Buddy Outdoors, a sportsman’s subscription box company, started in Dallas seven years ago when Founder and CEO Adam Whitehead saw a need for rural sportsmen—the hunters and fishers of the world—to secure new supplies for the outdoors on a regular basis.
By using Buddy Outdoors, customers can answer questions about their favorite outdoor activities and receive a personally curated box every month or quarter. The box takes into account factors like the customer’s favorite thing to hunt, weapon of choice, regional weather, the season and even whether they bring a dog or child with them during their favorite outdoor activity.
Amid its growth over the past seven years, the company has now brought on several team members in Raleigh. Chief Growth Officer Adam Tury—who was an early presence at Durham’s ArchiveSocial (now Optimere) and Raleigh’s FilterEasy (now Second Nature)—and CTO Chris Keenan and Jesse Flores, who founded and sold Photofy, have opened up a space for Buddy Outdoors at Raleigh Founded.
“We all believe that some of the the best memories you can have are made in the outdoors,” Tury said. “We’re looking to help people create more lasting memories outdoors. Through working with us, we’re able to get the premium gear that’s going to be needed for them at that moment to help ensure better outdoor success.”
Tury said he came onboard to Buddy Outdoors during the coronavirus pandemic when he was looking for a change. Buddy Outdoors was the perfect opportunity, and now the startup is hoping to hire even more within the Triangle down the line.
“It just grew because I’ve been in the community here for roughly 10 to 12 years and I just really like to work with people that I’ve worked with in the past,” Tury said. “There’s a certain level of trust and loyalty there.”
Spanning from Texas to North Carolina also means Buddy Outdoors has a wider employee perspective on hunting and fishing needs across the South.
Since its inception, Buddy Outdoors has also refocused from solely a subscription box company to a software organization that is generating greater relevancy and outdoor experiences for customers based on the data they collect.
“We’re looking to create a solution that enables all of these folks to work together more seamlessly,” Tury said, “but also allow sportsmen to have a more convenient way to get their hands on the product and experiences that they’re looking for.”
Tury said the vision today is to create an entire Buddy Outdoors eco-sphere where outdoorsmen can connect with and be recommended new products based on their preferences. For the outdoor industry, using data in this way is novel and exciting.
“It’s an extremely archaic industry, where not necessarily a lot of data or e-commerce solutions have been put in place to really maximize the experience of the outdoorsman,” Tury said. “What we’re really looking to do is connect all of the various members of that eco-sphere as a whole.”
Currently, Buddy Outdoors has around 15,000 active members and 17 employees and is rapidly looking to grow. In fact, the startup is raising a funding round to invest in its software development and digital marketing. This money will enable Buddy Outdoors to save on margins and order supplies in advance.
Buddy Outdoors’ push for growth may have transpired at the perfect time. During the pandemic, people turned more and more to outdoor activities, which are by nature more socially distanced and better-ventilated than most indoor pastimes.
The average outdoorsman spends $4,000 a year on hunting and fishing equipment, Tury said, and as the pandemic made buying supplies at local stores more of a hassle, e-commerce has increasingly shown its appeal.
“A lot of folks that were a little hesitant to buy online before, I think the pandemic forced these extremely late e-commerce adopters to go online,” Tury said.
This shift contributed to Buddy Outdoors’ success over the past few years, even in an industry that has often been old-fashioned by nature, Tury said.
“When you think about a rural farmer or hunter who might not be as trusting of the internet, they were kind of pushed into the role of having to procure a lot of their other things with the internet,” Tury said. “So it was a natural fit for them to also do their hunting and fishing purchases.”