From Farm to Fashion: meet Cheri Sanguinetti

Excuse the stereotypes for this one, please:

Lots of girls grow up wanting to design clothes. Like boys and their dreams of becoming professional athletes, most of those

Cheri Sanguinetti, Cotopaxi apparel director

Cheri Sanguinetti, Cotopaxi apparel director

girls end up doing something more humble and ordinary. Of those who do enter the fashion industry, few actually design clothes.

Meet the exception to the rule: Cheri Sanguinetti, 33, apparel director for Cotopaxi and designer of the Bengal and Kusa jackets (better known in these parts at the Perfect Barn Coat and the Perfect Layer).

Sanguinetti grew up on a ranch west of San Francisco. Her first job out of college was in the western and equestrian boot division of Ariat. Since then, she’s worked for Marmot, Nike, and Columbia Sportswear, among others.

When she joined Cotopaxi as apparel director and founding team member in 2013, she was excited and ready.

“I’m an entrepreneur at heart. Self-starters are in my blood,” said Sanguinetti from the Cotopaxi offices in Salt Lake City, Utah. “To be apparel director here gave me the chance to really infuse the brand and not just go with the flow. That was a huge draw.”

Sanguinetti was a great fit for CEO Davis Smith’s vision of Cotopaxi:

“Cheri comes from the outdoor industry, but if you take one look at her you know she understands fashion,” said Smith. “The outdoor world is infamous for designing for men, and then shrinking and pinking the products to try to cater to a female consumer. Cheri’s vision for our apparel line has been refreshing, innovative and forward thinking. Her fashion sense is exactly what the outdoor industry has needed.”

Sanguinetti with coworker in China

Sanguinetti with coworker in China

The Bengals’ rustic yet refined look is due, not just to the styling, but also to the choice of fabrics and use of technology, explained Sanguinetti. She used Polartec Alpha insulation and lightly waxed canvas. “It breathes, so you don’t have to take it on and off. Maybe my farm upbringing sneaks into its styling. My niece does high school rodeo and she loves it.”

As for the Kusa, it was her idea to use llama fiber. It might seem like a no brainer, given that the company’s logo is a llama silhouette and two llamas (Coto and Paxi) routinely hang out and schmooze at Cotopaxi events. But the task proved challenging. Fine llama fibers are difficult to source. The Kusa uses product from Bolivian farms.

Sanguinetti likes that it’s more sustainable (and humane) than goose down. It doesn’t poke through like feathers do and performs better than wool, she said.

Keep up the good work, Cheri!

Check out the Kusa review here and the Bengal review here. Enter “nickernews” at checkout to receive 20 percent off.

No Goose in the Kusa

The Perfect Barn Coat just found its perfect layer, now making it a four-season jacket to love and adore. The perfect layer? The new, ultra thin Kusa jacket from Cotopaxi.

llama-outerwearThe reversible Kusa weighs just 15 ounces and has an attractive quilted stitching pattern on one side and is nearly stitch-free on the other. Its thinness, slick material, and simple design (no pointless pockets or cumbersome tailoring) make it great for slipping under the Bengal, aka the Perfect Barn Coat.

We’re giving away a Bengal at the Equine Affaire. Read giveaway details here.

The folks at Cotopaxi, a Utah company with a strong charity component, introduced a revolutionary new insulation fiber to the outdoor clothing world by using fine llama fibers from Bolivia. Llamas! Those loveable, protective camelids, kissing cousins of equids. Sure, folks have used llama fiber before, but not in this

1387880technique. The hollow llama fiber has been blended with polyester to create a fill that’s warm, light, and likeable. Who likes the idea of all those geese being slaughtered for goose down, anyway? Add human and sustainable to the list of pros.

Kusa’s sizing is user friendly. The jacket is unisex, styled the same for men and women, with four brass-colored side snaps that make it perfect for riding and for anyone who is standing and sitting and standing and sitting. The Kusa in men’s small and the women’s medium.

Enter “nickernews” at checkout and receive 20 percent off Cotopaxi items!

Read about Cheri Sanguinetti, the creator of the Kusa and Bengal.

Love the side snaps!

