Listen up New Yorkers! You work hard, walk fast, talk fast, never say no, and never wonder if the grass is greener on the other side. So we’re bringing the grass to you! Founder of OutdoorFest, Sarah Knapp gets down and dirty by introducing the outdoors and recreational sports to NYC.
Adventurous and kind, Sarah Knapp started OutdoorFest in 2013. A local, New York University graduate, Sarah was a History major, but didn't let WWII get to her and decided to take a different route in life. Although she worked in journalism for a bit during college, after graduation, she moved to Utah and worked the front desk at a Ski Lodge as a receptionist for one season. “I kept returning and realized that I loved the environment I was in. So when I went back to New York I got a job doing logistics and marketing for an outdoor guiding company.”
“The idea came about when I was working at the outdoor guiding company and was based on celebrating the outdoors in our community of urbanites.”
Even though we call ourselves New Yorkers and city dwellers, it doesn't mean that we don't appreciate nature. In fact, most of us love nature so much so that the city has to cage a patch of grass and call it a park and we still appreciate the heck out of that space! (Some may say we’re obsessed with the greens. The non-smoking kind). Looking to bridge that gap, Sarah launched OutdoorFest’s first event in the summer of 2014 for a duration of ten days. The festival brings together all types of recreational sports in the middle of the city. Kayaking, rock climbing, hiking, sailing, biking, you name it! Top tip: Sarah tells us how her venture was less about coming up with an idea, but more about embracing something she was willing to invest time and energy into, aka passion.
Running The Biz
Playing off the concept of “happy hour,” Mappy Hour is a free event that brings people, maps and alcohol together. The idea revolves around community building and future trip discussions. Talk about a good marketing strategy! These small meet ups build the momentum to the big day when OutdoorFest occurs annually in June.
Similar to any event company, OutdoorFest makes most of its ka-ching ka-ching from sponsorships. “We work with a network of different resources that can be anything from Park Alliances, government, yoga teachers, and brands such as REI and North Face. All of these partners create a specific event during the festival and submit it to me. We then create a schedule based on these special themed events.” As a partner, you reach a new audience by collaborating with OutdoorFest and gain awareness. Anyone can submit an event with an option to raise money for specific cause. Yes, even you college students!
Looking young and fab, Sarah felt a lot of judgement and pushback due to her age. “I had not worked for a corporate event company before and therefore lacked the necessary skillset to be able to be successful.” However, at the time same time Sarah tells us how you have to “ignore it all and prove yourself.” Some other challenges include learning about trademark laws, tax structures and insurance markets that were vital to her business but not necessarily sexy.
In the future, Sarah hopes to create a subscription based model and grow the community. When she’s not working, you may find her skiing, climbing Kilimanjaro or conversing in Yiddish (random fact).
Want to be your own boss, love the outdoors and have a knack for technology? Sarah is looking for a Co-Founder to help her with future growth strategy. In addition, if you want to submit an event for OutdoorFest, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll make sure it happens.
Photo courtesy of OutdoorFest.