SALT + SNOW FAMILY AND FOUNDERS
Salt + Snow is a new sport apparel e-commerce site curated and targeted to the ski, surf, and outdoor adventure loving woman. Co-founded by “Chief Adventurists” and friends, Kathy Thomas and Sara Zilkha, the site is designed to be an online marketplace and gathering spot for the female athlete — that beyond shopping is an insider’s guide to the travel, gear, food, and lifestyle that accompanies these sports.
Kathy and Sara met as fellow moms with kids at the same school in NYC. Picked to work on the school auction together, they were joined at the hip for a year, and so successful as a team that they went on to chair the event for 3 years. During that time Kathy invited Sara on a surf trip, a passion she had discovered in her 40’s. It imbued in Sara the same love of the sport. They kept their friendship and surf trips going, even after Sara moved to Aspen with her family.
It was on one of these surf trips that Salt + Snow was conceived. It began as a conversation about their shared obsession for adventure travel. For Kathy it was surf and ski, and for Sara it was other outdoor sports. Both were the types who would plan trips for their friends. In fact, Kathy had been organizing active vacations she called “Chicks on Sticks” for mountain adventures, and “Out the Back” for surfing.
Yet both found a void in the marketplace when it came to shopping for these sports. Says Sara, “There were the functional, technical, and male focused sites like REI, Backcountry, and Dicks Sporting Goods, and then Net-A Porter and Farfetch at the other end of spectrum. There was nothing in between.”
SARA ZILKHA & KATHY THOMAS
With 9 kids between them, both were overwhelmed when shopping not just for themselves, but for family trips “with 25 tabs open, trying to find a rashguard or ski layer to satisfy their needs as well.” Adds Sara, “Because I became athlete in my 40’s, I also didn’t have experience or knowledge to know what to buy.”
For Kathy the shopping challenge began with the quest for a colorful wetsuit so her father could spot her surfing from the beach. “When I was younger my dad dressed us in bright ski clothes so he could see us from the bottom of the hill. When he came down to watch me surf I asked, ‘Did you see me, did you see me?’ Among the sea of black wetsuits he replied, ‘I saw a lot of people surfing, but I had no idea which one was you.’ ”
In her wetsuit search, Kathy started discovering all these amazing brands a lot of people didn’t know about, that extended into other sports as well. She also found incredible women behind these brands, in many cases with environmentally focused missions. When her dad came to watch her surf again, he could finally spot her, but then he noticed there were more people in those bright wetsuits as well. “I was wearing it,” she explained, “and when someone asked where I got it, I told them.”
And so that first conversation which started off with a couple of iced teas, turned into a few margaritas when Kathy started telling Sara about her idea for a marketplace. It became an “aha” moment when Sara said, “No way, I have the same idea!” A plan was hatched to build an online destination and community for likeminded women to discover and shop for the perfect trip — from the ocean to the snow to any outdoor destination in between.
Salt + Snow has launched with 20 brands, including some kids’ and mens’, geared towards the woman shopping for her family. “Outdoor adventure is the sweet spot”, says Sara. “Anything that gets you outside and gets you moving.” There are plans for 40 brands by the end of the year. Many are our favorites at STYLE of SPORT, with that unique combination of both style and functionality, like Cynthia Rowley and Kassia Surf wetsuits, Amundsen and Alps & Meters for hiking, L’Etoile Sport and Court & Club for tennis, and Terez and Rhone for activewear.
Sustainability is another key factor. “Every action counts, and we want to do our part in bettering the planet; activating change for future generations to come, which is why we support those who want to make a difference”, heralds the site.
The Wanderist, which is the editorial section, celebrates the lifestyle and showcases all this great gear in action. It is described as: “A community of adventurers, seekers and doers. A destination that celebrates outdoor experiences for both first-timers and veterans alike. Here you’ll find inspiring stories, trusted advice and the must-dos, must-sees and must-haves for our favorite places.”
As such kindred spirits, we at SOS can’t help but love the mission and offerings at Salt + Snow. We even discovered a few new brands there too!