Cairn now shipping internationally

Cairn now shipping internationally

Gear junkies across the world are falling in love with Cairn.

The Bend-based company delivers more than 10,000 packages a month – boxes filled with samples of new outdoor gear – to all 50 states and nine different countries.

“We’re a monthly subscription service for people who enjoy the outdoors,” Cairn’s owner and founder Rob Little says. “Customers don’t know what exactly they’re receiving.”

Yes, it’s kind of like an awesome birthday present every month from your favorite uncle that ski bums in the winter and guides whitewater rafts in the summer.

 

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For $25 per month – or less if customers sign up for a multi-month commitment – Cairn subscribers receive products from four or five brands launching new products aimed at the outdoor community. During the sign-up process customers fill out a demographic profile to ensure they receive the appropriate products when brands offer sport- or gender-specific goods.

“Customers don’t know what they’re receiving, but by filling out their profile – who they are, what they like to do – it allows us to cater content,” Little says. “The fortunate thing for the outdoor industry is there’s a lot of recreational neutral products.”

Last October, for example, Cairn sent out boxes with a Mountainsmith hemp cooler ($25 retail price), a Joshua Tree sunscreen and wind protection stick ($7), Backpacker Magazine’s fall/winter gear guide ($7), gear and clothes repair patches from Gear Aid ($5) and an energy bar from Ally’s Bar ($3.50)

Each box typically carries between $30 and $50 worth of goods. Cairn is able to offer the gear at a discount because it helps the various outdoor companies figure out what customers like and don’t like about their products.

“We collect feedback and data and give that back to the brands,” says Little, whose company, which is not quite two years old, utilizes BendBroadband Business services. “We take product reviews and marry them with the info customers give us when they sign up. We also can run reports that help the brands with everything from marketing to research development to customer service.”

 

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This past December, Cairn launched “Obsidian,” a premium version of its classic monthly subscription. For $199 a quarter, customers receive a box of full of products that retail for as much as $175.

“Obsidian really opens up our price point,” says Little, who sold out his first offering of Obsidian boxes in less than two weeks. “Our original service, those products cap out at $25 or $30. With Obsidian, we can showcase products between $150 and $175. It really opens up an added layer of the market for us.”

Cairn has also has begun to partner with various brands on what it dubs “Adventure Upgrades.” Each month random subscribers will receive an Adventure Upgrade gift. In December, five Cairn customers were surprised with gift certificates for Therm-a-Rest sleeping bags. This month, the lucky Adventure Upgrade recipients will open a box with a $200 gift card to Klymit, makers of ultralight backpacking gear.

“Think Willy Wonka and The Golden Ticket,” Little says. “(The Adventure Upgrade) is another layer of interaction with the brands and it’s another way for brands to introduce themselves to customers.”

In 2016, Cairn looks to expand into the adventure travel market, Little says, while also looking at ways to help brands better digest the customer feedback Cairn provides.

“Data’s the big play for us,” Little says. “That’s where we’ll spend a lot of time this year. How to make it more easily interpreted by the brands. How to best give them information they can execute and take action on in a way that’s visually easy to comprehend.”

 

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