Marketplace: Real Adventure Design gives ski gear a place in the home
When she was president of the mountain bike and backcountry skiing club at Dartmouth College, Lorin Paley learned quickly how to cram a lot of gear into a small closet. At first, she tried purchasing some products to organize the gear, but her searches for ones that would make her work simple proved futile.
She ended up purchasing raw materials and created hangers and shelves herself. That was when the idea for her future business first came to her.
Paley, who moved to Park City from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, two years ago, started creating prototypes for a ski rack around the same time. Her business Real Adventure Design officially opened for business last fall.
She started with ski racks because, as a former competitive skier, she has gone through a fair number of them, but never found one that fit her.
Either the racks would bend the skis and ruin their shape over time or the skis would slip off if not placed precisely at the right angle.
“I wanted something that was just really easy to use and couldn’t damage your skis,” she said. “So I settled on magnets.”
Paley’s first invention for Real Adventure Designs used magnets to hold the edge of skis. The skis could easily pop on and off, but the magnets also kept the skis in place. She started selling them at fairs like the Park Silly Sunday Market and realized that her idea was paying off.
From there, she transitioned into helmet racks and glove and boot driers. With the help of her electrical engineering boyfriend, Robert Collier, she discovered a way to quietly dry boots without using heat.
Besides making the racks functional, Paley said that design was also an important element. She makes the products from aspen and maple wood and steel.
“You’ve got the gear and you want to have it fit in and look nice and really match the aesthetic of your home,” she said.
Real Adventure Design, which she said also values sustainability, builds its products in Salt Lake City. The aspen wood comes from deadfall areas around Utah. The packaging materials are also reused.
“The goal is, the further along we get, the more sustainable we will be able to be,” she said. “If you start with your values of sustainability from the beginning, you can have more of an impact.”
“Being able to take some of my woodworking and apply my engineering — it’s a fun marriage of a lot of things. It was really cool to put both of my passions together,” — Lorin Paley, Real Adventure Design
She said that working with the wood has proved to be a challenge, since every piece is different, but she has enjoyed combining her passions into one project. Paley studied mechanical engineering in school and has always loved woodworking.
In middle school, she would skip lunch to go to the studio. During college, she worked in a local woodshop.
“Being able to take some of my woodworking and apply my engineering — it’s a fun marriage of a lot of things,” she said. “It was really cool to put both of my passions together.”
But she did not know a lot about business, which she said has also been a “fun challenge.”
When she goes to markets and sees people react positively to her products, she knows that the hard work paid off. Each time she hears about someone using her product, she is still amazed.
Paley said that she has a long list of products and businesses that she hopes to launch in the future, but for now she is focused on perfecting the next design for adventure seekers overloaded with gear: bike racks.
In May, the long-time owners, Joy and Geir Vik, announced their retirement and passed on the business to the Brian and Dena Merrill, and their son, Dylan, who had been their friends and colleagues for years.
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