Strategy

Outdoor legacy brand Eddie Bauer is turning to resale to stay relevant

We chatted with the company’s VP of marketing about why the outdoor industry won’t attract Gen Z with TikTok alone.
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Eddie Bauer

· less than 3 min read

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At over 100 years old, outdoor gear and apparel brand Eddie Bauer has gone through several owners and branding iterations. Known for patenting quilted down jackets and for outfitting the first American ascent of Mount Everest, the Seattle-based brand is now tackling a new challenge: enticing a younger generation of consumers.

“Our benefit of course as a 100-year-old brand is the fact that we have really high brand recognition,” Eddie Bauer’s vice president of marketing, Kristen Elliott, told Retail Brew. “But within certain pockets of consumers, maybe our relevancy as a brand isn’t quite where it could be.”

Of course, Eddie Bauer is on TikTok (think: epic mountain views), but brand reinvention for a younger audience also means expanding accessibility.

  • Used-gear sales, which launched in August 2022, is part of the company’s (RE)Adventure program, and is a way for the brand to bring in new and different consumers, Elliott said.
  • The items in the program, both apparel and gear, were purchased and then returned before being offered for resale.

State of play: Resale items are, of course, cheaper than new items, the cost of which Elliott said can be a major barrier to outdoor experiences. And they’re hoping that will bring in younger consumers who aren’t as familiar with the brand, but who already shop used, Elliott said.

  • The company’s market research prior to launching the used-gear program included speaking with online resale platforms. Elliott declined to share specifics, but said used Eddie Bauer gear was popular on platforms like ThreadUp.
  • “Eddie Bauer is a very thrift-coveted brand, and so we knew that there was an appetite there for resale,” she said.

The brand is also betting that younger consumers are interested in outdoor activities beyond extreme sports.

“One of the biggest elements of our marketing is expanding the conversation so that we’re not just talking top of mountain.” Elliott said. “Our target consumer, and I think this is a good translation for Gen Z, really sees the outdoors as a playground and not an arena.” —MA

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