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2 Steamboat entrepreneurs try their hand at small business ownership

Youth movement

Noah Wetzel is hoping to jump into the business world with his upstart company Lightpole Clothing. He is among a group of young people who are starting their own businesses in Steamboat Springs. In addition to his clothing, which will be available locally, Wetzel will incorporate a new website that combines music, art and fashion.
John F. Russell

Learn more

■ Contact Stephanie Mayle, of Runs with Scissors hair salon, at 970-819-7694 or rwshairstudio@hot..., or visit the salon at 306 Oak St., down the stairs on the east side of the building.

■ Contact Noah Wetzel, of Lightpole Clothing, at wetzel@lightpolec.... He expects his revamped website, http://www.lightpoleclothing.com, to be online within the next month.

Stephanie Mayle, 19, is the owner Runs with Scissors hair salon. Mayle said economic factors aren’t
stopping her lifelong dream of being a hairstylist and owning a business.
Matt Stensland

Learn more

■ Contact Stephanie Mayle, of Runs with Scissors hair salon, at 970-819-7694 or rwshairstudio@hot…, or visit the salon at 306 Oak St., down the stairs on the east side of the building.

■ Contact Noah Wetzel, of Lightpole Clothing, at wetzel@lightpolec…. He expects his revamped website, http://www.lightpoleclothing.com, to be online within the next month.

— A recessionary economy sometimes is no match for youthful optimism and energy.



Stephanie Mayle, 19, of the Runs with Scissors hair salon, and Noah Wetzel, 23, of Lightpole Clothing, are stepping into the business world amid more than two years of national and global economic turmoil, rising unemployment and shrinking job markets. Mayle is a mother, wife and homeowner who has owned the small, downtown Steamboat Springs salon since May, when previous owner Sam Bennett — Mayle’s former boss — moved out of the area.

Wetzel, a graphic designer and guest services supervisor at Catamount Ranch & Club, has sold clothes here and there for several years but is working on the upcoming launch of a revamped Lightpole Clothing website and clothing line, which he said could be paired with new artwork and music.

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Mayle said economic factors aren’t stopping her lifelong dream.

“I was always going to be a hairstylist,” Mayle said last week in her salon at 306 Oak St. “It’s been a slow process from having nothing to having what I have now. It’s a process, but I’m making it work.”

Mayle graduated from Steamboat Springs High School in 2008. She finished high school classes early, and by the time she returned to Steamboat to accept a diploma with her classmates, she already was enrolled at The Salon Professional Academy in Grand Junction.

She graduated from there in May 2009 and returned to Steamboat to work at Wildhorse Salon in Marketplace Plaza, where she previously had worked as a high school student. She moved to Runs with Scissors in December, not knowing that in just a few months, she would have an opportunity to own the business.

When that opportunity fell into her lap, Mayle said, she jumped at it with help from her family. She’s been learning skills such as accounting and inventory on the fly.

“I’m just kind of going for it,” she said. “Honestly, I think a lot of it is just common sense and trial and error.”

She’s learning parenthood skills on the fly, as well. Her daughter, Kylie Rose, is 15 months old. Mayle lives with her daughter and husband in their home in Copper Mountain Estates on Steamboat’s west side. Del Herman, the landowner there, is Mayle’s grandfather. Mayle said having Herman and other family members close by helps a great deal as she juggles a marriage and a child with house payments, car payments and running her own business.

“There are times when I’m like, ‘Wow, how did I get here so fast,’” she said. “I wanted to be a young mom, but not this young. … It kind of made me step up on a lot of things.”

Runs with Scissors customer Betty Rubin said despite Mayle’s hectic life, Mayle is a very personable stylist who makes time for her customers.

“She cares very much how her clients look so she does everything possible to please them — she asks you questions and is very concerned about what you want, so that you’re happy when you walk away from there,” Rubin said. “So many kids her age are not at all interested in being someone or doing something, and here she is starting a business. … Nothing stops her. Her attitude is, ‘I can get this done.’ I just think that’s a very admirable quality.”

In talking about her love for styling hair and the career she’s making for herself, Mayle can’t help letting a little youthful idealism shine through.

“I like to see people happy and proud of themselves,” she said, before breaking into laughter and cautioning that her next statement might sound corny. “If I can help them feel better about themselves through their hair … it’s kind of my way of changing the world.”

‘Get out there’

Wetzel said he came up with the idea for a company called Lightpole Clothing when he was about 13 or 14 years old. He liked the symbolism of lightpoles shining in darkness, he said.

During the past five years or so, he said, he’s sold about 200 items including T-shirts and hats. New designs will incorporate artwork by friends, he said, such as an idea for a T-shirt design inspired by a painting of a skier in powder.

“It’s based on living an active, healthy lifestyle and enjoying the beauty that’s around you,” he said. “It’s not just a clothing company. … It’s about getting the name out there and hopefully inspiring other people to get out there and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.”

Lightpole products will combine Wetzel’s photography, music made by his friends and more.

Wetzel, who spends winters living and skiing in the Salt Lake City area and has spent summers in Steamboat since 2005, hopes to accelerate the company this winter.

“It’s pretty small right now, but hopefully it will grow,” he said


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