On September 12, 2013, I woke up and went downstairs to find my home and entire business under five feet of water and mud. Floods had hit Colorado the night before, completely out of the blue. I’d put five years into building my company, Kind Design, and I thought it was all gone in an instant. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through, to lose everything I had built.
I was frantic. I called my family and friends who live nearby. Everybody came over to help salvage as much stuff as possible. Some products were saveable, but most were not.
My mind was blown by the support I received following the flood. As soon as he heard, my brother drove more than one hundred miles to help me clean and salvage what we could. My family and friends dropped whatever they were doing. There were no questions asked. When something this bad happens, people will amaze you.
What ultimately saved the company was a Facebook post. I had designed some hats before the flood. They had our logo on them—a snowflake in a water drop in the colors of the Colorado flag. When samples of the hats arrived a few days after the disaster, I was struck by how much the design reflected Colorado’s strength after the flood. I posted about them on Facebook, and the post went viral. We ended up preselling enough hats to save the entire company. It turned the disaster into a triumph.
I can now say that the flood was the best thing that ever happened to the company
It was a clean break in our production process. It forced me to rethink how we did everything. I hit the reset button and focused more on design and my brand and less on in-house production.
Losing everything also gave me a new perspective on what’s important in life. It got me thinking more about family, less about material things. Since then, my wife and I had a daughter and are now expecting twins. The flood made me aware that you can replace physical things, but you can’t replace memories. Now I put more value on the irreplaceable things.
Since the flood, I’ve tried to use my company to help others. We cleaned and repaired 1,500 pairs of gloves that were damaged that day, and we’re donating them to search and rescue teams and ski patrols. It’s important to pay it forward. I’ve found that the more good you do, the more good other people will do.
Damon grew up in Vermont, finding a passion for skiing early. He moved to Colorado after college to work as a ski patroller and a river guide. Inspired by this lifestyle, he started Kind Design in 2008. He now lives in Boulder with his wife and his 21-month-old daughter, and has twins on the way.
Image Credit: Dana Romanoff/The Verbatim Agency for OptionB.Org