Professional Mountaineer & Big Mountain Skier, Model, Founder of Corbeaux Clothing
Conover, alongside her husband Adam Moszynski, are professional mountaineers and big mountain skiers. Being outdoor enthusiasts, they naturally have always tested the strength and endurance of their outdoor gear and clothing, which led them to creating a sustainable base layer and high performance active wear clothing company, Corbeaux. They noticed a gap in the market and decided to open their own business seven years ago, back in 2013. They were at a point in their lives that they knew they always wanted to spend their careers in the outdoor industry, give back and be a part of its growth. Since then they have grown exponentially and have created a product that is sustainable for extreme athletic conditions and everyday wear.
Aspen is incredibly appealing with it’s beautiful landscape but is an impractical place to live and have a business considering it’s remote location and high expense of living. Despite all of this, all dreams do come true here in terms of outdoor recreation and Conover is absolutely in love with the town and embraces its quirks. She is dedicated to Aspen, it’s community and feels grounded with it’s small town vibe. Aspen is unique in that it is a small ski town nestled in the mountains but draws people from all over the world, giving it an eclectic persona and a bit of a city feel. Strong and viable connections are affluent.
“You have access to people you never would have access to otherwise. You could be on the Gondola with someone who is CEO of a fortune 500 company or some billionaire.”
The idea for Corbeaux started to flourish as Conover and her husband began to sit down for coffee with their acquaintances and colleagues. “You do that first step, then the next one presents itself and then you just keep going.” All the networking and gathered information led to a Kick Starter campaign where they raised 40,000 dollars. At the time this seemed like a lot of money but didn’t get them terribly far. Without this, along with some investors and shedding some blood sweat and tears they wouldn’t have been able to launch the business.
“We both have this mentality, if we are gonna start something we are gonna do it and we’ll probably make 100 pivots along the way but we're just doing it.”
The bulk of the clothing is manufactured in St. Paul, Minnesota, by an established woman owned (mainly woman run) company that focuses on a cut and sew process of stretchy fabrics. Conover has high standards and a commitment in maintaining a quality product. She feels fortunate for the long time relationship they have developed with their manufacturer. Corbeaux retains quality. As a small, independent company the clothing must be made efficiently and with care. Sacrifices have been made to ensure the clothing has integrity. A great plus of being in Aspen is that they can literally test the product right away! Authenticity is very important and a business model they abide by.
The initial clothing line was based for winter, outdoor and high performance activities. In recent years Corbeaux made a shift, making gear for all seasons. They always wanted to branch out and never wanted to be sorted into only one category; a winter focused athletic apparel clothing company. The pandemic allowed them to focus and market the brand towards indoor use such as home workouts and leisure activities like dog walking.
Now, Corbeaux has base layers for warmer months and activities such as golfing and tennis. Having a background in marketing, Conover knew from past work experiences that she always wanted to have an “achievable based” brand, not just “aspirational.” Clothing that both enables you to perform and inspires you to do the impossible. It’s versatile, a shirt that works for skiing can also be one worn during a yoga class.
Current design work is being made for their Fall 2021 line. This broad collection has something for everyone. There will be a few sub categories; active wear base layer, active, functional life style and a kids collection! They continue to stand by their product and their core mission to continue all sustainable efforts. They will always progress, change and grow with the industry as new fabrics and processes are developed. Attention all coffee lovers...side note, Conover said with excitement that there are materials now being made of coffee grounds!
“When we started no one was talking about sustainability. Now everyone has some sort of recycled fabrics. It's cool to see people are taking a stand and making these changes.”
They set time aside from work and go on what she calls, their “adventure days.” Basically, this entails the two of them setting forth on some sort of outdoors activity. Conover says, “It’s time to be us again and just be out in the woods.” It’s so valuable. Every good, healthy marriage needs this. They know each other's strengths and weaknesses and how to pull the best from each other, how to rely on each other. They have learned how to set boundaries in and defined their roles within the company.
With her being a mother and a business woman, it’s important that they set parameters at home too. They launched their business about the same time that Conover became pregnant.
“When we signed our first investors I was in the hospital, it was the day after our daughter was born.”
