Put Big Colorado Love in Your Life
by Martinique Davis
Jan 28, 2013 | 2845 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print

COLORADO LOVE – Beth Kelly showed off her signature hats last week in Telluride (Photo by Brett Schreckengost)

COLORADO LOVE – Beth Kelly showed off her signature hats last week in Telluride (Photo by Brett Schreckengost)
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John and Beth Kelly Donate 10 Percent of Profits to Charity



TELLURIDE – The concept made its big splash last summer, as the guests at Telluride residents’ Beth and John Kelly’s June wedding sported custom-made hats showcasing a heart on the Colorado flag.

The design was Beth’s brainchild, and the hats were surprise gifts from their Telluride friends. The bike parade from their wedding ceremony at the Telluride Museum through downtown Telluride offered an impromptu unveiling of the Telluride-born motif: And with that, the Kellys business Big Colorado Love was born.

“The next thing we knew, there were 100 of these hats floating around Colorado and beyond, and the demand was born,” says Beth Kelly, who had envisioned the design for years and ultimately created stickers boasting the heart emblem in place of the classic Colorado “C” on the state’s ubiquitous flag. The concept likely wouldn’t have gone much farther than the batch of stickers then being sold at the Steaming Bean coffee-house, but the surprise wedding gifts, bought by their friends, using Beth’s design and given to the guests as wedding favors, gave the idea a life of its own.

“Our friends basically gave us a small business as a wedding gift,” says Kelly, who now oversees sales of not only hats and stickers but also T-shirts, beer koozies and beer buckles (belt buckles that conveniently double as bottle openers,) from their company website www.bigcoloradolove.com.

The Telluride-based business made its official local retail debut on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at Telluride’s Noel Night, and the next weekend at the Telluride Artisan’s Guild’s Holiday Bazaar in December, where Kelly was able to witness customers’ reaction to her motif firsthand. “One woman explained it perfectly, when she said that this is a non-brand brand – in other words, it doesn’t advertise a specific town, or company, or ski area; it’s advertising something a little bit bigger than that,” she says.

True to its name, Big Colorado Love does, indeed, encompass an ideal that is larger than the sum of its parts. To pay forward the generosity of the friends and family who chipped in to purchase the first batch of canvas hats embroidered with Beth’s logo, the Kellys decided to donate 100 percent of the profits from the first 100 trucker hats sold from their website to charity. Proceeds from those sales went to a fund supporting the victims of the Aurora theatre shooting, and the couple went on to make charitable giving part of their business plan. Now, 10 percent of all the company’s profits go to Colorado-based charities. For the months of October through December, Toys for Tots was the recipient of Big Colorado Love’s love.

“Nobody’s exactly getting rich selling hats, so we’re trying to do as much good as we can,” says Kelly, who moved to Telluride from Pennsylvania in 2004 and has worked in various dimensions locally, including bartending, substitute teaching, writing sports for The Watch and working at the Telluride Medical Center and Telluride Historical Museum. She is currently the assistant director of Sales and Marketing at Telluride Helitrax. She met her husband John, director of Resort Services at Telluride Ski Resort, in 2008 in Telluride.

Big Colorado Love hats are now carried by Telluride Sports stores, which also have branches in Vail, Beaver Creek and Crested Butte. Locally, the hats are available at Heritage Apparel in Mountain Village and Telluride Outside. Stickers are available at the Steaming Bean, and the Hub in Telluride also sells iphone cases with the design. All Big Colorado Love products can be found on the company’s website.  

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