Zappos Sustainability Rockstar: Laura Schaffer of Mountain Hardwear

Greetings! Today, I am showcasing another sustainability rockstar from one of Zappos’ favorite brands. Below is my interview with Laura Schaffer from Mountain Hardwear. Please read, share, & enjoy!

LAURA SCHAFFER

Social & Environmental Responsibility Manager at Mountain Hardwear

 Zappos LEAF, Mountain Hardware, Sustainable workplaces, outdoor, outdoor brands, LEED Certified workplaces

 

What's your favorite thing about your job?

 

LS: I love the importance of collaboration and the huge opportunity for potential. How many positions really get to work across the business and multiple industries for that matter? To be successful in a sustainability role, collaboration is absolutely imperative. Knowing that the work that we’re doing will be far more powerful if we work as a team rather than individuals is a gift and a hugely important part of this job.

 

The other piece of this job I’m really driven by is potential – the potential for change, the potential for discovery, the potential to bring out the best in people and the business. It’s hard not to wake up charged when we have the opportunity to design the trail map and we’re the ones setting the route. I get to find challenges and then build solutions through a lens that brings a different dimension to the brand. By doing this, we’re moving the business forward by giving people the opportunity to do the work they want to do.

 

Who or what is your biggest source of inspiration? 

LS: I am so inspired by people who are 100% themselves. People who don’t bend because society tells them to, but instead introduce new ideas and concepts because they aren’t afraid to think differently. Family has embodied a lot of that for me – my parents introduced me to the joy of learning and that the idea that challenging the norm is the norm. My sister has taught me what real friendship is, and my husband’s sticky notes around the house that say, “limits are negotiable” are a constant reminder that there is no reason to be stuck.

And kids. There’s no group out there as honest and open as kids, right? Watching my nearly one-year-old daughter discover life is the coolest thing. It is a constant reminder of just how amazing and special this world is, and it really helps me appreciate the simple things in life like leaves fluttering in the wind.

 

What do you do to stay motivated and energized?

LS: Mountains, mountains, mountains. Run, climb, bike, ski, take deep breaths, scare myself, laugh out loud, discover new, share with others…the mountains are definitely my happy place. Mountains are the ultimate source of energy for me. It’s where my mind is the clearest and I can think in ways that are hard to when stuck in a bubble. There is also great value to seeing the way other people interact with the mountains. There is so much to learn from each other.

On that note, people keep me motivated and energized. Specifically, talking to people. We are in a world where it is very easy to put your head down and forget to look up. Progress won’t come from staring at your computer, instead the solutions will come from ideas that come out of real live conversations with other people, whether it’s someone you talk to every day or the random person on the street corner. That’s where the real power comes from.

Both mountains and people make me keep my eyes open and pay attention, and that’s what keeps me going for more.

 

 If you could be an animal, what would you be?

LS: Monkeys seem like they have a good deal of fun swinging through trees and throwing coconuts in beautiful places, I could be into that.

__________________________________________________________________________

A little bit more about social & environmental responsibility at Mountain Hardwear:

Since Mountain Hardwear was born in 1993, they have focused on building reliable, long-lasting products that people can build memories with. The gear they make is built to be the adventurer’s best friend. It’s reliable, it performs, and it lasts. With that foundation, four key values drive Mountain Hardwear’s sustainability strategy – Social & Environmental Consideration, Outdoor Conservation, Community and Empowerment.

 

They use the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Index to help measure, track and improve the social and environmental performance of their products.  They work with suppliers that share their values of fair and ethical treatment of workers and sustainable manufacturing practices, and they have teams of local specialists who work with manufacturing partners toward continuous improvement.

Their employees are inspired by a 100% solar powered workplace on the San Francisco Bay, LEED certified retail stores, industry partnerships with groups like Conservation Alliance and OIWC, 40 volunteer hours and the GO Program that rewards people for being active in the community. These are only a few examples of the work Mountain Hardwear is currently engaged in, check out the full picture at http://www.mountainhardwear.com/sustainability.html. 

 

Check out more awesome news from LEAF at Zappos.com/LEED, Twitter: @ZapposLEAF and on Instagram: Zappos_LEAF

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Menswear Monday: What to Wear on Casual Fridays

Good day, gents! For today’s Menswear Monday, I wanted to fast forward a bit and focus on that day of the week that we all look forward to – Casual Fridays! How does one manage to look professional still dressed down to celebrate the TGIF spirit? Below, I’ve got a few tips and tricks to achieving that perfect balance of business and casual.

