No ‘Pink And Shrink’: Women’s Outdoor Retail Has New Face

A Utah-based benefit corporation hopes to influence the outdoors world with a new approach to online retail.

Jainee and lindsey
Jainee Dial, left, with Wylder co-founder Lindsey Elliott / Photo Credit: Cory Brown

Jainee Dial and Lindsey Elliott are in the midst of a campaign to make their company, Wylder, a reality. Touted as “not just another retailer,” Wylder will be a marketplace for gear as well as a resource and information hub.

As a benefit corporation (b-corp), the company supports environmental and humanitarian organizations with a business model its founders say can drive social change. We reached out to Dial for more beta on the project, which launches in full this fall.

Camping woman
Photo: Aly Nicklas

What will Wylder be like – it has a blog, reviews, a store – how will that take shape? 

Jainee Dial: First and foremost, Wylder is an online store that will provide a well-curated selection of products. The old convention was that “outdoorsy” ladies had to have an “indoor” wardrobe and an “outdoor” wardrobe. That’s becoming an obsolete model. We want to bridge the gap between the urban and outdoor worlds by focusing on clothing, gear, and lifestyle goods that blend beauty with functionality.

The ideology behind mainstream marketing seeks to prey upon a woman’s sense of self-worth. Our approach is the antithesis to this degrading, fear-based marketing. We celebrate curves, we honor age and wisdom, and we give a damn about the environmental effects of the products we use. We advocate for diversity and want to see minorities and people of color welcomed into the outdoor industry. Most of all, we want to connect more women to adventure and outdoor exploration because we know that time spent in nature is both healing and essential for mindfully navigating the world we all share.

The project will also be focused on content?

Wylder is also a content hub for relevant and compelling writing, photos, films, and stories. We will pool from the talented community of bloggers, filmmakers, writers, gear nerds, athletes, and travelers who are out there adventuring, testing, and inspiring!

We also exist to 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. And, of course, we are grateful for the men out there who love and support their wild women.

Yoga Cliffs
Photo Credit: Aly Nicklas

How can, or should, men be involved?

We’re honored to be part of a community of men who have supported this project and we deeply appreciate our male colleagues who have contributed to the development of Wylder thus far. We hope to be a resource for men who celebrate the bravery and success of their friends, wives, sisters, girlfriends, and daughters, and we intend on carrying as many unisex products as possible.

What is inaccurate about the story women have been told about “how to be a woman outside?”

We can’t speak for all women, but based on personal experience, thousands of conversations, and research that we’ve done, there is a general sense that women feel marginalized in the outdoor industry.

“Pink it and shrink it” is the perfect example of the outdated response to designing for women. Thankfully, that model is changing rapidly, and thoughtful designs and colors are becoming the standard rather than the exception.

women bouldering
Photo Credit: Aly Nicklas

As outdoorswomen ourselves, we’re interested in telling gritty, honest stories about how to be a woman outside. Our platform is designed to support and give voice to ladies who are pushing boundaries in science, activism, conservation, and athleticism. We feel strongly that films, photos, and essays told from a female perspective are not only needed, but will also benefit the conversation around adventure, exploration, and stewardship as a whole.

Wylder is a benefit corporation. What does that mean for the business?

Benefit corporations are businesses founded on providing a social good. As an outdoor-driven business, we care deeply about the planet and conserving the natural resources and wild places we all depend on. The connection is a no-brainer for us. We believe when people have a closer relationship with the environment, they care more about protecting it.

lindsey elliott jainee dial
Lindsey Elliott and Jainee Dial / Photo Credit: Christine Armbruster

We aim to create pathways for stewardship and engagement to test this premise, and have become a B Corp so that financial partnerships with non-profit organizations dedicated to this work is built into the structure of our business. We’re inspired by purpose, accountability, and transparency. 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. This creates a community of like-minded businesses that consumers can trust. Patagonia was the first certified B Corp in the state of California and Cotopaxi was the first here in Utah.

Gear For 'Girls Only' At Women’s Story Event
Gear For 'Girls Only' At Women’s Story Event
The Women's Story was the first cycling and outdoor media event highlighting women-specific product lines. GearJunkie was on site to get a peek at this growing market. Read more…

We’ll have a pending status for the first year of operations while we work to achieve our full certification. We look forward to the challenge of digging in to ways to develop specific partnerships, campaigns, products, and content, to both cultivate and act on our values.

How will Wylder stand out and succeed from the stores and blogs out there today?

Wylder will be successful because we’re a platform rooted in community and collaboration. We value input from brands, colleagues, and outdoor adventurers who will be directly involved in our curation process and who will guide new design and content. We’re here to listen and engage, and we get excited thinking about all the ways our community will directly effect how we build our platform.

–Help fund Wylder’s Kickstarter campaign here.

Adam Ruggiero

Adam Ruggiero is the Editor In Chief of GearJunkie.

Adam has been covering daily news and writing about cycling, camping, hiking, and gear of all kinds for 15+ years. Prior to that, Adam lived in Hawaii and Puerto Rico, at which time he realized he’d never have a “normal job.” His pastimes — farming, bike racing, and fitness — provided a gateway to all manner of physical challenges and recreation outdoors.

Based in Kansas City, MO, Adam tests as much gear as he can get his hands, feet (and dog) into each and every day. As editor in chief, he works to maintain GearJunkie’s voice, style, and commitment to accurate and expert reporting across every category.