Living Montanably: 34-year-old Female Entrepreneur Boasts Two Small Businesses And Montana Pride

By Annie Pentilla The Montana Standard, Butte

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Shannon Alt-Olsson recently launched an apparel line which pays homage to her home state of Montana. The 34 year old entrepreneur hopes to use the company to contribute to Montana nonprofits, linking a portion of the proceeds to charities that embody the phrases on the company's apparel.

The Montana Standard, Butte

Shannon Alt-Olsson says she is proud to be a Montanan.

The 34-year-old native of Philipsburg said it was this sense of pride that caused her to launch her own apparel line, which is fittingly called Live Montanably.

Alt-Olsson said she launched Live Montanably -- which contains colorful Montanan-themed caps, shirts and memorabilia boasting phrases like "Fish Montanably," "Hike Montanably" and "Float Montanably" -- four months ago, adding that that the inspiration behind the company was simply to share her passion for the Treasure State.

"Being born and raised here I am surrounded by so many passionate people who just absolutely love Montana," said Alt-Olsson.

"We live for this state -- we live for Montana."

"The brand is for everyone here," Alt-Olsson said, noting that she researched the activities Montanans care deeply about -- activities like rafting, fishing, hiking and skiing -- to design the phrases on her shirts and caps.

"It's really for the ones who live Montanably," she said.

Melanie Magnotto, the operations and marketing manager for Live Montanably, agrees.

A 23-year-old native of Texas, Magnotto said that what she appreciates most about the people of Montana is their sense of state pride, which she said is comparable to the infamous sense of pride exuded by Texans and their "don't mess with Texas" mentality.

Magnotto added that, in addition to being on team Montana, she's also on team Philipsburg.

"It's a neat little place" said Magnotto. "I may be biased, but I think it's the best small town in Montana."

Alt-Olsson -- who has a degree in graphic design and is the founder, owner and designer for the company -- added that another source of inspiration behind Live Montanably is her desire to give back to her community.

"We plan to do some good things with Live Montanably," said Alt-Olsson.

The entrepreneur added that she hopes to use the company to contribute to Montana nonprofits, linking a portion of the proceeds to charities that embody the phrases on the company's apparel.

Meanwhile, Magnotto said Live Montanably has already donated to Backcountry Hunters & Anglers during a charity event and sponsored a fundraiser for the construction of the Centennial Trail in Helena. She added that the company also has plans to donate a portion of Fish Montanably's sales to Trout Unlimited.

While Live Montanably might seem like a large enough undertaking to keep Alt-Olsson busy, it's not her only business.

"She's always got 10 things on her plate," said Magnotto.

Alt-Olsson is also the owner Bohéme Coffee Shop, located at 138 E. Broadway St. in Philipsburg.

Alt-Olsson said she opened the coffee shop in 2013 when her then-husband had an ATV accident and suffered from a traumatic brain injury as a result.

Alt-Olsson said she had always wanted to open her own coffee shop, but when the accident occurred she said she began to worry about how she was going to support her two children while also caring for her husband, who has since recovered from his injury.

The accident, Alt-Olsson said, became the springboard that caused her to finally realize her vision of starting her own business.

Alt-Olsson said her two children were the driving force behind her entrepreneur spirit.

"It's because of them that I'm able to do all of this," she said.

Today, Alt-Olsson said, Bohéme Coffee Shop is a relaxed place with a laid-back atmosphere that boasts a vibe as colorful as its orange walls with hand-painted flowers.

"I love the vibe that coffee shops have. They're so unique and one of kind," said Alt-Olsson, noting that the establishment's name -- Bohéme -- embodies an optimistic spirit.

As for what's on the menu at Bohéme, Alt-Olsson said the coffee shop offers the usual espresso drinks, along with a few specialty coffee-based concoctions.

In addition to coffee, Alt-Olsson said Bohéme also offers locally made pastries like muffins, cream puffs and pies.

"If you're looking for a homemade pie, it looks like it and tastes like it," said Alt-Olsson, expressing a genuine enthusiasm for the shop's confections.

Prospective patrons can also get panini lunch specials -- which consist of a panini sandwich, fruit or chips and a dessert -- in addition to homemade soup, breakfast sandwiches and burritos, yogurt parfaits, oatmeal and sack lunches that recreationist can take with them on the go.

Alt-Olsson added that two people are able to get lunch and a drink for under $20 at the Philipsburg establishment.

So what's up next for Live Montanably and Bohéme Coffee Shop?

Alt-Olsson said developments for the coffee shop include late-night hours.

Starting June 3, the coffee shop will be open from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays in addition to normal hours. She said the later hours will last throughout the summer and end in September.

Live Montanably, meanwhile, will begin offering a Fish Montanably children's line June 15 and there are plans in the works to add kids' appeal to the other Live Montanably brands, the business woman said.

As for Alt-Olsson, she said the entrepreneurial spirit runs through her blood and that she believes there's a good market in the Treasure State for Montana-branded apparel.

"People like to buy apparel or different accessories that have the state of Montana on them." said Alt-Olsson.

"We wear our state. We love our state," she added.

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