Ursa Major’s #LiveMajor Instagram Contest

Ursa Major's #LiveMajor Instagram contest collage

We’re launching our first Instagram contest!

Starting today we invite you to share your favorite outdoor moments by entering our #LiveMajor contest on Instagram for a chance to win some of your favorite Ursa Major loot.

Whether you live deep in the woods, on the coast, or in a big city, we really want to see how you Live Major.

To submit an image, just include “#livemajor” and “@ursamajorvt” in the photo caption on Instagram.

Every submission will appear in a photo gallery on our web site and we’ll be checking the submissions daily and regramming our favorites (with credit info of course!). The three photo submissions with the most love (likes) on our feed on June 1st will win:

  1. Grand Prize: Ursa Major x Topo Designs Dopp Kit, Ursa Major Athletic Grey Tee ($155 value)
  2. Runner Up: Big Kahuna Skin Care Set ($104 value)
  3. Third Place: UM Skin Care travel set with 10 Face Wipes ($45 value)

Max of one submission a day please – check out the contest rules here.

We can’t wait to see what ‘live major’ means to you! Happy snapping….

Retailer Profile: Denver, Colorado’s Armitage & McMillan

Once a month or so we’re going to feature a shop that carries the Ursa Major line. If you live nearby any of these spots, definitely stop by. Tell ‘em Ursa Major sent you.

This month we spoke with Armitage & McMillan co-founder Daniel Armitage about his beginnings in retail, his store, and life in the Mile High City.

Daniel Armitage, co-founder of Armitage & McMillan in Denver, Colorado, relaxes in his shop.

How did you get into retail?

Darin and I actually got into the retail side of the business fairly late in life, compared to most I think. We ran a successful vintage clothing buying/selling business for several years out of Denver but we could never figure out how to turn that business into something more enjoyable and sustainable, so we closed the business and moved to NYC (Darin to finally use his music business degree and me to work as a web designer). Somewhere along the way we both ended up on the retail side of menswear.

I guess because we had so many years of buying clothing on our resumé, when our other ventures didn’t work out, the default for both of us was the clothing business. (more…)

Two bearded Texans decamp at UM HQ

team pic with ptmk

We had the pleasure of hosting our friends JR and Ben from Ptarmak last week here in BTV for some brainstorming around our brand and growth plan. PTMK has been our design partner from day one and we consider them an integral part of our growing team. Based in Austin, the talented PTMK crew offers an unusual blend of strategy, branding and package design chops and it’s been a sincere pleasure working with them over the years (!), even if most of our communication happens over the phone and web. We couldn’t ask for a more talented, committed design partner and we’re excited about the possibilities for UM in 2014 and beyond … onward! (Btw the photo above was taken outside American Flatbread, a UM favorite, where we all feasted on delicious pizza and sampled a variety of local Zero Gravity brews before sending JR and Ben on their way back south …)

What’s Inspiring Us at Ursa Major: Budapest, Cabin life, and the War on Drugs

Once a month this spring and summer we’re going to take a moment to share the things that are inspiring the UM crew outside of the office. Think of it as a look into what makes the crew behind the Great Bear tick.

Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel poster

Wes Anderson - The Grand Budapest Hotel

I was completely blown away by this movie.  Nearly every single shot is arresting on its own while contributing to a beautiful, captivating whole.  Everything is so meticulously crafted and cohesive, to the point of bordering on visual overload (but in the best way possible).  Wes Anderson’s filmmaking eye is incredible. ~ Nicole

Alone in the Wilderness – The Story of Dick Proenneke

If you’re looking for a way to explore that urge to “live simply” without leaving the confines of your own home, this is the right film for you. Alone in the Wilderness explores the life of Dick Proenekke, a craftsman who left society and its comforts behind to hew his existence from the remote Alaskan landscape with his own two hands. He endeavored to “live simply” and on his own for thirty straight years. I like to think of Dick whenever I need inspiration (to quote another self-reliant woodsman) “to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.” ~ Marshall

The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream

I have been listening to this album for the past few weeks and have been drawn to the instant familiarity of it. As a child of the 80′s it brings back a lot of memories of riding in a car with my parents and listening to classic rock. In particular, you can really notice the influences of Neil Young and Dire Straits. Now that I think about it, that’s probably why I like the song “1904” by the Tallest Man on Earth too … it kind of has a Bob Dylan feel to it.

