I feel fortunate to be in the position I am right now – super fortunate. I am married to my best friend, live in the climbing capital of the country (my words) and have an insatiable desire to laugh way too often. My daily duties include working with outdoor brands I love, respect and use as well as the independent retailers who are the cornerstones of this economy. I did not start my rep career in the outdoor industry which gives me a unique perspective and seems to be pretty rare in the rep world. Since I started in this industry in 2013, I felt more could be done to empower independent retailers and much more could be done to help shift the demand curves both in store and overall for each brand - an evolution of repping. In 2011, the name of my blog while I traveled the country in a 1993 GMC Safari was On the Road and Off. It is now the name of the business and journey I am living. Feel free to ask me about what it means in person one day, and I will surely give you the long winded story of what it stands for. But for now, it stands for a balance I strive for and seek daily. A balance of work and play, of conventional and creative, of new and old, of short and long term goals.
The outdoors have long been my lifeline. It started with BMX bikes in the backyard and wanting to stay out for as long as my mother would let me. Throw in some fuel from camping trips with my dad and I’d say I almost prefer sleeping in a tent to any luxury hotel. I caught the climbing bug around 2007 and being a lifestyle sport it definitely changed mine. After spending a Fall in the Red River Gorge and an extended trip out West, I made the move from Alabama to Chattanooga. With a city that’s growing, a house that’s a short bike ride from downtown, and ease of access to the outdoors it would be hard to call any other place home. I’ve worked for several Specialty shops including bike shops and outdoor retailers, the last one being a long stint with Rock Creek Outfitters. To say I’m excited about joining on with TJ in this endeavor would be an understatement.
The desire for a life revolving around the idea of recreation outside, for me, really began in high school. Facilitated by plant identification walks in Horticulture class, daily doses of disc golf, weekends filled with fishing and climbing trips. Born in Chattanooga, TN and raised in the suburbs of Atlanta, there was no short of desire to make the escape when the time came. the year was 2010, I moved back to Chattanooga landing a job at a local gear shop, Rock Creek Outfitters. New interests and passions developed as my time with them grew. In 2015 I fell in love with cycling and after an extended three month long cross country tour, my love was only cemented. My first taste of being a rep began in 2016, starting with Outdoor Sports Marketing filling the roll as a Tech Rep working with some well known and respected brands within the industry. Fast forward almost three years later and my time with OSM had come to a close. I found myself on the saddle of my bike traversing Europe, crossing 6 countries on a 5 week tour with my partner Jen. Coming back home was a bag of mixed feelings, but two of those feelings I recall with clarity was excitement to join On The Road And Off and certainty about that decision. I’m forever grateful for what has been in the past, I’m elated for whats to come in the future, and as of this moment right now, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
I’ve been a lover of the outdoors since my summer camp days as a kid. After working odd jobs in Ohio, I took off and spent three months touring the western US, hitting 16 National Parks, living out of my Subaru, and hiking as much as possible. I wound up moving to Asheville, NC to spend more time outdoors and explore a new region. There I spent the summer working for Teva where I got to combine my loves of style and the outdoors, while promoting a fun and ethical company. I’m excited to be joining the ORO team where I get to work with small businesses, meet great people, and promote brands I love. While I’m new to the outdoor industry, I definitely think I’ve landed on the right path and I can’t wait to keep learning the ropes.
