Partnr Profiles: Emily Kirkton of GearME
Updated: Mar 25
Emily owns GearME, a consignment shop in Freeport, Maine that prides itself on offering amazing deals on outdoor gear! She sat down with us to tell us a bit about how she started her shop and what made her go consignment.
When did you become hooked on the outdoors?
My dad was very into the outdoors so some of my earliest memories are camping, hiking and canoeing.
Describe a trip when something went wrong.
The most miserable I’ve ever been is this one canoe trip. There was a mile long portage to get into the lake and it had rained recently so it was a mud pit. Our canoe cart broke so we had to carry our canoe and all of the gear while slipping and sliding.
What piece of gear have you owned the longest?
The Gregory backpack daypack that I’ve had for twenty years. It’s a bit dirty but is in great shape!
Why did you start GearME?
After 10 years working in the outdoor industry running adventure programs I wanted to move on to something new. I had been a passionate second-hand shopper for many years–I never buy things new. It occurred to me that we have no place in our town to buy gear second-hand. The idea formed and I started GearME to see what happened!
Why did you decide to go consignment?
I knew I wanted the store to be second-hand, mostly for environmental reasons. I used to work at an outdoor gear company and I would walk through their retail stores and just feel so overwhelmed. We don’t need all of this new gear! So much stuff is already out there.
What is your favorite gear in the shop?
I have a couple Marmot and Mammut softshell jackets that are so gorgeous. They’re the perfect piece of outerwear and I just want someone to give them a new home!
What were some of the greatest challenges of opening your store?
Marketing and awareness! It’s the kind of business that needs a lot of foot traffic and that just takes time. I’m two years in now and there is a glimmer that this might just work. We need a lot of eyeballs to come in and come in often to see what’s new. The biggest challenge is awareness in the community. Once people know that we’re here they are happy and want to come back. People here really value independently run businesses.
What would you like to change about outdoor culture?
My personal goal is to help families feel comfortable getting their kids outdoors. I’ve been taking my kids on adventures since they were really little so I have a lot of experience. I try to educate parents to build up their confidence. Maine is such a rural place it’s really easy to get to a spot in the woods where there are no people or cell service. You have to have the confidence to know you will be okay.
Browse some great deals and support Emily by checking out her listings on Switchbackr!
All photos courtesy of Emily Kirkton.