Category Archives: Outdoor Gear

Cairn Hires Former Cascade Designs VP Mona West as New Chief Product Officer

Our friends over at Cairn continue to grow, moving into new digs and hiring rock stars. Most recently, the Bend startup announced that it’s hired Mona West to be the company’s new Chief Product Officer. In this newly created position, Mona will oversee the strategic direction of the company’s product offering and relationships with brand partners, according to a news release.

From Cairn:

West comes to Cairn with an impressive background in product management and marketing. She joins Cairn from Cascade Designs, where as Vice President of Emerging Brands she spearheaded the growth of numerous brands including Platypus®, SealLine®, and PackTowl®. Prior to that she drove marketing strategy for Therm-a-Rest® and MSR®. West combines this deep outdoor industry experience with expertise from leading consumer product and retail brands at Fortune 200 companies including Ste Michelle Wine Estates, where she oversaw the significant expansion of their wine subscription box programs, Amazon.com, and General Mills.

Hey Mt Bikers! BVC Winner CushCore to Demo Its Inner Tire Suspension System Saturday at Maston

The team at CushCore certainly caught a lot of people’s attention with their startup pitch last fall for an innovative inner-tire suspension system for mountain bikes. The perks: Better traction, improved stability and ultimately fewer flats. It was an easy sell to a town that spends a lot of time on singletrack trails.

The company won the Bend Venture Conference $15,000 BendBroadband Business Early Stage Cash Prize last October and officially launched their product last month. Even more exciting: You can try out CushCore’s patent-pending inner-tire system this Saturday. Head to the Maston Trailhead — details below — and they’ll have wheels fitted with the system that you can put on your bike. Then just, you know, ride like a bat out of hell. See what happens.

Cairn Co-Founders on the Secret to Their Successful Partnership #julieselfie

Julie Harrelson, CEO of the Harrelson Group, Fund Manager of Cascade Angels, loves taking selfies with entrepreneurs, investors and people of Oregon who support building a strong Oregon through entrepreneurialism. This blog continues a series of selfies + blogs about the amazing people she’s met in the last couple of years. #julieselfie

Cairn believes that being outside replenishes the soul. The company was founded with the goal of creating meaningful ways for people to feel connected with the outdoors in their everyday lives. Their monthly subscription box service introduces people to innovative new products and gear that inspires them to get outdoors and try new things, go new places, and share the experience with others.

In the fall of 2014, Cairn was a member of the first class of Bend Outdoor Worx, an accelerator for Central Oregon outdoor-product companies. At the start of 2015, the company, founded by Rob Little and Jared Peterson, had two employees and approximately 500 subscribers. Today Cairn has 14 employees, ships products to over 15,000 subscribers each month, and sources products from over 100 companies. Cairn, based in Bend, was chosen among all development stage companies in Oregon as the winner of the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network Entrepreneurship Award in 2015.

Bend-based DubsLabs KickStarts On-Ear, Flat Headphones, Which Allow You to Hear Your Surroundings and Music While Skiing, Biking and More

The best thing about working in a co-working space is getting to meet people doing really interesting things. Today, that person was Eric Dubs, creator of Versafit, wireless, on-ear headphones. He launched a Kickstarter for the product a few hours ago, aiming to raise $35,000, to fund the headphone production.

I couldn’t help but walk over to his desk to learn more, after hearing his team’s excitement about their first backers. I’m glad I did, and you will be too. Versafit headphones are flat, bendable headphones that rest on top of your ears.

As Eric explains, this not only makes them more comfortable than traditional ear buds, but it also allows you to still hear noise from the outside. This makes them a great, safe option for people listening to music, who also need to be aware of their surroundings, such as mt. biker, skiers, snowboarders, or people just walking down the street.

Why You Don’t Tell the Ripclear Founders That Something Is Impossible … #50startups

It’s conventional wisdom that the best products and companies come from people who were trying to solve their own problems. That seems to be the case with Ryan Doherty and Zach Hines, co-founders of Ripclear, a Bend startup that creates (actually invented) adhesive ski goggle protectors.

Ryan was working at Mt. Bachelor as an inventory controller in 2013, basically making sure that the resort’s various lodges had all the food and beverages they needed to serve their customers. An avid snowboarder, he’d often snowboard between the mountain’s lodges and buildings.

“I was scratching up to three or four pairs of goggles a year,” he says. He thought that there had to be something he could adhere to the front – like a cellphone screen cover – that would prevent the damage. But after a lot of Internet searching, he found exactly nothing.

#Julieselfie: 3 Tips for Entrepreneurs from the CEO of KIALOA, Bend-based paddle company

Julie Harrelson, CEO of the Harrelson Group, Fund Manager of Cascade Angels, has a beloved penchant for taking selfies with entrepreneurs, investors and people of Oregon who support building a strong Oregon through entrepreneurialism. This blog continues a series of selfies + blogs about the amazing people she’s met in the last couple of years. #julieselfie

Recently, I had a wonderful visit with Meg Chun, co-founder and CEO at KIALOA, a Bend-based paddle company. Our conversation covered the early days of the company in Hawaii and making paddles on the lanai, moving to Bend and working out of a garage, her international paddle collection and Central Oregon’s growth.

Where did the idea come from for KIALOA and why Central Oregon?

KIALOA started on Oahu. My husband Dave and I were avid outrigger paddlers and Dave felt that there was a way to improve upon the paddles that we were using. He had strong beliefs about paddle design so he started building paddles on our lanai.

#julieselfie: Why Gary Bracelin Thinks Bend Can Be Outdoor Product Innovation Hub

Julie Harrelson, CEO of the Harrelson Group, Fund Manager of Cascade Angels, has a beloved penchant for taking selfies with entrepreneurs, investors and people of Oregon who support building a strong Oregon through entrepreneurialism. This blog continues a series of selfies + blogs about the amazing people she’s met in the last couple of years. #julieselfie

Gary Bracelin is a creative force behind the outdoor industry in Oregon. He formed one of the first sales rep groups that served the action sports industry, served as the director of global sales for KIALOA Paddles and most recently founded the Bend Outdoor Worx accelerator.

I recently caught up with Gary to celebrate his birthday, check out his 50s cruiser bike and talk about Central Oregon as a hub for outdoor product innovation. Please note: the sign behind us says “Please do not climb on the tree.” I was very surprised we both didn’t immediately try!

Bend Outdoor Worx Counts Zealios, Fat Chance Bikes and Bosky in Next Class

Bend Outdoor Worx (BOW), Central Oregon’s outdoor industry accelerator, just keeps cranking out cohorts of outdoor startups. Their next group starts this September and includes Bosky Optics, Fat Chance Bicycles and Zealios.

This is the fourth group of companies to receive guidance from BOW’s industry founders. The accelerator analyzes the startups’ needs, develops a custom curriculum and then provides guidance to the startups via BOW’s founders and connections with industry experts. BOW also connects startups with legal assistance, financial planning, marketing, logistics, sales, marketing and product development.

This little-accelerator-that-could claims several very cool Central Oregon startups as alum including Cairn, The Robert Axle Project, Homeschool Apparel, Freerange Equipment and SnoPlanks. The next cohort seems like a great addition.