Native son suffers loss from western mountain flooding
by Jack Deming
Sep 26, 2013 | 3911 views | 0 0 comments | 149 149 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Damon Redd
Damon Redd sits atop a mound of water-damaged gloves. His Boulder, CO, business suffered extensive losses during the floods there two weeks ago.
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BOULDER- In 2008, Wilmington native Damon Redd opened Kind Design, a design company that aimed to put simple designs inspired by his life on American-made, high-quality clothing. For Redd, the soaring popularity of his creations expanded far past his expectations, and allowed him to do what he loves as a full-time job. But as every small business owner knows, adversity comes with the territory. That’s why when a flash flood in Boulder, CO, destroyed nearly all of his equipment and inventory two weeks ago, he put on a respirator and a pair of gloves, marked with his design, and got to work.

Few houses in Redd’s neighborhood were spared the flooding on the night of September 11. Culverts that run along each house to ease mountain water runoff were overwhelmed by an astounding, record rainfall , and mud buildup along the basement windows of houses burst through, sending five feet of muddy water into the basements of Redd’s neighborhood.

For Redd, it was devastating, his basement being the location of Kind Design’s entire operation. “I saw everything I owned floating in five and a half feet of water, and I couldn’t handle it,” said Redd. “I can’t wrap my head around estimating how much it is in damage but we didn’t have flood insurance, and between merchandise and time lost, it’s huge.”

Kind Design lost multiple pieces of printing and design machinery, which Redd and his brother Derek had to dismantle in the dark. Redd also lost three of his computers bearing hard drives filled with designs, as well as a massive amount of merchandise, including 2,300 pairs of work and ski gloves, thousands of T-shirts and hats, ski and snowboard helmets, and numerous accessories. “Removing a couple thousand shirts is easy dry, but removing thousands of soaked and mud-filled shirts is very tough, along with all the wet cardboard,” said Redd.

Redd has kept upbeat about the flooding, and has received a much needed amount of support from the local community as he picks up the pieces. A friend of his mother-in-law owns a laundry and has donated her services to clean the thousands of dirty shirts, and Redd immediately began power-washing helmets and gloves to see if he can salvage them. “I definitely still want to find something all of this can be used for,” said Redd. “I don’t know if I will be able to sell any of it because of the fact that flooding can contaminate things, but I would like to be able to donate a lot of it to those affected by the flooding out here.”

Redd created a special design in 2011 to support flood relief in the Deerfield Valley, a picture of the state of Vermont with his trademark raindrops dotting the inside. Redd, who graduated from Twin Valley High School, was in Wilmington one week before Tropical Storm Irene hit, and only saw the devastation in pictures and on television. His shirts were sold at local retailers, with proceeds benefiting a number of charities set up for local businesses.

Kind Design is a way for Redd to both earn an income, and put his inspiration to work. Redd first moved to Colorado to work at Vail as a ski patroller. He also worked as a rafting guide in the summer. “It was that kind of fun lifestyle where, when I was trying to find a source of income, I got a lot of inspiration. I thought it would be fun to make my own clothing company, and really created it on a whim.”

The company took off, and with his mastery of vector imaging, which allows one to blow up an image without losing resolution, Redd began to find himself in higher demand, creating logos and producing clothes for other companies, as he worked on building up his own brand in the meantime. Redd says the secret to a good design is to keep it simple. “I’m no businessman by any means, but I learned from scratch and people like what I do,” said Redd. “ I’ve always been a fan of less is more; simple stuff that makes people think ‘Why didn’t I think of that.’”

While Mother Nature had her plans for the month of September, Kind Design has its plans set for the future. Already, Redd’s Colorado state flag-inspired, newly-designed snapback hats are available by pre-order. Well, at least they were, Redd says that since the flood, pre-orders have more than doubled the company’s expectations, and show no signs of slowing down.

Redd said the flood will also give him an opportunity to get back to focusing on his brand, and less on the wholesale nature of working on logos for other companies. Redd also said he intends to set up a kickstarter campaign to help ease the cost of regaining ground lost in the flood.

For more information and to see Redd’s Kind Designs visit Kinddesign.co.
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