose early on, I guess with my ski racing. Like it’s, you know, it sounds like a weird thing to say, but it’s true. You know, you win some, you lose some. And I think it’s important to learn how to lose and understand that it’s not the end of the world and understand that really every time you try something, as long as you learn something from it, it’s a success, you know?
Shayla Swanson: 42:43 Yeah. So that’s kind of how I try to move forward. I’ve only made one or two, like really expensive mistakes, so these ones are harder to deal with. But you know, we’re all doing our best, so you gotta just have to do what you can and, and move forward.
Shannon Sepulveda: Do you have any advice for any other female entrepreneurs?
Shayla Swanson: Oh, I think one thing I’m not doing a great job at, so this is I guess me telling someone to do different. I love every part of my business and the problem I’m having right now is that I’m trying to do too much of it. And I’ve heard that that’s a kind of a common thing, probably also a barrier to really making it big in some of these things as I have a little trouble letting go of certain aspects of my business.
Shayla Swanson: 43:30 But truly it’s not necessarily because I am like super type A and can’t let someone else do it. It’s more just cause I really liked doing it. So anyway, I have to, I have to figure that out for myself. So I guess my advice to someone would be if you can, you know, delegate and do a good job of getting someone else to take care of some of this stuff off your plate is probably a good idea.
Shannon Sepulveda: What I find is, I mean, after I started my own practice, it was great and I love it, love it, love it. But you can’t turn off. No, there’s no, especially with kids too, it’s like I would love to be able to turn off, be present, and I’m trying really hard to do that. But it’s hard. There’s always something to be done.
Shayla Swanson: And that’s one thing, you know, having kids, like before I had kids, it was, I worked long days, I liked what I did and then I went home and that we didn’t even have internet at our house at that time.
Shayla Swanson: 44:21 We did that on purpose. My husband and I just decided like, we want to work when we’re working and we want to not work when we’re at home. And so we had this great little like work home separation was really helpful. And now I can’t have that because there and we don’t really, we, my husband and I swapped to take care of our kids. So basically I’m either working or I’m taking care of the kids and there’s never enough time to do either one. And then you have to sleep because if you don’t sleep, you get cranky. So yeah, I don’t have a great solution for that. I think you just have to do what you can to try to turn off when you’re with your kids and keep a list. I think a list is really critical because then you can turn off your brain as long as the stake has been planted somewhere where you know you won’t forget what to take care of.
Shayla Swanson: 45:05 I read that in a great book. It was called, I think it was called getting things done and that was his main, main, main advice was you only have, like if it’s, you have one place where you keep track of that kind of stuff and only one, like you don’t have a phone and then a calendar and a little mole skin notebook. And then you have one place where you keep track of things and you always write down what you’re doing and what you need to do. And then that way when it’s time to not think about it, you don’t have to think about it cause you know where it is. And you know that you won’t forget because it’s in that one place.
Shannon Sepulveda: 45:40 That’s such a good idea. It’s really helpful because like last Friday it was late. I was trying to get all my paperwork done and I knew I had all day. Monday is my admin day, but I still felt like I needed to get it done on Friday. But if I had just re wrote it down, these are the things we’re going to do on Monday, then I come back on Monday and I finished that. Right. All there.
Shayla Swanson: Thank you. Getting things done. Book. I don’t remember who, that was helpful. It was a good book.
Shannon Sepulveda: Why don’t you tell us where we can find you? Social Media, etc. And how we can get in contact with you.
Shayla Swanson: 46:32 Sure. So I’m online, we are at www.sauceactive.com. I’m on social media. You can find us at Sauce active on Facebook. That’s Facebook and Instagram primarily when we actually post. And if you want to get in touch with us by email firstname.lastname@example.org is probably the best email address.
Shannon Sepulveda: So if someone who is listening has a great store that says, Hey, they should carry sauce, we should email you.
Shayla Swanson: That would be great. That would be great. If you have anything to anything to say, we’d love to hear from you.
Shannon Sepulveda: Do you have a newsletter?
Shayla Swanson: Oh Great. Yes, we do have an email newsletter that we send out. It’s not super regularly regular, so don’t, don’t be afraid that of a bombarded inbox. But there is a newsletter sign up at the bottom in the center of our website, so we do send that out.
Shannon Sepulveda: Cool. And why don’t you tell us about the gift to our listeners.
Shayla Swanson: 47:23 That is great idea. So if you want to buy something on our website, we would love to offer you 20% off if you enter code hws19. So that’s hws19 20% off online
Shannon Sepulveda: That’s a good deal. It’s a really good deal. Especially, like I was saying, I don’t know how you make hats for $30 in the US because they’re awesome and we support the local community
Shayla Swanson: And you’re supporting our sewers, Linda, Laura, and Karen, which I think is pretty fun. So you’re not just, you know, buying a hat. You’re actually supporting Linda, Laura, and Karen and Shayla.
Shannon Sepulveda: Well, Shayla thank you so much for coming on the program and we really thank you, it was really great talking to you.
Shayla Swanson: Thanks. Thanks for having me. It was really fun.
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