New Outdoor Retailer Exhibitors: Maven Fly, Rokform and Oru Kayak

About 250 brands were new to Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2013. We take a look at a couple that caught our eye at the show.
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Throughout the next month, SNEWS will recap its coverage of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2013 with select stories from the O.R. Daily we published at the show July 31 – Aug. 3. It’s an opportunity for you to catch up on stories you might have missed in O.R.D., and for us to update and upload the articles to our searchable archives.

About 250 brands were new to Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2013. We take a look at a couple that caught our eye at the show.

>> Maven Fly / www.mavenfly.com / Lise Lozelle, founder & owner / Austin, Texas

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Lise Lozelle on Maven Fly: “Maven Fly clothing is high-quality, inspired by fashion, but also has the comfort and function the outdoor environment demands. We use technical fabrics that are lightweight, water-resistant and breathable with built-in UPF. Then add special unexpected, fun, feminine design features like Swiss dot mesh, grosgrain ribbon and pockets in all the right places. We understand that women’s bodies come in all shapes and sizes, so with that in mind we’ve tried to build in comfort fit adjustments like Velcro waist tabs and pants that can be worn in three different lengths. We have also added extra length to our tops providing good coverage without them feeling bulky, allowing you to comfortably cast. We’ve been lucky enough to team up with fashion designer and outdoorsman Ross Bennett, of Fashion Star fame. His designs combine high style plus an understanding of form, function and flair, making Maven Fly unique.”

Tell us about your brands and products. 
The mission of Maven Fly is to make women feel good in what they are wearing while doing what they love. Our focus is fishing because that is our passion. Maven Fly has you covered in comfort and style from boating to backyard BBQs to backwater fishing. We are extremely proud that our clothing is manufactured here in the USA. Our product line includes the following: Maven Fishing Shirt, Mock C Pull Over, Angler Skort, Fly Pant, Fly Short, Cami Bra and Limited Edition Maven Vest; plus accessories like T-shirts, baseball hats and custom UV Buff.

What were you doing before this?
I’ve been working for a family business, Tempress, responsible for marketing and aftermarket sales. Tempress is a leader in the marine industry with the following brands: Tempress Seating and Tempress Hatches; Fish-ON! Rod Holders and mounts, Boatmates Storage and Organization; and X-Pak Kayak Storage and Organization. We hope to do some cross-promotion between companies in the future.

Where did your inspiration come from? 
The inspiration for Maven Fly came out of need for fishing clothes with style that fit and to make women feel good.

What’s the one best feature of your product? 
Hard to pick just one best feature. For me it was important to bring some high fashion and style into the clothing — giving it a more feminine feel and making the woman wearing it feel sexy and stylish. Yet, it still has to perform in the outdoor environment. Ultimately my favorite feature is the hidden zip back pockets on the Maven Fishing Shirt and the Mock C Pull Over. Perfect for a phone and nothing to get in the way while casting.

What has been your biggest challenge?
Fine-tuning sourcing and production has been a challenge. After lots of hard work, we have found great partners.

Who do you look up to in the industry?
Of course ExOfficio and Columbia are the big brands we admire. But we are also huge fans of another boutique Austin-based company, Howler Bros.

Who do you want to compete against in the industry?
As a women’s apparel company with a niche focus like fishing and just launching, who knows? But, we aspire to compete against the big companies we admire.

>> Rokform / www.rokform.com / Jeff Whitten, co-owner & CEO / Santa Ana, Calif.

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Tell us about your brands and products.
The Rokform brand is associated with functionality, high quality and superior customer service within the wireless accessories space. When we make our products, we put every effort possible into each facet of the project to ensure ultimate quality and function. This results in an incredibly loyal customer base and great word-of-mouth marketing for our brand. Our products have the basic essentials for wireless accessories (protection and style), but offer so much more with the integrated mounting system that is perfect for the active lifestyle. We’ve also had a partnership with American Forests since Q3 of 2012, through which we plant one tree for every case that is sold. To date, we have planted more than 60,000 trees across the U.S.

What were you doing before this?
Prior to Rokform, I was CEO of Two Brothers Racing. I joined Two Brothers in 1992 and have been with them ever since. The two companies benefit from each other and keep things interesting.

Where did your inspiration come from? 
Our inspiration really came from our experience with Two Brothers Racing. We simply applied the knowledge and love of materials and development processes to create the Rokform products we have today.

What’s the one best feature of your product? 
Mountability. With our mountable cases, you can mount your phone or tablet in the car, on a bike, on the golf course, on a handlebar, tripod, in the kitchen and wherever you need your device most.

What has been your biggest challenge? 
Our biggest challenge has been telling the story of how well our products work. Many consumers aren’t yet aware that there is a mountable case option such as ours, so we are constantly working to refine our messaging to tell the most impactful and relevant story.

Who do you look up to in the industry? 
Otterbox. They dominate the market and I really respect that.

Who do you want to compete against in the industry? 
We are fortunate to have a unique enough product where we don’t really have any direct competitors. We are basically competing against ourselves to tell the story of The Mountable Case.

>> Oru Kayak / www.orukayak.com / Roberto Gutierrez, chief commercial officer / San Francisco

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Roberto Gutierrez on Oru Kayak: “Made in California, 12 feet long, 26 pounds and a price tag of $1095 — there is nothing quite like the Oru Kayak. The Oru Kayak is maneuverable, fast and durable. Unlike most collapsible kayaks, ours has a rigid hull, so performance is not compromised. The material is rated to 20,000 folds by the manufacturer. We have taken the kayak down Class 3 rivers and surfed in the open ocean. The compact size and weight of the Oru Kayak allows people to easily store their kayak, transport it, and explore like never before!”

Tell us about your brands and products.
We are a design-based company always looking for elegant solutions. We make one product, The Oru Kayak. We raised almost $500,000 using Kickstarter in one month from pre-orders. Forty percent of the people who bought an Oru Kayak had never kayaked before — indicating we���ve lowered a barrier for first-time paddlers.

What was the founder of the company doing before this?
Anton Willis studied architecture at the University of California at Berkeley and was working in a small architecture firm when he prototyped the Oru Kayak in his garage.

Where did your inspiration come from?
After moving to a studio apartment and putting his kayak in storage, Anton wished he had a place to store his kayak in the city. While reading and article in The New Yorker titled, “The Origami Lab,” Anton learned about Robert Lang’s application of origami to solve practical problems and the idea was born — an origami kayak.

What’s the one best feature of your product? 
The folds are the technology that allow a 12-foot kayak to fold into a small carrying case. They provide rigidity without the need for an internal frame, also keeping the boat simple and lightweight.

What has been your biggest challenge?
Meeting the market demands. We can’t make kayaks fast enough.

Who do you look up to in the industry?
Patagonia, The North Face, Osprey, Arc’teryx and Xtracycle.

Who do you want to compete against in the industry? 
Folbot, Feathercraft, Alpacka Rafts, Advanced Elements, Sevylor, Klepper, Johnson Outdoors and Confluence Water Sports.

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