MountainCity’s Spotlight on Matt and Larissa Short and their Tentmakers Venture

(Denver, CO – posted by Jeanie Rhoades)  MountainCity’s Dave and Tara Powers knew when they started the band that they wanted to use  ”whatever influence” came to them to share the spotlight. They enjoy giving other noteworthy artists and causes a place to be seen and heard.

One such noteworthy friend and fellow-entrepreneur they want people to know about is movie-maker, Matt Short, owner and operator of Bokeh FX, a film production company. Not long ago, Matt also launched a lifestyle apparel company called “The Tentmakers” with his wife.

We wanted to take a closer a look at Matt’s businesses, from what’s new to who’s new and talk about how owning and operating a visual arts/film company differs some from going into business with his wife, Larissa Short.

Matt’s Story

MtnCity Q: Where are you from and how did you get to where you are right now?

Matt: Well, I’m a Colorado-born dude, fourth generation like Dave Powers. I married the girl of my dreams, Larissa, almost 6 years ago. Our son, Silas, just turned one on May first.

I love outdoor adventures like backpacking, fishing, hunting and snowboarding, and adventures with Larissa and Silas.

I ran off to Australia to do a YWAM Discipleship Training School straight out of high school. I fell in love with the Lord, and discovered a passion for creative visual outlets like graphic design and film. My early twenties were spent traveling to and from New Zealand, Australia and Southeast Asia. I ended up leading Discipleship Training Schools and missions trips.

I came home to pursue my lovely bride, and learn more about the visual arts. In 2009 I attended a Video Production School at the YWAM Denver campus which gave me the foundation I needed to launch into freelance film-making.

MtnCity Q: How do you know MountainCity?

Matt: I first met Dave and Tara in 2011 when I was hired to do video work for a regional music festival Dave was heading up. Our friendship has deepened on many levels over the past 6 years. We’ve gone from simply being professional contacts, to coworkers, to family. We’re currently cultivating a Jesus-following community together, a family-of-families, and that’s a blast!

Bokeh FX

MtnCity Q: Give us a little background on Bokeh FX

Matt: Fun fact, the word bokeh is a cinematography term describing the aesthetic quality of the blur.

I started Bokeh FX in 2012. I was working as a visual arts director for a church, and needed an outlet for creating personal projects. Over the past 5 years I have been able to do music videos for local and international bands, documentaries for several global nonprofits, short films, and business commercials. I also create graphic design projects under the Bokeh FX title.

I absolutely love filming music videos, and doing international work or anything outdoors! I am taking steps to do more outdoor adventure filming.

Then Came The Tentmakers

MtnCity Q: Then you went into business with your wife. How did that come about?

Matt: I had been designing shirts with Dave Powers and we were dreaming up various businesses we could start and The Tentmakers was born. From its’ conception, The Tentmakers has always been an outlet for Larissa and I to work on something ‘together.’ That was a critical word that I felt God speak to me early on.

MtnCity Q: What does that actually look like for you and Larissa?

Matt: We work on all of our designs together. Most often, Larissa will draw up different versions of a  concept. We’ll land on a favorite and then I’ll vectorize the image, tweak it as needed and prepare it for print. It’s a wonderful challenge working together!

MtnCity Q: What exactly is The Tentmakers?

Matt: The Tentmakers is a lifestyle apparel and handmade accessories brand inspired by creation and the beauty of life that surrounds us. We started it because, as Christ-followers, we believe that we’ve been given the greatest story ever told, the story of God’s love for his creation. And we love telling that story!

MtnCity Q: It sounds like this company is built on a strong mission?

Matt: One of the key things we wished to communicate through The Tentmakers from the very start was that, in Christ, everyone is a missionary. We are all ‘Tentmakers,’ working with our hands in our various trades, skills, and careers with the capability of honoring Jesus. We want to empower our friends and followers to recognize that they are ambassadors of Christ every day, no matter what they’re doing.

Larissa and I believe this brand has the ability to breathe life and energy into a generation that desires to be authentic, living out their faith through their daily interactions. This is why we call The Tentmakers a ‘lifestyle’ apparel brand. We want it to be a lifestyle of love.

MtnCity Q: What are some of the changes you have experienced since starting this business?

Matt: We’ve slowed down. With having our son, we take life at a more steady pace. We design new shirts when we’re inspired to do so.

