A high school Nordic skier from Vermont makes good.
By Rose Conry | Courtesy photo
Last August, the founder of a boutique American accessories company traveled to Asia on a sourcing trip. Business as usual? Not quite. For starters, Corinne Prevot is just 23 years old—she started her company Skida at 17. And instead of traveling to Mainland China to seek out cheap labor and knockoff fabrics, Prevot was visiting Nepal to partner with cashmere weavers near Kathmandu.
Shawls and hats woven from the soft wool of Himalayan mountain goats are the latest offerings from Skida, which built its business on Vermont-made winter tuques and headbands for Nordic skiers.
The product lines originated in separate hemispheres, but Prevot drew on personal experience to create them all. In 2007, a rainy winter break prompted her to pattern, cut, and stitch stretchy hats out of polyester fabric for her Nordic teammates at Vermont’s Burke Mountain Academy. Soon, competitors were asking if they could buy them. Then friends, family, and New England ski shops queued up. Prevot added fleece liners for kids on the alpine team. Then came lightweight, thermal neck gaiters and fleece-lined bandanas. Later, while an undergrad at Middlebury, her blog became Skida’s e-commerce site. While studying in Nepal her junior year (2011), the cashmere industry inspired her next business move.
Back home, to meet growing demand, Prevot turned to the seamstress tradition of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. The area once served as a hub for garment manufacturing. Now, Skida employs a dozen skilled Vermonters. And last winter, Prevot sold 25,000 Skida pieces in more than 200 stores from Wyoming to North Carolina.
From the Winter 2015 issue.