Sara Deutsch blows in the door of my house and wants to know if she can take a shower. Still sporting a pair of Burgess Custom ski pants, masses of red hair braided down, and holding a bag of street clothes, she is rushing between backcountry laps on Wyoming’s Teton Pass and appointments in the town of Jackson.
As usual, Sara has been out living in, skinning and skiing in, and testing another season of snow pants. She is, after all, the owner, designer, and driving force behind Burgess Custom, a unique company where customers can order up their own style and be assured of the fit they want: completely custom-made technical threads.
“I was really sick of my plain black ski pants,” says Sara, when graduation from Colorado State University found her in Summit County, Colorado, living the ski bum life and wearing the same thing, day in and day out. “I was being a hippie then, into making my own clothes…so I started to think about bringing new fashion into snow pants.”
Eight years later, she is at the helm of a growing company that makes both custom snow pants and sells ready-to-wear lines to gear shops. Burgess Custom has developed a loyal following around Jackson Hole and vicinity, and she is dedicated to her concept. You have to be, when the initial start-up capital comes from a five-job schedule of self-imposed slavery. “Yeah, I had two nanny jobs, a server job, bartender, and one at a rental shop,” she says, smiling. “But I’ve been able to drop the serving and the rental shop.”
The majority of orders actually focus on custom sizing, not designs and colors. Burgess Custom gets a lot of requests from hard-to-fit people, larger sizes, or like the model from New York City, with a 26-inch waist and a 36-inch inseam. And then some are not so straightforward, like the snowmobiler who sent along three pages of notes with his order. But he walked away happy, and that is how Sara likes it.
Recent success has pushed Burgess Custom to branch out into a brand new website, www.burgesscustom.com, national advertising, and securing a booth at the ski industry’s biggest tradeshow this winter—happening at the end of January in Denver. And Sara will be there, of course, fitting it all between ski days (ahem, product testing), jobs, and building ski pants to the requested perfection.