Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. It takes steely-eyed courage, a bit of crazy, and cojones cut from granite to launch a business. Jainee Dial has ‘em in spades. She’s a bit of a renaissance woman, this one. She’s produced movies and music videos, directed film projects, and designed websites. She’s a hell of a photographer. One of those “whole package” kinda people. But she’s also a local girl with a deep connection to the outdoors. She spent her childhood hunting game with her father in eastern Utah, then grew up a bit and honed her business acumen in Oregon. She’s equal parts Annie Oakley and Martha Stewart.
Recently, Jainee, and partner, Lindsey Elliott, launched their most recent endeavor: Wylder Goods. The company, a well-curated online store that sells gear for the modern outdoorswoman, took root from their experiences and the experiences of other women frustrated with outdoor brands that were failing to design product for the diversity of the female body type. Most companies simply adapt men’s gear for the ladies. They call it, “Pink it and shrink it.” So after several years of vetting out a solution to this problem, Wylder was born. As with most small-business owners, Jainee has been wildly busy getting her company launched (which she did on the 15th of this month). Knowing she needed a break from all that office b.s., we stole her away up the canyon for a quick climbing session, some hot cocoa, and a few questions…
So, who is the modern outdoorswoman? I don’t feel like we have the authority to define who the modern outdoors woman is per se, but we can absolutely call out our values as a business and hope that it’s in alignment with other women out there. We value curiosity, integrity, boldness, and compassion. We admire women who are brave, honest and who push boundaries. Not just in athleticism but in science and conservatism, too. Women like Steph Davis, Lynn Hill and Ashima Shiraishi. Have you seen her climb? Probably not just the best female climber in the world but the best climber in the world period. And we also support the not-so-famous but badass everyday warrior-women raising kids, growing food in their backyards and working for the causes they believe in.
And the name? Where did Wylder come from? Well, our business is rooted in an appreciation for wild places, so I had been mulling over themes of “wilderness” and “wildness” when, one morning, I woke up and there it was. Wylder. I said it out loud and wrote it down, and it stuck!
You are from Utah, but you’ve lived in Oregon and in California. What brought you back? Trust me, I never imagined I’d return. But life is unpredictable. I spent ten years in Portland and along California’s Sonoma Coast and I imagined owning land someday in the West, but the older I got, the more I realize how precious family is. And since my family is here, moving back became an obvious choice. Plus, Salt Lake City has a supportive business community which I felt important when considering where to start Wylder. Oh, and I love our mountains.
You went through some tough days a few years ago. How have they shaped the person you are now? It’s been just over two years since I lost my boyfriend in a climbing accident, and I was in a real bad place. I couldn’t let go of my anger. My friends and family and community sent me so much love and support. It was more than I ever thought possible. I learned a lot about myself during that time of suffering. I hope that I now live a life that is more compassionate, more aware of this present moment. Because, that is after all, all we ever have.
And from that tragedy, you founded B-Rad Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to adventure and stewardship. We understand this program is geared toward teaching kids to honor and respect the outdoors, and you’ve done projects such as large-scale community beach clean ups. Yes. It’s been both humbling and amazing.
And now you are the first female-owned B-corp in Salt Lake City. Why was that status important for Lindsey and you? As a legally certified Benefit Corporation, Wylder’s right to provide social good is protected legally and is fundamentally built into the company’s DNA. There are three legs to the structure of a benefit corporation–people, planet, and profit–and, for us, this felt like a no-brainer. We believe business can be profitable and good for the world.
What’s it like being a small business owner? Why take the risk? Being an entrepreneur is such an emotional rollercoaster. Lindsey and I are passionate about this platform and are taking it on because it’s both exciting personally, and totally necessary for the greater good. We’re tired of the old paradigm. Yes, it’s a ton of work, and yes, we feel the irony that we are spending so much time in front of our computers and not enjoying the outdoors as much, but that’s part of the sacrifice. We’re willing to make sure that Wylder has a solid foundation upon which to build. In the end, it’s is not about our individual needs. It’s about creating a community of like-minded people who are stepping up to the plate and challenging the way things have been done in the past.
What scares you most? Bears. Definitely bears.
What does Wylder look like in 5 years? We are working to create a movement that spreads into every corner of the apparel and outdoor industries. We are in an ecological crisis, and it is my hope that other businesses will start to take real accountability for their production methods as well. We need to curtail our reliance on fossil fuels. In 5 years, I hope that Wylder is a powerful community of citizen activists who give a damn about protecting our wild lands and sacred spaces and that we as a business, have proven that benefit corporations can directly impact social change.
When you’re dead and gone, what do you want to be known for? It won’t matter what I want, because I’ll be dead and gone. But I suppose I would like to leave things better than I how found them. I read a quote by Nelson Henderson who said, ‘The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.’ I like that.