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CU Boulder student takes new marketing approach to fun apparel line

Posted at 10:05 AM, Apr 13, 2023

BOULDER, Colo. — The college years are memorable for many reasons. But, how many students can say they started a business while in school?

That's been a challenge and reward for a University of Colorado sophomore from Littleton.

You're in good company with Dumbclub. The name might surprise you, and that's on purpose.

"I feel like a lot of people are intrigued by the name Dumbclub," said founder Rylan Montoya. "It's a good conversation starter, and it gets people to ask, 'What is Dumbclub?'"

What started as a fun side project at the start of the pandemic at Heritage High School has become a full-blown business.

"We attract like, a lot of fun customers that don't take life too seriously," said Montoya. "And, I think that's kind of embodied in the name."

Dumbclub is an apparel line with hoodies and hats, mainly. But, Montoya has built the brand by marketing around the CU Boulder campus with trivia and challenge videos on social media.

"We pull all these college kids in through our videos, and then they fall in love with our clothes," said Montoya.

Each sweatshirt comes with a quirky animal and phrase on the front. There's the "Quack" rubber duck hoodie, or the "Stay Cool" penguin on ice, or "Happy Camper" polar bear roasting marshmallows.

Dumbclub's account on TikTok now has 1.2-million followers, and he's letting social media feedback guide where the brand goes from here.

"We started and had no hopes it'd be some huge thing," said Montoya. "We just did it for fun, and it gained traction really, really fast."

Now at 20 years old, Montoya is trying to balance being a full-time student, and running a big-time business.

"I get to have hands-on learning through experience with the business," said Montoya. "Then I get to have classroom time too to build the necessary skills. But, it's definitely a lot handle."

And, it's a thread he'll keep pulling to see how far it goes.

"I think a lot of our community is super positive," Montoya said. "They have a positive outlook on life, and we just want to continue spreading that positivity around campus, around Boulder, and around the world."

Proceeds from some of their designs also support animal or environment nonprofits.

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