Purpose-Driven Brands Do Well by Doing Good at IFTD

Purpose-Driven Brands Do Well by Doing Good at IFTD

Rick Crawford

I attended IFTD in Orlando a couple of weeks ago and there were tons of new products and gear.  If you are an angler with a gear obsession, like me, it is heaven!  Anyways, after wiping the drool off my face, I started reflecting on everything I saw.  I couldn’t help but notice that many of the winners of the “New Product Showcase” awards were purpose-driven brands, and beyond that, there were companies who were proudly displaying the nonprofits they supported in their booths with clear calls to action.  This was particularly interesting to me because Emerger Strategies mission is to build purpose-driven brands that inspire solutions to social and environmental problems (if you are wondering “what’s a purpose-driven brand?” Click HERE).

We are in the midst of  a powerful shift from the way business was done in the 20th century.  Instead of only being concerned with profitability, purpose-driven brands in the 21st century are not only measuring their economic bottom line, but their environmental and social bottom lines as well.  This is also known as the triple bottom line.  Instead of a take, make, waste linear approach to manufacturing, the purpose-driven brands of the 21st century are adopting a circular economy model.  Instead of only engaging their audience through retail and catalogs, the purpose-driven brands of the 21st century are reaching their customers, and prospective customers, through all of their sales and marketing channels and connecting with them on an emotional level by letting them know what their brand stands for and why they are in business.

We are now living in the purpose-driven brand economy.

So, I thought it would be beneficial to highlight some examples of a few of my favorite purpose-driven brands (in no particular order) that I saw while attending the International Fly Tackle Dealers Show (IFTD):

1. Flood Tide Company

Busy booth and a 1% for the Planet Member. Coincidence? We think not!

Flood Tide Company is a lifestyle apparel brand that is working towards minimizing the environmental impact of its business, and is also a 1% for the Planet Member, which means they donate 1% of their sales to environmental nonprofits.  Equally as important, they have some of the best quality, and uniquely designed apparel around, so if you want apparel that makes in impact, you need to have Flood Tide in your shop!  Additionally, Flood Tide Company is a supporter the Now Or Neverglades Declaration and the petition to Protect Public Lands, so they are using their business to solve both social and environmental problems that impact their business and our fisheries.

2. Rep Your Water

Another purpose-driven brand with a busy booth! Hmmm…

Rep Your Water is lifestyle apparel brand and is a purpose-driven brand because they donate a percentage of sales to local conservation organizations, like Trout Unlimited, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Bonefish Tarpon Trust and others.  Rep Your Water is also working towards minimizing the environmental impact of their business, so if you are looking for apparel that makes a difference, look no further!  To date, they have donated over $60K to conservation organizations.  They also have a great “Calls to Action” page making it easy for you to contact your elected officials regarding important issues that affect our fisheries.

3. Fair Flies

A purpose-driven brand winning “New Product Showcase” award in their first year at IFTD. I think we are starting to see a trend!

Fair Flies makes composite brushes and flies and is considered a purpose-driven brand because they are a registered Benefit Corporation with the State of Oregon and their products are ethically sourced flies and materials.  They use their products as a vehicle “to provide livable wages to people in compromised areas around the world but focused in SE Asia.”  Fair Flies, also won “New Product Showcase” in their very first year attending IFTD for:

  • Fly Tying Materials: Fair Flies — Composite Brushes

Congratulations guys!

4. Fishpond


Another purpose-driven brand wins big at IFTD, and best new Eco-Friendly Product!

Fishpond makes fly fishing gear and apparel and is a purpose-driven brand because they are a B-Corp and are also using their business to solve the plastic pollution problem related to discarded fishing nets.  Fishpond created their product line, Cyclepond, which is made from recycled fishing nets, and is not only great looking, but highly functional.  They also support a number of nonprofits, including, Trout Unlimited, Western Rivers Conservancy and Casting 4 A Cure, just to name a few.  Fishpond also won multiple “New Product Showcase” awards at IFTD, including:

  • Best New Pack/Vest – Thunderhead Lumbar
  • Best New Luggage – Grand Teton
  • Best New Eco-Friendly Product – Thunderhead Backpack
  • Best New Accessory – Quickshot Rod Holder

Way to go, Fishpond!

5. Patagonia

Great to see Patagonia using its booth to create awareness about such an important issue to all anglers. #NowOrNeverglades

Patagonia is a pioneer when it comes to being a purpose-driven brand.  They are a B-Corp, founding member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and 1% for the Planet, and their mission is to “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire solutions to the environmental crisis.”  Additionally, they very effectively use their business to educate and create awareness about important environmental issues, such as Protect Public Lands and the Now or Neverglades Declaration.  Patagonia also uses organic cotton and recycled materials to manufacture its products, and have created the Worn Wear initiative designed to keep its apparel and gear in use longer, and at the end of its usable life, they will take the product back to be recycled.

6. Orvis

Orvis has made a strong commitment to save the Everglades, so thank you!

Orvis has done a lot for conservation and most recently has concentrated its conservation efforts to create awareness around the Now Or Neverglades Declaration, including visiting Governor Rick Scott and spearheading the Dan Decibel film “The Balance.”  Additionally, Orvis donates 5% of pretax profits to protecting nature, and in April of this year completed a 75 kWh solar array at their headquarters.  Orvis is using its business to solve environmental and conservation problems.  Orvis is another purpose-driven brand that won in the following “New Product Showcase” categories:

  • Women’s Outerwear: Orvis — Pro Wading Jacket
  • Women’s Waders: Orvis — Women’s Ultralight Waders
  • Men’s Wading Boots: Orvis — Ultralight Wading Boot


I am thrilled to see more brands in the fly-fishing industry adopting sustainable business models and building purpose-driven brands.  I am especially thrilled to see them winning awards, which is proof that you can do well by doing good.

All of these purpose-driven brands deserve a round of applause.  However, better than that, the next time you need some new apparel and gear, fly tying materials, or a new rod, remember to buy products from brands that are purpose-driven.  Look for that 1% for the Planet logo, or do your research before buying a product and see what you can learn from the company’s website.  Can’t find what you are looking for?  Contact the company and ask them about their environmental footprint, or what nonprofits they support.  The reality is that we vote with our dollars and what we demand is how brands respond, so consumers have the power to influence change.

If this year’s IFTD was any indication, brands in the fly-fishing industry are beginning to respond to consumer’s demand for socially and environmentally responsible products, and they are doing well by simply doing good!  Congratulations to all of the IFTD New Product Showcase winners, and now I am going to wipe the drool off my face…again!

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