Sticking the landing
Taylor Kleine-Deters, Contributor
Photo provided by Georgia Martin
“I was a competitive skier my whole life and I had a few knee and head injuries, so it was time to call ‘er quits. I’m getting too old for this,” Georgia Martin said with a laugh. Days as a competitive athlete are always numbered, but unfortunately for Martin her days of skiing moguls and freestyle runs were shorter lived than she would have liked. At 20 years old, with six competitive years under her belt, it was time to shift her focus.
Growing up in Kitsilano, Vancouver, with a father who was also a ski coach, any free time was spent on the mountain. These days, Martin does some coaching herself for an all-girls team. “26 14-year-old girls… we travel around BC competing. It’s so cool.”
For Martin, it’s surreal that she is able to travel the province with her team of teens. “When I was a kid there were no girls teams in BC. I competed mostly against girls from Ontario and Quebec so I always felt kind of left out. I’d be hanging out with all the boys and I’d see all these girls together… the female ski community has grown for the younger generation.”
Moving forward, Martin did not want to leave skiing completely behind. “I suffer from ‘chronic can’t-not-do anything’, I get so…” she finished the sentence with an exasperated groan. “I’m always stressed out… but I like it. The adrenaline… It’s good.”
From the need to be in constant motion and the desire for clothing that caters specifically to female skiers, the idea for Granite Apparel emerged. “I still want to be part of the ski community… [and] there are no cool clothes for girls. Everything [is] made by guys for guys… or it’s crop tops for girls,” she exclaimed with obvious resentment. From there, Granite has carved its niche – comfortable and practical ski gear designed for women with convenient zippers and comfortable styles.
Martin started creating clothing out of a basement workshop in her family home. Initially she sewed all her own garments, built her own silkscreen for printing her designs and put everything together herself. Now, she has an intern who helps with the sewing. With designs such as hood for your head, Martin offers practical gear in trendy fluorescents and more subdued classic tones at a lower price than other brands. With her experience as a skier, she’s able to offer a product that makes sense practically and economically, all while looking incredibly cool.
“My favourite part [of design] is making really nice functional things. The fleece design has extra water-resistance on the shoulders so there’s an extra layer of protection. There’s also a water-resistant pocket for your phone and extra zippers… and it’s trendy,” she said.
So how did Martin get Granite off the ground? Social media, of course. She has a crew of skiers, mostly made up of friends, that she gives Granite designs to. When they post edits of themselves wearing Martin’s gear on their Instagram pages, Granite gets tagged. “They are integral to [Granite’s] success,” she said.
“Some mornings I’ll wake up and there will be 20 orders waiting for me and I’ll be like, ‘who are these people and how did they find out about these clothes that I make in my basement?’” said a bewildered Martin. Beyond the local ski scene, the young entrepreneur has fulfilled orders that have been sent everywhere from Quebec to Austria.
Apart from the work that Granite provides her, Martin is also enrolled as a full-time Business student at Capilano. “I think I want to go to design school… but it seems so smart to get a Business degree. Maybe I’ll get my Business Diploma then go to design school,” she said with a shrug.
Recently, an up-and-coming skier posted a picture to Instagram of himself after having won an event, and just so happened to be wearing a fleece number from Granite. This subsequently propelled a large number of orders for Martin to fulfill. She hopes that more skiers will follow in his footsteps, which Martin believes would truly push Granite to the next level. “Other than athletes, it would be a dream if Rihanna or like, Obama wore my fleece,” Martin said with a grin.
Intrigued? You can follow Granite Apparel on Instagram, @granite.apparel, and purchase some sweet ski threads at www.graniteapparel.com