What’s in a Pitchfest Entrepreneur? Meet the Finalists
— Color Outside —
Nailah Blades Wylie, founder of Color Outside, tells us about her community-based company meant to be the go-to resource for women of color wanting to create soul stirring, joy-filled, adventurous lives.
What was the inspiration for starting your company, and how has it evolved?
I started Color Outside to serve as a safe place for women of color to come together, explore the outdoors and begin creating the joy-filled lives they deserve. After experiencing a number of big life transitions and on the heels of a move from San Diego, CA to Salt Lake City, UT, I felt unmoored. Getting out into the wild and exploring my new home gave me clarity when I was feeling fuzzy and started giving me glimpses of my old self. I wanted to begin to build a community of other women of color looking to do the same thing, while also taking up space that is not traditionally “for us.”
Color Outside started as a local Meetup group and soon grew to all-inclusive adventure & wellness retreats focused on helping women of color reconnect with themselves and with one another.
When I first started getting into the outdoor space, I was totally intimidated by the people who were out there doing things. I felt like those people were badasses and there was no way I could ever keep up with them. The outdoor industry, in my opinion, does a lot of marketing to the badass, which can make the outdoors feel like a super exclusive club. But as I started on my own personal journey with the outdoors, I realized that being a badass doesn’t necessarily mean that you can do the most extreme things but that instead, you’re out there doing your own thing with courage and integrity and strength. And this is what Color Outside is all about.
We’ve since evolved to also work with brands and organizations who are looking to not only market to the community of color in a more inclusive way but who are also looking to create a more inclusive and equitable work environment for their employees.
What is the mission and vision of your company? What does the future trajectory look like?
Our mission is to change the face of the outdoor industry, literally. There is so much to be gained from embracing an adventurous lifestyle — joy, power, resilience, solitude, grit — and we’re ensuring that those opportunities are made available to women of color. We’re also working to make sure that corporations have a good understanding of how to authentically speak inclusively to communities of color so that together we’re working to create a more representative outdoors. Color Outside is positioned to be a leader in accessibility and equity in the outdoor industry and beyond.
Why did you apply for Pitchfest, and what are you hoping to get out of your experience?
I wanted to learn from and get supported by other amazing female founders within the industry. I’m very excited about the mentorship opportunities and am looking forward to becoming part of the larger Camber Outdoors community. I am always looking for opportunities to take my business to the next level and I know that surrounding myself with the incredible leaders in Pitchfest is a great way to continue down a successful path.
What are some of the lessons you’ve learned, thus far, in founding your company?
My biggest lesson so far is to always remember and stay true to why I started Color Outside in the first place. It’s easy to get distracted by all of the things I could be doing or all of the new initiatives I could start, but Color Outside will only be successful if I stay laser-focused on my mission and vision. When I first started out, I was really concerned about making sure that I could be all things to all people. However, once I started just creating the community and brand that I needed but couldn’t find, things started to fall into place.
What did you not see coming, and how did you respond?
I didn’t initially expect just how much Color Outside was needed. I knew it was something that I personally needed but I was surprised at how much the brand resonated with women across the world. It makes me beyond happy to know that I’m making a positive impact for so many women through the community we’ve built.
What’s your superpower? Positivity
Outdoor adventure of choice for daily release? Hiking!
What book would you recommend? The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
Your number one outdoor hack? Duct tape for all the things!
One word that you think of when we say outdoors? Joyful
Pitchfest 2019 will commence on June 17 in Denver, CO. Register here.
Nailah Blades Wylie is a Coach and the CEO of Color Outside, a curated travel company for ambitious women of color who are ready to create unapologetic, soul stirring lives through outdoor adventure. Nailah started Color Outside as a safe place for women of color to come together and unlock where they’re feeling stuck so that they can fully step into their joy and shine. When she’s not leading adventure retreats or coaching you can find her hiking with her husband or playing intense games of hide-n-go seek with her two tiny kids.