On April 19, 2023

Arwen Turner and her plus-size outdoor clothing company selected for mentorship

By Victoria Gaither

Moosejaw, a leading online active outdoor retailer, chose two women, one of them local, to help them develop plans for its new plus-size outdoors company. Adventurers Arwen Turner from Wallingford and Kara Hardman from Colorado started WNDR Outdoors, an outdoor sports apparel company for plus-size adventurers. 

The idea came to Turner to create the company after living in Colorado and having a love for the outdoors but never feeling like she fit because of her size.

She explained in her interview, “For as long as I can remember, I was trying to change my body into something it would never be. I put off doing things I wanted to do until I reached a certain weight or size”.

After living in Colorado for four years, she found communities of body-liberated people who enjoyed the outdoor experiences that made her feel comfortable.

The idea that body size dictates whether or not a person should go hiking, walking, fishing, camping, or backpacking never sat right with Turner. Plus, trying to find outdoor clothing in her size was slim pickings.

“I went to REI to buy some hiking apparel. There was nothing for me. I looked online. There were very few options in sizes 16-22. There were no options in sizes 24-30. It made me question if I belonged out there doing these things that brought me so much joy,” explained Turner.

With that experience and meeting with likeminded adventurer Kara Hardman, the two ladies decided to jump into the outdoor sports apparel business.

First, on the drawing board, the “Brecken” pants is designed with a high stretchy waistband with a drawstring, reinforced seat and tights, and a combination of two different abrasion-resistant stretch fabrics to allow both moveability and durability. The “Brecken” will come in sizes 16-30 in dark gray and berry colors.

As part of Moosejaw’s selection, Hardman will participate in an 8-week intensive mentoring program guided by ICELab and based on its established curriculum, including five-weeks on location at Western Colorado University. They will receive work sessions with Moosejaw experts on strategy, marketing, eCommerce, and retail. 

Plus, the product launched on Moosejaw.com and in Moosejaw stores. Arwen Turner will participate in the accelerator program.  But the information gained from both ladies will provide valuable information to help start WNDR outdoors. Turner said Future Market Insights estimated the plus-size clothing market at $601 billion in 2022, and she plans to ensure her community is included. 

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