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How to Grow Your Business: Target This Niche: The Outdoors Market

From rod and gun clubs and professional hunting guides, to sportsmen gear retailers and media personalities in the angling and hunting worlds, sales opportunities abound in the outdoors industry. Here’s how to catch a big fish in these plentiful waters.

Market: Outdoors

A Business Bullseye

Steven Flaughers is an avid outdoorsman. The owner of Proforma 3rd Degree Marketing (asi/490897) thus finds it easy to relate to other anglers and hunters, a fact that’s helped him earn considerable business in the outdoors market. “A lot of business gets done on the lake and in the woods,” he says.

Flaughers, for example, provides a bevy of solutions for the McFly Outdoors hunting/fishing stores in West Virginia. And from that successful business relationship, he earned a referral to another high-profile client: Curtis Fleming, host of the Fly Rod Chronicles on the Outdoor Channel.

After connecting with McFly through a referral, Flaughers had in-depth discussions with the owner about his needs and objectives. The consultative approach led Flaughers to deliver branded solutions that range from basic tees and moisture-wicking shirts to logoed caps, winter jackets and a number of hard good ad specialties. If that wasn’t enough, Flaughers handles McFly’s fulfillment on business cards and has overseen the creation of a mobile app.

Still, one of the most compelling solutions Flaughers has delivered for McFly was a one-of-a-kind fishing shirt that featured sublimated logos and designs. Debuted at an angling tournament, the shirt caught the attention of professionals in Fleming’s camp, who asked the McFly folks where they got the cool wearable.

A referral to Flaughers followed, and the promo pro was soon fulfilling an order of custom apparel for Fleming’s crew to wear to a fishing conference in Florida. As of press time, he was in discussions to do everything from deliver a private-label clothing line for Fleming to rebrand his website, build a mobile app and develop a dynamite e-commerce platform. “There’s so much potential,” he says.

Biz Tips

Know The Trends. Hunters and anglers want their branded gear to mirror the cool items on sale at sportsmen shops. Get a handle on what’s hot at those retailers and search industry suppliers for similar items.

Speak The Language. To win repeat sales in the outdoors market, it helps if you can relate to the buyers about their passion -- to be able to speak about things like the best deer attractant or a favored line for fishing trout. By doing this consistently and sincerely, clients will view you as one of their own. That’s the basis for a long-term relationship.

Outdoors Market Buyers Want …

  • Apparel that protects from the elements
  • Camouflage patterns on caps, hooded sweatshirts, quarter-zip fleeces, performance shirts, gloves, beanies and other wearables
  • Sporty sunglasses that can be logoed
  • Lip balm with UV protection
  • For certain buyers, an eCommerce solution from which they can sell their branded shirts, caps and other products

By The Numbers

  • 33.1 million – Number of Americans who go fishing annually
  • 13.7 million – Number of Americans who hunt annually
  • $145 billion – Amount Americans spent on wildlife-related activity in a recent year