Skida jazzes up the hat world

PrintJust in time for winter, UtahOutsider has a new friend. Say hello to Skida, the Vermont headwear and accessories company.

Screen-Shot-2015-11-03-at-2.03.37-PMWhat Darn Tough has done for the drab, itchy sock industry, Skida is doing for the drab, itchy hat world. The colorful, hip hats fit easily under riding helmets and will jazz up any barn or trekking outfit.

We’ll be giving away Skida hats and Darn Tough socks at the Equine Affaire. Check out details here.

Skida (Swedish for ‘to ski’) was founded by entrepreneur Corinne Prevot when the cross country skier was still in high school. That was about seven years ago and Prevot was sewing the hats herself and selling them to friends and teammates at Burke Mountain Academy, in East Burke, VT. Since then, the 24-year old has graduated from Middlebury College and her business has boomed. Last year, Skida produced 50,000 pieces and sold to about 300 retail accounts, from resort shops to small country stores. It does a brisk business with web sales, too.

This year, it will make many more. “We’ve definitely grown at lightning speed,” said Prevot.

No ‘made in China’ tags here. The fabrics are cut in New Hampshire and made by contracted seamstresses in northern Vermont. The company recently introduced gorgeous cashmere items and has a budding relationship with a factories and artisans in Nepal.

Prevot and her team of four full-timers just opened a storefront in Burlington.

Check out the website here.

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 12.49.10 PM

Species Parade, Week Nine

Moving 300 miles southwest and up 1,600 feet in elevation from my previous stomping grounds means a whole new environment and a whole new parade of species to celebrate.

IMG_2072There are still juncos and deer. In town, there are still mostly white folks. But things are much different. People and the animals act differently here. Among the humans, there’s not a lot of road rage and Type A behavior, thankfully.

On the wildlife level, I’ve particularly noticed the effect of No Hunting rules in my neighborhood. Never in my life have I seen coyote poop, play, yawn. But, thanks (I imagine) to this neighborhood policy, the animals aren’t as stressed as I’ve seen them everywhere else. It also allows for more intimate viewing and reminds me that we’re in their space, not the other way around (as so often happens when animals struggle to adjust to habitat encroachment. Darn us humans!)

To note: This week, I include animals I may not have spotted face to face, but have either heard or seen fresh signs (scat, fresh pawprints, calls in the night).

I did see with my very own eyes (and up close) a bobcat and a golden eagle. The cat was small and the bird was huge. They seemed about the same size.



Black Bear

Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle


Mule Deer


Cottontail Rabbit

Grey Squirrel

Brush Mouse


Prairie Dog





Canada Goose

Mallard Duck

Townsend’s Solitaire

IMG_1643Red Shafted Flicker

Steller’s Jay

Clark’s Nutcracker

Tufted Titmouse

Black Capped Chickadee

Mountain Chickadee

American Crow

Common Raven

Scrub Jay



Bear print

Bear print

Dark-Eyed Junco

Ringed Turtle Dove

Rock Dove

Mountain Bluebird

American Kestrel

Turkey Vulture

Red-Tailed Hawk


American Robin

Western Screech Owl

Great Horned Owl

Dusky Grouse

Golden Eagle



The Future of UtahOutsider

As seen east of Mancos, CO (me thinks Utahns prefer condos nowadays)

As seen east of Mancos, CO




For those of you wondering what will happen to UtahOutsider now that I’ve high-tailed it to Colorado: fear not.

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 11.19.55 AM UtahOutsider lives on!

The site will remain live and the new ColoradoOutsider will debut in January, 2016.

Suffice to say, I reserve the prerogative to maintain my outsider (non-native) status in both states. They’re still a long way from my native state of Maine and there’s still a lot to consider from an outsider’s perspective.

I will continue to get outside, report on others getting outside, and discuss new discoveries outside. I’ll make regular forays back into Utah and will also report from the Mile High state, mostly from the southwestern corner.

Thanks very much for your readership. You continue to be the best audience a gal could wish for.

Read What’s to Love and What’s Not to Love about Utah.

Check out this musical slideshow of the first month in southwestern Colorado.



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