Creating New Style for the Slopes
by Audrey Poff, photography by Anna Stonehouse
Two Jonesboro natives with a passion for skiing and comradery after a day on the slopes have teamed up to create ski suits engineered for the mountains and styled for continuing the fun after hours.
Erick Isaacson and Warren Boone, both 2002 graduates of Jonesboro High School, played sports together while growing up in Jonesboro and were roommates at Rhodes College in Memphis. After earning their undergraduate degrees, the two moved to Fayetteville and took a year off from their studies, both working at Washington Regional Medical Center during that time. Isaacson worked in the cath lab at the hospital, while Boone worked in the wound care clinic.
Afterwards, Isaacson attended medical school in northern Missouri and Detroit, then completed his residency in anesthesiology in Chicago and an adult cardiothoracic fellowship in New Orleans. Boone attended the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock and then headed to Charleston, S.C., for a residency in emergency medicine.
After residency, Isaacson moved to Fayetteville, where he practices as a cardiothoracic anesthesiologist. He and his wife, Victoria (Ragland), formerly of Jonesboro, have a 1-year old daughter, Elle Minor. Boone remained in Charleston for several years before moving to California. He and his wife, Nikki (Rouel), have a 1-year-old son, Michael Warren.
Both men still have family in Jonesboro. Isaacson’s parents, Dr. Mike and Julie Isaacson, and his in-laws, Dr. Darrell and Jan Ragland, live in Jonesboro. Boone’s parents, Mike and Tonya Boone, live in Jonesboro as well, as does his grandmother, Janie Boone, and several members of his extended family.
While home for the holidays, Isaacson and Boone were able to share information on their newest ski apparel venture with Occasions, an idea that is coming to fruition after more than six years of consideration.
When and where did you learn to ski?
Isaacson: My parents introduced me to skiing as a youngster on annual family trips to Snowmass/Aspen, Colo.
Boone: I skied for the first time in Breckenridge, Colo., while with Erick and a few Rhodes College fraternity brothers during a spring break trip.
What is your top ski destination and why?
Isaacson: Aspen, Colorado, takes the cake for us. It’s still our favorite even though we’ve been more times than we can count because it combines a wide variety of world class terrain with fine dining and drinking establishments, all in a historic old mining town with Western swagger.
How did you decide on the name Aprèsbros?
Isaacson: We tossed around a few names, but we settled on Aprèsbros for a couple of reasons. First, après hour is that hour or two spent hanging around the fire with friends after skiing. You tell stories and make plans for the evening and maybe have a cocktail or two. It’s just a special time, a time that means a lot to us and that we wanted to tap into for our brand. It kind of encapsulates the whole ski experience for us – it’s a bridge between the on-mountain action of the day and whatever you want to get into at night. So, we wanted après to be in the name. We’re a couple of friends, so we naturally gave “bros” a shot at the end of “après.” Secondly, Aprèsbros just has a nice ring to it, or at least we think so.
What has been the biggest challenge in moving forward with the business?
Boone: We’ve encountered more challenges than we could possibly recount here, but if we had to boil it down to one thing, we’d say just making the decision to start, to hop in. That’s so hard. You can think of a million and one reasons not to do something, but at some point you just have to go for it.
Do you have inventory that you are selling or are you working from a prototype?
Isaacson: We have inventory. We have a full but limited first season of men’s and women’s ski suits. We also have other merchandise, things like hats, golf shirts and robes.
Where can the ski suits be purchased?
Boone: We’re mostly direct to consumer. Hop on apresbros.com to get yours. We’re also in talks with a local boutique in Jonesboro, and Kemo Sabe in Aspen, Colorado, will be carrying our products. The men’s suit is $1,295 and the women’s suit retails for $1,095.
Describe some of the features that you like the most about your first design.
Isaacson: The men’s suit features a zip-out vest with an oversized collar that looks really sharp with a pair of jeans and keeps you really warm on the mountain. The women’s suit comes with a pair of patriotic gaiters that make the suit pop and also really help keep the cold at bay when you’re getting turns in.
What kind of feedback have you gotten from customers or people who have seen the patriotic design on the slopes?
Boone: Everyone loves it! We get lots of people wanting to take pictures with us in the suits, and we love it when the occasional “USA!” chant breaks out.
Isaacson: Aside from the aesthetics, people are also really impressed with the feel and fit of the suits. We put a lot of time and energy into making sure we had the highest quality materials and dialing in the tailoring.
What’s next for the company?
Isaacson: Our priority is always going to be making ski suits. We think the next one will be a ski suit modeled after the all-white combat fatigues the 10th Mountain Division wore during WWII. The 10th has always been an inspiration for us both for a few reasons, not least of which is the fact that my grandfather deployed to Europe with the 10th. The soldiers of the 10th were specially trained in alpine warfare, so the way they combined a love of skiing with a devotion to freedom has obvious echoes in our brand. Following heroic campaigns in Italy, the men who were lucky enough to make it back to the United States revolutionized the ski industry and created most of the mountains that are now icons of the American ski scene, including Aspen.
It has been a few years in the making, but the longtime friends’ quest for the ultimate ski suit has finally become a reality with the creation of the Aprèsbros brand. They continue to hit the slopes every chance they get, and today, the two Jonesboro natives just might be the most stylish skiiers on the mountain. For more information on Boone and Isaacson’s new business venture and to view products offered by the company, visit apresbros.com.