Seven years ago, when Marijke Stob was working seasonal jobs in the ski and outdoor industries, she bought a sewing machine and started making her own clothes, repairing broken ski jacket zippers and stitching gear back together at the raft company she worked for.
As Stob has continued practicing the craft over the years, she officially launched Superbloom Gear Repair at her shop in Whitefish, focusing on outdoor clothing and equipment with a mission to prolong the lifespan of gear and to avoid sending garments to the landfill.
“The clothing industry is so wasteful,” Stob said. “People just tell me they throw their stuff away if a button breaks and I tell them, ‘Don’t do that, I’ll fix it.’ That’s why I’m in business too, because we need repairs to help the environment.”
Stob draws inspiration from companies like Patagonia, which offers free gear repair on products and shares do-it-yourself repair and care tutorials to help customers fix their own gear. The brand also advocates for the environment, donating 1% of proceeds to the planet.
From broken buttons and buckles to zipper repairs and patches, Stob says she’ll do everything she can to repair an old garment. She recently added stretchy material to jiujitsu pants for a client who just had a baby, and she transformed a fur coat into a rug for another customer. In addition to maintaining the functionality of gear and avoiding expensive new gear purchases, Stob says many of her customers are simply attached to their gear and they don’t want to buy new things.
“People have their gear that they love, and they want to keep it going,” Stob said. “That’s what I’m in the business of doing.”
In her downtown Whitefish-based shop on East Second Street, Stob has a standard sewing machine and an industrial-grade machine, with plans to eventually buy a third. While she works mostly on repairs, she plans to tailor clothing in the future – still focusing on outdoor apparel.
Stob has historically struggled to find clothes that fit her tall stature, and she says she wants to tailor clothes to fit people of all different shapes and sizes. She recently hemmed three inches off a pair of ski pants for a client.
“Bodies are all different shapes, and the apparel industry doesn’t cater to sporty women,” Stob said. “Athletes have big thighs and calves.”
Stob has started experimenting with tailoring but she’s not offering it as a service quite yet. She sources materials like recycled polyester from companies out of Colorado and other USA-made businesses, and she eventually hopes to make apparel like ski jackets and SPF shirts.
“That’s the five-year plan,” she said.
In addition to repairing gear, Stob is also passionate about do-it-yourself education. She already teaches friends how to fix their own stuff and, on April 22, she will help teach a workshop at a formal event at the ImagineIF library in Kalispell. Justin Barry, founder of recycled gear business Functional Design, and Andrea Bachman will also help teach the workshop.
“People can come with stuff that they want to be fixed and we’ll teach you how to fix it,” Stob said. “I love to educate people and I love when people like to do things on their own and I like to be a resource for that.”
“I want it to be accessible for dirtbags,” she added.
For more information about the workshop, visit www.imagineiflibraries.org/events.
Superbloom Gear Repair is located at 102 East Second Street. Contact Stob at email@example.com.
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