Discover United By Blue
This week on the Glass Top Counter blog we bring you an interview with our United By Blue rep, Jake Nalls. United By Blue is so much more than a brand. It is a movement. The brand was created with the idea that a successful outdoor brand can do serious conservation work. Like the team at TB&C, everyone at United By Blue rolls up their sleeves and removes plastic bottles, styrofoam, tires, old appliances, you name it from creeks, rivers, beaches, and streams. They organize and host cleanups with TB&C and other retailers across the country to make a measurable impact on the most pressing of environmental problems: ocean trash and plastics pollution. We knew we wanted to carry them when the first thing we learned about the brand was that for every product sold, United By Blue removes one pound of trash from our world's oceans and waterways. We hope you enjoy this behind the scenes look at the life of an outdoor industry rep for one of our favorite brands.
Tell us about yourself. Who are you? What inspires you? What drives you? What brings you joy?
Why is this always such a hard question to answer? I guess we can start with my name, Jake. I’d describe myself as a surf obsessed, ocean loving, little kid at heart that enjoys the simpler things life has to offer.
Currently I am in the fortunate position of working as an in-house Wholesale Representative for United By Blue. Before my time here I was working as an Adventure Tour Leader for a company that runs small group camping tours around the US & Canada. I was afforded the pleasure of seeing all the most beautiful places this continent has to offer. When I wasn’t leading groups on hikes through our nations National Parks I spent my time traveling and surfing around the world. I’m both inspired and driven by a sense of adventure and the complex beauty I’ve been exposed to in nature. Nothing gets me more excited than the prospect of the next great journey.
The things that bring me the greatest joy in this world have been my experiences in nature. No words can aptly describe the pleasure in surfing an empty tropical beach break in the Caribbean or floating around the Merced River on a hot day staring up at the glory of Half Dome. I’ve been afforded the free time to explore and also find great joy in helping others do the same.
What inspired you to work with United By Blue?
My path to United By Blue was actually inspired by one of the Outdoor Industries greatest publications, Outside Magazine. In 2015 I got an email that went out company wide while I was working on the road as a Tour Leader announcing that our company had been named as one of Outside Magazines 100 best places to work. Naturally I took a quick look at the list and much to my surprise there was a company based in Philadelphia on the list! Having grown up in Southeastern PA I was more than familiar with the gritty City of Brotherly Love. I honestly couldn’t believe what I was reading. There was an outdoor brand with a hands on environmental mission based in my home city of Philadelphia that I had never even heard of.
I checked out the company web page and loved what I was seeing. I remember feeling a sense of pride for my native city the day I read that article even though at the time I had absolutely no affiliation with United By Blue. From that day forward, I kept a close watch on the jobs the company posted, followed them on social media and kept them on my “dream job” company radar for the next two years.
Fast forward to 2017, after working an additional two seasons running tours around North America I knew I was once again ready to have my own bed after five years of living all over the world. I was willing to settle down, but I wasn’t willing to just settle into a corporate role working to make a paycheck. I needed to feel purpose behind what I was doing, and what greater purpose is there than to play a part in helping to make this blue planet we call home a better place? In my opinion there isn’t one. So in short I was inspired to work at UBB because of the companies willingness to commit to being an impact driven business in which the brands success has a direct correlation with the growth of good the company can do year after year. Can you imagine what the world would look like if every company in this country committed themselves to a similar mission?
What is your mission in life? What is UBB's mission? How do they influence one another?
My mission in life is simple. Have as much fun as possible, don’t take life too seriously and protect those things that have given me joy.
United By Blue’s mission is to remove a pound of trash from the world’s oceans and waterways for every product sold.
These missions influence each other by providing me with a career in which I can positively affect a company that in turn is looking to positively affect change on this planet.
What about your job inspires you and what are some of the obstacles you have overcome to pursue your work?
On a personal level I’m inspired by the organizations support in my pursuit of my personal love for the outdoors. I am privileged to be able to get travel to some cool places for work and encouraged to get outside after our trade shows and send it!
n the flip side of that, being on the road for 1/3 of the year has its challenges. I use my faith in what the organization is trying to accomplish to fuel the efforts I put in throughout the duration of long road trips with 16 hour days.
What is UBB excited about as a brand?
BB is stoked on our clean up outlook for 2018. We have a road trip organized in which we will host clean ups in every US State we haven’t had a clean up to date. Our goal is to remove 500,000 lbs of trash from oceans and waterways this year and looking forward into 2019 and beyond we will be setting our sights on cleaning up over a million pounds of trash annually.
What piece of advice do you have for people who want a career in the outdoor industry?
The best advice is to have a genuine love for the outdoors. As we move forward in the modern age of social media and buzz words and outdoor brands begin to see some mainstream popularity it’s easy to get caught up in what’s “trendy.” For someone looking to make a long-lasting career in this industry whether that be as a Guide or a Sales Rep I believe you can only be successful if your passion for the outdoors is authentic.