Adventures in Small Business-land!

We are on the precipice of our 5000th sale - which is a huge accomplishment for us! That achievement has lead to reflection on our journey so far.

Aktiv's origin story is like many small businesses. We were exposed to an amazing product that we hadn't experienced before and it resonated with us. Specifically, while living in Oslo, Norway with our two children, we were introduced to the aesthetic of Scandinavian clothing lines. These companies spoke to us as Coloradans- Norwegians and Coloradans basically dress the same as both cultures are focused on the outdoors. Think technical hiking gear that looks great. At the same time we were attending the University of Oslo and studying the law of the internet which included e-commerce. What started as a "what if?" (bringing these clothing lines to America) began to take shape as we returned home and researched the companies' footprints in North America. We also started reaching out to these brands to gauge interest in supplying clothing to a company run by two lawyers....surprisingly we had a lot of interest!

Inspirations

Modeling is an important step in the entrepreneurial process. We found inspiration from various small businesses we frequented but two in specific pushed us to open Aktiv. One was Ittikid.com which is an e-commerce site that brings the best Scandinavian kids clothes to the United States. By the way, if you have children, Scandinavian clothing is the greatest around. Ittikid showed us that an American company could exist and thrive by importing clothing from Scandinavia.

We also took inspiration from our friends, Liz and Fernando Lara, who are true entrepreneurs and have brought four separate business to the marketplace from wedding beauty styling to taco home delivery (seriously, get the Pastor!!!). We explained our concept to Liz and Fernando and they implored us to give it a try. Sometimes you need a gentle shove...

Useful Help

Starting an e-commerce shop from scratch took time but through the help of various companies we were craft it to fit our vision. We wanted branding that captured the connection to the natural world and YellowDog did an amazing job putting our scattered thoughts into a crisp, clean design! With branding in hand we started gathering supplies for shipping our orders. For the website we went with the class of the industry, Shopify. But housing a website is only one part of the process. We worked with Amy from web501 on design, development and the all important SEO. Many of you have found us due to Amy's top-class SEO work.

We also needed help telling our story and thankfully we found Christina Towle and her unbelievable team at BuzzBright PR. The BuzzBright folks have gotten us mentioned in national publications like Time Magazine, The Washington Post and Forbes and two separate appearances on The Today Show. #thebest

Ecoenclose is a fantastic resource for sustainable packaging and one of our favorites. To put our branding to full use we leaned on Sticker Mule which produces one-of-a-kind stickers to be used in any and all situations...and their mule sauce is also superb.

Home at Stanley Marketplace

Our plan was to open a brick and mortar shop. Our hope was to find a place within the first five years of our existence; but, COVID happened and an opportunity at Stanley Marketplace, on the Denver/Aurora, CO border, presented itself. Almost instantly, we felt compelled to commit to the next step before our second anniversary. It didn't hurt that the spot was nestled between a brewery and a beer hall. We have called Stanley home for the past 18 months and we love it. The collection of small businesses and the collaborative spirit within the Marketplace fits with our personal philosophy and also matches the views of many of our brands. In short, it is a great fit.

You

Of course, none of this works if we don't have the support of our customers. We have enjoyed engaging with folks from around the world and thank each of you for your business. We look forward to continuing our relationship with you and, again, thank you for your support!

Exert. Explore. Exhale.


1 comment


  • Jen

    I found you guys by searching for a US site/retailer that sold Northern Playground. So glad to have found you guys! I’ve bought a few things now and have been happy each time.


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