5.25.2006

The Invisibles


The Invisibles
Originally uploaded by drewbo.
Where are the Invisibles?

Take a stroll down the supermarket aisle in one of America’s overloved destination areas … and the view is as spectacular as the vista from the parking lot.

Perfect teeth. Tanned and health skin. Bright eyes and 10 percent body fat. And no kids.

With the exception of a handful of companies, this is the current snapsot of the outdoor industry’s primary target: idle careers & physical perfection at age 18-22.

Families, minoirites, and – heaven forbid – the overweight and infirm (otherwise known as the physically and mentally challenged), are not a part of this big picture. The reasons are either too painfully corporate or too offensively personal to bring up.

But if the true, core outdoor industry wants to grow without merely upping the number of SKUS they produce every season, it’s time to embrace the invisibles – not bar them from the front door.

Kudos to the OIA for their recent study of Hispanic population. Three cheers to Horny Toad for a decade long-commitment to partnering with adults with developmental disabilities. A sincere thank you to Kelty for leading the way into the outdoors for families for just as long. And, with a new line of helmets that fully embraces the youth market, Smith Optics is doing their part as well.

Sure, these are small steps, but these social progressions are as important as environmental ones in the larger path to sustainability. Thank you to all the companies that are seeing the writing on the wall … and acting on it.

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