Rain Outdoors: exposing people to the great outdoors
By Greg McCain
Take a young businessman from inner-city New York with no outdoors experience. Add a “quiet” young woman who has hunted and fished since she was a toddler. Blend the two complementary personalities, and the result is Rain Outdoors, one of the growing brands in the fishing and hunting world.
Rain Stewart Williams and Jason Williams created the brand in 2018 to showcase their adventures in the outdoors. In the interim, the South Carolina couple have begun to achieve their ultimate goal: to expose more people, particularly women and children, to the outdoors.
The thought process behind it was to get more people involved in the outdoors,” Jason said. “Rain grew up in the outdoors, but I knew absolutely nothing about it. I am from inner-city New York, not just New York state but from the five boroughs. The only water that I knew was the water that you purchased from the corner store. There wasn’t a lot of fishing in the areas that I grew up in.”
“More so than anything, we just wanted to be able to share those experiences and get people intrigued, letting them know that you can actually have fun in the outdoors. It’s not like that old cliche, me, you, and a beer, sitting on the side of the water. Those things can be fun as well, but how can we bring entertainment and livelihood to it as well? That’s been our main focus, just bringing attention to the outdoors and generating experiences for other individuals.”
Their journey together started fairly recently. About eight years ago, Jason found himself managing a Walmart in South Carolina. Rain had lived near Lancaster, S.C., located between Columbia and Charlotte, N.C. near the border of the two states, all her life, her parents and her dad’s family kindling a passion for just about anything outdoors related.
A Walmart associate introduced the couple. Maintaining the outdoors thread, they went crappie fishing on their third date.
“Jason’s more social,” Rain said. “We’re like day and night. We kind of level each other out. We started going hunting and fishing. Jason thought of the idea, saying, ‘Maybe we should post about it.’ That was in 2018.”
Rain’s background as a young female in the outdoors proved somewhat unusual but also provided the hunting and fishing experience and expertise necessary to grow the brand. She calls herself an “outdoors baby.” Her personality fills the videos – “I’m not quiet; Jason’s just extra-loud” – that they share on various social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
“Rain’s been in the outdoors since she was two years old,” Jason said. “She said her dad told her that she had deer antlers in one hand and a fishing rod in the other when she was born.”
Added Rain, “My passion definitely continues to grow. I’ve been outside for as long as I can remember, since before I was two years old. It definitely continues to grow, especially now with Jason and now having kids. Now I get the excitement of seeing them experience things, but I still get that same excitement when I am in the outdoors, just like it’s brand new.”
A particularly memorable experience and one she captured on video was her biggest deer, which she killed in the last hunting season.
“It was an insane moment,” she said. “I do a lot of hunting solo. I do that because Jason is working. It was a 20-minute walk in. Any time I go hunting, I go in when it’s pitch black dark and come out when it’s pitch black dark. I always walk, never use an ATV or anything because I like the whole experience.
“That day another, smaller buck came in. (Later), the bigger buck showed up. As soon as I saw him, my heart just dropped to my toes. From the time that I saw that buck to the time that arrow hit, I was talking to God. I was so nervous. That was one of the most exciting hunts that I’ve ever had.”
Whether the video relates to a big buck, to a big fish – her personal best largemouth weighed 10 lbs, two oz. – or to her children, Rain loves to share the experiences. She said she likes hunting and fishing equally well, and the Rain Outdoors brand provides the platform for her adventures.
“Right now, I would like to thank God because I am living the dream,” she said. “I get to do Rain Outdoors full time. It’s always been my dream to hunt and fish for a living. That’s what I am doing.”
Jason entered the picture after following a circuitous route from New York. He went to college in Texas, spent time back in New York and also in West Virginia and North Carolina, and finally settled South Carolina. Along the way, he worked in various businesses, including owning a tattoo shop.
He also brought with him the nickname of Mr. McKnockout. Jason doesn’t go into great detail about the nickname but maintains it on his personal Facebook page.
“I was a boxer … ‘unprofessional’,” Jason said. “It was a name earned, not given. Just being in New York City, you get exposed to a lot of things.To avoid getting in trouble, I guess I earned myself the nickname.”
The move to South Carolina proved to be a life-changing experience. Rain introduced him to the outdoors – he literally had no hunting or fishing experience – and his passion slowly evolved.
“Once I got involved or once Rain and I met, it kind of opened my eyes, feeling the excitement,” he said. “We wanted to share those experiences. As Rain Outdoors, we wanted to get women and children involved. Those are definitely demographics that you don’t see a lot of (in the outdoors).”
Jason laughingly said Rain “stalked me in Walmart for a couple of days” before they met, but otherwise the two have been inseparable. Their family now includes three boys, Zaylon, Jason Jr., and Weston, all of whom have found their niche in the outdoors.
As a family, they fish for bass, crappie, and saltwater species, fishing locally on lakes Wylie, Monticello, and Wateree and along the coasts of South Carolina, Virginia, and Florida.
“I’m just really enjoying the outdoors,” Jason said. “It was something I didn’t have exposure to. I’m trying to catch up on lost time and teach the kids as well.”
In addition to helping grow Rain Outdoors, Jason now works as a regional sales manager for a company in the construction business. His business travels, often accompanied by Rain, range from the Washington D.C. area to numerous southern states.
The sales job still allows time devoted to Rain Outdoors. The goal remains the same: introduce under-exposed segments of the population to hunting and fishing. They embrace the concept of social media influencers while promoting the outdoors and companies like DSG Outerwear, Summit Treestands, Savage Arms, Bass Pro Shops, and Cabelas. They are also part of the ACC Crappie Stix pro staff.
“We take it day by day,” Rain said, “being thankful and blessed in the moment. It’s taken us a lot of places.
“Absolutely we want to influence women, both women and children, to appreciate the outdoors. If we don’t, hunting and fishing is going to die out. You are starting to see a lot more women now. Before, it was largely unheard of to see that many women in the outdoors.”
Rain admits that the response to her social media presence has been an unbelievable experience for her, but she embraces the social interactions, both online and in person, with fans.
“Sometimes I think, ‘little old me’,” she said.
“At first when I meet someone, I immediately start laughing and smiling, but I engage and start talking with them.”
For now, the presence of Rain Outdoors is confined to social media and to appearances at various outdoors-related conferences although they hint at the possibility of television in the future.
While the current recipe has proved successful, Rain said the overall purpose remains the same.
‘Regardless of the platform, the basis is still to get people involved,” Rain said.