A life of Ranching, Adventure, and Outdoor Retail with Wes Allen of Sunlight Sports [EP 212]
Wes grew up on a working Cattle Ranch outside Cody, Wyoming. Currently the principal at the outdoor retail shop Sunlight Sports, Co-Founder of the Argot Agency and former president of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance
“They want to be able to tell a story that local Outdoor Retail customers will relate to. That's the whole concept behind the Argo Agency”
You have a wide range of experience in the outdoor retail space. Tell us about a little bit about your background.
I do have a wide range of experience. My first formal job in the outdoor industry was here at Sunlight Sports. Cody was the nearest big town to the ranch. After I graduated from college, I came in for an outdoor retail summer job because I had purchased stuff here before. I wound up staying and then, a year later or so the woman who owned Sunlight with her husband . . . her much younger sister came back from college in New Zealand and I wound up getting married to her. So yeah, I kinda got into the family that way.
How did the Argot Agency come about?
Argo is something that's a little bit newer. Argo agency is a specialty agency that works on building out bespoke marketing programs between Outdoor Retailers and brands. These retailers have been identified as key outdoor retail specialty accounts by the brands. And obviously, from my background, I really believe in the power of specialty outdoor retail.
We've worked with quite a few brands in the outdoor industry. When people go into a specialty outdoor retail shop, there's kind of this ambiance and Summit Hut is a great example. You go in there and it is definitely an Arizona outdoor store and they sell snake gaiters and they've got cactus on the wall. It's not, you know, it's not a Pacific Northwest outdoor retail store. And you know, brands want to tell great stories that resonate with customers. They want to be able to tell a story that local Outdoor Retail customers will relate to. That's the whole concept behind Argo.
Tell our listeners how Argo works with outdoor retail brands and stores to execute these campaigns.
So we go in and we actually customize it for every single outdoor retail shop. The vast majority of retailers that we work with, we do a photoshoot with the brand. Then we create brand signage and pop and everything in the store for the brand. So for example with Summit Hut, when we did the signs it was pictures of people in the mountains right outside of Tucson. The fonts and the colors and everything was localized but it was very much a Nemo branded campaign.
What suggestions or advice do you have for folks wanting to get into the outdoor retail biz? Or grow their career if they're already in the biz.
I think that the outdoor retail industry, even though it's gotten bigger and there are big multinational corporations involved, it is a passion industry. Very few people are in the outdoor industry because this is the only job they can find right? They're here because they care about it. And I think my one suggestion I would give to people is I'd wear your passions on your sleeve a little bit more, whether it's for your job or for the outdoor activities that you enjoy. I think we all respond to that and find it a positive thing. And we like being around people who are passionate about something. I think in your career if you can be passionate about your job and passionate about your activities, other people in the outdoor industry are more inclined to help you with your career.
Things We Talked About
Favorite Outdoor Gear Under $100
Outdoor Retailer Banner
Do your job well and understand where it fits in the big picture of the industry
Connect with Wes