In late January, Peter and Patty Duke sold their remaining minority share of SmartWool to RAF Ventures, a venture investment company that has held the majority interest in the company.
Over seven years, the Dukes built SmartWool’s product line from socks and accessories, later adding base layer and outerwear pieces. The chief concept behind their products was the use of merino wool, a super-soft wool from Australian sheep that has blazed a successful trail in the outdoor industry.
In recent years, Peter has pulled back from day-to-day company operations and primarily served on the company’s board, while Patty has offered input on product design and marketing.
David Visnack, director of marketing for SmartWool, told SNEWS at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City that the company doesn’t foresee any major changes.
“We will reassess where we stand and continue to do socks,” he said. “We’ll also continue with apparel because of the time and investment we’ve put into it. The products keep getting good reception and we’ll keep moving forward.”
RAF Ventures is a privately held company that invests in early-stage companies with niche products or businesses in the Mid-Atlantic region. Since its inception in 1979, the company has acquired and invested in nearly 40 businesses focused on giftware and promotional products, industrial products, and building and paint products.