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.

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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

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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Top it Off with the Perfect Hat!

Whether it’s a pure fashion statement, a barrier from the winter chill, or a workout necessity, hats certainly have a permanent place in our wardrobes.

As temperatures continue to drop, hats become even more of an essential part in any wardrobe, especially on those days when you’d rather not deal with your hair. And with so many cool beanies, fedoras, baseball caps and more to choose from, it’s easy to make the hat a regular staple of any wardrobe—from nights out to working out!

Check out some of our picks below:

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Fashion:

1. Hat Attack Wool Felt Floppy Hat

2. San Diego Hat Co. Wool Cap

3.  Echo Design “Milk Made” Slouchy Beanie

 

Cold Weather:

1. UGG Slouchy Beret 2

2. Columbia “Winter Worn” Beanie

3. Patagonia Vanilla Beanie

 

Sport/Performance:

1. The North Face “Bones” Beanie

2. Under Armour UA Tech Beanie

3. Smartwool Microweight Beanie

 

SHOP ALL HATS >>

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The Latest "It" Sandals: Teva Original

Trends come and go, but one thing remains unchanged—people love a true, authentic original.  That would explain the latest sandal du jour in the fashion world: the Teva Original Universal. 

The sporty sandal is certainly no stranger on the runway, with haute fashion houses like Prada, Marc Jacobs  & Lanvin getting in on this unlikely sartorial obsession inspired by classic outdoor/sport sandals like Teva.

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1. Teva Original Universal Women's in Aqua Green/Yellow

2. Teva Original Universal Men's in Lunar Rock/ Black

Although the Teva Original never really went away, this recent catapult into the “it” shoe of the season is a testament to its simple, tried-and-true design---going seamlessly from the streets to the great outdoors!

Check out their S/S 2014 video lookbook:

See for yourself why a pair of Teva Original sandals is destined to a favorite this season and beyond!

SHOP TEVA ORIGINALS >>

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ECCO with Gore-Tex®

We’ve all had those days, where you’re almost out the door in your favorite outfit and you realize that Mother Nature had other plans. Those shoes that go so well with your ensemble just won’t stand up to the sudden downpours and soggy conditions! Back to the closet you go to figure out what works with your old rain boots…

Well, thanks to ECCO and their GTX line, there’s no need to compromise great style during inclement weather. Whether you’re dressed for the office, a night out, traveling the globe or just a casual weekend around town, ECCO has you covered in their collection of waterproof shoes with Gore-Tex® construction.

Despite being weather-proof, they’re all super breathable, making them truly perfect for all-day wear. All this comes in a sleek, Scandinavian-designed aesthetic that proves style and function can happily coexist!

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Women's

1. ECCO Sculptured GTX Slip On

2. ECCO Saunter GTX Zip Bootie

3. ECCO Voyage Buckle Boot

Men's

1. ECCO Turn GTX Tie

2. ECCO Dublin Plain Toe Tie GTX

3. ECCO Track II GTX High

SHOP ALL ECCO GTX >>

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Staff Picks: Outdoor Activities

Zapponians take their outdoor fun seriously…as you can see from our latest employee photo shoot! From hiking, cycling, swimming and trail running, we love getting out there and enjoying what Mother Nature has to offer.

We asked our four outdoor enthusiasts (and home page models of the week) some questions to get to know them a little bit more:

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What’s your favorite outdoor activity to do on the weekends?

I: I love to play soccer on my days off or pretty much any day! I just recently got into cylcing which is very intense.

What three songs are always on rotation in your playlist when you’re out and about?

I:  “Let it Go”-Calvin Harris feat Ne Yo, “Heartbeat” -Childish Gambino, and “Levels”- Avicci 

Finish this sentence: “If I was in the show “Survivor”, I would have the strongest chance of winning because ________”

I: I am very funny and tall.

What three things are on your wishlist for all those outdoor activities?

