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Fish on!: UW-Stout apparel alum designs technical clothing for Eskimo Ice Fishing Gear

Goodman focuses on ‘making the best product for the market’

By Abbey Goers, UW Stout

With more than one million fishing licenses sold in Wisconsin in 2022, adding to the $2.3 billion industry in the state, University of Wisconsin-Stout alum Sara Goodman is helping to ensure the safety and comfort of those stepping out onto the ice this winter. 

As a product development manager of apparel for Eskimo® Ice Fishing Gear, and other brands at Ardisam Inc., Goodman designs technical clothing for ice anglers and products that make time on the ice more enjoyable. 

“I’m continually seeking out new technology and sources to strive to develop the best quality ice fishing products – from managing fabric and trim quality to fit, to finished product inspections and reviews,” said Goodman, who tests her own prototypes, including donning an UplyftTM technology suit and jumping in a pool to test its flotation. 

“Technical clothing functions to keep you warm, dry and comfortable. It helps you move. It uses fabrics and trims that serve specific purposes, whether it is waterproof or sweat wicking. The designer also needs to design lines and engineer fit to enhance movement, not hinder it,” said Goodman, a 2006 apparel design and development graduate, now B.S. fashion and retail

Ardisam, an innovator in outdoor products since 1960, is based in Cumberland, just an hour north of Goodman’s hometown of Eau Claire. 

Goodman’s designs are inspired by feedback from pro staff, customers and co-workers, new technology in the industry, outerwear technical clothing for other winter activities, as well as nature and body shape. 

“I just really enjoy designing outerwear, and it’s hard to pick out a favorite. Our Superior system suit is one of the more detailed items. From drawing to selecting fabric and trims, it is definitely more of a full creative product development experience, and in some ways, more fulfilling,” she said. 

Eskimo offers several outerwear and lifestyle apparel series, as well as pop-up and sled shelters, augers and accessories. Eskimo products, in signature red and shades of gray, can be found at most major sporting goods outlets. 

Goodman began her career with Ardisam in 2017, and found the team to be immediately honest, humble, down to earth and hard-working. “Being able to start an ice fishing line of apparel at that type of company seemed to be a great fit for my experience and personality,” she said. 

Working in the apparel industry for nearly 20 years, Goodman began her career as an assistant pattern-maker, has served as a merchandise product specialist, assistant product manager, technical designer and senior designer for various companies. 

Goodman thinks UW-Stout’s apparel program helped prepare her for the industry, both academically and mentally. Every day, she uses the fundamentals of quality assurance in stitch and seam selection, fittings, testing standards and more, to market research, line planning, illustration, industrial sewing and operations and pattern-making. 


“The curriculum prepares you for most all aspects of working in the apparel industry,” she said. 


“Mentally, you’re being pushed to your limit in design courses, and having professors and classmates critique your work prepares you for feedback and comments you get in fit sessions and sample reviews. You cannot take anything personally. It’s about making the best product for the market and seeing consumers love your product,” she added.

Goodman encourages apparel, fashion and retail students and recent graduates who are building their careers to always be open-minded with a positive attitude. 

“Attitude and teamwork go a long way,” she said. “Your internships and nonapparel courses matter a lot too – like accounting and management information systems. They can help you understand business as a whole and how to work in cross-functional teams. Soak up all the knowledge you can.” 


Within UW-Stout’s School of Management, the fashion and retail program offers three concentrations to match students’ career interests: fashion design and development; fashion marketing; and retail analytics. 


Goodman was featured in UW-Stout’s 2023 Outlook alumni magazine. The Alumni Association offers on- and off-campus alumni events, travel adventures, opportunities to impact student experiences and more. Contact the association to learn or to connect with alumni: 715-232-1151 or


UW-Stout is Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University, with a focus on applied learning, collaboration with business and industry, and career outcomes. Learn more via the FOCUS2030 strategic plan. 


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