For Patrick Mihalic, an entrepreneur based in Breckenridge, "Pure Life" is more than just words, more than just the brand name for his startup company; it's a philosophy.
Mihalic, 31, has been involved in sports like snowboarding, skateboarding and surfing for as long as he can remember. Now, he's channeling his passion into business. His company Pure Life launched in 2011 and has gone from selling T-shirts to products including snowboards and skateboarding shoes, with bigger plans on the horizon.
A native of Florida, Mihalic spent much of his youth on a board of some kind. Skateboarding and surfing came naturally and he has fond memories of snowboarding in the mountains of North Carolina with his father and snow trips to West Virginia with friends.
"Anything on a board, I can do," he said with a smile.
Mihalic describes himself at that time as a typical young man, hanging out with friends, going to parties, following the crowd.
"We have me, young, partying, doing what everyone else was doing," he said. "Then, I went to church one day and it changed my life."
The experience inspired Mihalic to think more about what he was doing with his life.
"I started writing, writing out my dreams. I started having these awesome ideas," he said. "I separated myself from the crowd."
Eventually, Mihalic moved to Breckenridge, where he still spent time snowboarding and skateboarding, but this time without the drinking and partying that he had done before. He looked toward the more positive aspects of life, he said, and felt better for it.
He also took some time to travel around the country, working as a street performer. He dressed up as Spiderman, posing for pictures and entertaining tourists from Boulder to Las Vegas to New York City.
Mihalic returned to Breckenridge for good in 2010, tired, he said, from his travels. He was ready for the next step, but not entirely sure what that was, so he once again turned to his source of inspiration.
"I prayed for, like, four hours. I'll never forget it," he said.
The result was Pure Life, the idea of living a clean, healthy, positive lifestyle. This was the concept that Mihalic decided would be vital to his business.
"God gave me this vision and I got ecstatic about it," Mihalic said. His goal, with his products and his message, is "to inspire. That's 100 percent it."
Mihalic started his business with T-shirts, but he wanted to go further and incorporate his love for athletics as well. He took business classes at the Colorado Mountain College, researching and developing his plan. He spent time negotiating and bargaining with manufacturers, fighting until he got the deal that he wanted.
"It's been a journey. It's been hard," he said of being an entrepreneur. "It's been the hardest thing I've ever done in my life."
All the hard work paid off and he was finally able to launch Pure Life. As of this year, his products on offer include snowboards and skateboarding shoes, with more to come.
Mihalic is a large proponent of bamboo snowboards. Although he also sells boards made of aspen and oak, he says that bamboo is his favorite. The qualities he admires include its strength, flexibility and light weight.
"I'm pretty hooked on bamboo," he said.
The designs on Mihalic's boards also represent the Pure Life philosophy. He said he doesn't like the decals often seen on snowboards and skateboards of skulls and sayings like "Skater Die." His designs are more positive, with natural elements such as mountains and rivers.
"Some people are caught off guard, they're like, 'You don't have demons on your snowboard?'" he said. "I'm trying to change that. I am going to change that."
Mihalic said that things have been going well for Pure Life so far, and he's looking to continue that streak by expanding. He wants to sell more products - skateboards, for instance, and eventually surfboards and all kinds of gear related to the two. Right now he has a website, but eventually he'd like to get a shop or two, in Breckenridge if possible, though he also has his eye on Costa Rica.
His ambitions don't stop just at sports products, however. Mihalic also expressed interest in documentary making, sharing the stories of athletes with the world.
Throughout all of his endeavors, however, he hopes to promote the positive message and philosophy behind Pure Life.
"I don't judge people. Living a pure lifestyle, having a good heart, is it," he said. "I want to show people that that's life. There's hope. You don't have to do what everybody else does."