March is Women’s History Month and we want to shine the spotlight on passionate women who have overcome challenges and obstacles to pave the way for all to follow. This is the time of year to promote, support, and discover all the awesome women-led businesses around us.
Women's leadership and ingenuity continue to play an important role in the outdoor industry. We're excited to share with you this list of 9 incredible, women-owned outdoor companies that focus on women empowerment.
The Kari Traa brand was first introduced to the worldwide market in 2006, and it is now well-established in twelve other European nations. The brand's entry into the US market in 2015 represented a new milestone for the company.
Owned by Kari Traa, one of the greatest stars in the moguls event in freestyle skiing. She won 37 World Cup tournaments, 4 World Championship gold medals, and 1 Olympic gold medal at Salt Lake City in her 17-year career, which spanned 1990 to 2007. Kari turned her interest in designing and knitting her own beanies and ski clothing into a business in 2002. Made for girls, by girls, Kari Traa is now Europe's fastest-growing sports brand, producing sportswear for women such as base layers, jackets, hats, beanies, sweaters, leggings, and more.
Kula is a reusable antimicrobial pee cloth and must-have for ladies on the trails as an environmentally friendly alternative to toilet paper. It's an excellent Leave No Trace option that is both comfy and environmentally friendly.
The founder of Kula Cloth, Anastasia Allison, is a Washington resident, outdoor enthusiast, former police officer, and part-time backpacking teacher for a non-profit. While on a trip to Washington state's Alpine Lakes Wilderness and enjoying a spectacular sunset over Robin Lake, Anastasia walked around a larch tree and was surprised to find a giant pile of toilet paper. When she got home, she started looking into Leave No Trace choices for toilet paper in the bush. She came across the idea of a pee cloth and decided to give it a shot. She finished the design after nearly three years of intensive research and hundreds of hours of field testing, and the Kula Cloth was born. Today, Kula Cloth is rapidly becoming an essential piece of outdoor gear!
Carve Designs® is a women's clothing company that specializes in trendy and functional aquatic, surf, and lifestyle designs. It was founded by two female surfers and athletes, Jen Hinton and Thayer Sylvester, who were fed up with fitting into junior's apparel and being bored by too many khaki hues. Carve Designs has dedicated themselves to creating a vibrant, fresh, and one-of-a-kind activewear brand that fits real women.
Carve Designs' ladies are keen to push the boundaries of outdoor clothing, proving that useful clothing can also be beautiful and well-fitting. The clothing is meant to be as inspiring and adaptable as the women who wear it. They are also environmentally conscious and use sustainable fabric as much as possible, including certified organic cotton. A portion of their sales also goes to the preservation of oceans and beaches.
Corinne Prevot, a Vermont native, started her winter headwear and accessories company, Skida, in 2008 when she was just 16 years old. Prevot chose to sew her own hat after being frustrated by the limited available options while skiing at Burke Mountain Academy in Vermont. Prevot wanted a hat that was both fashionable and functional, so she designed one that was bright, colorful, and functional for cross-country skiing.
The popularity of her brightly colored hats expanded quickly, as did the diversity of prints. As word spread outside the Other England ski community, new goods were added to the range to keep everyone toasty and colorful.
Skida's aim is to bring people together, encourage play, spread joy, and make the world a better place. Today, the brand remains dedicated to local manufacture, limited edition products, and a fresh perspective.
Missy Park founded a women-only outdoor company in 1989, long before it was fashionable to be a female founder. She titled it Title Nine after the landmark 1972 legislation that granted women equal rights in all aspects of school, including athletics.
Title Nine began as a small group of female runners, ruggers, and athletes who worked as a team and learned the business from the ground up. They were the first to believe in the wild idea that women wanted their own sports gear. They also believe that being outside and working out may be an antidote to many of life's difficulties and that business is a team sport, a great experiment, and a strong force for change.
Today, Title Nine is still the largest independently owned and run retailer in the women's fitness and adventure industry.
TomboyX was formed in 2013 by Fran Dunaway and her wife Naomi Gonzalez. The concept for the brand came about after Dunaway struggled to locate a button-down shirt she liked and discovered there wasn't much out there for women looking for masculine-style clothes.
This lack led to the creation of TomboyX. Still, TomboyX didn't realize their true niche in the industry until someone called Gonzalez and asked if they had boxer briefs for ladies. Gonzalez then did an online search for such briefs, only to come across Spanx. Seeing a gap in the market, the pair quickly realized they were onto something big. TomboyX's sales tripled in six months after they started selling underpants, and it has been increasing ever since.
In 2014, enraged by the traditional “shrink it and pink it” marketing (where women’s products are just taken from men’s, shrunken down, and colored with pink) approach to women's snow gear, Jen Gurecki founded Coalition Snow. Gurecki's approach was to combine feedback from skilled skiers and riders with her own female experience, resulting in a product that would help meet a need within the already niched world of women in adventure sports.
In addition to providing women's gear, Gurecki intends to generate opportunities for women in sports. She works to assist women who represent our gender and level the playing field, claiming that elite skiers and riders are not compensated for their abilities.
Coalition Snow has received multiple honors for its equipment and has had athletes compete in the Olympics while using their gear. They continually strive to develop and provide their skiers and snowboarders with exactly what they want.
Nuu-Muu was founded in 2008 by two friends, Ashley Fullenwider and Christine Nienstedt, who were fond of going on adventures together and found their perfect challenge in creating a business to inspire more of the same in themselves and others. Nuu-Muu creates athleisure dresses capable of running marathons, climbing mountains, traveling the world, charming on date night, and much more.
Nuu-Muu's clothing and message of strength and camaraderie have altered lives and pushed women to love themselves into action for the past decade. Customers of Nuu-Muu share a common respect for what surrounds them: community.
Cassie Abel made a last-minute choice not to relocate from Sun Valley, Idaho, to Portland, Oregon after Smith Optics, where she was working, announced the move in 2014. Instead, she tried her hand at entrepreneurship, co-founding the women's outdoor gear company Wild Rye to provide women with technical and contemporary outdoor and mountain bike attire. Abel took over as sole proprietor of Wild Rye in late 2018 and relocated the brand from Lake Tahoe to Sun Valley. Today, Wild Rye is the brand of choice for many female-identified outdoor enthusiasts of all ages, backgrounds, sizes, and levels, whether you’re a beginner or a pro!
Wild Rye’s products include a broad range of sizes and creative, colorful prints. They are committed to getting more women outside and supporting other organizations that share this purpose. Abel also started Women-Led Wednesday in 2018 to recognize and boost female-owned businesses.
Shopping at women-owned businesses can aid in the fight against economic inequalities and the closing of the gender wealth gap. Check out these companies' websites, promote them to your friends and followers, share your reviews on your social media page, and spread the word that supporting women-owned businesses is a great way to honor Women's History Month.
Share the love: