OIA's Audio Outdoorist

Dig deep into the issues facing outdoor brands and retailers, from domestic vs. international manufacturing to brick-and-mortar vs. online commerce. Conversations with CEOs, VPs, supply chain reps, retail clerks, marketing gurus and an occasional celebrity outdoorist offer valuable insights and entertainment about the business of playing outdoors.

By Ben Schenck April 5, 2016
Subscribe to OIA’s Audio Outdoorist and listen to this and other episodes anytime, anywhere. You can find the podcast on iTunes and SoundCloud

Specialty Retail Series

In this collection of episodes, we’re talking to shop owners and other retail experts about everything from marketing to HR to liability insurance. The information, insights and best practices shared here will help speciality brick-and-mortar merchants in and outside the outdoor industry navigate an increasingly challenging retail landscape.

Episode 9: Retail Merchandising

As the retail landscape shifts and as consumer behavior shifts, it’s important that your in-store brick-and-mortar merchandising and display strategy shift with it. Brick-and-mortar stores have a lot of advantages over online retailers, and there are ways to leverage those when presenting your inventory to shoppers. This episode addresses high level merchandising strategy then delves deeper into specific topics: What outdoor specialty retailers can learn and apply from other retail categories and how to link in-store merchandise to digital channels, even without e-commerce.

Subscribe to OIA’s Audio Outdoorist and listen to this and other episodes anytime, anywhere. You can find the podcast on iTunes and SoundCloud

Episode 8: Outdoor Specialty Retail Insurance

There’s more to setting up an insurance plan than getting property and theft protection for your store. For example, shops have to protect themselves from liability when renting ski or bike equipment to customers or hosting product demos. What insurance do you need when hosting an event? What about when you ask an employee to participate in an outdoor activity where he/she could get hurt? In this episode, we speak with Rob Martin, director of Outdoor Sports Insurance (a program from Horizon Agency, an OIA vendor partner). Rob will comment on the unique insurance needs of outdoor retailers and give advice on how they can best protect themselves. Joe Butler of Black Creek Outfitters and Bob Wade of Ute Mountaineer also chime in with their experiences.  If you’d like to speak to Rob Martin about OSI or if you just have general questions about insurance coverage, he has invited OIA members to reach out to him directly: (952) 914-7165, rob@horizonagency.com   

Subscribe to OIA’s Audio Outdoorist and listen to this and other episodes anytime, anywhere. You can find the podcast on iTunes and SoundCloud

Episode 7: Recruiting, Hiring, Onboarding and Retaining Stellar Employees

For any small retail business, finding, interviewing and hiring good employees can be a challenge. For specialty outdoor retail, it can be even trickier because you want/need to find employees who are not only capable of the work tasks but who also exude passion and authenticity for outdoor products and activities and who reflect your store’s vibe. We often remark that great outdoor shops are convivial, communal hubs/gathering places. They’re about so much more than the transactions at the register. The personnel in the store and in the backroom are key to maintaining that community.   Show guests include Ponch Membreno of Toad & Co., Lori Kleiman of HR Topics, and Nicole Leinbach Reyhle of Retail Minded.

Subscribe to OIA’s Audio Outdoorist and listen to this and other episodes anytime, anywhere. You can find the podcast on iTunes and SoundCloud

Episode 6: Community Engagement

Outdoor specialty retailers are very unique among retail operations because they do so much more than sell products. They offer education and community events, they support recreational programs at local schools and parks, they often interface with local government on issues related to outdoor recreation, and they are general hubs of engagement for outdoorists in a town/city. Community engagement is a huge part of developing a strong reputation and loyal customer base. This episode focuses on best practices for: Creating unique and impactful community events/programs Partnering with brands/suppliers on in-store or local promotions and events Local advocacy—how retail shops can lead efforts to promote recreation and conversation. Why is it important for shops to be the voice of these efforts in a community? Show guests Darren Bush, Owner and Chief Paddling Evangelist at Rutabaga Paddlesports John Mead, Owner and President of Adventure 16 Deek Heykamp, Owner of Next Adventure

Subscribe to OIA’s Audio Outdoorist and listen to this and other episodes anytime, anywhere. You can find the podcast on iTunes and SoundCloud

Special Edition: GoTenna on Advocacy

Contributing sponsor of OIA’s 2016 Capitol Summit, GoTenna is a young startup tech company looking to make a big impact on the outdoor recreation industry. That’s why CEO Daniela Perdomo believes its crucial to have a voice in policy conversations from the beginning if her brand is to become and remain relevant.

Made In America Series

Conversations with brands that manufacture domestically and do it with great success. They share their pain points, solutions and reasons for committing to a domestic supply chain.

Episode 5: Polartec

Darren Josey, North American marketing manager at Polartec, sits down with Audio Outdoorist at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2016. In this interview, Darren discusses how Polartec works with brand clients to produce fabric in the locations where the client cuts and sews. This reduces shipping costs, shipping times and currency risk. We also talk to Darren about the “Made in America” movement and why it is the responsibility of both brands and consumers to understand and communicate the message.

Episode 4: Thule

Chris Ritchie, manager of PR and communications at Thule, talks about the benefits of making products in the USA, which go beyond branding and high-quality production for a hard goods producer. Ritchie says that strategically located factories allow Thule to respond to trends in weather and reduce shipping costs.

Thule Group is the owner of a collection of brands all related to the outdoors and various types of transportation solutions. It is the market leader in cargo carriers for automobiles and a leading company in the outdoor and bags market. The Thule motto is “Bring your life.”

You can also check out a few videos of the Thule testing and manufacturing facilities here.

Episode 3: Sport Science

We are joined by Neal Caplowe, founder and owner of Sport Science, a “Made in the USA” t-shirt company. It wasn’t always that way—Sport Science originally manufactured shirts in Central America and Asia but decided to move the process to the U.S. to achieve faster turn times and more control. Neal talks about how labor cost is one of the largest variables when considering domestic production. Sport Science products are made in the Carolinas within a 200 mile radius, cutting out nearly 7,850 miles of traveling and all the fuel that goes with it. Sport Science is proud to keep its carbon footprint small, as well as keep jobs in the USA. Has he ever considered returning to international production? Listen to find out!

Episode 2: Kletterwerks

In this episode, we chat with Alex Kutches, the vice president of sales and marketing at Mystery Ranch and Kletterwerks, about the challenges and rewards of producing gear in the U.S. Kutches discusses the impacts of the TPP on domestic gear manufacturers and how his brands have navigated the Berry Amendment. As a heritage brand with strong ties to the U.S. military and strong consumer appeal in  high-fashion channels, Kletterwerks has established its reputation as a premium brand.

Episode 1: United By Blue

We sat down with Mike Cangi, vice president of United By Blue, to talk about its two products made entirely in the USA: the Ultimate American Sock (made of bison wool) and the Ultimate American Jacket (insulated with bison fiber). Mike discusses Made in the U.S.A. branding, the challenges of domestic manufacturing and what needs to happen for this patriotic movement to continue. United By Blue is a lifestyle apparel and accessories brand designed for the urban and outdoor adventurer. Catering to men, women and children, products include eco-centric organic cotton t-shirts, knits, and sweaters along with rugged waxed canvas bags with classic details and artisan jewelry. For every product sold, United By Blue removes 1 pound of trash from oceans and waterways through company-organized cleanups.

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