Check out The War on Drugs, including my personal favorite, “Red Eyes,” below. ~ Chris 

 

Getting much more out of swimming

total-immersion book cover

I first heard about this book from a friend of mine who’s a casual triathlete. I recently pulled it down from the book-shelf now that I’ve started swimming again to help rehab from a lower back injury. Instead of prescribing lap after lap of grueling drills (mileage is the key!), the author approaches swimming like yoga or martial arts, leading you through a series of simple, intentional exercises designed to help you unlearn how you were taught to swim and re-program your brain/nervous system to swim with ease and efficiency.

The crazy thing is, his method works: you would be hard pressed to find a better DIY program for learning to become a better swimmer and – equally important – for learning to enjoy swimming more. If want to mix up your work-out routine (or simply find a new way to zen out before or after a long day’s work), check out this book and the accompanying video.

New man on board

chris little blog cabin

We would like to welcome Chris Little to our fledgling team here in BTV. Chris recently moved back to Vermont from Boston where he worked for a successful tech company. He’s an entrepreneurial fellow with a knack for developing new business so we’re excited to have him on board (even if only for three days a week to begin with). He’ll be focusing on creating new strategic partnerships to help Ursa Major find new customers, while working laterally across the business to help us work smarter (that’s a tall order!). When Chris is not chained to his desk here at UM he’s out ice-sailing, skiing with his fiancé Kathryn or making these wonderfully clear ice balls for discerning spirits-drinkers worldwide.

PR round-up: what do Jared Leto and lingerie have in common?

Stumped?

They’re both on the cover of magazines that have recently featured our Essential Face Wipes.

Ursa Major got some major press love recently, with the wipes appearing in both Nylon Guys in January and Playboy in March.

January 2014's Nylon Guys magazine cover and s

“Whether your mug is super parched or you’re just lazy, moisture-rich cleansing cloths easily eliminate grime. Try Ursa Major Essential Face Wipes.”

The cover of the March 2014 issue of Playboy Magazine featuring Ursa Major face wipes inside.

“Pickup games happen. Keep these cleansing and moisturizing wipes at the ready in your glove compartment.”

We love our wipes and think every guy should try them, so it’s pretty cool to see them right there next to an Oscar winner one month and in the pages of America’s most [in]famous magazine the next.

Finally, before signing off, we wanted to share this snippet from Austin Shirley, a barber from Alabama, who recently reviewed our Face Wash and Face Tonic for Southern Living:

“Over the years, I’ve tried more than my fair share of men’s skin care. From the drugstore brand to top of the line scientifically formulated, small-batch, etc.—I’ve tested it. The best I’ve found is Ursa Major. The Face Wash/Tonic Combo Set ($48) make a noticeable difference in skin tone and clarity while providing a healthy glow with a killer fresh scent. Skin care is the area where you get what you pay for. Spend more, feel better.”

Wow. Thanks, Austin! We appreciate the kind words.

Instagram mash up – January & February 2014

We’ve been slacking on our monthly Instagram mash-ups, so here’s a two-for-one: the most popular images from January and February.

A collage of the most popular images from Ursa Major's instagram feed from January and February 2014.A sneak-peek of our new Traveler’s Skin Care Kit, a few cabins, a classic Vermont barn… Rustic wooden structures always get lots of love on our feed – what does this say about all of us?

To follow along more closely, check out our Instagram feed @ursamajorvt.

@UrsaMajorVT – donning a new bear suit

UM_VT_R3-01

Heads up, friends: you may have noticed, we recently tweaked our digital brand handle from “UrsaMajorMen” to “UrsaMajorVT” across all our channels (URL, Twitter, Instagram, etc). Same friendly crew, same great products – we’re just embracing our Vermont roots! Feelin’ like a new bear already (nothing against the old one… this suit just feels more us). Onward & upward, The UM Crew (in VT!)

2014? Bring it on

A mess of planning documents and beer on top of a table at Ursa Major headquarters in Burlington, Vermont.

We’re wrapping up our annual plan over here at UM HQ. About time, I guess, as we’re almost six weeks into 2014! Planning’s a funny thing in a small company – it’s important to do some, but it’s easy to overdo it. We are, after all, only seven people (plus some awesome collaborators who work off campus). We’ve ended up in a good place: everyone has a clear road-map for their piece of the business and it all stacks up to a bigger, unifying vision with some clear – and ambitious – goals. Now it’s time to set the plan aside and turn our full attention to implementing it, something we’re all relishing after weeks of mulling through lots of what-if and how-to scenarios. Bring it on!