Scott Whipps, former vice president of sports retail for Clif Bar and Company, started Monday as the new vice president of global sales for Toad&Co. After 10 years with Clif Bar, in San Francisco, Whipps and his family are relocating to Santa Barbara for the new gig.
Whipps said Toad&Co's good business practices and genuine love for doing good and protecting the outdoors were an instant connection for him and a strong pull toward the new job.
“First and foremost, Toad&Co is a values-based company,” Whipps said Friday. “Front and center is taking care of the outdoors and being outdoors.”
A quick look at Whipps’ resume might lead you to think he left the outdoor industry after working for Sierra Designs in the 1990s, returning in 2005 from two years at a startup and a year at eBay to work for Clif Bar. But the outdoors have always been at the core of his career. At eBay, he was in charge of sporting goods categories and collectibles.
He has always combined his passions with his profession, he said, and he has plans to be an avid outdoorsman even into his later years. He’ll be that guy who’s winning races at 95 because there’s no one else in his age group. His love for the outdoors has sown a desire to protect it. On top of his professional career, he is also chair of the Conservation Alliance.
The outdoor industry’s genuine care for nature is what he loves most about this industry, he said.
“Part of what makes the outdoor specialty industry so special is that people actually do care about the outdoors,” he said. “There’s this understanding that you have to take care of the outdoors to be able to be outdoors. … Very simply - and it’s very, very important to me - doing good is good business.”
Toad&Co has grown to about 40 employees since it started out as Horny Toad, in a garage in Telluride, Colo., in 1991. The company rebranded last year. Now, it’s about the size Clif Bar was when Whipps started there in 2005.
It’s clear Whipps is interested in growing the company, and he plans to help specialty retail shops along the way.
Consumers have so many choices these days when it comes to purchasing outdoor goods. Brick and mortar shops compete with the web, and independent retailers compete with big chains. Whipps wants to help specialty shops become more competitive as he works toward his other goal of making Toad&Co the No. 1 outdoor lifestyle brand, fulfilling its “trail to tavern” tagline better than anyone else.
“Being a partner, that’s my commitment (to retail partners),” Whipps said. “To bring a bigger-picture view that says, how do I, as a partner, as a brand … help you leverage what you’re really good at?”