The Power of Young Brands


Recreation in the outdoors inherently connects the user to mother nature. Over time, when we experience weather patterns across various settings, it becomes very difficult to ignore the volatility.

For me, this is a key driver for why I am interested in sustainable business practices specifically focused on the outdoor industry, and I’m not alone. Though a few large brands have immersed their process with a sustainability ethos since their inception, many companies in the industry today with a sustainability focus are quite young. Each one of these companies has arrived in this space by following different paths. Ultimately, they are now all striving to connect their consumer to their message in such a way that the product being sold seems second in importance, a means for the company to survive and fund their mission.

Consumers will continue to buy outdoor apparel and hard goods for the foreseeable future. The traditional methods for manufacturing these items have an immense impact on the environment and the humans physically involved in the process. What if that weren’t the case though? Or, at least the process itself had been fundamentally changed so that inputs no longer drew on new resources and by-products weren’t disposed of in landfills? After walking around at the Outdoor Retailer trade show in Denver this year, the most fascinating part of the show was the lower level where the smaller emerging brands were set up. These small brands, given a fresh start and born out of new form of outdoor consumerism, are doing exactly that to their manufacturing and supply chain. Whether it’s making buttons out of coconuts, planting trees for each garment sold, using scrap materials to build all their product, or replacing plastic flatware with bamboo, the momentum is undeniable.

Looking towards the future, I hope that these young brands continue to push the established ones in the same direction they are focused on. After hearing about their mission and their manufacturing process, I find it difficult to justify why I would buy product from a brand lacking this consciousness. The outdoor industry as a whole should be concerned about its environmental impact as it directly relates its long-term health. Over the next decade, I am confident that the brands who don’t fundamentally adjust their process and their ethos within this industry will be left behind. The change is addictive and purpose driven. In a world where everything seems to be going backwards, it’s very refreshing to see and industry identifying our north star in the darkest of night and sailing towards it full speed.

Written by phazelet