When we started The Tentmakers, all of our customers were family, friends and maybe friends of friends. But now our relationships with our customers is continuing to grow! We sell to all sorts of people we’ve never met before! It’s amazing to see how our network has grown rather organically.

MtnCity Q: Do you have any employees at this time?

Matt: It’s  just Larissa and I right now, but we’ve loved partnering with photographers, artists, and musicians for designs. We enjoy collaborating with other creatives! Which is why we’re so excited to partner with MountainCity by designing their graphic for the soon-to-be-released single, “Come Away With Me”.

MtnCity Q: What types of things do you offer?

Matt: We design some pretty cool t-shirts and currently have some on sale that would be great for summer. And we make Colorado Map Necklaces that are a pretty big hit!

MtnCity Q: What is success for The Tentmakers?

Matt: I’d say our success has been in creating a platform where we can speak life and truth, straight from our Heavenly Father’s heart into our follower’s lives! When I question whether we should design another set of t-shirts, reinvesting the money we made on the last set or take a paycheck, I always land on, it’s worth reinvesting. We may as well keep designing new work. People are blessed by it, and so are we.

MtnCity Q: Tell us something about The Tentmakers that makes you really happy.

Matt: My favorite moments in running The Tentmakers has been connecting with people that I may never meet in person.

We once did a little collaboration with a lady on the east coast who started up a small knitting company making super cute beanies for adults and kids. And there is the relationship we’ve built with our first Canadian customer. She approached us about shipping to Canada when we weren’t set up to yet, but that pushed us to open up shipping practices. Now, we can ship to all nations. Our friendship with this lady and her husband has grown and was a catalyst to growing our business.

MtnCity Q: What sorts of challenges have you overcome? And what are your plans for the business in the future?

Matt: Having a baby a year ago slowed our production and drive for business. But in this challenge, the Lord clearly told us that we were suppose to set all of our other ambitions (i.e. The Tentmakers) down for a bit and focus on being family. We’re now really diving back into designing new work and excited to release a new series of shirts this summer.

I would love to collaborate with more creatives in the future. It would be fun to connect with graphic design artists, bloggers, photographers and musicians with a similar desire to encourage people in their faith and create work together.

MtnCity Q: What advice would you share with someone who would like to try what you’re doing?

Matt: These days there are tons of ways that people can easily start designing and selling apparel. Ultimately, I’d just say, Give it a shot!

We didn’t really know what we were doing when we launched The Tentmakers. We just thought it might be fun. And it has been! You can easily start on Etsy or build a website through Squarespace and get shirts printed pretty inexpensively.

But obviously, we’ve focused on more than just starting an apparel brand. We’re helping shape people’s world view and changing culture. And if someone wants to do that, I would encourage them that you can’t change what you don’t love. So, spend some time falling in love with the thing you’d like to change. Consider how you want to communicate the change you wish to see, who your audience is, and the steps they need to take to experience that change. Then dive in with love!

MtnCity Q: We understand you have just finished production on two music videos for MountainCity and you mentioned that you’re designing the cover art for their upcoming release of “Come Away with Me.” What was your inspiration on that?

Matt: The design for the “Come Away with Me” single has been a fun piece of art to work on! Dave and Tara, and Larissa and I have all had input on the final concept. Since this is a Norah Jones cover song, we wanted the artwork to capture the mood of MountainCity’s version. We want to show, not just the words, but how they sing it. It’s romantic, it’s peaceful, it’s still and yet grand.

MtnCity Q: Matt, thank you for sharing your insights as a missional entrepreneur.

Matt: I’m very grateful for the life I’ve been able to live and the things I’ve been able to create, including Bokeh FX and The Tentmakers.

MountainCity Recommends Matt Short!

Watch for two fresh music videos being released by MountainCity soon. Matt Short of Bokeh FX shot and produced both.

Dave Powers says of his good friend, “Matt is a talented, good-natured, hard-working, excellent, and hilarious videographer/creative.” And the superlatives continue, “It was our privilege to partner with him in creating two music videos, as well as the artwork for our soon-to-be-released single, ‘Come Away With Me’! I have highly recommended him to many companies and organizations and I will continue to do so.”

Here’s how to reach Matt and Larissa:

The Tentmakers: 

Instagram – @thetentmakers


Bokeh FX:

Instagram – @bokehfx


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