Rebecca here with a few thoughts on today’s podcast all about the outdoor industry.
If you’ve been following along on our social media channels and blog you might have noticed that last week I was in Salt Lake City, Utah at the Outdoor Retailer Show.
It was my first time to attend and I loved soaking up the free lectures and classes and getting to know a few new-to-me outdoor brands.
I also loved the panel discussion, When Women Lead. You can check out my thoughts on that here.
Today’s podcast episode is a little bit different. It was recorded at the OR show, well actually in my room at the Holiday Inn.
But, it contains some very real thoughts and dare I say, opinions, about the Outdoor Industry, where we’re headed with HLAW and how relationship building is more important to me than free swag.
You can give it a little listen here:
Why I’ve avoided the OR show in the past
- HLAW wasn’t that big or popular.
- I’m a fan of renting and borrowing outdoor gear, especially novices.
- I like to buy used to save money and keep gear out of landfills.
Why I went this year:
- HLAW has grown and I need to build relationships in person, even if it can be awkward (for me).
- I’m venturing into the world of outdoor retail (and it’s terrifying).
What I discovered:
- Some brands are much better at building relationships with people like me than others. Conversely, some people like me (bloggers, small business owners etc) are much better at building relationships with brands than I am….but at the end of the day, it’s all about relationships.
- I’m more in love with smaller brands than bigger brands, but bigger brands have deeper pockets and bigger budgets. So it’s a constant struggle.
- Brands can win my heart by providing great gear and an affordable cost without neglecting to think about things like employing locals (and dare I say manufacturing in North America when it makes sense for the company without everyone hating me?), using environmentally friendly packaging, and thinking long term about product sustainability.
- Networking with my online blogging friends is a blast!
- The Outdoor Industry Association offers a ton of free classes during OR and they are amazing, especially the Outdoor Retailer Skills Course.
A few brands worth mentioning
- Black Diamond: I hate clothes. But I’m digging BD’s women’s apparel line. It’s stuff that can go from the mountain to a workout, to dinner out on the town. I love versatile clothing.
- Oboz: Oboz has some fun stuff coming out next year with a new lightweight boot and camp shoe. We’ll have some fun giveaways from Oboz next year, stay tuned!
- Kelty: I’m typically not a Kelty fan -but- Kelty is leading the way when it comes to kids gear. They have a new backpack carrier coming out next year that puts everything else on the market to shame (so if you have a baby or are in the process of having a baby hang tight before you buy that backpack carrier). Their kids sleeping bags were also super impressive (and budget friendly).
- Mountainsmith: Mountainsmith is making a comeback with a super affordable, comfortable and lightweight women’s pack next year. We’re stoked to see so many brands recognize the need for affordable women’s gear rather than just taking men’s products and shrinking them, pinking them (or in the case this year, making everything purple) and jacking the price up. Mountainsmith hasn’t done that. Hats off to them.
- Oakiwear: I love Oakiwear. An affordable, small business with great quality children’s outerwear.
- Bug Protector: We love DEET-free insect repellent, sure it’s not always as effective as DEET but we’ve built a great partnership with Bug Protector and we can’t wait to test and review their new tick repellent!
Thanks for tuning into this week’s show!
Today’s show is sponsored by Audible. If I’m not listening to a podcast, I’m listening to an audiobook.
I devour audiobooks while I drive my car to and from interesting hiking destinations, clean my house, fix dinner, do the dishes, fold laundry and workout. There are so many good books that I want to read and I feel a lot more productive when I can multitask by listening as I work.