What happens when an outdoor brand is built around a lifestyle, rather than a sport? When the goal is to connect deeply with the lifestyle of a specific consumer, and then create apparel products based around that lifestyle?

Kelly and Will Watters, third generation entrepreneurs, are doing exactly that with Western Rise, a clothing and apparel company designed to be the perfect apparel for the the mountain life, that has just come out of the Telluride Venture Accelerator. When the focus of the apparel is not a sport or activity, but a lifestyle, consumers end up using the product for many different purposes, and it holds a special place in their heart, staying with them through so many activities.

Kelly and Will also talk about the revolution that is direct to consumer marketing, and how it is changing business. When retail stores were the only way to reach an end consumer, businesses had to treat the buyers of the retail store as their consumer. With direct to consumer, the end consumer is finally the buyer, and it opens up an extremely useful dialogue between business and consumer that results in consumers being far happier with the final product.

Will and Kelly are making big waves in the outdoor lifestyle apparel industry, and their energy and attitude toward entrepreneurialism is exciting and infectious. They have a tremendous level of dedication toward bringing their consumer the absolute best product that they can, and the dedication is paying off. Get ready to be inspired and educated by what they have to say on this episode of Intrepid Entrepreneur!

Enter to win one of the two shirts below from Western Rise!

Bravery in Business Quote

“We want our online brand presence to be something you experience not just through social media, but through multiple touch points in your life.” – Kelly Watters

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The Cliff Notes

  • Building products around a lifestyle allows for multiple uses of a single product
  • There’s a whole system in place for wholesale that is not often welcoming to new, unvalidated brands
  • When you sell direct to consumer, you have far more ability to control the customer experience
  • It’s important to understand where your customers are and double down on those platforms in marketing
  • Market a lifestyle more than a product for more customer engagement
  • After you create an experience through your brand, diversify your points of contact with your customers for deeper engagement
  • When you sell direct to consumer, your end buyers are your customer. When you go through a retailer, their buyers are your customer, so it changes the way you sell and who you get feedback from
  • Starting and running a business is one of the best ways to learn more about yourself than you ever did before
  • Going out and doing the things that you love to do will better yourself and your business. You are doing yourself and your business a disservice if you neglect to get out and do the things you love

“A direct to consumer business model is a collaborative effort between a business and it’s customers.” – Will Waters

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Habit for Success

Listen carefully to what your customers are saying. Take every opportunity to learn more from them, because they will be your guide for where you should take your brand.



@Western_Rise (Instagram)

Telluride Venture Accelerator

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