We had the good fortune of connecting with David Lindahl and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi David, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
It was one of those things that just sort of happened – basically I saw a need for my business and I jumped up and filled it! To back up a step, I started Rainier Watch as a way to answer “Is The Mountain out?”, a very important question here in the Pacific Northwest. For anyone not familiar, we have a local mountain, Mount Rainier, that dominates the skyline and can be seen hundreds of miles away when it’s clear. Being the PNW though, its very seldom clear and is often overcast and rainy (the rumors are true!). So before I started my business I looked around the internet to see if there was a way for people to know if The Mountain was out — there wasn’t so I launched the RW Twitter account and would tweet daily on my bus commute into Seattle. (You can read the full story on RainierWatch.com/about). Years after that and after growing the online community, people asked about merch and about supporting Mount Rainier National Park so I combined those thoughts and launched The RW Shop featuring lots of awesome apparel that helps support the National Parks. Things have just snowballed from there and now the RW community has over 50,000 followers across social media and I’ve donated over $6,000 since 2020 to causes like protecting the parks, wildfire relief efforts, and supporting diversity and inclusion in the outdoors.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Rainier Watch is an apparel company that helps protect our parks and an online community of mountain lovers answering the question “Is The Mountain out?”. I love my company’s values of protecting the great outdoors, being environmentally responsible, top quality goods, and supporting the local economy. I love making quality goods that I know will last for years and rejecting fast fashion. Also our mission of giving back from every purchase keeps me going everyday and I’m stoked to say my tiny brand has donated over $6,000 since 2020 to various non profits and causes. The journey has not been easy and to be totally honest, I’m still growing the business to the point where it can support me and my family so it’s not my day job. Supporting other local small businesses in the journey is also very important to me so I partner with local print shops for printing our shirts and a local sticker manufacturer for our sticker production. Being a bootstrapped business I started with a just a few hundred dollars bring a whole load of challenges – apparel is pretty upfront cost intensive so managing cash flow is a regular challenge each month. And being a side hustle (for now), means I have to be super strategic with my time. I’ve learned pretty much everything on the fly which has been a rollercoaster ride in itself. I learned its crucial just to start, because you don’t know where it will end up until you do!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Being that Rainier Watch is ALL about Mount Rainier, it would be a crime not to say Mount Rainier National Park right!? So hopefully they would be visiting in wildflower season and then we would head down to either of the biggest of visitor center areas – Paradise or Sunrise. That would definitely be the highlight of the trip, although there’s soooo much to do in the Pacific Northwest. Of course we would have to stay a few nights in the historic Paradise lodge and hike around that area and just drink up the surrounding beauty. If we time I’d love to make it a trip of WA’s National Parks so we would also visit the Olympics and the North Cascades. I’ve always wanted to visit Sol Duc Hot Springs in the Olympics, but haven’t yet! So I’d include that on the docket for sure!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I recently read Supermaker by Jaime Schmidt (https://supermaker.com/book) – it was a great tale and very inspiring! Jaime is the founder of Schmidt’s Naturals – that popular healthcare and deodorant brand. She told her story about starting the brand from nothing and running it out of her kitchen for many years. I loved hearing about her start and have found solace in hearing about defeats and found joys in hearing about her wins. It’s so relatable to me as I build my brand from nothing, bootstrapped from just a few hundred dollars.
Andrea Michelle Photography David Lindahl Photography