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1. Vince Basic Slub Polo Shirt

2. Rodd & Gunn Dune Lake Shirt

3. Nautica Long Sleeve Solid Oxford

4. RVCA The Ween-End Stretch Pants

5. Perry Ellis Slim Fit Cotton Flat Front Dress Pant

6. Brixton Reserve Chino Pant

7. Cole Haan LunarGrand Wing Tip

8. PUMA El Ace 3 Leather Sneakers

9. Globe Moonshine

SHOP MEN'S >>

Let’s start with more traditional workwear staples like the suit. Suits can still be incorporated into your Casual Friday ensemble by simply dressing them down a bit.  You can opt for a slightly more fashionable version of your classic business suit but still look professional. You can also liven up a classic suit by adding in a bright button-up shirt underneath. No tie needed here! It’s Casual Friday after all!

Another cool Casual Friday outfit option for the office is a sleek monochromatic look. Pull in either all grey or a combination of grey, black and white. You can also do a more casual approach to monochrome dressing by pairing a nice chambray button-up with a mid-blue chino pant. Again, leave the tie at home. If you feel you must wear a tie, try a slim light grey tie for a more fashion-forward, casual feel.

Tie your Casual Friday outfit together with a nice pair of men’s oxfords or, if your workplace allows for it, wear a sleek and simple pair of sneakers. 

I hope your workweek goes smoothly (and quickly) into Casual Friday! Try one of these outfit tips in the office this Friday and you’ll be able to transition right to Happy Hour in style.

--B

3 Reasons Why You Need Water Shoes

Ahhh, yes! The dog days of summer are finally here, and I for one couldn’t be more excited. It’s that sun scorching yet beautiful time of July when the fam and I load up the wood paneled station wagon (or midsize SUV, same diff.) and traverse deep into the wilderness for a weeklong excursion of camping, hiking and swimming.

Like any seasoned vacationer, top-of-mind items that I tend to pack first include the tent and all its accessories, an extra-large cooler, trekking poles, hydration packs and, of course, water shoes.

Water shoes, aka amphibious shoes, are often forgotten in the mix of necessary outdoor gear. Sure, you probably own cheap rubber sandals, and that’s great! They may do the trick when you’re taking out the trash, but not in the thick of the great outdoors. 

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  1. Keen Clearwater CNX
  2. Columbia Megavent™
  3. adidas Outdoor CLIMACOOL® Jawpaw Slip-On
  4. Keen Uneek

SHOP MORE MEN'S >>


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  1. Keen Clearwater CNX
  2. Chaco ZX/3® Yampa
  3. Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve
  4. Keen Rose Slide

SHOP MORE WOMEN'S >>

Here’s a quick breakdown as to why you need to invest in a pair of water shoes for your next adventure: 

1) Variety
Are you particular in the way you dress, even miles away from civilization and cell phone reception? Well, you’re in luck. Athletic brands, such as Nike and adidas, are now inundating the marketplace alongside Keen, Columbia and Chaco, so your high-fashion footwear can remain on point. As a direct result, there are a plethora of bright colors and traditional styles for your viewing and wearing pleasure.

2) Safety
With specially designed outsoles, one can easily transition from wooded trails to sandy shorelines, and even atop pebbly riverbanks or damp rock formations, all without the fear of risking injury. For example, Merrell’s M Select GRIP™ technology delivers durable, slip-resistant traction that releases dirt and debris with its specialized lugs. Brands like Keen, SOLE and Teva have similarly patented protection that works just as great.

3) Comfort
Thinking twice about that “must-see” eight-mile hike upstream? Don’t! Most water shoes integrate compression-molded EVA midsoles for all-day comfort and support. Furthermore, depending on the style, most designs incorporate open or vented uppers that allow feet to breathe and dry off quicker.

There you have it, folks. Three sound reasons as to why water shoes should be your next purchase. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to finish packing.

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Get Outdoors! Great Pieces for Great Adventures

I am blessed to not only have an amazing job and great coworkers, but to be the Den leader for an amazing group of Webelo Cub Scouts here in FABULOUS Las Vegas. No, they don’t learn how to deal blackjack; yes there are actually an amazing number of great hiking trails, fishing spots and outdoors things to do in and around Las Vegas. One of my favorite things to do with my son and my Scouts is go hiking! If you want to have an incredible conversation with any kid, take them where there is no cell phone reception and leave their game system behind.  I’ve come to realize that my little boy is becoming a pretty awesome young man through the conversations we have while hiking. After all, no kid will ever remember a day spent inside watching TV. 

