Founder: Jimmy Bryant, @atomicchilddesign
Origin Story: For 18 years, Bryant made art after his day job. Then, in 2016, he decided to post one illustration per day on Instagram. He sold the works that garnered the most “likes” as stickers, and best-sellers wound up on patches, hats, and more. Bryant’s following—and order volume—skyrocketed, so he quit his 9-to-5 to make merch as Atomic Child full time.
Buy It: Best described as Colorado pop art (splashy colors adorn wild landscapes), Bryant’s hats and stickers are sold at six local shops, including I Heart Denver’s two locations. Plus, REI debuted a nationwide line of Atomic Child keychains last month.
Biceps by Buttercream
Founder: Maureen Wolsborn, @bicepsbybuttercream
Origin Story: Instagram expanded Wolsborn’s clientele beyond the friends she “stress baked” for. Followers, charmed by late-night videos of the dessert-maker slinging dough in the kitchen (she’s a Denver Public Schools employee by day), slid into her direct messages to request treats. Less than a year after launching her handle, Wolsborn fills two to three orders each week—max capacity for her side hustle, she says.
Buy It: Wolsborn uses ingredients like homemade compotes to bake luxe sweets. A dozen cupcakes cost $24, and wedding cakes have sold for up to $500.
Las Truchas Outfitters
Founder: Maddie Brenneman, @lastruchasoutfitters
Origin Story: Striking outdoor photos taken by her boyfriend, a lensman by trade, catapulted the fly-fishing guide’s personal account (@maddiebrenneman) to Instagram fame. When some of her 112,000 followers commented on her signature hat—a foam trucker with a saddle-wearing trout Brenneman drew herself—she had 300 more made. They sold out overnight and helped her launch Las Truchas Outfitters and a separate Instagram handle.
Buy It: Brenneman partners with artists making outdoorsy yet fashionable pieces—like this rustic fish belt buckle (at left)—and sells them on her site.