Ram Mikulas, the brain and brawn behind SkyGOAT’s CAMP fleece hoodie, has always loved outdoor apparel.
“But I’m also really picky,” he laughed.
Constantly on the hunt for the coziest and best fitting tops to wear while recreating outdoors, he never seemed to find that perfect one. “I just thought, hey, maybe I could figure it out and create a comfortable garment that I can share with other people.”
Ram took a sewing class in high school, his wife Jean is skilled with the craft, and they own a sewing machine – so, why the heck not, right?
“I literally grabbed all the garments in my closet that I liked and asked myself: What do I like about this one? What do I like about that one?”
Ram created a pattern out of paper bags, used his pattern to create a prototype, and soon found himself en route to creating a hoodie specifically for living in and recreating through mountains.
After sewing a handful of iterations, “I thought, hey, this is actually pretty decent!” Ram laughed.
Ram worked with Polartec® on sourcing recycled fleece from their Tennessee factory, and hired a mom-and-pop manufacturer in Denver to do the sewing. Together, they dialed in the design, finally perfecting SkyGOAT’s flagship CAMP hoodie in the Fall of 2020.
“There aren’t a lot of small manufacturing organizations out there, so finding one in Denver was super lucky,” Ram said of securing a local company to work with.
Ram is very pleased with SkyGOAT’s final product. “It’s a comfortable, lightweight layer that you can do anything in.” Dubbed “mountain lifestyle apparel,” the small brand’s garments are made for both trail and town.
The CAMP hoodies, which come in both men’s and women’s cuts and are equipped with a kangaroo pocket, are really quite simple. “It was a challenge to keep it simple. We had to find that balance of what makes a good product, but isn’t too outlandish with all sorts of bells and whistles.”
As such, you won’t find any zippers or drawstrings on SkyGOAT’s hoodies.
While it sports an athletic cut, the raglan-sleeved hoodies are designed to have a bit more wiggle room, especially around the shoulders, creating more comfort.
“More than anything, it’s about having fun and being creative,” Ram said of launching the brand.
Spending his time largely outdoors as a competitive athlete, this was a welcomed change of pace for Ram. “This has been a fun outlet to be more creative and share something fun with others.”
For Ram, the business end of SkyGOAT was the easy part. With years of ecommerce experience, that all came naturally. “The sitting down and sewing part,” he said, “and learning about stitches and fabrics; that was a learning journey for me.”
Finding a USA-made fabric source that was soft, comfy, and lightweight took some time to sift through, too. “It’s cool to have learned so much about textiles and the apparel industry,” Ram said. “Like anything, the more you learn, the more interesting it is, and the more respect you have.”
“There’s a lot of talk about sustainability and recycled fabrics, and trying to find something that fit our ethos was important.”
That ethos to inspire exploration, adventure and big dreams embodies SkyGOAT, and also Ram himself.
Whether he’s running up mountains, skiing down them, or combining both disciplines as a former competitive ski mountaineer, Ram loves the mountains.
And it might come as no surprise, with a name like Ram, he’s always had a kinship for goats. Like goats, “I love going up,” he laughed. “On skis, on foot, or climbing.”
When Ram isn’t working, playing in the mountains, serving his duties as the US Ski Mountaineering Association president, or running SkyGOAT, he and wife Jean can be found in their 1997 Airstream B190 conversion van, Billy.
“There are lots of vans out there these days, but not a lot that look like Billy,” he laughed.
Completely customized, sporting the SkyGOAT logo, and pimped out with some rugged 4x4 ‘shoes’, Billy acts as a mobile mascot that embodies the brand’s philosophy.
“He represents our lifestyle and the lifestyle that we want to encourage people to live: getting outside, being active and having fun.”
The couple spends nearly 60 nights a year “vancationing,” with even more since the pandemic began. “We get lots of stares and questions as we cruise around in Billy,” Ram laughed. “But it’s a great conversation starter and it’s fun to get out in the community and hear what other people are out doing.”
Ram said the brand recognition around town or on the open road has been validating. “Seeing people outside climbing and skiing and running in the [hoodies], or when someone tells me they never take it off and that’s the only shirt they wear…that’s rewarding.”