FLEAKIN' OUT WITH REDCAMPER
Maura Gramzinski was born into a family of globetrotters: starting with her Gram and Lu, travel was lifestyle gene passed on to each generation. RedCamper, her line of paper goods and picnic supplies, celebrates the roadtripping spirit and the inherent desire for connection and discovery, inspiring the wanderlust in all of us.
What does REDCAMPER mean to you?
Maura Gramzinski: I was working at an ad agency and got super burned out. I launched RedCamper with film slides incorporated into a handbag, with every one telling a story. Everything we do is in the spirit of adventure. It's about the open road and the inspiration there, the nostalgia—picnicking, summer road-tripping, exploring, taking photos—it's all an ode to my grandparents.
QUICK FACT #1
A celebration of the roadtrip itch.
QUICK Fact #2
Greeting cards, journals, and picnic deliciousness for the journey.
QUICK FACT #3
Movement inspiring, summertime preserved.
ALTHOUGH SOME MIGHT KNOW YOU FOR PRESERVES, YOU'RE MUCH MORE THAN THAT.
Maura: We are—most people in Denver know us as a preserves company, and most people outside of Colorado only know us as stationary, bags, and other goods. Through the process buying thousands of slides to make bags out of, and curating each and every bag into a story, I found amazing images that I thought didn't get as much attention as they should. I started making greeting cards for friends, and that really launched the business and allowed us a place in the market for a lower price point. It also filled a creative need to start writing more. I would write jokes to every image I was turning into a card. That was right about when Mark came on.
Mark: I came on as a designer when I was looking for a design internship. It was at a time when there wasn't a lot of design in Denver yet. I emailed Maura about her bags, and she said something along the lines of 'I don't think you want anything to do with me'—but we went and got coffee anyways. I showed her my design work, she showed me what she was working on—it was interesting, fresh, different. After five minutes we had decided to move forward together. It was a unique situation for both of us, and from there we just kept pushing the brand. The jam was my idea—the legend goes, I told Maura to submit it to the Denver County Fair. She originally won the ribbon for second place, but when she picked it up, it turned out the blue ribbon was actually meant for her. She won first place. That next peach season, we started with jam, thinking that the people who liked our cards would be interested.
HOW WAS THAT FIRST BATCH?
Mark: We decided to drive to Paonia in a pickup truck, and between the two of us we picked over 500 pounds of peaches, loaded them in the truck, drove back, and over the next couple weeks we produced about 500 jars of jam.
As a comPANY SO INFORMED BY TRAVEL, DO YOU EVER GET RESTLESS?
Maura: It is tough—it becomes hard to remember that there's a whole other world out there when you're focused on growing a business. When I'm traveling, it feels so empowering and eye-opening, and when you're home, it feels like a much smaller bubble.
TELL US ABOUT the Red CampeR.
Maura: It was a truck bed little redcamper that my parents packed us into—we traveled all around North America and down to Central America. I missed first grade and was home-schooled. We did a lot of traveling then—the camper was a tiny little thing but it saw a lot of territory. Before that, there was a VW bus. We were always on the move.