Celebrating Climbing Culture | On and Off the Wall | Built On Passion Podcast

September 29, 2021 2 min read

Celebrating Climbing Culture | On and Off the Wall | Built On Passion Podcast

This text was originally posted on Built On Passion's blog:

Matt (Built On Passion Podcast) sits down with Dynamite Starfish founder Leslie Kim. Dynamite Starfish makes climbing apparel with climbing culture-inspired designs to fill in some of the blanks in the culture of the climbing community.

Leslie has been a longtime designer, in her career and just as a personal passion. Between her visual art and her many (MANY) hobbies, she’s had a chance to see what kind of culture exists within all the circles she became a part of. As she got into climbing, she felt a SERIOUS sense of community and culture but didn't feel there was a lot of apparel that shines the spotlight on what climbing is REALLY about. I mean, how does one represent the entire zeitgeist of an activity that is built around close-knit communities that are propping up a sport? Well, Leslie found a way. 

There are so many tropes, cliches, and inside jokes embedded in the culture of climbing that every climber is familiar with whether they realize it or not. Leslie aims to take those commonalities and use them to help strengthen a community and make more space for fun. Climbing culture extends beyond the act of climbing and that’s a lot of what Leslie want’s to highlight. Being a climber can mean a lot of things for a lot of different reasons to a lot of different people but, it’s all built on the hinge of the love of the sport and that’s exactly what Leslie wants Dynamite Starfish to amplify.

In this episode of Built On Passion Leslie Kim shares what kinds of roadblocks she faced in starting Dynamite Starfish (but, physical and mental), the uncomfortable nuances of crossing over into the entrepreneurial world, and how she managed to come out on top, and her ‘how’ and ‘why’ behind building Dynamite Starfish


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Key Points From This Episode:

  • An introduction to Leslie, her passion, work, and history in the entrepreneurial space.

  • The long-term wish that Leslie had to start something like Dynamite Starfish. 

  • Colorizing the sport with culture; Leslie's impetus for the company and its art.

  • The early days of Dynamite Starfish and how the business got up and running. 

  • Choices for material and fit; what directed Leslie's choices for her t-shirts.  

  • Other avenues that Leslie has explored: climber interviews and road trip playlists. 

  • The deep-rooted connection that people find in the climbing community. 

  • How Leslie grew her self-confidence and belief; overcoming some of the doubts that were present.  

  • The fear of sharing your art and creativity with the world and Leslie's journey with these challenges. 

  • Leslie's advice for starting a business and getting past doubts and trusting yourself. 

  • The future hopes and plans for Dynamite Starfish and Leslie's organic approach to growth. 

  • Leslie's favorite parts of running the business and the learning that comes from facing fears.

  • How to connect with Leslie and Dynamite Starfish online!

Leslie Kim
Leslie Kim

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