It's more than just a job!

Steve Backhouse
by The Outdoor Industries Association, 09 May 2011
Wanting to combine your passion for the outdoors with a career in it and don't know how to get started? The outdoor industries encompasses a broad spectrum of businesses and sectors which means whether you are looking for seasonal work, the next your step in your career or a complete change in direction there are a wealth of opportunities out there. Below are just a few examples of the types of businesses within the outdoor sector:
  • Retail
  • Brands/ Manufacturing
  • Outdoor Centres
  • Distribution
  • Holiday and Activity providers
  • Charity and Trust organistions
  • Associations and Clubs

So whatever your discipline, be it sales, product development, marketing, instructing, retail assistant, management or office admin, working in the outdoor industry is so much more than just a job! You can 'read it' from the horses mouth too, by checking out just of couple of the interviews below from our careers section. View our other interviews with professionals working in the industry with careers spanning from brand manager for a major international brand to a holiday manager for an outdoor activities company.  All very different career paths and skills, but one thing in common - a love for the outdoors.  If you are thinking about a career in the outdoors but are not sure where to start, then take a look around.

To search for the latest careers working with outdoor retailer/ brands/ holiday providers then visit the Outdoor Industries Association website

To search for the latest careers with outdoor centres, activity centres or voluntary work visit Institute for Outdoor Learning website

An interview with 'The retailer'
Name: Neil McGuigan
Job Title: General Manager – Tiso Belfast
Age: 35
Company: Graham Tiso Group
How many years have you been working in the outdoor industry?:19 years
Summary of career path to date: Worked for Graham Tiso Group whilst at school and through university. Left university and joined Graham Tiso Buchanan St full time then became Manager of Graham Tiso Ayr in 1999. Moved to Manage Graham Tiso Belfast in Feb 2001 and became General Manager of Tiso Belfast 2009. Currently still At Tiso Belfast!
Why did you choose to work in retail in the outdoor industry?: I sampled it as part of my work experience at school, and enjoyed the buzz, interaction and the salesmanship. There was also a great team and big characters in Tiso Buchanan St during my time; that influenced my decision.
What’s the most rewarding part about your job?: Building a team that is driven and focused to achieve the best results not just for the customer but for the business.
What’s the toughest part about your job?: Listening with envy to customers about their up and coming expeditions, adventures and holidays that they are about to embark on!
Which, if any, outdoor activities do you personally enjoy?: Sailing, hiking, mountain biking (badly) and a little bit of family camping.
What advice would you give to someone looking for a career in outdoor retail?: Think outside of the box, have fresh ideas and work for a family business where you can influence the business and make a larger contribution. Enthusiasm is essential, it’s not always easy to break through, and the occasional day can be tough like any job. Remember why you are there to bring their enthusiasm for the outdoors indoor.

An interview with 'The Sales Rep'
 Name: Chloe Ticehurst
Job Title: Icebreaker UK Brand Manager
Age: 33
Company: Bradshaw Taylor
How many years have you been working in the outdoor industry?:  15 Years
Summary of career path to date:  I spent 7 years working at Snow + Rock, mainly in the M25 Super store. I tended to work the winters, earn some cash and go traveling in the summers. I started in Mail Order then moved to the shop floor selling, then Kids Supervisor, Clothing Supervisor, then traveled to all the Snow + Rock shops doing clothing training, lastly I was Assistant Manager of M25. From Snow + Rock I went straight to Bradshaw Taylor, where I started in Sales and Training Schoffel Ski and Royal Robbins and Icebreaker including Denmark and looking after our agents in Norway and Sweden. Then briefly launched Life is Good in to the market and then stopped working on all other brands to focus on Icebreaker. Phew!
Why did you choose to work in sales in the outdoor industry?:  I chose to work in this industry purely because I loved to ski, I thought if I worked in the industry I would be in the mountains more. I ski less but can still talk the talk.
What’s the most rewarding part about your job?:  The people and the friends I have made, everyone has the same attitude to work and play.?I also love working for a brand that has a positive clear story that goes with it, if I don’t believe in what I sell, it is fairly obvious.
What’s the toughest part about your job?:  Pricing! Merino is expensive and it is a constant talking point. Early morning; traveling is great but I miss my dog and husband. (In that order!)
Which, if any, outdoor activities do you personally enjoy?  Erm, I used to ski.I walk my dog and I walk to the pub and stumble home, does that count?
What advice would you give to someone looking for a career as an account manager in the outdoor industry?:   It is a great industry to work in; you will meet lots of great like minded people along the way.? Be prepared for lots of long hours and hard work, but the good bits make up for it.? Product information can be taught, communication is key, if you can’t build relationships with your accounts at all levels from Directors to shop staff, it is really tough. I often say it is like selling yourself. If you work in retail, get to know your sales reps and agents, it is not what you know but who you know!?Be passionate, be prepared, and always trust your Tom Tom.? Avoid eating fast food when on the road, I learnt the hard way!? Negotiate hard when choosing a company car…….you are going to be in it a lot!

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