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My name is David (PS: Follow me on twitter for behind the scenes looks as I build RW), aka Founder/Designer behind Rainier Watch (RW). By day, I'm slinging code (aka a professional Web Developer) and by night, I'm building and running RW. I am going to tell you the tale of RW and how it all began. Sit back, relax, and grab something cold and refreshing to drink!
Mount Tahoma (the original name for Mount Rainier) is over 100 miles from Seattle. With the classic moody skies of the Pacific Northwest, it is hardly ever visible from the surrounding area. Yet around fifty times a year when stars align, we are oh so lucky to see the clouds disperse. The Mountain looks as if you can just reach out and grab it. “The Mountain is out!” is a phrase used by the locals to recognize these rare days. Rainier Watch is an apparel brand inspired by “The Mountain” and when it’s out. Actually, it’s really inspired by all mountains, because, let’s be honest, they’re all worth celebrating.
Rainier Watch started, quite literally, with a tweet. After a long hiatus, I moved back to Seattle in 2013. I found myself inspired by Mount Rainier and those elusive, yet beautiful days when it comes out from hiding. I thought to myself that there just had to be a way to know when The Mountain is out. After searching the internet, I couldn’t find anything; so I decided to make one myself. In 2013, I started with my first ever Twitter account, Rainier Watch. Little did I know this account would grow into a brand and community of mountain lovers and watchers. I would see Tahoma (Rainier) out on my commute up and down Aurora/99 and spend my time writing out fun posts, starting with this one! What an adventure it has been since!
By 2016, the Twitter account was still going, and I had some big visions for growth. I decided to refine and improve the Rainier Watch brand; which, looking back on it, was honestly pretty terrible at the time. I teamed up with designer, Ewnetu, through the internet to help give my concept a new life and together, we created the original RW logo. In fact, for those first few years he was a great sounding board for a lot of the design decisions. With that fresh new logo in hand and a bunch of new ideas, things started to get a bit more
real. This was all before I knew how to code so I had to hack together the first official Rainier Watch website. It launched in 2017 with some really basic stickers for sale to help cover some of the costs of a website and operations. The Rainier Watch Community started to expand rapidly and gain more legitimacy in 2018. The brand progressed from a DIY shop selling stickers once in a blue moon to Rainier inspired apparel. RW was even involved in a few collaborations with other fun brands. In August of that year, I officially launched the RW Shop! It started with several shirts and hats that I designed. Part of my goal with the shop was to help National Parks like Mount Rainier. So, I donated 10% of my profits to organizations that strive to protect them. Shout out to anyone of the original RW followers and customers – you rock!
We did our first pop up shop halfway through 2019 at the Fremont Sunday Market. Shortly after that, we were able to increase the donation structure to 5% of all sales. This meant that we were able to help more awesome organizations like Washington’s National Park Fund.
Part of our success came from local markets and when the covid outbreak hit the Seattle area, they were all shut down. This caused a drastic shift towards ecommerce and the necessity for digital marketing. I wanted to use my web building skills for good, so I launched a website called Seattle 2 Go. The site was designed to help local restaurants that were doing delivery and carry out. If you’d like to read more about that adventure, check out this blog post. That year, we also made it into the Keep Seattle Smiling boxes. These are great because they feature a collection of quality goods from local businesses that help the community. 2020 was rough for the PNW even without the pandemic. We also experienced record setting heat waves and wildfires. I used Rainier Watch and my talents to lead several fundraisers that year. We raised funds for diversity/inclusion in the outdoors, wildfire relief efforts, and of course, protecting the National Parks. By the end of the year, RW donated over $4,000 to nonprofits. This absolutely blows my mind to think the impact we had via your support.
Honestly, even with the positive impact we had via fundraisers, it was a brutal year to be a small business. Sales were low and I often questioned why I was doing it. To add pain to misery, all the doors to local retailers and boutique shops slammed shut. Regardless, RW survived the year and the dream to support our National Parks through epic apparel has lived on – Hurray for that
In 2021, we broke our record for sales in a single day, not once but twice at local markets. We have officially launched a new website with tons of new products, including Eco-Tees, and I am so excited to see what the future holds. We also began to transition away from single use materials and started to use 100% recyclable boxes made from recycled materials, water activated tape, zero-waste shipping labels, and recycled note cards that are printed with Algae Ink (crazy, right?!) in our packaging. Find out more here.
I have always prioritized working with other local small businesses and using ethically made, and earth-friendly practices. Being as local as possible is important to the RW mission and I intentionally use top-quality materials and products that will last for years. You can see a full list of local companies we work with here.
Rainier Watch wouldn’t be what it is today without the community of fantastic people stoked on The Mountain as much as I am. Thanks to each and every one of you. You are all awesome! Now, get off your device and go get some epic Rainier watching in. Is The Mountain out?!
DieCutStickers.com - Amazing local sticker company based in Tukwila. They make all our all weather stickers, vinyl decals, and enamel pins!
Brist Mfg – Fantastic print shop based in Bellingham. They make a lot of our shirts, hats, beanies and patches!
The Foundry Print Shop – Another amazing local print shop based here in Seattle. They often print our shirts as well!
For more partnership information including discounts go to the Partners page.