Nick Marvik, founder of Northwest Tech (NWT3K) outerwear, is a Seattle native who began skiing in the Pacific Northwest at age 4. He started sewing his own ski jackets in college, inspired by the individuality of the skiing and riding culture, and as these things often do, it expanded into making jackets for friends.
From that point on, he has devoted himself validating the concept of customized winter outerwear. We sat down with him to dig into this phenomenon.
How long have you been in business and how did you get your start?
NWT3K is going into it’s third winter season in business. Directly after I graduated college I got hired at Amazon.com and was doing marketing for their eCommerce product during the day and launching Northwest Tech by night. I was learning about digital marketing from the largest online store in the world and was able to apply what I learned by day into my side business by night.
I synced up with a talented software engineer, and now our CTO, Ryan Downing, in San Francisco, to build a new interactive website where snow fans could design and purchase a personalized ski or snowboard outfit. Ryan is a die-hard ski fan and engineers and builds custom software that allows us to bring our customized experience to life. Not only what you see through the website but the technology and software to integrate into our manufacturing facilities and manage tracking our inventory digitally. Together we designed and built a customized eCommerce platform while also connecting with a local facility here in Seattle’s manufacturing district to manufacture our custom products.
We originally started only selling jackets and now offer jackets, pants and pow bibs. Our customers last year wanted snow bibs that they could wear high on deep powder days but also wear lower if they wanted that touch of style when shredding a park lap. So, we created extra long adjustable suspender straps.
Tell us a little bit about your approach to apparel design. What do you do differently?
My approach to our designs came in three forms: simplicity, options and functionality.
I wanted a simplistic product – I didn’t need 17 zippers, a pocket for my tv, and a shoe shiner to go with. I wanted something basic that kept me dry and wouldn’t blow up when I sent it deep on a pow day or bailed on a rail.
On the flip side I wanted to give people what they wanted, options. Want more zippers? Great, just add them. Need pit zips for hiking and wrist gaiters for pow days? Perfect, we have those too. Pick and choose what you need in your winter gear.
And finally, functionality. I had grown up skiing park and hucking myself around in the backcountry so I had a pretty good idea what was needed to make a good fitting and functional ski jacket. Mobility for tricks and riding switch. Features that make those winter days just a little better, like face fleece, MP3 pockets, wrist gaiters and helmet friendly hoods.
What are you most stoked about for this upcoming season, both in your business and in your skiing/personal life?
I’m mostly stoked for our new company jackets program. We’ve recently expanded into a second production facility here in Seattle where we are selling to teams, clubs or companies looking to purchase custom jackets in bulk. Ski patrollers, college snowboard clubs, even your dad’s construction company.
Personally, I can’t wait to get out and ski this year. It’s been a busy summer so I’m excited to get back on the skis again and spend some time in the backcountry.
If someone was interested, how do they get started in purchasing a customized garment from you?
Vist NWT3K.com where you can read about all our products, customize your perfect winter outfit, and even contact us directly with questions. Once your order is placed it is sent to our Seattle-based manufacturing facility where we trace, cut and sew your custom gear. After that, it’s shipped directly to your door – you’ll receive a shipping confirmation via email once the label is scanned.