What started out as a job for a year between college and grad school has somehow become my career. For as long as I can remember, I've always been obsessed, fascinated and inspired by the outside world. It is my soul home. It's also the place where I've learned my core life lessons, built my most valuable relationships and ultimately grown the most as a human being. My gap year working at (what has grown to be) the iconic High Country Outfitters in Atlanta, GA put me on the path to becoming a climber which has irrevocably changed and shaped my life. Four years after becoming a climber I moved to Boulder, CO - one of the quintessential "Mecca's" of the climbing world. There, I was gifted with opportunities to travel, climb and experience the wide range of a life outside in ways that I would have never believed I could achieve. Incredibly heady stuff for a kid who grew up in suburban Atlanta! Life changes, as it always does and I wound up coming back to the east a few years ago. I've spent many years in my career working on the retail side of the industry in just about every role. In transitioning to the vendor side of the business I feel I've been able to bring my retail experience forward to truly be able to understand the challenges, frustrations and needs of the outdoor specialty retailer. I strongly feel that in this age of internet that being able to leverage connection and engagement is the key to making brick and mortar remain not just relevant but be a driving force for our communities. I've been a part of many different teams in my journey and with the oRo team I feel like I've found my truest family and I am just so excited to take our next steps
So...What the hell is ORO? Well, we are currently two individuals representing four brands which span many different retail channels and a broad geographic region down here in the Southeast. A good percentage of our business comes from the outdoor sector, but also work a good bit with family shoe stores, surf shops, marinas, climbing gyms and lifestyle boutiques. We assist in product assortment each season, in-store marketing, inventory management, employee education and events. That is the conventional sales aspect of ORO but not the only aspect.
We are also implementing a complementary and supplemental new aspect to the general and otherwise unchanged “sales” side of the business. We did not come up with a new idea nor invent a new process or product, but are merely combining two existing ideas. The added value we plan to offer is the content marketing side. Content by us, from our experiences, from our region, from people we associate with on a regular basis in unison with the brands we represent. This content is created and published for two reasons...which we felt would better fit in the why and how sections...so please...continue.
We exist as an industry, and I call myself an outdoor enthusiast partly because of the brands and the stores that carry them. Both stores and brands exist because of the customers who buy these products. And in my belief, many times, we as customers buy these products because of the stories created while using these products. This industry was founded on stories and experiences - plain and simple.
We want to tell those stories of a mother who has 3 kids and is training for her first trail 10k. The newlywed who just climbed their first V3. The couple who moved from California to Tennessee to climb and became engulfed in fly fishing. The former corporate executive who downsized and hiked the Appalachian Trail. These are the stories that inspire us. These are the stories we want our brands to be associated with, so those are the stories we strive to tell.
I hate reading articles online preaching the decline of independent retailers. Small business is what created this country and under my belief what will continue to sustain it. We at ORO think we can accomplish that through the unified effort of brands, stores, reps and the customers who make educated consumer decisions. That educated decision starts with the perceived value a brick and mortar store provides and we want to help these stores create more value.
We are not bypassing the normal rep duties which so many do so well and have been for some time. If we tell you we will do something, I can assure you we are going to. If you email or call, we will get back to you very soon. We will help stores make our brands section look as good as possible. We will educate your employees and yourself on product, any and every product we carry. We will let you know when product is and isn’t available and what is doing well and what is not. This is standard.
However, we have a creative side which we want to utilize, expand and grow… so we will. Our social media pages are not just a regurgitation of the brands content. It is created by us or others close to us. We use images and stories rooted in the Southeast which we think resonate with the Southeastern individual. We introduce people, places and things that inspire us and couple them with the brands we work with . Simply put, we have two goals – inspire folks to breath fresh air often and empower and energize independent retailers.
Like I said, we haven’t created a new idea. We are merely combining two existing ideas and think it makes perfect sense. We love working with the brands and stores in the Southeast, so why not document it through words and pictures and help other individuals and stores tell their narratives? Why not give the brands and retailers more tools to help them succeed? Why wouldn’t we try if we have the capabilities and drive to do so?
There will be much more to come going forward. On the Road and Off is not just a name of the business, it is not just sales, not just content. It is a way we strive to live our lives and we want you to join along.
TN, NC, SC
TN, NC, SC, GA, AL, FL, KY, WV, VA, MS, LA
TN, NC, SC, GA, AL, FL, MS, LA, AR, KY, VA, WV
TN, NC, SC, GA, AL, FL, MS, KY, VA, WV