A little over a year ago, Laura Gallenbach was inspired to create an online service that would make it easy for outdoor enthusiasts to obtain the food they'd need for their wilderness adventures. After lots of research and hard work, Laura launched Great Outdoors Food.
Her web service is a one-stop shop that includes a wide selection of tasty food options appropriate for the backcountry. The meal builder platform calculates nutrition information, weight and price as shoppers fill their cart, and Great Outdoors Food packages customer's custom-built meals individually for optimal organization. Ardent Camper will be offering a full review of the service soon, but if you're interested in checking it out for yourself, head over to Great Outdoors Food today!
AC: You live in Los Angeles now, but is that where you're from originally?
LG: I grew up in Victoria, Texas (near the coast) and moved to LA in 2009 after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin. My husband (then boyfriend, also a UT alum) was pursuing a career in aerospace engineering, and I was pursuing a career in advertising, so LA was a good fit for both of us. We live near the beach in El Segundo, which is situated just south of LAX.
AC: Do you love spending time outside like your husband, Jimmy, does? What are your favorite outdoor activities?
LG: We do both love being outside, especially when it's not too hot! While he prefers to get off the beaten path and tackle mountains, I like to stay on the trails and try not to injure myself! We also love to go scuba diving, especially in the tropics.
AC: What is the most inspirational place in nature you've ever been?
LG: The forests in Bavaria in southern Germany are amazing. Very dense, very quiet, very green, very still — almost spooky. It's easy to imagine yourself being Little Red Riding Hood or Snow White when you're among those trees.
AC: So let's talk about Great Outdoors Food. You were inspired to start the site while watching Jimmy struggle to find all the food in one place he'd need for multi-day hikes. How and when did you get started?
LG: The idea actually struck me when I was driving to work one day in January 2013. As you know, there is currently no other site or service that offers a "build-a-meal" platform aside from what I have created, so I decided to take the idea seriously.
I asked my friends who like to go hiking a million questions to find out what they liked, wished they could have and didn't need. I did market and competitive analysis to make sure there was room and a need for this service. I started reaching out to brands to see if they would take me on as a wholesale partner. I researched different platforms and services for building the store. I ran the idea and logistics past two experienced venture capitalists who vetted it and gave me some great tips. I reached out to different banks and credit unions to get info about a small business loan.
Finally — after all signs pointed to "yes" — I obtained the necessary permits and licenses and began to build the store. After a year of putting it all together, Great Outdoors Food went live in January 2014.
AC: What are your goals for customers of Great Outdoors Food?
LG: My goal is to give customers a new, easier, more convenient, more organized way to plan food for an adventure. No other site or service allows folks to choose from hundreds of items to assemble meals tailored to their tastes, while also tracking the price, weight and nutrition facts of what goes into a meal.
I want to give first-time campers and hikers one less thing to worry about when they're thinking of hitting the trail and make sure people know that just because you're going on a hike doesn't mean you have to subsist solely on jerky and dehydrated meals.
Since we bundle and label each meal and ship it to customers, going to the grocery store before the trip is one less thing to worry about it.
AC: Where do you see Great Outdoors Food going? What's the future trajectory of the site?
LG: Since this is our first season online, my main goal is to generate awareness that this awesome new option exists and begin to develop customers. Hopefully in the future we'll become the one-stop shop that everyone visits before going on an adventure.
AC: Great Outdoors Food has joined forces with Outdoor Adventure Training, or The O.A.T. Can you talk a little bit about this partnership?
LG: The main premise of The O.A.T. is to get people outdoors by providing the building blocks necessary for safe, enjoyable, memorable adventures. @ThatOutdoorGuy leads classes that cover the basics of camping, hiking, navigation, fishing, white-water rafting and more. Our businesses support each other online and via social media, and The O.A.T. uses Great Outdoors Food meals for its classes. Students can receive a discount on orders they place, and a student from each class receives a $20 voucher.
Alright, folks, that's a wrap! We'd like to thank Great Outdoors Food for getting in touch and providing Ardent Camper with a coupon code to try out their service. We look forward to seeing the business grow!
Other posts in our interview series: