By Aaron H. Bible
Krimson Klover, the Colorado-based lifestyle brand known for its high quality women’s sweaters and apparel, is donating a portion of its proceeds to First Descents – one of the most inspiring and progressive outdoor-based organizations working with those living with cancer.
This winter season, Krimson Klover will donate five percent of the proceeds from its new Sleigh Ride Sweater to First Descents, for its work getting cancer patients active in the outdoors. This means those who purchase a sweater will automatically make the holidays special for someone else as well.
“The program that First Descents offers is a life-changing experience for their deserving participants. What they do is simply amazing,” said Rhonda Swenson, founder and owner of Krimson Klover.
First Descents has been offering young adult cancer patients and survivors outdoor adventure experiences, empowering them to climb, paddle and surf beyond their diagnosis, since 2001. Brad Ludden, a professional paddler whose life was impacted by his aunt’s battle with cancer in her 30s, founded First Descents and began by offering young cancer patients kayak trips. He found that delving into “extreme” sports outdoors enabled young people to defy their cancer, reclaim their lives and connect with others doing the same.
First Descents expanded over the years, now offering mountaineering, surfing, rock climbing and kayak programs in 11 states and four countries, and serves more than 1000, 18-to-39 year-olds each year. The trips enable participants to start “living beyond their disease,” giving them hope, self-confidence and meaning, while mitigating depression and anxiety.
Female owned and operated, Krimson Klover merges a passion for luxury knitwear with a commitment to social and environmental responsibility. The brand continues to expand its presence with increased sales growth nationwide. The company opened 130 new accounts (to 900 total nationwide) and created 20 new jobs in the last year – while remaining obsessive about craftsmanship, quality and self-expression.
Krimson Klover also distinguishes itself with its commitment to supporting women in business and its priority of environmental sustainability. Swenson’s team works with several female-owned manufacturing facilities in Asia.
Krimson Klover sales were up 40 percent in 2013–2014 and almost 50 percent in 2014–2015. Swenson attributes this growing success to the clothing’s chic yet wearable designs. “I’ve always loved textiles and creating pattern and color. That’s definitely what sets us apart,” she said. The garments’ designs are inspired by her travels as well as the passionate, adventurous women who wear them.
“We love to work with women,” Swenson said. “These women in China are total powerhouses, they’re just amazing and they align with our ethos.”
Many of the selected fabrics feature custom hand-painted designs, and yarns that are sourced from partners that respect their animals, employees and the environment.
“In sourcing our natural-fiber yarns and fabrics, we make a point of finding materials that are as environmentally friendly as possible,” said Swenson. Krimson Klover wool comes from free-ranging sheep raised on low-intensity farms, and products are manufactured in clean facilities that use recycled water and eco-friendly dyes. “Sustainability is an ongoing process and a big priority for us.”
After nearly three decades in the sweater business (and several previous brands, including Chompas, Eir Sports, and Nevé), Swenson, originally from Austin, TX, launched Krimson Klover in 2010. The venture combines her lifelong passion for knitting and textiles with a risk-taking spirit. Swenson is a passionate traveler and outdoor athlete who claims to have inherited her wanderlust from her mother, and her ability to embrace life in the moment from her father.
Swenson also gives back personally by volunteering at the local Eagle County Habitat for Humanity in Vail, CO. She co-founded the Luna Women’s MTB Ambassadors team, being a retired competitive cyclist, and serves on the board of the Ski Industry Association (SIA).
“Our clothes look great and make you feel one of a kind, with little worry about what you’re wearing. Which leaves more time for hiking, skiing and traveling,” she said. “People need to get out and live life.”
This year’s fall collection reflects a renewed commitment to outdoor and winter sports apparel, including hand-painted base layers, sweater dresses, patterned tights, novelty sweaters, scarves and snowflake socks -all made from luxury natural fabrics such as cashmere and Merino.
Krimson Klover is a Boulder, CO-based company specializing in luxurious, feminine clothing for the fashion and resort industries. It distributes throughout the U.S. and Canada via specialty retailers and upper-end catalogs.