After riding his vintage motorcycle up Gold Camp Road in Colorado Springs for a sunrise photoshoot on a Wednesday, Adam Morley heads back to his office at a marketing firm downtown.
Morley, 30, began his career in sales after earning his bachelor’s degree in communications, but after meeting and becoming close friends with Ian Lee, co-founder of gin distillery Lee Spirits Co., Morley quit his job and became involved with several local startups.
In addition to co-founding his marketing firm, Wolf & Key Marketing, in 2014, Morley co-founded Welcome Fellow, a downtown coworking space, and is a founding member of Boulder Street Moto, a DIY vintage motorcycle garage that opened downtown this fall. On the side, Morley collects and sometimes sells vintage motorcycle apparel through his own startup, Café Motique, which encourages connecting enthusiasts and building community through his two-wheeled passion.
Morley spoke with the Business Journal about the startup community and living in Colorado Springs.
Where are you from?
I actually grew up north of Chicago in a little town called Zion, Ill. I lived there with my family until I was 12 and then my mom — she was a single mom at the time — decided she liked the mountains and said, ‘We’re moving.’ We only knew one family at the time in the Springs, so my two younger sisters and I were like, ‘Why would we move to Colorado?’ She said, ‘Because it’s great and I love the mountains.’ … I lived up north in town most of my life, then I moved to the downtown area in 2012 and I’ve been there ever since. That’s really where I started getting involved in the startup community, the creative community and with the downtown energy in general.
What do you like about working in Colorado Springs?
It seems like even if you’re in the same industry, everyone is on the same side. It’s not so much about competition, it’s about, ‘How can we build each other up and be successful together?’ The most obvious version of that is probably coffee shops here in town. Everybody’s friends, nobody’s competing. They’re all helping to promote each other in some cases, which is bananas — you just don’t see that everywhere. I even know a couple of marketing firm owners in town that are totally willing to sit down with me and share how they [run] their marketing company.
What have you learned from being in the startup community?
One of the strong points of our city is that we’re really collaborative and supportive. I’ve always just been naturally bent in that direction anyways. But I know if we’re going to see growth and be a city that’s exceptional, then we need to keep on fostering those qualities as we move forward. Besides the fact that I love being around people, and I get energy from those around me and seeing them do what they love, and what they’re good at — it’s about those people and growing the city toward that identity as a whole. What if our whole city was known for being community-builders — if we had so many coworking spaces that we couldn’t fill them up?
What challenges have you seen in the Colorado Springs startup community?
It’s really easy to start a business here in Colorado Springs, but that means that not all the businesses here are great — some of them have just been around forever. City leadership is becoming more progressive and starting to come alongside the growth of our town, but there’s still some antiquated stuff in place. Let’s find a way for businesses and city leadership to work together even more.
What should Colorado Springs do to retain young professionals?
My generation cares about stories and people and how we can make a difference individually and together. That’s half the reason Millennials can’t keep a job, because they go through a few months of it and they don’t feel like they’re making any difference. We would be wise to keep investing in the things that our generation cares about — community events, and making room for good food, good bars, good coffee shops and good community spaces that are going to foster a foundation that our generation cares about.
What advice would you give to young professionals?
Be real about who you are, always do your best work and do it for the right reasons.
And have fun. Have a lot of fun. Make sure you’re doing something you enjoy because people will know it if you don’t. … If you love what you do, you’re going to get ahead.