Steamboat junior launches Parka clothing company
January 7, 2012
Steamboat Springs — Logan Banning looks down and shrugs when asked whether he considers himself an entrepreneur.
But those who know the 16-year-old don't hesitate when describing him.
"He tends to run under the radar," said Gina Wither, Banning's adviser and former biology teacher at The Lowell Whiteman School. “I don't know how many people in the community know he's so much of an entrepreneur. … I think what he's doing is pretty amazing."
Banning started Parka, a clothing company, after the past ski season. He started making hooded sweatshirts that he sells at Urbane. He also makes hats and T-shirts.
Parka actually is his second successful business venture. Nearly three years ago, Banning started selling his duct-tape wallets at Urbane, donating a portion of the proceeds to the development of Bear River Skatepark.
"I've been an entrepreneur, not meaning to, almost," Banning said last week.
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Banning started making the duct-tape wallets when he was 8, his mom, Beth, said last week. She said he also made furniture and hockey gear, always preferring to make things instead of buying them.
Beth Banning, whose fiber art is on display at K. Saari Gallery in downtown Steamboat Springs, said quilting, appliqué (a type of needlework in which one material is applied to another) and embroidery run in the family. But Beth Banning said she didn't teach her son much.
"I'm an artist, and his dad is very creative," she said. "I'm sure he's learned from watching us. He's just taken it to the extreme."
Logan Banning's long hoodies are a patchwork of sweatshirts he orders. He uses a yard stick and chalk to draw the lines where he wants to cut and then pieces them back together in different patterns and color combinations. And somewhere on the sweatshirt is the Parka logo, placed by Crown Prints. Each one takes about an hour.
The first few attempts involved some mistakes, Banning said. But he's hit his stride.
Banning said he's sold about 100 hoodies at Urbane for $70 each.
Urbane manager Kelly Proudley said every time the store gets an order of seven or eight from Banning, they sell out. The store currently is out after selling about a dozen during Christmas.
Proudley said the hoodies are high quality. She said the inseams are "really nice," but that's not what appeals to the freestyle skier — like Banning — and snowboarder.
"The creative patterns that he uses and all the different colors has sparked a new trend in Steamboat with the kids," Proudley said. "You walk down the street, and you see these kids with tall hoodies."
"Tall" doesn't quite describe them.
Wearing a black, purple and baby-blue almost knee-length Parka hoodie, Whiteman senior Orion Johnson said he liked the fit. Johnson said the hoodies — he has two, the other is black and yellow — are comfortable, almost like wearing a blanket.
"It's my favorite hoodie I've ever had," Johnson said.
Banning said he spends an hour a night during the weekend and an hour or two during weekend nights making the hoodies. He said people can order them on Facebook — where they also can buy T-shirts for $15 and hats for $25 — and hopes to create a better ordering system in the future.
Banning said creating products is something he can see himself doing in the future.
"A couple of times I've seen people I don't know wearing Parka sweatshirts," he said. "It's just cool to see people wear stuff I made."
To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com