Curvy girls have a some challenges when it comes to getting outside and playing with our kids, friends and family. First of all, we have the challenge of the inside of our heads, telling us that we can’t do it and that we’ll just embarrass ourselves if we try to go hiking because we won’t look like the others, or that we may struggle to keep up.

Just by taking the first step outside, you’ve already won half that battle! Get up, get out, and do that ONE thing that you’ve not done before.  If it’s your kids that you are hiking with, trust me when I say they don’t care what you look like, they care more that you are outside and playing with them. Your time and your presence is often the thing they want more than any other presents you can give them. 

Second, we have the challenge of finding gear that is a little more comfortable to hike in than jeans and an old t-shirt. Thankfully, companies like Columbia and Soybu have recognized that curvy gals (and bigger guys) want and need comfortable tech gear for outdoor adventures. 

#curvygirls, #WellRoundedWednesday, #WRW, #Zapposplus, big agnes, Columbia Plus, High Sierra, hiking, keen, outdoors, plus fashion, Soybu, Terramar, Well Rounded Wednesday, zappos, Zappos Plus#curvygirls, #WellRoundedWednesday, #WRW, #Zapposplus, big agnes, Columbia Plus, High Sierra, hiking, keen, outdoors, plus fashion, Soybu, Terramar, Well Rounded Wednesday, zappos, Zappos Plus

1. Columbia Plus Size Skiff Guide 3/4 Sleeve Top

2. Soybu Plus Size Alicia Tank

3. Columbia Plus Size Bahama Long Sleeve

4. Columbia Plus Size Back Beauty Boot Cut Pant

5. Columbia Plus Size Camp Henry Shirt

6. Soybu Plus Size Killer Caboose Crop Pant

7. Terramar Plus Size Short Sleeve Scoop Top

8. Columbia Plus Size Reel Beauty II Maxi Dress

9. Columbia Plus Size Splash A Little Rain Jacket

10. Big Agnes Chair Elite

11. High Sierra Piranha 10L Hydration Pack

12. Keen Whisper Sandal

SHOP PLUS SIZE ACTIVE CLOTHING >>

Breathable fabrics, moisture wicking and cooling fabrics with built in UPF? Yes, please! Thank you, Columbia, for the AMAZING fabric that is Omni-Freeze ZERO! Bags with built-in hydration systems with straps that do well on wider shoulders let you enjoy a longer hike, and chairs by Big Agnes pack light and small while holding up to 320 pounds, which means your little one can sit on your lap while you roast marshmallows together and make memories -- and s’mores!

Finally, we have the challenge of figuring out where to start when we want to get out more. For that, I recommend checking out the National Parks Service website.  Parks aren’t just in the wilderness; they’re all over, including the middle of some urban downtown areas. Not only is there planning information, but they are rock stars at rating their trails for hiking based on your ability, as well as for kids, stroller, and wheelchair accessibility.

Have a great time getting out and enjoying the great outdoors; if you’re rocking our anything featured here on #WellRoundedWednesday, please tag us in your photos on Twitter and Instagram using #WRW- we would LOVE to see enjoying the great outdoors and rocking your Zappos looks!

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My Adventures Through South East Asia with Toad&Co!

There are few things that I enjoy more than taking trips to foreign places. Whether it’s to a new place across town, a neighboring state or a location overseas, there is something to be said for exploring never before seen places. This summer, I was fortunate enough to visit the vast and amazing lands of Southeast Asia. Our trip started in Cambodia, wound through Vietnam and ended up in Thailand. As excited as I was for this trip, there was one thing I was not thrilled about: packing.

Packing for an international trip is about as much fun as an ingrown toenail. There are so many factors to take into consideration and the fact that I couldn’t exactly rely on the old “If I forget it, I’ll just buy one there” adage makes me a little a lot on edge. This is why I was more than relieved when I found out Toad&Co (formerly Horny Toad) was launching their new Modern Travel Collection. This collection was the answer to all of my travel prayers: functional, fashionable clothing that I could wear, re-wear, sweat in, spill on, crumple up and continue to wear yet again throughout the journey.

Knowing that my trip was coming up, I selected a few items to take with me, which quickly turned into a few more items, and then a little bit more for good measure! I will now share with you some of my Toad & Co favorites, though I have to say that they all were just what I needed.

