In 2006, Annelise Loevlie was managing five restaurants in Colorado’s Front Range when she got a call from her friend Ben Anderson, who’d started making skis in his parents’ garage. He’d come up with a logo and a name for his boutique brand: Icelantic Skis. “I need your help making this into a real business,” he told her. “I didn’t even think about it,” Loevlie remembers. “I was like, ‘Yep, I’ll do it.’ I don’t think any of us thought that now 12 years later, we’d still be here.”
Loevlie knew enough to start handling sales and marketing for Icelantic, which rapidly grew over the next decade but was still hemorrhaging money in 2014, when she became the CEO and started making tough decisions. “We had never made money the entire time we were in business. We had investors who were getting tired,” she says. “I assessed the whole business. I couldn’t handle the inefficiencies. So I presented to the board all the problems and solutions. And they were like, ‘Go ahead. Let’s do it.’”
She fired friends, moved full-timers to contracts, shut down Icelantic’s European office, and moved its U.S. headquarters from Denver to a less expensive location in nearby Golden, Colorado. Icelantic is now going into its fourth year of profitability, with 30 percent year-over-year growth for each. We called Loevlie between trade shows and a trip to Japan to see how it’s all going.