For those readers out there not familiar with you and Phunkshun Wear, can you give them a quick overview of what it is that you do?
JB: Phunkshun Wear is a Denver-based apparel manufacturer that produces everything inside the continental United States and the fabrics we use are made from recycled plastic bottles. We focus on face-gear; balaclavas, neck tubes, hoods, headbands, etc… and will be expanding into tech tops with our Aviator Base Layer thats being released this fall.
I’m the CEO of Phunkshun Wear, which means wearing many hats and being directly involved in every aspect of the company on a daily basis. Our manufacturing facility is on-site in Denver, so we have quite a few moving parts to the company under one roof that most other brands don’t ever experience. It keeps us busy :-).
How did you get involved with the High Fives Foundation?
JB: I was an outside sales rep in the Lake Tahoe area and met Roy right after he started the foundation. Being around the ski community there and hearing the story from other reps I immediately felt a connection to it. Over the years I did my best to expose Colorado to the foundation and get different companies involved by holding events, and when I landed at Phunkshun Wear it was finally time to create a real partnership to support the foundation.
How does your company support High Fives?
JB: We support as much as we can, one of the most important programs is through their Five for Fives Iniative – we donate 0.05 for every mask sold and include a paragraph about the foundation on the packaging of our products to expose thousands of individuals each year to High Fives. We hold a few different events and parties a year that benefit the foundation. New for 2017/18 we have a High Fives Foundation ‘signature model’ mask and we’re donating all profits from the sale of that graphic to High Fives. We provide their camps with our products featuring custom graphics for the athletes and volunteers.
What is your favorite High Fives Memory?
JB: One of first TRAINS events at Sugar Bowl, Jamie was playing wingmaster, tunes were pumping, and we had a ton of up-and-coming athletes shredding an incredibly creative course. I went up and did a couple trains on the course, back to the bottom to hang out with the crowd down there, learned about how the trophies were made (by a blacksmith). It created a real sense of community across the Tahoe snow-folk and brought everyone together.
What does High Fives mean to you?
JB: During my time in college and for a few years after I competed and tried pursuing the pro skier dream, while I was never good enough to reach that level, I was always incredibly worried what would happen if I ever got hurt…I didn’t have health insurance, no savings or family money, if I got hurt my life was ruined.
You are about to host an Art Show down at the Evo Denver store to benefit High Fives. Tell us a little more about that!
JB: June 2nd, 7pm doors open, we’ve got really cool images of art and action printed on metal and are auctioning them off. There’s a DJ, food, booze, a gear silent auction, High Fives Athletes in attendance, and lots of good times to be had! Make your way there, you’re going to enjoy it
While I may never be able to truly feel what these guys and gals are feeling, I now know how I can support them in their mission to be independent and successful in a sport that has made such an impact on my own life.
THE CALL OUT! What other company do you think should get involved with the Five for Fives program?
JB: Every major ski and snowboard brand that sponsors athletes and doesn’t pay them enough to live but expects them to risk injury in order to sell a new ski or goggle – If you can dump hundreds of thousands (some over a million) of dollars into the advertising/marketing of a new product, you need to support High Fives. Or Boeing – where’s the High Five Dreamliner at?