cb apparel products with logos Colin Boscher, founder of cb apparel, sat down with entrepreneurship@DU to discuss the origins of his company, the challenges of growing sustainably, and the importance of mental health and self-compassion as an entrepreneur.

Founded in August 2022, cb apparel has quickly become a hot commodity for ski apparel enthusiasts. With drops selling out in as fast as three minutes, the brand has made a name for itself by creating unique, limited-edition pieces that encourage buyers to “be different … be you.” cb’s founder, Colin Boscher, has moved his operations out of his home’s laundry room and into the co-working space at entrepreneurship@DU’s Garage.

“The Garage is a great space for cb,” Boscher said. “I love talking to the other business owners, and we learn from each other. It pushes my creativity, and it helps me branch out and try new things.”

cb started when Boscher wanted to make ski pants for himself. At a ski camp in Virginia, Boscher met someone who made their own pants while spending only $40 for materials. When Boscher got home, he got to work, with guidance from his friend and his aunt’s 1970s sewing machine.

“It’s super old, heavy, and all yellowed-out,” Boscher laughed. “I went to my local craft store, got some cheap materials and just started messing around.” His first attempts varied between being too small, too big or “super janky,” in his words.

Fast forward to today, and these homemade pants have amassed a large following in fewer than two years. With more than 2,500 followers on Instagram, cb’s limited-edition drops have helped keep operations manageable at the company’s current stage of development. With high demand, however, Boscher has started to bring other people onto the cb team. “I’ve started working with some of E@DU’s TAs to manufacture the pants,” Boscher said. “What I’ve learned so far is that this work can be really draining—physically, mentally and emotionally.”

Skiier wearing cp apparel ski pants Boscher shared that he sometimes pushed himself to the point of exhaustion, which began to impact other areas of his life. On occasion, after late nights prepping for a drop, he would have trouble focusing in class. “My sleep was really bad,” he said. “I was falling asleep in class. It was great that I had this business, but it was starting to affect my mental health and my performance in school.”

There is certainly a lot of excitement around starting a business. But Boscher reflected on the lessons he’s learned thus far, and how important it is to maintain balance with his other needs and responsibilities, especially as a student. “I think anyone starting a business just has to go at their own pace,” he said. “Don’t force yourself. When you notice you’re in a bad loop, take a step back. It can really affect your mental and physical health.”

In many ways, the expansion of cb’s team is a strategic move that will improve both the output of the company and the company’s morale. “Starting a business on your own is a lot of work. It can be lonely,” Boscher said. “So bringing on new people to work with me has been awesome.”

While Boscher has big dreams for cb, he is mindful of scaling the business in ways that won’t overwhelm him or his team. “You always want to grow revenue. I want to build something bigger than myself…but at this point, it’s making little steps toward that goal,” he said.  For example, a recent drop featured new colors. Boscher made the pants’ zipper pulls red, deviating from the traditional black or white colors.

In anticipation of the company’s next steps, Boscher has attended meetings with domestic and international manufacturers. While he has learned a lot, he plans to take more time before expanding to that scale. “I’ve always been looking forward,” Boscher said. “I’m kind of just waiting for the chance to do so. I want more time to dedicate strictly to my business.”

In addition to expanding cb’s manufacturing, Boscher also has several design ideas that he is eager to bring to life. “I’ve got tons of designs and doodles in my notebook—hoodies, t-shirts—but I don’t want to rush the process.”

Boscher emphasized the importance of self-awareness and taking care of yourself. For fellow emerging entrepreneurs, he shared some advice about the importance of self-compassion. “It’s okay to be overwhelmed,” he said. “Be cool with failure. I know it stinks and it can be a terrible feeling. But I feel like anytime I make a mistake, I’ve learned something. I always take something away that helps me improve.”