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One of the coolest ecommerce careers around!

HARRY’S COMMENTS: We are working with Simms Fishing in their search for a world-class Director of Digital Marketing based in scenic Bozeman, Montana.

Mark my words! This will be one of the most personally and professionally gratifying ecommerce jobs we’ll fill in the next 18 months. Simms is a fantastic business backed by our friends at Castanea Partners, and the life balance aspects of an ecommerce career at Simms are unrivaled.

This summer I vacationed in Montana and I couldn’t believe my eyes …

Simms is a fishing company whose best days are well ahead of it.

Simms’ mission is to design and manufacture the world’s highest quality products that keep anglers dry, comfortable, and protected from the elements. Founded by visionary angler John Simms, the firm’s quest to develop the world’s finest waders and accessories led to the introduction of neoprene waders, which allowed serious anglers to push the limits of their fishing pursuits.

In 1993, K.C. Walsh, a passionate angler and entrepreneur, acquired the company and relocated it to Bozeman. Under Walsh’s leadership, Simms introduced breathable waders in a trailblazing partnership with W.L. Gore & Associates.

With a staunch commitment to U.S.-based manufacturing and business ideals, Simms cemented its Bozeman roots in 2012 with a new 60,000-square-foot facility housing corporate headquarters, warehouses, and its production facility. This expansion provided room for Simms to accelerate product innovation and solidify its position as America’s only fishing wader manufacturer.

Recognizing that its business depends on a healthy environment, Simms supports national and international conservation groups who are dedicated to protecting fish and fish habitat. The firm’s culture is influenced heavily by the outdoor environment, and Friday’s are half days for any employee wishing to grab a rod and get on the water. Waders, boots and fly rods adorn work spaces and plaid shirts and khakis are the preferred dress.

About the Market

According to the American Fly Fishing Trade Association, fly fishing product sales are ~$750 million. More than half of fly fishing sales transact west of the Mississippi, with the Rocky Mountain region leading with 31.5 percent. Nearly 80 percent of all flies, fly tying materials, rods, reels, and clothing are sold through fly shops, of which there are two types:

  1. Those that actually make most of their money selling flies (usually adjacent to a major river), and
  2. Lifestyle shops that sell the fly fishing “culture.”

There are ~3.8 million fly anglers in the United States, according to license data from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, roughly 1 in 10 of the U.S. population. Surprisingly, women account for 15 percent of fly product sales. Freshwater fishing accounts for 64 percent of the fly market versus 36 percent for saltwater. Warmwater fishing, which includes bass and carp, are 17.2 percent of sales.

About the Role

Since we’re in the thick of the ecommerce holiday season and your time for a call with us may be limited, I’m going to tell you MOST of what’s to be known about this role. After reading this posting, if you’d like to know more about the job, TEXT [your name] + Simms Fishing to (404) 281-2025 and I’ll give you the rest of the story.

For now, I can tell you that there’s a lot going on with Simms in terms of channel shift. Traditionally, the business has been heavily influenced by fly shops and independent fishing guides to promote Simms’ products to their clients whom they outfit for fishing trips. However, the company is starting to sell in greater volumes through big-box retailers such as Bass Pro Shops and Cabelas, as well as online through its own website.

Make new friends, cherish the old.

The company is seeking to expand and diversify its distribution channels, by increasing the size of the pie and creating win-win situations with both old and new partners. The company has long maintained separate sites for Guides and Dealers, and it’ll be up to you to develop new ways to not only grow the business through all channels, but also improve Simms’ relevance to its guides and independent retailers.

Leading a Digital Transformation for a Passion Brand

The company recently hired Al Perkinson as head of marketing for Simms. Al is an avid and widely respected fly fisherman (like most people in the company) and helped build Costa Del Mar into one of the largest premium accessories brands in the industry.

Al knows a TON about blending content and commerce and is looking for someone who can help him turn Simms into one of the fastest-growing American lifestyle brands, largely by leveraging digital channels. This is all about “selling the dream” and keeping the customer emotionally connected to the things he or she loves most: fishing and the great outdoors.

In this role, you’ll need to understand how to take killer long form content and bust it up into smaller snippets for use in other channels (SEM, SEO, email, etc), and you’ll need to know the nitty-gritty aspects of running an online retail site. To grow the business, better UX will be a must — but so will higher quality traffic.

Ownership of PAID and OWNED media are a given. But you’ll manage EARNED media too.

Digital Marketing Trifecta

Lots of UX improvements must be made, and you will find yourself innovating Simm’s digital business model as its universe of stakeholders expands and its value propositions shift. The firm has a three-year strategic plan with specific action items for digital, such as building a technology roadmap including possible investments in the ecommerce platform(s) — both B2B and B2C — a richer online brand and shopping experience, customer and marketing analytics, order management, etc. Likewise, Simms might be inclined to review its agency mix.

If you’re already running an Ecom Department, then you’ve heard it all before:

You’ll need to review the structure of the team and assess what roles should be added as the business grows. You’ll want to dig into the analytics piece, develop a dashboard, and target some 30/60/90 day wins. And you’ll want to streamline the workflows between to your team and Simms’ Creative and Merchandising departments. The usual stuff.

One analog to where Simms wants to take the brand is Yeti, the premium cooler manufacturer that’s become a whole lot more. While researching the competition for this posting, I noticed that Yeti’s YouTube channel is loaded with really cool short films about the Yeti lifestyle.

I’m no expert in “brand storytelling,” but 5-7 minute film shorts like this one seem to exemplify the concept. It’d be great if Simm’s new Director of Digital knew how to take similar Simms’ branded content and repurpose it to drive qualified, motivated traffic to Simms’ online outlets — wherever they may be.

Just a thought.

Anyhoo, for established brand-oriented ecommerce marketers this is a simply terrific role that pays GREAT money in the kind of place I wish I lived. Honestly, why on earth would anyone want to live in Atlanta (like me) or Boston or Chicago or NYC or Los Angeles when they could live in MONTANA?


But this search won’t last long. The last time I handled a search in this neck of the woods, it closed in less than six weeks. If you’d like to know more about the job, TEXT [your name] + Simms Fishing to Allan Seibert at (706) 318-1196 and he’ll hook you up with the hiring committee. We’ve got an exclusive on the search and we’d love to work with you!

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  • Site Optimization: Work closely with analytics team to test new enhancements and adjust strategies to optimize customer experience and business results. Understand and implement SEO best practices. Monitor site performance to identify issues and bring to resolution.
  • Ongoing Enhancements: Identify and prioritize site bugs, enhancements and other optimizations. Manage site enhancement roadmap. Identify 3rd party solutions to provide needed site functionality.
  • Site Refreshes: Partner with marketing and merchandising teams to deliver a compelling customer experience. Oversee the deployment of new site content and ensure quality and performance levels meet standards. Lead site platform upgrades and re-platforming and redesign projects.
  • Resource Management: Manage internal, contract and external technology and agency resources to deliver ongoing creative and technology services that drive support and enhancements of our site experiences
  • Financial Management: Manage the ecommerce P&L against both topline and bottom line targets.


  • Broad-based ecommerce and marketing experience.
  • Demonstrated success defining the role of ecommerce within the overall organization and interacting with other divisions to secure needed resources and relationships
  • Proven ability to build and lead a cash flow positive, brand accretive ecommerce business
  • Ability to develop and execute ecommerce marketing strategy to encompass the digital marketing trifecta of paid, owned, and earned media.
  • A track record of success managing an ecommerce P&L to achieve top line and bottom line goals as set in conjunction with the management team


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