Small Business Spotlight: Compas Life Apparel

Whenever someone asks me where I’m from when I’m traveling, my response is always “New York…Upstate New York”. Us upstaters are pretty proud of where we’re from, so we generally have no hesitations in letting people know we’re from upstate. This is why I love this next apparel company and their signature Upstate of Mind line, which was born out of a need to escape the daily grind and reset. So let’s learn more about Compas Life Apparel, the founders and how their signature line was created.


Business Name: Compas Life Apparel – Upstate of Mind
Owners: John Schildbach and Tim Fealey
Established Year: 2015
Location: Upstate New York – Albany, NY

Facebook: @compaslife
Instagram: @compaslife 
Website: www.compaslife.com // www.upstateofmind.com 

Tell us about your business and the story behind its creation!
The company started with an idea back in 2013, Tim and I were both working for a popular apparel company in New York City at the time.With the both of us being from upstate, me being from the Hudson Valley and Tim from the Capital region, we wanted to create a relatable outdoor apparel company for the everyday explorer looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city. That’s when we came up with the idea of Compas Life and Upstate of Mind. We officially launched our company a year and half later on November 7, 2015.

What products and services do you offer? What makes them unique?
We produce high quality graphic apparel from t-shirts and crewneck fleece to accessories like hats, beanies and socks. What makes them unique is that we live by the words behind Upstate of Mind. Whether you’re local to Upstate, and weekender or just a traveler. We find that there is something special about breaking your routine and enjoying adventures in new places. It brings out a sense of pride within the community of people who wear our products.

What do you love most about running your own business and being a business owner?
We would have to say that the thing that we love the most about running our own business is the rewarding feeling you get when someone is so excited to purchase one of your products. It is such a wonderful feeling. With being a business owner, having the ability to put your personal stamp and touch within the community through your products is also super rewarding. 

What has been one of the most memorable experiences or opportunities that you’ve experienced since opening your business?
With our mission being about experiencing new places and new things with an Upstate of Mind. I would have to say that our excursion adventures in Upstate New York and Vermont, pre-pandemic were some of the most memorable experiences we’ve had. There is just something about a group of people coming together to spend a weekend mostly off of the grid and enjoying some time for themselves. 

What advice would you give to aspiring business owners?
It takes a lot of time, patience and energy to start up your own business, but it is the most rewarding thing to see your ideas unfold and blossom into reality. Keep working hard and you’ll continue to see it grow. We’re still doing the same, and will continue to do so.

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