Sure! Where to start… I’m a person who enjoys art, graphic design, climbing, philosophy, and martial arts. Since my interests are so broad, it’s hard to make myself happy, but ironically having a fulfilling life and career is really important to me. So, for as long as I can remember, I’ve been on the journey of trying to find fulfillment by starting and trying many things, which inevitably leads to also putting away a lot of things that don’t work for me.
Dynamite Starfish is something I started in 2015 when I was creating art based on my life experiences and observations. I was climbing a lot outdoors at the time, and figured if I was making art about my experiences, I had to include climbing. I had never intended to turn it into a business, but some friends liked the drawings and asked me to put them on t-shirts, so I did. It turns out I had a secret love for entrepreneurship and a really good work ethic. Years later, here we are!
Dynamite Starfish is a climbing move!
What’s it like being a small business owner?
It’s hard! But it’s also really fun. I like that there is a direct relationship between the work I put in and what I get out of it. It’s also a great monitor for my own ambitions and drives. There are some days I wish I could just collect a paycheck, but having lived that life previously, I know I never want to go back.
Who are you as a rock climber and how does that intersect with your artistry?
Rock climbing is a way for me to get out to more remote places and have a meaningful relationship with the land. I think it’s really important for people to see how life outside our manufactured culture works, and that’s one of the primary goals of my art and my business — getting people into the mindset of observing and listening rather than imposing our goals/egos onto the natural world. Sometimes I think it’s a lost cause, but there is truly so much we can learn from nature about things like coexistence and unpredictability. I think taking these learnings to heart creates mindsets that help the environment, our physical and mental health, and society at large.
What is something you wish climbers knew about your business or being a small business?
I wish climbers knew it was a solo operation! People are usually surprised when they find out it’s just me. Maybe in some way I’m flattered some people think I have a team. But I don’t… yet!!!
You currently screen print all of your t-shirts by hand. Tell us about this process.
I do! It’s a skill I picked up in college. I usually create the artwork with just a brush and india ink, then clean it up digitally before creating a print out. I use that print out to “burn” an image onto a photosensitive emulsion, which I then use as a stencil. A squeegee is used to push ink through the stencil onto the tee. The tee is then dried, folded and ready to wear!
It was important to me not to simply “raise stoke” for climbing, because I could see the potential environmental repercussions of that. So I wanted to share any earnings I made with organizations that did on-the-ground work like cleanups, trail maintenance or advocacy for access. Right now we are donating 5% of sales to the Access Fund, but some of our previous partners include The Friends of Joshua Tree, Friends of the Inyo, Central Wyoming Climbers Association, American Safe Climbing Association, Planned Parenthood, and the American Himalayan Foundation.
What are your hopes and dreams for Dynamite Starfish?
I want Dynamite Starfish to be a sustainable business. I hope that it can feed not just me but future employees as well. Somehow that gives me hope for the future, that a person can create a business based on their own principles and also create an environment for employees that allows them to be part of something they are passionate about.
What else would you like us to know about Dynamite Starfish?
Dynamite Starfish grows and changes just like anything else in the natural world does. Don’t expect things to stay the same!
Keep Climbing Women's Racerback Triblend Tank — Goldenrod
While supplies last (this item is being phased out by Dynamite Starfish) -Women's racerback tank in goldenrod. Screen printed by hand in the U.S.. All of our base tees and tanks are made in eco-conscious, 100% sweatshop free, WRAP-certified factories that use water saving dye machines.
Keep Climbing Unisex T-shirt by Dynamite Starfish
Color - Heather Basalt.Screen printed by hand in the U.S.. All of our base tees and tanks are made in eco-conscious, 100% sweatshop free, WRAP-certified factories that use water saving dye machines.
GET A COOL DYNAMITE STARFISH
SUPPORT BOTH DYNAMITE STARFISH & COMMON CLIMBER!