When Rachelle Snyder and her husband, Ross Richmond, moved from Boston to Los Angeles, they were thrilled by the array of outdoor activities available. They could go skiing, surfing, backpacking, climbing … but they were living in a 600-square-foot apartment. 

“There was no way for us to get all of the gear,” Snyder notes. “We didn’t have anywhere to store it, and we didn’t want to buy all of those things anyway.”

The couple explored the options available to them: borrow equipment from friends; go to a rental store near a destination and hope the right items and sizes were available; or start their own business. 

Rachelle Snyder and husband, Ross Richmond,
founded Arrive Outdoors. | Credit: Jacob Lyle

“Arrive Outdoors was formulated on a few areas,” says Snyder. “We really love spending time outside, so we wanted to start a business focused on sustainability. Our thesis was that as the world grows and more people move into the middle class, they’re going to want to access physical things and engage with products. But if we’re going to sustain our planet, we have to shift from a consumption-based model to a utilization-based model. We thought rental was a great model for that.”

The goal was to grow Arrive Outdoors “large and fast,” which meant supporting large brands and retailers to scale rental within their existing platforms. A first step was thinking about how to get more people outdoors, so the company partnered with park systems and resorts to figure out what consumers really wanted and needed, and built their model accordingly. 

Arrive Outdoors launched in June 2017, and received its first external funding in 2019. Another round came in early 2020. 

Customers select the gear they want online and can have it delivered to their home or directly to their trip destination. A free return label allows items to be shipped back easily. Bundles are also available. For example, the camping set for two comes with a tent, lantern, cooler, stove, pot, and two sleeping bags, sleeping pads, headlamps, and chairs for $83 a day, as opposed to the $1,665 it would cost to purchase the same items. 

Arrive Outdoors has its own warehouse full of gear, as managing and maintaining all of the products is an important part of the business, notes Snyder. By keeping all of the product in-house, staff can ensure each item leaves the warehouse like-new. 

With the pandemic came a huge increase in business, as many people turned to outdoor activities. Arrive Outdoors saw four times more rentals year-over-year. Due to this success, Arrive Outdoors is launching a rental platform service that aids large brands and retailers in starting their own rental channel. 

“Arrive Outdoors is supporting tons of travelers, but per our sustainability mission, we wanted the ability to accelerate this and will offer our learnings and a rental model that’s scalable to large retailers,” Snyder says. 

The vast majority of people engaged in the outdoor retail industry are white men, Snyder notes. “But I think there’s been a lot of movement there, in terms of large brands and retailers putting women in executive leadership roles,” she adds. “It’s a very recent trend to be doing this, and coming in as a woman and saying ‘I think we have a model that works really, really well,’ it’s pretty bold. You have to have confidence as you move through the system.”

Regarding tips for fellow female entrepreneurs, Snyder advises just going for it. 

“Nobody is smarter than you,” she says. “You think other people must know more than you do, but then when you get to their level it’s like the wizard behind the curtain. You realize they were just guessing, too.”

Snyder says she doesn’t like using words like success and failure, rather she always uses the word growth. 

“Everything is a growing opportunity,” notes Snyder. “If you reach a hard spot, that’s an opportunity for you to learn and improve, and then you’re going to be stronger and better.”