Dynamic Seattleites: Outdoor Mogul, Bryce Phillips

Bryce Phillips of Evo; Photo by Chris Laurion

Trendsetting and trailblazing — this pro-athlete has built an outdoorsman’s Mecca.

For 34-year-old Bryce Phillips, professional skier and multi-talented businessman, the top two definitions of the word “mogul” are as connected to his life as clicked in boots to a binding.

Bryce Phillips of EVO at their headquarters in Fremont; Photo by Chris Laurion

Without snow-white bumps created by mountains and cold and moisture, there wouldn’t be Evo, one of the hippest retail spaces in town. Without one, the other could not exist.  It’s a beautiful symbiotic relationship, and he’s bringing us all for the ride.

Phillips got his first taste of gliding on snow in the fifth grade, when an uncle introduced him to skiing.  By twenty, he was competing and earning sponsorships from local companies like K2 and spending winters in Whistler.

Free skis didn’t cover all of his expenses though, so in 2001, Phillips launched Evo and began selling gear out of his Wallingford apartment in hopes of financing another season up north.  Over time, Phillips and friends streamlined the process.

“It went from [two people] doing everything like buying, shipping, fielding phone calls, emails, and putting on events to a small group of guys, all of whom I traveled with and spent time in the mountains,” says Phillips.

Luckily for us, he wanted more than to just spend year after year achieving first tracks on a blue-bird day.  Phillips began to get serious about taking his business to a very corporal level, and the prospect of opening a retail space in Fremont in 2005 became more than a half-pipe dream.

“When it was time to open a physical store,” says Phillips, “it was natural to design a space that was flexible and would truly engage the customer at a deeper level rather than just exist to sell stuff.”

With his hip retail location in Fremont that also serves as an art and event space, and his vastly thriving online retail store, Phillips’ dream has come a long way from his humble beginnings. Now with 80 plus team members and $20 million in sales last year, Phillips is sitting pretty on the highest peak with his “Evo empire”.

And Phillips’ success hasn’t gone unnoticed. The Puget Sound Magazine had Evo as a top 100 local company from 2006-2008, and Ski Magazine awarded Bryce’s efforts with recognition as the best Etailer of the year in 2009.  To balance the accolades, Evo’s storefront pulls its weight as well, getting shop of the year  awards from local press like King 5 and the Seattle Times and national recognition from the likes of Smith Optics and Snowboard Mag.

The hip Evo image, where outdoor sports have a direct link to the fashion and lifestyle they inspire, fuels the company’s fire. The Evo storefront and interior constantly change to match the evolution of the outdoor industry, allowing Phillips to not only keep up with the trends, but push a few of his own.

So what’s next for Phillips? From retailer to real estate developer, Phillips is wearing another hat as a real estate mogul. He’s recently launched Evo Properties, a boutique real estate development company with a focus on energizing the community and  businesses with their unique projects and holistic approach to development. Phillips will  be bringing his epic taste and style from the storefront to the streets of up and coming neighborhoods in Seattle — we welcome his Midas touch.

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