This month, we talked to Eagles Nest Outfitters (ENO), a longtime member of the OBA and well-known global brand, based right here in WNC.
1. Eagles Nest Outfitters (ENO) has set the standard for hanging out in the great outdoors — tell us more about your incredible company!
Founded in 1999, Eagles Nest Outfitters (ENO) is the leader in creating high-quality hammocks and portable relaxation gear that inspires people to get outside. As avid travelers themselves, the founders of ENO based the first product line around the ideal hammock for their lifestyle: easy to pack and adventure-ready. They traveled the East Coast in a ramshackle minivan selling hammocks at music festivals and community gatherings along the way. ENO took something great – hammocks – and made them even better by designing and patenting the very first knotless hammock straps, making it easier than ever to relax in a hammock. Over time, a hammock counter-culture was introduced and grew quickly: taking it wherever your adventures lead you. Today, ENO distributes its products online, at specialty outdoor retailers across the nation, and in over 13 countries.
ENO is passionate about people, the planet, and creating a future where everyone can enjoy their time outside. Through our partnerships, we’ve committed to promoting diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion in the outdoors, protecting and preserving our environment and public lands, and serving and supporting our communities through outdoor education and experiences. Since 2018, we have pledged to give 1% of our annual sales to support an array of environmental causes through our partnership with 1% for the Planet. Alongside Trees for the Future, we have funded over 3,232,657 trees, restoring over 808 acres of land, lifting 6,465 people from poverty and hunger, and capturing 116,893 metric tons of CO2 over a 20-year period.
ENO is committed to the journey of building more sustainable and responsibly made products as a bluesign® System Partner, utilizing pre- and post-consumer recycled materials, and offering a product-recycling program to divert product waste from the landfill.
2. ENO has been a part of the Outdoor Business Alliance since its beginning. Tell us how your company originally got involved.
In the early 2000s, Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) hosted the whitewater national championship kayaking event in Bryson City, NC. At that time, SylvanSport was interested in hosting a spring demo highlighting its camping trailer, the GO. The idea was to create an event similar to Outdoor Retailer Demo Days that would appeal to a broader media flying into Asheville, NC for the NOC event. To expand the appeal, SylvanSport’s Tom Dempsey and Kyle Mundt spoke with better-known brands in the area, including ENO, Watershed and others. While the demo day didn’t come to fruition, those involved became the founding members of the OBA including Amy Alllison and Natalie DeRatt both with ENO. They started to reach out to other outdoor manufacturers in WNC effectively building the Outdoor Gear Builders, now the Outdoor Business Alliance.
Since its founding, ENO employees have been active members serving on the Board of Directors including our Marketing Director, Anna Rawlins, Chief Financial Officer, Adam Cohen, and Chief Operations Officer, Jacob Vertel. Our employees across the company attend the monthly networking socials and take part in committees. Everyone is excited to be a part of the OBA helping to cultivate, connect, and support the larger Outdoor Industry in WNC.
3. How are you working with other members of the Outdoor Business Alliance?
ENO is constantly partnering with OBA Members in a variety of ways. Some of our recent collaborations include Farm to Feet x ENO Asheville Socks, branded apparel from Recover, cobranded Pirani tumblers gifted as ENO swag at tradeshows, sponsoring Content Creators Camp by The Appalachian Adventure Company, working with The Uproar Concept on statewide campaigns, cobranded ENO bags for the Outdoor Economy Conference organized by MADEXMTNS, a giveaway coordinated by Darby Communications that included Wildwater Ltd, photoshoots at Wrong Way River Lodge & Cabins for product packaging and content, and demo gear at member locations and events including NOC, Second Gear, The Outpost, The Cabins at Sandy Mush Bald, Wrong Way River Lodge & Cabins, Food for Adventures, and Camp Grier.
On an individual level, ENO employees are also connecting with other OBA members to share knowledge and resources. Having access to a larger network of experienced outdoor industry professionals has been integral to employee growth and learning, and has benefitted our company as a whole. The support from the network and the ability to give back to our community that has supported us as we’ve grown has proved invaluable.
The opportunities for creative collaboration within or that originate with OBA membership are truly endless.
4. What’s next for ENO?
ENO is excited to continue refining our product line to be more sustainable and to bring your adventures closer to home in 2024. We’ve been working to make hammocking more accessible and easier than ever. Keep an eye out early 2024 for some new products and exciting updates.