NEW FEMALE FOCUSED SKI GEAR AND ADVENTURE WEBSITE
If you're a woman serious about skiing or snowboarding you'll know the frustration to find female focused gear rather than shrink-and-pink-it versions of the men's lines. Sophie, based in Morzine and Helen, currently in Whistler have joined together to create Latitude, a women's website featuring female ski and snowboard gear while providing a platform for female adventurers. They are focusing on the world as well as women contributing to 1% for the Planet partner of Protect Our Winters UK with the mission to accelerate our transition to a carbon neutral society.
What made you decide to launch Latitude focusing on women?
We have worked in the outdoor and action sports industry for a while now and we saw a gap in the market for a female focused retail experience to provide women with the kit they need to enjoy the outdoors. Our experience and the data showed us that while participation is evenly split between the genders the product and retail offering is skewed towards the male customer. Working in the industry it felt like the women's range was an afterthought, often from a design, buying and merchandising perspective and we wanted to change that. Our long term goal is to be the best online retailer of women's outdoor gear!
Where do you think you can improve on other outdoor online retailers?
As well as offering a curated selection of the best women's products on the market we also want to be an online source of information - buying guides, gear advice and stories, written by women, for women, who love to enjoy life outdoors.
We want to make it more accessible for women to buy outdoor gear and we invest some serious time in adding content to our product pages to explain what the gear is best for and why we have selected it; for example our new Ski and Snowboard pages explain what type of terrain the ski is best for and what level of skier the ski is appropriate for. We are currently writing a series of blogs to help you understand the jargon too!
Our aim is to build a community of women around Latitude who love the outdoors. The reason we started Latitude was to provide a platform for and serve that community, handpick products they love, curate gear guides they want to read, tell stories to inspire them to get outside and enjoy nature!
Who do you see as your typical customer?
All women who love the outdoors and adventure! Like Sophie in the backcountry, below.
Some ski and snowboard brands just shrink it and pink it for women rather than designing kit specifically. What is your view on this?
So sick of brands shrinking and pinking! Women are built differently, we have different shaped bodies, different needs, different ranges of movement and a different centre of gravity. There are a few brands out there that are really focusing on women's design though, such as Eivy for baselayers and the awesome Coalition Snow for hardware, and let's not forget about Nikita who have been making women's specific snow and skate apparel for three decades. Isla Marsh, a UK ski instructor has actually done some really great work on this recently asking brands how they are prioritising women in their fit, style and design processes so it really does feel like there is a movement happening to challenge the industry to change
Which brands have got it right for women. And why?
Eivy for their great prints (see above) but also for their fit, being a female run brand they really understand how we want our base layers to fit for skiing and snowboarding. Merrell recently topped our list of outdoor brands with the most female ambassadors; the results of this exercise were pretty shocking - only 28 percent of the average outdoor brand's ambassadors are female, read the full blog here.
Would you say you are about ski/snowboard fashion? Or function? Piste poseur or backcountry babe?
Sophie (image below): A little bit of both. Being based out in the mountains, my kit really does have to work correctly for the conditions. I do a lot of sport all year round and I like to have plenty of movement in my gear to do the sports I love. But there is also no harm in looking great and feeling awesome too. I think kit that makes you feel good outside whether that's to enable you to reach that summit, or just feeling yourself in your fave colour jacket. Either way, it can only be a good thing!
Helen: Over the last couple of years I have really invested in pieces that will last a long time and deliver in all weather conditions. Having moved to Whistler this year having a three layer, at least 20k waterproof, jacket is a must, I'm loving my Flylow jacket and bib (they have recently launched in the UK too) and pair it with a mid-layer which I wear on its own in autumn and spring. I love both Eivy and Mons Royale base layers which both look great and score in the performance department too.
How can women who enjoy skiing or snowboarding become involved?
Latitude is all about community. We want to hear women's stories, see awesome images of everyone's adventure and hear about the change women want to see in the industry and what inspires them! You can follow us on instagram and facebook, sign up to our newsletter or email us at email@example.com. Any contribution you can make will mean that we are more likely to succeed in our goal to create and grow a female focused outdoor store.
We are a small business and we can't do it without our community. A like, a share, a purchase, a review, and every order we get in makes us jump up and down and really makes our day. So if you see anything you like on our site, get in touch and make an order and support small. In return, we promise to deliver the best customer service we can, share the best products on the market and always listen to your feedback. Together we can make this happen!
What is your can't-live-without ski or snowboard gear for winter 2021?
Sophie: This season I will be rocking the FW Manifest jacket, Burton AK pants, my trusty Patagonia midlayer and way too many skis to currently fit in my garage! I have some flat-tailed K2 Mindbenders (image above) this year to try out from the awesome guys at Black Peak Trading so I can't wait to see how they rip up the piste this season!
Helen: Last season's Flylow Jacket and Foxy Bib with a Patagonia midlayer and Mons Royale Yotei base layer. I'm currently skiing on Elan Ripsticks and just picked up a second hand pair of powder skis too (let's hope the mountain stays open). But seriously, the equipment I can't do without are my boot heaters!