Anyone who has been to a few recent promotional products trade shows has probably come across Parker, Colorado-based Leashables. Even distributors that have no interest in selling personal care or hygiene products find the Leashables booth mesmerizing. Perhaps it is the televisions playing a reel of skiing stunts or commercials made to look like 50s-era filmstrips, albeit more edgy, that attract show-goers. Though, the appeal could equally be the obvious excitement of the Leashables staff, most notably the company’s founding brothers, Jeff and Brady Anderton. Any reports of the promotional marketing business getting younger should cite the Andertons. But their youth does not cause a rift with industry veterans. In a five minute walk to the conference room for the interview, Jeff Anderton was greeted by and stopped to talk with no less than six smiling people.
In The Beginning
“My brother was in school. He was studying to be a civil engineer. We owned a concrete company in the summer and taught skiing in the winter, and life was good.
“We always wanted to make stuff. I had this little shop off the side of my garage and every night we’d go in there ... and design.
“During the ski season ... we were up [in the mountains] all the time, and lip balm, you’d always need it with you. ... We ripped a glove hook off and sewed up this little thing and clipped it to the ski pole, just so it would be out there all the time. It’s funny we didn’t make that to be a product.”
The Andertons taught skiing and their students started requesting the neoprene lip balm holders. Each night, the brothers and their friends and families would hand sew batches of the products.
“We started making more, and 10 turned to 20 a day, and pretty soon we [decided to] make a little display and put it in the pro shop of the resort. We were selling them empty at first because we didn’t make lip balm.”