These Charleston-Based Female Entrepreneurs Are Changing the Way You Do the Outdoors

Updated: Nov 30, 2018

O.M.E. (Oceans+Mountains=Earth) Gear™ is a Charleston-based outdoors brand co-founded by Julie Weldon and Stacey Pierce. Twenty years ago, Weldon’s parents initially dreamed up the original idea of a 2-in-1 chair/cart product that would solve the common frustrations of lugging items in the outdoors.

It all started when Julie’s parents were enjoying their time at the beach and spotted a single mom hauling towels, shovels, chairs along with looking after her three kids. They thought to themselves, “There has to be a better solution out there.” They began sketching ideas of a beach cart that would also convert into a chair.

The Wanderr 4-in-1 Chair and Cart is on Kickstarter

This dream sketch came to a halt, only to be picked up 15 years later by daughter Julie Weldon. She called up her dad one morning and said, “I keep thinking about your beach product. Could I take it to market for you?” Through tears he said, “That would be a dream come true.”

After partnering with a dear friend and colleague, the two of them sold a majority percentage of the company to a manufacturing partner and redesigned the product. It was introduced at trade shows where they won innovation awards at both the Surf Expo and National Hardware Show against big players in the industry such as Salt Life, Dakine, Volcom, and Life is Good.

In May 2014, Weldon came to the difficult conclusion, based on a myriad of factors, that it would be impossible to be successful with their current manufacturing partner and deliver a quality product, so she resigned.

For 9 months, she worked at the Shem Creek shrimp docks just to allow the salt water and the salt of the earth people to heal the wounds that came as a result of her resignation. Also, during that time, Weldon and Pierce started a small business coaching/consulting firm, called A Salty Rim, and a weekly podcast, called GSD Entrepreneur, where they interview entrepreneurs at varying stages in their journey to tell their stories.

In 2016, Pierce and Weldon decided the product needed to come back to life, so they began dreaming of a completely redesigned product. So they invented The Wanderr™.

The Wanderr™ debuted at the Outdoor Retailer Show in Denver, CO in November 2018 and was a finalist (among 166 entrants) for the Innovation Award, and won the People’s Choice Innovation Award.

Julie Weldon grew up in an entrepreneurial family where her mom started a bakery 50 years ago that now does 75 wedding cakes a weekend in their busy season and is currently run by Weldon’s youngest brother. After college, Julie worked in a non-profit organization. Then after travelling and volunteering in 13 developing countries for a year, she became a business consultant, ultimately with PricewaterhouseCoopers, prior to starting her own consulting firm.

Stacey Pierce has spent her career in the medical field doing occupational therapy and becoming an expert in technology for the aging population. She’s been on the ground floor of 8 startups, including a restaurant, catering business, home care company, adult day center focused on dementia care, and a medical device product.

About O.M.E. Gear: O.M.E. (Oceans + Mountains= Earth) Gear™ is an outdoor recreational gear company. Their flagship product, The Wanderr™, is a 4-in-1 unit (a cart, a low to ground chair, 1 fully reclinable lounger/camping cot, and a higher off the ground chair) that makes any outdoor activity much more enjoyable. This product is for fishing, camping, outdoor sporting events, the beach, tailgating, etc. to haul your stuff and then offers 3 comfortable seating options. Lighten your load with O.M.E. Gear™!

Source: OME Gear

Categories: Design

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