After winning an entrepreneurial competition in May 2019, Amy Fazio Trimbo ’07 established her dream business, AdventureUs, in downtown Washburn.
She studied psychology at Northland where she met her husband and business co-conspirator, Jared Trimbo ’06. They have three children who provided the inspiration for Amy’s first product line—Snow Sleeves, a stretchy wrist gaiter that fits over gloves and jacket sleeves to keep out the cold.
Their mission: to inspire friends and families to get outside together. “Snow Sleeves make winter more enjoyable by avoiding frozen wrists,” Amy said. Built on environmental ethics, inclusiveness, and outdoor fun, she focused on gear, clothing, and zipper repair, Snow Sleeves, and on creating products to enhance the outdoors.
Then in March, COVID-19 hit, and with it, a mounting body of evidence that masks are the best tool for stopping the spread of the virus.
Amy resisted making masks at first. Many people had dusted off their sewing machines and were distributing them for free—maybe that would fill the need. But as demand grew and more people asked, she did what many businesses have done—she pivoted. “I had the skills and resources, how could I not?” she said, sitting in her storefront filled with swatches of material, sewing machines, and colorful spools of thread.
On April 2, she posted a photo to Instagram, announcing she would be selling masks. She postponed other commitments and with a crew of three sewers—including best friend Audrey (Herold) Weaver ’06—went into full-on mask mode, creating the pattern design, sourcing American made, recycled, and organic materials, and wondering for how long.
So far, the need has only increased. Since April, AdventureUs has sold and donated nearly 3,000 masks.
As a child, Amy sewed with her grandmother Tina. “I loved it but I stopped doing it,” she said.
It was Audrey who reintroduced her to sewing when she invited Amy on her family’s annual “quilting vacation.”
After that, Amy took a quilting course at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College and started dreaming up AdventureUs. “Audrey has been with me every step of the way,” Amy said.
The two talk daily, have children of similar ages and brainstorm ideas for the business. Audrey recently left her job to work full-time for Amy as her production manager.
“This is not just a job for either one of us,” Audrey said. “We’re both so passionate about empowering people by teaching them to sew, about the outdoors, about this community.”
While their keystone product has shifted from Snow Sleeves to masks, the mission for sustainable, reusable, well-designed fashion remains strong. The business gives back one percent of sales to 1% for the Planet, as well as other nonprofits like the Washburn Public School system.
“Northland taught me what it means to be rooted in community and about the ethics of community,” Amy said. “The main reason I’m doing this is for the community.”