Conover stressed the importance of optimizing time with her daughter. They spend a majority of the time together outdoors; building snowmen, going to the playground and skiing. She says kids need to be outside and that’s when she feels the closest bond with her. She is constantly instilling morals and a sense of awareness and encourages her to be herself. She teaches her about values and culture. A big saying that they have in their house is, “Girls can do anything.” It has become her daughters ‘little motto’ as well. Conover wants her daughter to know that she can do anything that a man can do and that all women and girls can accomplish anything and be everything they want to be.
Along with Corbeaux, Conover is still an active and sponsored mountaineer and big mountain skier. Since becoming a mother and a business owner, skiing is no longer her only primary focus but is still a large portion of her professional life. With a Masters Degree in food service management from Cornell University she didn’t originally set out to be a professional skier. Post college she moved to Boulder, CO where she held a job running a marketing department at Warren Miller Entertainment only to find herself wanting to be the one on the slopes and not behind the scenes. Conover said, “I wanted to give it a whirl.” She then moved to Aspen and quickly gained recognition in the skiing community, started to ski professionally and never looked back.
“I like the feeling of being in the woods all day long, out in the mountains with no cell phone. It quiets my mind a bit to be in risky situations where you just have to focus. It's kind of like a meditation.”
Conover says it’s important to not let things intimidate you. She loves what she is doing and is also making an impact on the world while doing it. What could be a better career than that?
“You have an end goal, how are you going to get there? There's a million different ways to get there.”
She says you need to have confidence and flexibility. It has taken her years of pushing her limits and persevering to have this.The more you put yourself out there, the better you will be at it. It’s not always easy to be on top of your game. Conover says finding humor in life and in business helps. One thing that Moxxi takes away from Conover is to not sweat the small stuff. Enjoy what you are doing, allow room for error and don’t give up. As much hard work, failure, nurture and commitment that has gone into developing Corbeaux, Conover has such a light hearted and humorous attitude. She puts so much energy in it and has a whole lot more to give. She is one strong woman, and it shows in her personality and in their business, Corbeaux.
Before we knew it our cups were dry and all our coffee had been sipped. Now, with a decent coffee buzz on, it was time for Conover to go to the office and set up shop. Having already hiked a mountain, as well as, I’m sure other morning activities, her work day was only just then getting started. She was ready to bring some Moxxi attitude.
Darcy has done multiple campaigns and is an athlete/model for companies including Aspen Snowmass, Aspen Peak, Marmot, Smartwool, Athleta Inc, Spyder, Free country, CO Tourism.
And so much more! (taken from www.corbeuxclothing.com)
Q + A with Darcy Conover
Q: What advice would you give to someone trying to do what you do?
A: “Keep going. It can seem so daunting because there is so much to do. Every morning I still wake up feeling like that. You just have to do the immediate step and then you will keep stepping. Just take that first small step.
It's always gonna take longer (and cost more, haha). You are always gonna need more money and more time than you think.”
Q: What is nature to you?
A: "I just need it, it's like my drug, it's like my church (hahaha). I'm addicted to nature, I definitely need it, it's noticeable, it's calming."
Q: How do you take your coffee?
A: "Don’t judge me, (haha) I use a non-dairy creamer with a very sugary vanilla flavor. If going out for coffee with friends, a soy latte."
Q: What does the word Moxxi mean to you?
A: “SPIRIT AND PASSION.”
Q: What message does Corbeaux have for women?
A: "That we can do it too!!”
Written & Curated By | Krysta Kearney, Moxxi Coffee Co.
Keep updated on Darcy! Follow her at the links below.
PERSONAL FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/darcy.conover.3
PERSONAL INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/darcywconover/
CORBEAUX INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/corbeaux_clothing/
CORBEAUX FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/CorbeauxClothing
CORBEAUX WEBSITE: https://corbeauxclothing.com/
JOIN THE FLIGHT PROGRAM:
Check out the Join the Flight Program on Corbeaux's website! Corbeaux collects gently used athletic apparel and clothing, then donates them to those in need both in guide and porter communities in underdeveloped mountain cultures and homeless shelters in the USA!