There’s a beautiful thing happening right now in the outdoor industry, and it’s come to us in the form of She Explores, Dirtbag Darling, Trail Mavens and now a female-focused online vendor platform called WYLDER. Now more than ever, we’re seeing women create spaces that are all their own and provide a voice for the multifaceted #modernoutdoorswoman. With a fully funded Kickstarter campaign under their belt, WYLDER is the latest to join the movement with a mission to end the “pink it and shrink it” model within the outdoor market, while simultaneously building a community around ecological stewardship and conservation.
We were so excited to catch up with Lindsey Elliott and Jainee Dial of WYLDER to talk more about this new platform and how they plan to change industry standards for both women and sustainability.
Q. What inspired your efforts to create an online space for women’s adventure goods?
A. Both Lindsey and I grew up in the Rocky Mountains and feel deeply connected to wild places. We rock climb, kayak, hike and play religiously outside. Over the last few years, it has become apparent that there is something missing in the outdoor industry for women. We wanted a place to find the most relevant products, read compelling stories, and find a community of like-minded adventure lovers. Because no such platform exists right now, we decided it was time to build it. The outdoor industry is changing rapidly and there is a movement that’s beginning to take shape for women who feel similarly to us. We want a louder voice in the creation of goods, we want a variety of color options–not just pink, purple and pastels–and we want products that are designed for a diversity of body types. We also want a sense of community and belonging, and to feel more connected to each other and to the places we love and care deeply about protecting.
Q. We couldn’t be more on board with WYLDER’s initiative to get rid of the “pink it and shrink it” model within outdoor and lifestyle markets. Are there any collabs or brands WYLDER is hoping to work with specifically to change this industry standard?
Our first collaboration is with Meridian Line, and we hope to continually partner with brands we love that support our mission to bridge the gap between the urban and outdoor worlds. In the coming months, we’ll be working on strategic partnerships, so stay tuned!
A lot of women love to be outside as often as possible, but live in cities and have a very urban lifestyle. It’s our hope that we can bridge the gap between the urban and outdoor worlds by focusing on products, clothing and gear that blend beauty with functionality. The old convention was that “outdoorsy” ladies had to have an “indoor” wardrobe and an “outdoor” wardrobe. That’s becoming an obsolete model. Essentially, we want to be able to do more with less, and because there are so many great brands mindfully producing these products, we believe that WYLDER can facilitate and serve this new movement.
Q. Your business model as a Benefit corporation (B-Corp) is unique. What exactly is a Benefit Corporation and what does that mean for WYLDER?
A. Becoming a B-Corp is a relatively new opportunity with legislation to do so passed in over 30 states in the U.S. From the products produced to the healthcare offered to employees, and even in the cleaning products used in offices, B-Corps are held to rigorous standards for certification. This not only creates a community of like-minded businesses that consumers can trust, but it also sets the bar high for business owners, and there is certainly added pressure to creatively adapt to these standards while maintaining financial viability. As an outdoor-driven business, we care deeply about the planet and conservation, and feel that if we don’t speak up and start having mindful conversations about our current ecological crisis, who will? We believe that when people have a closer relationship with wilderness, they care more about protecting it. We are also seeing companies strive for sustainability in the production of their goods, and want to curate a marketplace of the most socially and environmentally innovative products out there. We believe business can be a powerful force for social change, and this is why we’ve founded WYLDER as a B-Corp.
Q. What are some innovative ways in which WYLDER plans to offset its carbon footprint?
As a benefit corporation, sustainability and impact assessment is measured at every level of operation. Our carbon footprint is certainly an aspect of WYLDER’s environmental operating costs that we will be monitoring closely. As an ecommerce business, shipping and receiving will be a huge contributor for us to offset, and we are looking forward to exploring innovative packaging options. Anticipating massive amounts of cardboard, we’re excited about partnering with local gardeners, farmers and land remediators to use it to build soil with a permaculture method called sheet mulching. We’ve also daydreamed about tapping into Salt Lake City’s avid mountain biking community for a local human-powered delivery fleet. Ha! Lots of ideas floating around the WYLDER headquarters. Stay tuned!
Q. You also had with a Kickstarter campaign for WYLDER and actually just reached your goal. Congrats! What do you plan to accomplish with this kind of support?
Kickstarter is our first public campaign to launch the business, and we’re both proud and humbled at its success thus far. Crowdfunding has proven to us how important is it for our platform to exist. Over the next few months, we’re going to dive into building the most beautiful, comprehensive site for our backers and the larger community of women who support what we’re creating.
WYLDER will be successful because we’re a platform rooted in community and collaboration. We value input from brands, colleagues and our fellow outdoor adventurers who will be directly involved in our curation process. We’re here to listen and engage, and we get excited thinking about all the ways our community will directly affect how we build our platform.
Q. Women like you and companies like WYLDER are really stepping up to the forefront to create a better market for the modern outdoors woman. Who are some other modern outdoors women that inspire you?
Thank you! Adventurers we love and admire are brave, honest and pushing boundaries in science, activism, conservation and athleticism. Some amazing ladies that come to mind who embody these values are Steph Davis, Katie Lee, Terry Tempest Williams, Lynn Hill, Kimi Werner, Ashima Shiraishi and Johnie Gall, to name just a few. We also support the not-so-famous, but badass everyday warrior women raising kids, growing food in their backyards, and working for the causes they believe in. Additionally, we exist to serve artists and entrepreneurs hustling to make time to pursue their passions, and of course, we are grateful for the boyfriends, husbands, brothers and fathers out there who love their wild women and support equality.
We are inspired by brands that champion for real bodies to be represented in their advertising, marketing and media, and we will always strive to tell the most gritty, honest stories from real women and not just professional athletes or rugged adventurers. We honor age and wisdom, and we think resilience is beautiful. So whether you’re an alpinist scaling peaks in Nepal or a mother to three children growing food in your urban backyard, we value the unique perspective of grace and grit that both pursuits exemplify. We also advocate for diversity and want to see minorities and people of color welcomed into the outdoor industry, which historically has been very privileged, white, insular and male-dominated.
We feel strongly that providing a channel for films, photos and essays told from a female perspective is not only needed, but will also benefit the conversation around design, sustainability and stewardship as a whole.
Images courtesy of WYLDER.
Lisa Dougherty is a NY native who now calls the PNW home. She enjoys crowd surfing, art, long drives, content creation and writing for RANGE.