We raised a seed round!
TORONTO– alder, a size inclusive, sustainable outdoor apparel brand, has raised a $2 million seed round, led by Bridge Investments and Consumer Ventures, with participation from REI Path Ahead Ventures, The51, Incite Ventures, 500 Startups, and other angel investors. The round marks the first direct investment by REI Path Ahead Ventures, the newly-formed investment fund created by outdoor retailer REI Co-op. With this investment, alder will expand its collection, launch select pop up shops across North America, add new hires and assort in REI stores this year.
Launched in 2020 by National Geographic Explorer Mikayla Wujec and former fashion marketer Naomi Blackman, alder is transforming the outdoor industry by creating an inclusive, welcoming and sustainable outdoor apparel brand focused on celebrating all bodies in the outdoors, no matter the pace or place.
“We’re challenging the outdoor industry’s idea of who and what is considered outdoorsy.” says Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Naomi Blackman. “From the get-go, alder was designed to celebrate a more diverse outdoors, whether body type, ethnicity, gender expression or how you choose to recreate.”
alder first gained notoriety with its open-air pants, available in sizes XS-6X in two lengths. This pair of sleek, high-waisted pants feature seven pockets, a D-ring clip and reflective strips made with a blend of bluesign® certified modal and elastane. alder has since expanded its collection to include a wardrobe capsule of the top pieces every woman needs for the outdoors.
alder currently sells its products in North America through alderapparel.com and in select MEC locations in Canada with plans to launch in select REI locations in the US this summer as well as a pop up shop in Toronto this June.
“It was important to us to partner with investors who not only understood the vision for alder, but supported our inclusive and sustainable approach,” says co-Founder and co-CEO, Mikayla Wujec. “We’re honoured to be led by Bridge Investments and Consumer Ventures, who immediately understood our values and needs as a young consumer brand. Being REI’s first investment solidifies our love for the brand and their desire to build a more inclusive outdoor industry. The51 is known in Canada for supporting women entrepreneurs - we are thrilled to join their portfolio of amazing female-led companies.”
“Our approach to apparel investing revolves around the founders – we love partnering with teams who have deep understanding of their space and needs of their consumers, but also bring fresh perspective.” says Connor Ryan, Vice President at Bridge Investments. “As a career fashion marketer, Naomi has seen first-hand the good and bad of the apparel space, and Mikayla, in her career at National Geographic, frequently experienced the pain points of traditional outdoor apparel. Both are uniquely equipped to understand and empathize with the needs of the new generation of ‘outdoorsy’ consumers.”
“Consumer Ventures is very excited to invest in and support Alder Apparel. Naomi and Mikayla have designed fantastic products and created an extremely meaningful brand with very loyal followers…resulting in what we believe is an amazing omnichannel opportunity.” - Jason Starr, Managing Director, Consumer Ventures.
“alder’s business, mission, and values strongly align with Path Ahead Ventures and the co-op. alder is serving a customer that has been historically underserved by the outdoor apparel industry, and we value their commitment to social and environmental sustainability. We’re encouraged by their traction and believe they’re well on their way to building a high-growth business.” - Payam Daniel Abbassian, principal and head of investments for REI Path Ahead Ventures
“alder apparel represents a new market opportunity—an inclusive invitation for everyone to be active outdoors whether in an urban or wilderness setting. Naomi and Mikayla have thoughtfully designed a brand experience from marketing to product that delivers on a promise while building a future-fit DTC company that offers tremendous growth.” - Shelley Kuipers, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of The51.
Launched in May 2020, alder is redefining who and what = outdoorsy. Through inclusive sizing, a modern aesthetic, sustainably and ethically made apparel and a brand focused on diversifying the outdoors, alder is transforming the outdoor industry to be more welcoming and inclusive to all bodies. alder was founded by National Geographic Explorer and Sustainability Consultant Mikayla Wujec and Brand Strategist and Former Joe Fresh Marketer Naomi Blackman, named Ones to Watch by RBC Women of Influence Entrepreneur Awards. For more information visit www.alderapparel.com and follow us on Instagram: @alderapparel
About Bridge Investments
Bridge Investments is a Chicago-based, Seed-stage venture fund with a focus on consumer brands and SaaS across a diverse set of end markets. Bridge's investment strategy is guided by metrics, driven by founders, and emphasizes supporting portfolio companies with follow-on investment and operational support. Select consumer portfolio companies include: Caraway, In Good Taste Wines, EarlyBird, Mack Weldon, Baboon to the Moon, Simple Mills, and Interior Define.
About Consumer Ventures
Consumer Ventures invests in and works closely with passionate entrepreneurs to help them build the next generation of amazing consumer-focused companies and brands. Consumer Ventures focuses on industries such as food & beverage, personal care, outdoor & apparel, juvenile products, pet products, and the technology that enables the retail and shopping experience. Consumer Ventures invests across multiple stages of growth and loves to roll up their sleeves to add value and reinvest in success.
About REI Path Ahead Ventures
REI Path Ahead Ventures is an organization and investment fund to accelerate the success of founders of color in the outdoor industry. Created by outdoor retailer REI Co-op, Path Ahead Ventures leverages the co-op’s network, capabilities, and community to partner with aspiring and current entrepreneurs who identify as Black, Indigenous, Latino/a/x, Asian American or Pacific Islander. Path Ahead Ventures is focused on supporting founders at various stages in their entrepreneurial journey by creating a community network founders can call on, providing access to the co-op’s infrastructure, connecting founders with customers, and capital investment.
The51 is a Financial Feminist™ platform where current and aspiring investors (particularly women and gender-diverse individuals), come together to democratize access to capital for women and gender-diverse founders.
By amplifying the impact of capital and commercialisation, The51 builds mutual wealth and social/environmental impact, shares knowledge and experiences and practices intersectional feminism through financial action. Our community of influential feminist investors, innovators, and consumers are building the Financial Feminist™ economy.