By Baylie Evans | Writer

July 2, 2019


Outdoor rec inspires Wyoming companies

Photo provided by Maven.

As summer approaches, Wyoming’s outdoorsy types are packing away the skis and sub-zero sleeping bags as they air out their tents and hiking boots.  

To help you gear up for your next adventures, we’ve compiled a quick list of some of the companies creating or designing quality outdoor products right here in our state. From hunting to mountain climbing to river rafting, these folks know Wyoming, and they know what serious outdoor enthusiasts need. Check them out and discover how they can make your adventures even better.   

 

Maven  

Whether you’re tracking big game, watching the birds or just enjoying the view from your campsite, you’ll want your Maven optics binoculars handy all year long. 

Maven is headquartered in Lander, where its founders got their start in 2014 using a direct-to-consumer sales model; that is, selling their product directly from their website to the customer, rather than through a retailer. Eliminating the retail markup allows them to deliver a high-performance product that rivals the major European brands, but at a much lower price point. 

Their binoculars, spotting scopes and rifle scopes are designed by a team that spends as much time as possible outdoors and knows the importance of quality and adaptability in the field. They continue to be recognized as among the best in the business by media like Outside MagazineField and Stream and Entrepreneur.  

Maven’s founders began their work with outdoor equipment while employed at Brunton – which received a Business Council grant to construct its facility – in the mid 2000sBrunton eventually changed directions, and the would-be Maven team moved on. In time, their experience and knowledge about optics and the outdoor industry allowed them to start something of their own that is completely different from their competitors. 

“We could have followed the typical retail path and perhaps made money faster,” said co-owner Brendon Weaver. “But living in the mountains of Wyoming just wasn’t negotiable for us. We’re proud to deliver a quality product to people just like us: diehard outdoorsmen who need quality gear at affordable prices.” 

 

DMOS 

From clearing that last spring snowstorm off the driveway to digging a fire pit or recovering your pickup truck out of the mud, DMOS Collective makes shovels designed for independent, fearless types who know the right tool at the right time can mean the difference between success and failure; or even life and death. 

DMOS shovels are tough as nails and made for year-round, year-after-year use. None of those plastic hardware store shovels, and none of those tiny camping shovels that don’t do anybody any good. Still, they’re portable and compact enough to be easy travel partners in any vehicle. 

The company was founded by Susan Pieper in 2015 in Jackson Hole after she watched her son trying to build snow jumps with plastic shovels. After a highly successful Kickstarter campaign to launch their original design, the company has grown ever since. 

DMOS used Business Council incentive and trade show grants to help them enter the market, as well as a federal $4,000 State Trade and Expansion Program grant (STEP) to attend last year’s SHOT Show. The company anticipates $20,000 in sales from that event alone. 

Today, they are excited about the pending launch of their newest tool, the Delta shovel. This new product is ushering the direction of the company as it takes on more than the snow-sports world. The Delta is poised to be the go-to aid for vehicle-based adventures on trails around the world. 

Currently available models can be purchased nationwide at REIDuluth Trading CompanyMoosejawSportsman’s Warehouse and more, and they are exporting to South America, Europe and Canada. 

“The tough, independent spirit of Wyoming inspires the DMOS products,” said Pieper. “We want to equip adventurers with the tools to explore nature. When we set out to create the finest shovel in the world, that took a similar uncompromising, independent spirit too. 

 

NoSo 

If you discover a tear in your puffy coat or nylon gear, don’t fret. And certainly don’t throw it out. Check out NoSo patches, available on their website for custom orders and in more than 200 specialty stores, including all REI stores nationwide.  

Founder Kelli Jones, of Jackson, created the patches after tearing a hole in her own favorite puffy jacket in 2016. She wasn’t willing to toss her coat into a landfill just because of a tiny tear, so she started tinkering with fabrics and adhesives to create a patch for it. 

Eventually, she ended up with a permanent nylon patch that she – and others who don’t sew – could apply as easily as a sticker. And the patches could be made in fun shapes and colors. Not only had she repaired her favorite jacket and kept it out of the landfill, but she’d added an extra touch of custom personality, too. Now, she uses scrap fabric from other companies to make her patches, keeping even more fabric from landfills. 

She used Business Council incentive and trade show grants to help her get started, including a federal State Trade and Expansion Program (STEP) grant to attend the IWA OutdoorClassics show in Germany last March. She anticipates $50,000 in sales from that event and created a part-time position to help scale her business.  

