S2:Ep13 - Steve Sullivan: Stio - A Brand for the Mountain West


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The outdoor adventure clothing brand Stio has been showing up more and more at Utah ski resorts. Founder Steve ‘Sulli' Sullivan grew up in neighboring Colorado but spent a lot of time in Utah's red rock desert and snow-covered mountains. Today, he puts his passion for the mountain west into the fast-rising Stio brand. He spoke to Last Chair about his love for the outdoors and how it's embodied in his brand.

Sullivan was born in the midwest but moved to western Colorado when he was 10. His uncle loved to explore and took him on trips to nearby Moab to explore Canyonlands, getting engaged in hiking and mountain biking - exploring the mountain west landscape. He started hanging around his uncle's girlfriend's outdoor shop, getting a complete immersion in outdoor sport.

Working in ski, bike and outdoor shops growing up, at college in Durango and later in Boulder, helped develop his pathway. He put his own stamp on the business starting Cloudveil, and later Stio.

Today, Stio has a growing footprint in Utah with a concept store on Park City's historic Main Street, a partnership with Ski Utah and a thriving direct-to-consumer brand that provides him with a flow of customer feedback that fuels product development.

The Stio brand is all about outdoor empowerment. Our tagline is let the outside in. It's all about giving people a reason to be outdoors.

His interview with Ski Utah's Last Chair podcast provides real insight into the power of the mountain west culture into a brand that is rapidly gaining popularity. Here's just a sample. Listen to Last Chair to learn more.

How did you get into the outdoor clothing business?
One of the reasons I got into the apparel business was just going through my youth, always being cold and wet and wearing some old hand me downs. But I really learned a lot about the climate. And I became really fascinated about textiles and what different textiles could do to add to your enjoyment and performance in the outdoors.

How do the desert and mountains in Utah combine to form such a special lifestyle?
The desert is one of the great powers. The mountains, the desert, the oceans - I'm still entranced by it. I've always thought it was a really powerful place and a place of unbelievable changes in climate. I've done a lot of skiing in Moab in the La Sal's. It can be just absolutely superb spring skiing down there. I truly love the desert. I feel like it is one of those powers in the world, like the mountains. One of the coolest things about Utah is you guys have this unbelievable topography - the state is so diverse. It's just amazing. And you have the Wasatch and and the unbelievable mountains up near Salt Lake and then, you know, drive a few hours. And the next thing you know, you're in red rock country.

How would you define the mountain west culture?
There's just something different about living out here. There's something different about the people. There's something different about having to deal with the elements and the time spent outside, whether that's skiing or climbing or fly fishing or whatever it might be, kayaking, river running in the mountains. There's just a different culture out here. And it's a culture that is just so ingrained in my life and in our company. It makes a huge difference in the types of people that end up in the mountains are real. You have to deal with a lot of adverse weather and a completely different kind of change in seasons constantly. It's super ingrained in our brand because all of our employees live the outdoor lifestyle.

There's plenty more in this episode of Last Chair: The Ski Utah Podcast.

  • Sulli's favorite Utah resort.
  • Craziest outdoor activity he's ever undertaken (and there have been many).
  • What he does outside skiing (just about everything)
  • His fave High West brand.

Take a listen today. Tune in to Last Chair: The Ski Utah Podcast presented by High West Distillery on your favorite podcast platform. Subscribe to get first access to every episode.

About Stio's Roots
Stio was founded to inspire connection with the outdoors through beautiful, functional products infused with mountain soul. We draw inspiration from our everyday immersion in life here in Jackson Hole: days on local rivers, trails and Teton summits. Technical performance, quality and versatility are hallmarks you'll find in every piece of apparel we make, be it intended for epic alpine pursuits or the quieter moments of the mountain life.

Where to find Stio
Stio is a direct-to-consumer brand, available at www.stio.com.

You can also visit Stio's shop on Main Street in downtown Park City, Utah.

49 episodes