Our first day was in Siem Reap, Cambodia, visiting the astounding temples of Angkor Wat. Because we would be visiting a religious site, we were told that we would have to wear clothing that covered both our shoulders and legs. Knowing that it was 97 degrees outside and 90% humidity, I knew that I would need pieces that were lightweight, breathable and would be able to keep me as cool as possible (or at least hide all the sweat stains that I was sure to encounter).

The Ella Ankle Pant and Ursa Three-Quarter Sleeve Tunic were just the solution to my conundrum. They maintained the appropriate coverage while being light enough so I didn’t feel like I was suffocating in the surrounding heat and humidity. For the other portions of our trip where it wasn’t necessary to dress as conservatively, the Rizzo Sleeveless Stripe Shirt and Farflung Short were amazing. These pieces were perfect for our trips to the Cu Chi Tunnels in Vietnam and exploring markets in Bangkok as they allowed for maximum comfort and mobility.

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1. Toad&Co Ursa Three-Quarter Sleeve Tunic

2. Toad&Co Rizzo Sleeveless Stripe Shirt

3. Toad&Co Ella Ankle Pant

4. Toad&Co Farflung Short

5. Toad&Co Alluvial Dress

6. Toad&Co Linette Dress

7. Toad&Co Capellini Dress

8. Toad&Co Allisa Dress

On the days where we had more time to shop, explore and weren’t necessarily as active, the Allisa Dress and Capellini Dress were just right. From the breathable, stretchable fabrics to the versatile and easy designs, these dresses were just what I needed!

I am typically the type of person that could live in pajamas, and since that is usually frowned upon; I have to say that these dresses were the next best thing. They were beyond comfortable and super stylish.

Finally, for dressier occasions like dinner and shows, the Alluvial Dress and the Linette Dress provided the perfect dose of dressy while still remaining extremely versatile and relaxed. As with all of the other pieces, I found that I could wear them comfortably during the day and easily dress them up at night; making my wardrobe decisions that much easier.

For all my future adventures, instead of worrying about what to bring in my suitcase, I am truly excited to know that the versatile Toad&Co Modern Travel collection has me covered…literally!

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Make Every Flip-Flop More Comfortable!

Even our beloved summer flip-flops aren’t immune to foot pain when you’re wearing them from sun up to sun down! That’s why when our go-to shoe insert brand Foot Petals came up with the Technogel Tip Toes for Flip-Flops, we nearly flipped for joy!

 Foot Petals, flip-flops, VOLATILE sandals, Mel by Melissa, Steve Madden, Jack Rogers, fashion,

SHOP ALL FOOT PETALS >>

Even though flip-flop sandals start out super comfy, all-day wear can still cause plenty of stress on pressure points, particularly the ball of your feet. These patented revolutionary gel inserts by Foot Petals provides 3-dimensional shock absorption to provide all-day comfort. They’re virtually invisible and contour to the natural shape of your foot without losing support. Just when you thought flip-flops couldn’t get any better!

Foot Petals, flip-flops, VOLATILE sandals, Mel by Melissa, Steve Madden, Jack Rogers, fashion,

1. VOLATILE Kala

2. Mel by Melissa Mel Flower II

3. Steve Madden Bradie

4. Jack Rogers Skye

SHOP MORE FLIP-FLOPS >>

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New Brand Spotlight: Lobo Solo

Lobo Solo, new brand spotlight, Lobo Solo footwear, Lobo Solo shoes, comfort shoes, comfort footwear

The Lobo Solo® shoe manufacturing system originated from the ancient traditions of the Nordic regions of Mexico—an artisan construction where components of the shoe are woven by hand, creating a shoe with great flexibility and exquisite comfort.

Lobo Solo strives to preserve these ancient traditions and fuse them with the advantages of current state-of-the art footwear designs. Lobo Solo offers customers a value that only artisans can provide.

SHOP LOBO SOLO >>

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Give Dad Some "Aloha" with Maui Jim!

Pops. Dad. Papa. Pa.  No matter what you call him, one thing seems to stay constant with dear ol' dad: his love for practical gifts! This Father’s Day, give him the gift of aloha --and unsurpassed glare protection and color clarity---with Maui Jim sunglasses!

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Classics:

1. Maui Jim “Stingray”

2. Maui Jim “Sandy Beach”

3. Maui Jim “Makaha”

 

 

New Styles:

1. Maui Jim “Breakers”

2.Maui Jim “Legends”

3. Maui Jim “Kawika”

 

SHOP ALL MAUI JIM >>