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TradeBeyond Article
June 1, 2021
REI Vendor – How to become an approved vendor for REI

Before We Begin – Vendor REI!

Let’s make sure you’re in the right place in order to become an REI vendor! Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) believes a life outdoors is a life well-lived and you must think so too. Is your mission to awaken a lifelong love of the outdoors, for all?

Since 1938, REI has been a local outdoor co-op, working to help customers experience the transformational power of nature. REI looks for top-quality gear and apparel, outdoor accessories, expert advice and inspiring stories of life outside and outdoor experiences for all to enjoy.

So, whether you’re new to the outdoors or a seasoned pro, we hope you’ll join REI in becoming the next REI vendor innovator. Below are four qualifying questions to ask yourself to see if you have what it takes to become the next REI vendor.

  1. Do you believe a life outdoors is a life well-lived?
  2. Are you a supplier looking for how to sell a product at REI?
  3. Do produce sport related products ranging from fitness, outdoor electronics, sports gear, camping gear, to travel accessories?
  4. You’re an innovator for outdoor products and accessories?

If you are, please go ahead and find out how to take your first step in becoming REI’s vendor!

Vendor REI Production

REI, Recreational Equipment Inc is an American retail and outdoor recreation services corporation. It is organized as a consumers’ co-operative. REI sells sporting goods, camping gear, travel equipment, and clothing. It also offers services such as outdoor-oriented vacations and courses. It was founded in 1938 in Washington, US. As of September 2020, it operates at 165 locations across the US, with 13,000 employees and 19 million members. The biggest competitor of REI is Dicks Sporting Goods. It is good to know that REI runs on a member based Co-op model, which means that it is owned by its members/customers, who each hold a single voting share.

The belief at Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) is “a life outdoors is a life well-lived”. They believe that it’s in the wild, untamed and natural places that we find our best selves, so their purpose is to awaken a lifelong love of the outdoors, for all.

How To Sell Products at REI

As a supplier, you need to think about what it will take for you to become a private label REI vendor, which is a lot more than just providing an outdoor product and/or accessory. You should understand the industry as a whole, what their brands are, and what products they currently sell under each brand. Also understand their expectations and requirements to be a REI vendor. Below we have outlined a few important things as you take a step further towards your REI vendor application.

Sustainability

REI is committed to selling products that reflect the values of our members. Advancing product sustainability is an important part of this commitment and a key part of our efforts to act as stewards of the outdoors. It is a core expectation that REI’s brand partners have a sustainability program in place that includes the following:

Factory Code of Conduct: Outlines the standards of workplace conduct for the factories that manufacture your products.

Restricted Substances List (RSL): Specifies which substances are banned or restricted in your product manufacturing process and in the finished products sold by your brand.

For more information, click vendor REI sustainability guidelines for a complete look at the guidelines before learning more about how to sell product at REI. Make sure you meet all of the vendor guidelines and have your sustainability program in place before you enter the REI vendor portal.

After reviewing the REI vendor sustainability guidelines I would recommend reading the REI statement on supply chain management which can be an asset to a prospective new REI vendor.

REI Become a Vendor
Are You Ready?

Learning how to sell a product at REI will depend on your products. You will want to take a deeper dive into your product lines and ask yourself two key questions: are your products a good fit for REI, and will your products require alterations to fit the REI profile? REI is very particular in how it runs its business (co-op), and buyers tend to be very picky about who they select as their vendors. Outlined below are a few things to consider before becoming an REI vendor.

1. Product Categories Fit

Research REI’s current product offerings. Are any of them aligned with the products you currently produce? Pick one or two product categories you believe you will be a great fit for, and run with them.

2. Flexibility

If your current product lines do not fit the product styles at REI, are you willing to make changes and are you capable of handling these changes?

3. Code of Conduct

REI has a long and exhaustive list of code and conduct that they expect their vendors to follow. Do you think you can meet all their requirements?

REI Vendor Application

When you have done all your homework and decide REI is the right place for your business, it’s time to move to the 2 different ways in which new vendors can get products into REI. 1.) REI Co-op Innovator Series 2.) Building out a digital product showroom on TradeBeyond.
1. As of October 2020, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, after a great deal of careful consideration, REI has decided to cancel the REI Co-op Innovator Series until further notice.
2. Go to the Online Sourcing Platform – Upload your products and catalogs to your digital showroom on TradeBeyond. Get noticed by buyers looking for product innovation at REI. TradeBeyond provides a communal platform for retailers and suppliers to converge and build new relationships together. With a simple app, you can curate digital showrooms and catalogs in a short amount of time. With your company name listed in the directory, retailers like REI can browse through your profile, see all related information and attachments from anywhere at any time, making it a passive way to become an REI vendor.

Summary

Before you get started with preparation to become an REI Vendor, there are many things that go into consideration, such as current market demand, company profile, your financial situation, competitors etc. Before you ask the question of how to sell a product to REI, go on the official website and read all the information under the vendor sections. Read through the REI vendor privacy policy, on-boarding process, and prepare yourself to get your products into REI stores.

Take advantage of all the resources you can find online. If you have further questions, feel free to Contact us. Being in the sourcing industry for over 20 years and having many large retailers as our loyal partners, we have insights and connections that can lead your brands to success with REI and many other large retailers.