I: Brooks Pureflow, Adidas Outdoor Terrex Hiking Shoes and Osprey Ariel 75 Backpack

 


 

 

 

adidas, biking, CEP, columbia, cycling, hiking, Lowa, MSR, nike, osprey, outdoor, outdoor activities, outdoor brands, patagonia, staff picks, suunto, swimming, the north face, Trail running, zapponians, zappos employees

 

 

 

What’s your favorite outdoor activity to do on the weekends?

J: Speeding down the roads on my TT Bike! 

What three songs are always on rotation in your playlist when you’re out and about?

J:  Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson; need I say more??? 

Finish this sentence: “If I was in the show “Survivor”, I would have the strongest chance of winning because ________”

J: I am SUPER competitive! 

What three things are on your wishlist for all those outdoor activities?

J: Columbia Roamin’ Right™ Knit Dress, Patagonia All Weather Dress, and CEP Allsports Sleeve

 

 

 

 

 

 

adidas, biking, CEP, columbia, cycling, hiking, Lowa, MSR, nike, osprey, outdoor, outdoor activities, outdoor brands, patagonia, staff picks, suunto, swimming, the north face, Trail running, zapponians, zappos employees

 

 

What’s your favorite outdoor activity to do on the weekends?

D: When the wind isn’t acting up, I LOVE to golf!!!

What three songs are always on rotation in your playlist when you’re out and about?

D: The Motto” - Drake, “Public Service Announcement” -Jay-Z, “On to the Next One” - Jay-Z 

Finish this sentence: “If I was in the show “Survivor”, I would have the strongest chance of winning because ________”

D: I’m an Ex-Navy Seal! Seal Team 6, Whoo Rah!!! 

What three things are on your wishlist for all those outdoor activities?

D: The North Face Men’s Nimble Jacket, Nike Sunset Volley Boardshorts, and Nike Just Do It Swoosh Tee

 

 

 

 

 

 

adidas, biking, CEP, columbia, cycling, hiking, Lowa, MSR, nike, osprey, outdoor, outdoor activities, outdoor brands, patagonia, staff picks, suunto, swimming, the north face, Trail running, zapponians, zappos employees

 

 

 

 

What’s your favorite outdoor activity to do on the weekends?

C: Hiking in the mountains. 

What three songs are always on rotation in your playlist when you’re out and about?

C: I actually prefer not to listen to any music when I’m outdoors. Rare quiet time for myself and makes it easier to connect with your hiking buddies and random strangers you run into on the trail!

Finish this sentence: “If I was in the show “Survivor”, I would have the strongest chance of winning because ________”

C: I’ll research and be prepared (I do analytics for living…) 

What three things are on your wishlist for all those outdoor activities?

C: Suunto Vector, MSR Lightnight Axis Snow Shoes, Lowa Renegade GTX

 


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Fresh Picks: Stylish, Comfy Jackets

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Bundling up for the cold doesn’t have to mean boring, shapeless outerwear! We’ve picked out some of our favorites to keep you warm AND stylish all season long.

1. Patagonia Women’s Pelage Jacket: This is so soft and luxurious, you’ll swear it’s real fur.

2. Prana Tori Jacket: Infinitely more flattering than your average sweater, but equally as comfortable!

3. Prana Kari Jacket: Perfect alone or as a layering piece, this hoodie is a great update to your weekend ensemble.

4. Columbia Mighty Lite™ II Jacket: The stunning jewel color lends such a stylish vibe to your weekend outfits.

5. The North Face Avery Fleece Jacket: The belted waist gives you a more defined waist, while the soft fleece keeps you comfy and warm.

6. NAU Urbane Jacket: We love the modern, asymmetrical button placket of this chic everyday jacket.

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Zappos Outdoor Makes Outside Magazine Top 5 List

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Zappos Outdoor was recently named one of the Top 5 Best Sites to Buy Outdoor Gear by Outside Magazine Online!

For those of you who didn't know we carried outdoor gear along with the best brands in outdoor shoes and clothing, check out the Zappos Outdoor page to see what the buzz is about!