Mom Talk: Q&A With Two Kailua Moms and Owners of Snow Bound Outfitters
These Canadian transplants and keiki gear experts help O‘ahu parents prep for snowy adventures.
If you’re trading our warm sandy beaches for icy ski slopes this winter, listen up. Two local moms, Adi Phillips and Jen McFarland, started Snow Bound Outfitters last spring break to assist clueless kama‘āina parents with the must-need essentials to keep their kids dry, warm and happy during cold weather travel. Now the duo is a one-stop on-island team curating, renting and selling keiki winter clothes and accessories based on your family’s destination, planned activities and snow conditions.
How it works: Book an in-person appointment to find out what clothing these experts recommend for your ‘ohana. You can rent gear a la carte or by the bundle. Think: sets with everything they’ll need including, jackets, pants, boots, googles, and more. Keiki can try-on the clothes to ensure a good fit and get them stoked for the snow. A variety of items are also available for purchase such as, merino wool base layers, mitts, socks, neck warmers, beanies and hand warmers. Once you’ve decided on your gear, Adi and Jen will reserve it for you and schedule a pick-up date before your trip. When you get home, return the gear—no need to wash it!
Both from chilly Canada, these moms know their stuff. “We have already done the research and tested the products we rent and sell. Families won’t have to spend time looking up brands, shopping online and dealing with shipping.” Adi explains. Plus, “using our service versus borrowing random hand-me-downs allows you to put together a cute matching look for better photo opportunities,” she adds.
We love the sustainable intention behind the concept too. “We know kids grow fast, and snow gear doesn’t always fit for more than one season. We hope that creating a place to rent gear locally will not only extend the life cycle of each clothing item, but also significantly reduce the amount of shipping occurring to and from Hawai‘i, therefore helping to decrease our collective carbon footprint,” says Jen.
Q: What sparked the start of your business?
Adi: Our childhood and college years in Canada were spent doing all the outdoor winter activities – skiing, skating and sledding. Now that we have children (we both have 4- and 6-year-olds), we love to take them back to the snow as often as possible so that they can experience it as well.
Jen: We are both very aware of the importance of quality winter clothing that can hold up in all types of weather. We have found this to be especially true now that we are bringing our own kids to cold weather destinations. When kids (especially Hawai‘i kids) go to the snow, being wet or cold definitely affects their moods, and when you’re on vacation for such a short amount of time, you want to keep your kids dry and warm to have as much fun as possible.
Q: What’s new for Snow Bound Outfitters?
Jen: We are in the midst of preparing a box truck which will soon become a mobile shop of our own. This will allow us to set up at locations all over the island and make it even more convenient for our customers.
Q: What winter travel advice do you have for local parents?
A: I always tell families to make sure that everyone’s jacket is easily accessible as soon as you get off the plane. Jackets can double as a pillow during a flight, and ideally, be packed in a carry-on as they are so important to have ready to wear as soon as our ‘island kids’ land in colder temperatures.
Q: What are your favorite activities to do with your little ones?
Adi: Both of my kiddos were really committed to learning to ice skate last year so they can play hockey just like mom! It gets dark pretty early in cold climates, so going for a night skate on one of the local outdoor rinks is our favorite way to get some energy out before bedtime.
Q: What’s your family’s favorite holiday tradition?
Jen: We are fortunate to spend the holidays with our family in Whistler, and there are definitely certain activities that are must-dos every time we visit. Going sledding on the golf course, skating outdoors at the Olympic Plaza, and visiting the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory are some of our favorite traditions.
Q: Any advice for parents starting a new business?
Adi: Make sure it is something that brings you joy, especially if you are starting out as a side hustle. Snow Bound Outfitters has truly been a passion project: it connects us to our roots, fuels our love for the outdoors, travel, and sustainability, and also provides a useful service to other families.