Neptune Mountaineering launches showcase for crowdfunded products

BOULDER — Neptune Mountaineering, the iconic Boulder outdoor shop, has launched an initiative to introduce the store’s customers to new brands that have funded recent product launches through crowdsourcing platforms such as Kickstarter and Indigogo.

Neptune Lab, a curated selection of crowdfunded products, will occupy a dedicated, roughly 100-square-foot space within the store and will feature an interactive kiosk to allow customers to learn more about the brands and their respective fundraising campaigns. The new section of the store will be introduced Aug. 7.

Josh Simpson, founder of Portland, Oregon-based brand development firm Ignition Lab, helped Neptune owners Shelley and Andrew Dunbar create the Neptune Lab concept. Simpson, formerly the sales director at Sea To Summit, is a former employee of the Dunbars.

“It’s almost like a museum experience where we will curate different products that will rotate through every six to eight to weeks … [to provide] an ever-changing selection of recently crowdfunded projects,” Simpson said of Neptune Lab.

Each rotation will include roughly a dozen products. 

“By design, it will be a pretty diverse mix of products,” Simpson said. “… When we started this project we looked at who the Neptune customer is and thought about what kinds of [product] categories are of interest to the people who shop here. These are people who have a pretty diverse mix of interests and hobbies. We wanted to curate product assortments that include things that are traditionally thought to be found in Neptune but would still resonate with customers.”

Products in the first Neptune Lab collection include a wallet, laptop stand, key organizer, backpacks and a kit of zero-waste utensils.

“We will continue to strive to keep it full of surprises,” Simpson said of Neptune Labs’ product mix.

“We’re always looking to delight and inspire our customers with something new. Crowdfunding represents a growing share of the digital marketplace, and it’s important, as a brick-and-mortar retailer, to find ways to work with these digitally native brands,” Shelley Dunbar said in a prepared statement. “At Neptune we love to experiment, and yes, it’s a little risky, but it’s a fantastic way for everyone — our customers, ourselves, and the brands we’re partnering with — to try new things.”

Brick-and-mortar businesses and shoppers are often left out of the crowdfunding equation, but Simpson and the Neptune leadership want to change that.

“Crowdfunding traditionally lives in the digital world,” Simpson said. “We are trying to bring it to a retail setting and replicate it in a physical space.”

The hope is that Neptune Lab will open up the world of crowdfunded products to consumers who would otherwise be hesitant to participate in crowdfunding.

“There are a lot of people who just don’t feel comfortable putting their money down for a product that they may not see for six months or ever,” Simpson said. “This is a way for Neptune to leverage the trust that they’ve built in their customer base over the last 40 years to bring this [crowdfunding] phenomenon to people.”

Neptune vets the products before putting them on the shelves and includes only products that have been successfully funded and made commercially available.

“That removes the element of risk from the crowdfunding equation that some people might not be comfortable with,” Simpson said. 

Neptune Lab serves not only a way for the store to attract customers but also a showcase for up and coming brands and companies.

“Some of these companies don’t have retail distribution at all,” Simpson said. “So we’ve had to walk them through the process and the advantages of using [Neptune Labs] as a proving ground in terms of whether they are ready to move further into retail.”

 

BOULDER — Neptune Mountaineering, the iconic Boulder outdoor shop, has launched an initiative to introduce the store’s customers to new brands that have funded recent product launches through crowdsourcing platforms such as Kickstarter and Indigogo.

Neptune Lab, a curated selection of crowdfunded products, will occupy a dedicated, roughly 100-square-foot space within the store and will feature an interactive kiosk to allow customers to learn more about the brands and their respective fundraising campaigns. The new section of the store will be introduced Aug. 7.

Josh Simpson, founder of Portland, Oregon-based brand development firm Ignition Lab, helped Neptune owners Shelley and Andrew Dunbar create the Neptune Lab concept. Simpson, formerly the sales director at Sea To Summit, is a former employee of the Dunbars.

“It’s almost like a museum experience where we will curate different products that will rotate through every six to eight to weeks … [to provide] an ever-changing selection of recently crowdfunded projects,” Simpson said of Neptune Lab.

Each rotation will include roughly a dozen products. 

“By design, it will be a pretty diverse mix of products,” Simpson said. “… When we started this project we looked at who the Neptune customer is and thought about what kinds of [product] categories are of interest to the people who shop here. These are people who have a pretty diverse mix of interests and hobbies. We wanted to curate product assortments that include things that are traditionally thought to be found in Neptune but would still resonate with customers.”

Products in the first Neptune Lab collection…