NoSo was awarded a $50,000 Kickstart: Wyoming grant earlier this year, as well, and plans to use the money to purchase machinery that will help them continue scaling up. 

“Outdoorsy people certainly get attached to their favorite gear,” Jones said. “They want solutions that allow them to keep their gear in top condition, and they want to do their part to take care of the planet, as well.”   

 

Give’r 

Headquartered in Jackson, Give’r got its start when a crew of friends set out on a kayaking adventure in northern Ontario, Canada, outfitted in custom hats designed to commemorate the expedition, the fifth of its kind. After the trip, the group was frequently asked about the hats – which featured the Teton skyline and the term “give’r,” a colloquial term used in Ontario – and where to get one. Finally, one of the group, Bubba Albrecht, partnered with friends to form Give’r in 2012. 

They began by designing a few pieces of apparel and stickers and enrolled in the Start-Up Intensive in the fall of 2012 to grow, learn the industry and discover what it took to run an ecommerce business. Albrecht participated in the Grace and Grit program, sponsored by Silicon Couloir, as a follow-up to the Start Up Intensive. He was also in the first group of entrepreneurs to test the TEAMS mentoring program. He and Give’r have received several grants from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center for partial tuition funding with Grace and Grit. 

The Give’r team added several products per year, guided by their own experiences with the gear they needed to work and play in the Wyoming climate. The company would become best known for its 4-season waterproof leather gloves, after raising more than $200,000 on Kickstarter to launch the product in 2016. 

Today, the company sells three versions of its practically indestructible leather gloves, as well as t-shirts, hats, accessories and sunglasses. Their most recent addition is the Ol’ Faithful Midweight Pullover, brought to life through the team’s second Kickstarter campaign in November 2018, which raised more than $150,000 from more than 1,200 supporters 

National retailers have taken notice, as well, including REI and Huckberry. 

Give’r maintains its local roots and still operates out of a garage in Jackson – its “global HQ,” they joke. The company is a member of 1% for the Planet and active in local, regional and national philanthropic efforts. 

The staff continues to try to live the “give’r lifestyle,” Albrecht said. 

“It’s truly all about the journey,” he said. “Not a day goes by where I'm not fired up for the opportunity to contribute to a company and community that is encouraging people in outdoor, out-of-the-comfort-zone pursuits. We have worked hard and continue to give 110%, and we are eternally grateful for all those who have provided assistance, given advice and been willing to lend a hand to our mission of empowering people to give it their all, no matter their passion. I am grateful that I’m able to pursue my own passions – both as an outdoorsman and an entrepreneur – in Wyoming and work every day to spread the love and energy that so many have poured into our team.” 

 

Outdoor gear industry boosts Wyoming's economic diversity:
The outdoor gear industry is a critical piece within the Wyoming economy, and it fits in with the Business Council’s refreshed strategy. It adds value to the state’s core tourism and outdoor recreation industry, while also activating the manufacturing industry to add economic diversity. The Business Council provides resources for companies at every life stage of the business cycle. The agency provides startup grants for companies with high-growth potential, trade show grants for businesses seeking new markets and infrastructure grants to help growing companies expand their footprint in the state. To learn more, visit wyomingbusiness.org.

 

State and federal grant opportunities for small businesses:
STEP Grant: The Wyoming Business Council is the state administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s State Trade and Expansion Program (STEP) grant to educate and train firms new to exporting, assist experienced exporters in expanding their markets and increase foreign direct investment in the state.

Trade Show/Market Expansion Grant: There's no better way to develop new markets, find interested buyers and draw attention to your products and services than meeting face-to-face with your customers. We can help you display and sell at trade shows, network with sellers and industry experts, or travel to the market you're trying to grow and attend meetings with buyers. The Trade Show and Market Expansion Grant program reimburses up to 50 percent of approved expenses for a trade show, networking event or trade mission in the United States.

SHOT Show: Every year, the Wyoming Business Council hosts a booth at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas. It’s the largest and most comprehensive trade show for all professionals involved with the shooting sports and hunting industries. It is the world's premier exposition of combined firearms, ammunition, archery, cutlery, outdoor apparel, optics, camping and related products and services. The SHOT Show attracts buyers from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. Contact Brandon Marshall for more information on how to get involved with us at the next SHOT Show.

In-State Companies , Business

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