Owner hopes Karamojo’s adventurous spirit is perfect fit for Steamboat Springs | SteamboatToday.com

Owner hopes Karamojo’s adventurous spirit is perfect fit for Steamboat Springs

Robert "Dos" Crow is hoping Karamojo Trading Co. and Steamboat Springs will lead to perfect fit.
John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Robert “Dos” Crow is a real estate appraiser by trade, but deep down, the Steamboat Springs man is an entrepreneur with an appetite for adventure.

“I have an office job because I need to pay the bills,” Crow said. “But, I really get my own charge from being in nature.”

Crow, who worked as camp manager and a guide in Africa for three years, recently set out on a new kind of adventure with his new business, Karamojo Trading Co., which produces and sells high-end men’s shirts online and in stores. The company is based out of Steamboat, but does not have a retail presence in town, yet.

Crow said his inspiration to make the shirts was based on his experience in Africa as a manager and as an apprentice professional hunter in southern Africa. Karamojo, the inspiration for the company’s name, is a sub-region of Uganda.

“Our customers are working professionals that have an office job, but on the weekends can be found floating the river or hiking on the mountain and out hunting,” Crow said.

With that in mind, he has designed a line of shirts for the modern day adventurer. The shirts are made out of a moisture-wicking fabric and provide UV protection. The design conceals vents and a hidden microfiber-lined pocket that is perfect for sunglasses and other items that might be needed.

The style is inspired by images of Hemingway and Roosevelt, men who never sacrificed style for performance, an image and idea that Crow doesn’t want fading into the past.

“We would take your basic run of the mill hunting or fishing shirt and work on the fit,” Crow said. “If you look at old photos or books with images of Hemingway, Roosevelt or John Muir, you see the idea behind our shirts. Those guys always had such a commanding presence in the field, and it’s because they always looked put together.”

When designing his shirts, Crow wanted to keep the old-school vintage aesthetics, but use modern, technical fabrics that improved the performance of the shirts. Crow said one of the best features of his shirts, which retail for $108 for the long sleeves and $98 for the short, is the fit.

He said when he was developing his shirts, he had between 40 and 60 samples, and then after lots of testing, settled on the versions that the company offers.

At this point, the shirts are mainly available at karamojotradingcompany.com, but Crow said he has started selling some shirts at a sporting goods store that a friend owns in Austin, Texas. He planned to offer the shirts exclusively online, but said he feels having an online and retail presence is important for success.

“People really want a story now,”  Crow said of marketing his company. “The struggles that you are seeing at some of the bigger retailers are having is that they have been pushing older brands, more established brands and people are kind of weary of that. These lifestyle brands are really gaining more of a market share.”

When people hear or see the Karamojo Trading Company brand, Crow hopes it conjures up images of men exploring the African wilderness and pushing the limits in the bush. He said the company’s mission is getting people back in touch with their primal nature.

“Our tag line is ‘Don’t let them tame you,’” Crow said. “That mental mind set it really important to me and to the company.”

The designs and inspiration come from his own experience in Africa where he often tailored his own shirts to meet the demands of life on the edge of civilization. However, they are also at home in an office.

“I ran this bush camp on the edge of the Kalahari Desert,” Crow said. “There was no electricity. We had hand-crank water pumps, and it was a tent camp. It was the hardest, up until now, that I’ve ever worked in my whole life. They throw you in there and see if you survive.”

Crow said he is starting small, but that people should expect to see expanded lines in the near future that will include new top layers and other options. He said he is also looking into the possibly a line of hats featuring his one-of-a-kind logo.

Crow moved to Steamboat Springs with his wife, Shannon, last June. Shannon runs and owns Out Here Yoga in the Wild Horse Marketplace.

“We don’t have any children,” Crow said. “Well, that is unless you count Out Here Yoga and Karamojo, then we have two.”

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.

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