Southlake-based Solo Stove, which designs fire pits and camp stoves, has made three strategic acquisitions to form a new house of brands focused on adventurous lifestyle products.
In acquiring Chubbies Shorts, Oru Kayak, and ISLE, Solo Stove has unveiled Solo Brands with the vision to “build a better, customer-obsessed, community-oriented, direct-to-consumer experience.”
Solo Brands, which has more than 220 employees, aims to create synergies and optimize resources across all entities by leveraging enhanced technology, processes, and operations. According to Solo Stove, the newly combined company will allow Chubbies Shorts, Oru Kayak, and ISLE to offer faster shipping, higher quality manufacturing, and unified back-office functions.
Solo Brands calls each of its new entities respected adventurous lifestyle brands. Chubbies Shorts is a maker of American-made men’s weekend wear; Oru Kayak is a designer of elegant and accessible folding kayaks; and ISLE creates paddleboards for yoga, fishing, touring, and surfing.
‘An improved customer journey’
Solo Stove and Solo Brands CEO John Merris said Brands’ unique approach is not only better for the customer, but the community at-large. “Each of these brands is amazing in its own individual way,” he said in a statement. In combining them, he and his team aim to offer an improved customer journey, while doing more for the places that built the companies up.
The ideal consumers for Solo Brands are active and enjoy spending time outdoors with the people they love, the company told Dallas Innovates. They appreciate connection—with the environment and their own circle—and care about purchasing from brands that give back.
COVID-19 pandemic was a large factor in cultivating that mindset.
“The pandemic has certainly helped spur an interest in products that help you get outside and allow you a moment of connection,” the company told us. “But the outdoor industry has seen continued growth for many years even pre-pandemic, as more people find ways to connect in the outdoors.”
Social impact angle
A big factor in the creation of Solo Brands was making a positive social impact. Each of the companies has a history of supporting causes both locally and globally—expanding access to mental healthcare, planting trees to offset carbon emissions, protecting biodiversity—and Solo Stove wanted to ensure that mantra stuck.
“In addition to focusing on ‘creating good’ through their product portfolios, a core tenet of Solo Brands is a dedication to giving back to communities and relevant causes,” the team says. “Solo Brands donates a portion of all revenue to support their communities and our environment.”
Solo Brands says its brands share a common ethos: “creating and enhancing great moments and greater memories.” Each arm in the family of brands will act as its own entity, collectively focused on creating experiences that connect people to the natural world.
Joining forces means they can now all offer direct-to-consumer expertise and technology, unparalleled customer service, and a shared dedication to helping others.
“At the core of each of these brands lies a passionate and vibrant community that has supported us and helped us grow—and we feel that it’s our responsibility to share our success and give back in a meaningful way,” Merris said. “We believe that businesses of the future must be accountable for leaving the world a better place—Solo Brands exists to make a difference—for our daily lives, for our communities, for our planet.”
While Chubbies is headquartered in Austin, and Oru Kayak and ISLE in California, the Solo Stove team isn’t focused on location. The team told Dallas Innovates they’re honing in on brands that are “building a responsible business by supporting their customers, the communities they adore, and the environment they adventure in.”
From here, expansion is on the horizon. Solo Brands is already conversing with other brands that share its obsession with delivering exceptional customer experiences and helping customers create memorable moments.
The team considers all of its brands as growing leaders in the landscape of delivering a customer-first, DTC-native approach.
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