So iLL: At the Intersection of Fashion, Art and Climbing

I could just see the look on their faces – the parents of Daniel and Dave Chancellor, that is. They’re the brothers and the founders of So iLL climbing–a company that’s evolved far beyond climbing holds designed for indoor climbing over the past near-14 years. Daniel and Dave launched the vision of So iLL in high school and actually started to produce product (holds) in college. And just in case you’re wondering, they named the company So iLL because they founded it while in college in Southern Illinois! And, they did it all from scratch – and with dial-up internet and, well, zero capital. Like all great climbing startups, Daniel and Dave ate a lot of Ramen, slept in the dirt to further their vision, and literally trial and error-ed their way to success. I can honestly say, I’ve never interviewed a founder who started on his existing business while in high school… That alone makes this podcast super interesting. But learning about how they built their brand and remain stewards to it, and how they are approaching their future as a brand with impact, will inspire you. One of the most endearing parts of this podcast? You’ll hear about the impact of having his first child has had on Daniel’s entrepreneurial instinct and success motivations. Follow Intrepid Entrepreneur to Instagram and Twitter (@GoLivingUber) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/LivingUber) and visit the LivingUber.com to sign up for more awesome free content, built just for adventurous entrepreneurs in the active outdoor lifestyle markets. Don’t forget to rate, review and subscribe to The Intrepid Entrepreneur – it helps to build broader-market visibility for the active outdoor lifestyle markets, which helps us all out!


Bravery in Business Quote:

“So iLL has become something larger than we originally intended. It has become it’s own living, moving, and inspiring thing. It deserves the best. It has a style of its own and I want to be a good steward of the brand.” Daniel is right at the crux of going from founder to steward – one of the most interesting but toughest evolutions a startup goes through. He’s got a great team and strong following, so he knows it’s all going to be great if he just focuses on serving them.

Habit for Success?

Daniel is a consummate researcher. This has taken the form of lengthy trips to the mall to look at ideas and implementation of retail spaces, to budget-minded trips to Outdoor Retailer and different indoor climbing events on the world stage. He never stops learning and creating as he goes. He also isn’t afraid to go big! Daniel approached the same retail merchandising resources used at Bass Pro and Cabela’s to build out So iLL’s flagship gym (there’s not a shooting range in the climbing gym though). J

Pivot Moment?

Opening So iLL’s flagship gym. It’s really brought the theater of the So iLL brand to life and underscores the experience the brand is intent on bringing to its fans and followers.

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