Backcountry.com Launches Its Own Gear Line
Twenty-two years after its founding, the e-retailer will start making in-house outdoor apparel and gear, as well as collaborating with a few select brands, like Flylow and Black Diamond, on co-branded product
Starting this spring, you’ll be seeing a lot more of the Goat. On April 3, Backcountry.com’s easily recognizable big-horned logo will expand its habitat on to hundreds of new products made by the e-retailer.
The company unveiled its proprietary line Wednesday at its headquarters in Park City, Utah. The launch included Backcountry.com-branded shirts and rain jackets, camp gear, like tents and sleeping bags, and a sneak peek of backcountry ski gear, launching next fall. The first 26 styles—spring and summer apparel, including raincoats for men and women—will launch next week. This initial launch also includes urban-inspired, casual pieces, from twill travel trousers to the classic V-neck knit dress, aimed at outdoors people and travelers looking for low-maintenance apparel.
Altogether, the Backcountry.com logo will appear on about 180 styles across five lines—camp, travel, apparel, snow, and mountain bike—within the next year. All the gear will be designed in the company's Park City headquarters.
“We think that after 22 years working with a loyal customer base, we understand what they want,” says Backcountry.com CEO Jonathan Nielsen. Backcountry.com is known for its stable of 450-odd “gearheads,” online sales specialists who can devote meticulous attention to customers' needs.
Backcountry.com follows in the footsteps of REI, which sells both its own branded products, as well as tents, sleeping bags, and apparel of hundreds of partner brands. The main difference between the approach of the two companies is that Backcountry.com is also co-labbing gear with brand partners. The co-labbed products make up just a fraction of the Backcountry.com brand offerings, but they will occupy an important marketing position for the e-retailer. “We wanted to co-lab with partners we considered best-in-class,” says Diana Seung, vice president of merchandising. “We aren’t trying to undersell our brand partners—we want to create something ground-breaking with them.” For example, there will be proprietary ski gloves made by Black Diamond that are co-designed with Backcountry.com, ski bibs from Flylow, ski socks from Smartwool, and DPS skis. These products will have both the Backcountry.com goat and the logo of the brand partner.
They'll also have a design tweak that separates the co-lab from the original product. The Flylow bibs, for example, have a proprietary pair of straps from which to hang skins while the user is skiing back down. The DPS skis are a modified version of the brand’s popular Tour1 Wailer 106. According to DPS founder Stephan Drake, the Backcountry.com co-lab edition incorporates some of the damping elements from the company’s Alchemist line for a smoother ride on hard, choppy snow, making for a particularly versatile backcountry ski. “The co-lab makes sense for us being neighbors in the Wasatch,” says Drake. He points out that Backcountry.com excels at pointing customers toward the most appropriate gear for their needs.
As for the Backcountry.com-branded gear that's designed in house, the company is aiming to increase revenue—now it'll be able to pocket the entire margin on its gear, instead of paying out a cut to vendors like the North Face or Big Agnes.