The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 23

FEATURE
W
hen she
arrived at
the Denver
Convention
Center,
Brittany Coleman had that fierce
look of determination, a woman
ready to take on the world. Though
even she would admit that while
attending the Outdoor Retailer
Summer Market in 2021 as
the CEO of a new company, her
outward appearance of self-confidence
concealed more than a little
fear and a sense of intimidation.
But she wasn't about to let that get
in her way. " I flew in on a cheap
flight, stayed with a friend, and
walked the show, " she says. " When
you saw me with my suitcase, I had
it at the show because I just didn't
have anywhere to put it. I couldn't
have a booth or anything like that.
It was just me. "
The founder of Tough Cutie
women's athletic socks, Coleman
came to OR to begin establishing
her professional network in the
outdoor recreation industry. A
Black woman of small stature, age
30, she immediately impressed me
as a force to recon with. Among a
new generation of entrepreneurs
who are Black, Indigenous, or Persons
of Color (BIPOC), Coleman
aims to redefine the outdoor sector
of the economy to address more
equitably the interests of women
and the underrepresented as a way
of doing business, literally from the
ground up.
" The brand Tough Cutie is about
all the shoes that women fill. Maybe
she's putting on hiking socks
today. Maybe tomorrow she's going
to do a presentation to the board.
The next day she's in her slippers
at home, taking care of her kids, "
Coleman says. " There are a lot of
ways to attack the problem of lack
of representation and lack of equity.
This brand is about exploring those
ways, and we're choosing to do it
through the outdoor industry. "
AT A TIME WHEN SO MANY COMpanies,
trade organizations, and
nonprofit institutions are working
to improve the professional
landscape in outdoor recreation
to be more diverse, equitable, and
inclusive, there is still much work
left to do. Despite their tenacious
spirits, Coleman and other entrepreneurs
like her have many
obstacles in their way-obstacles
that are endemic to an industry
that has long prioritized the market
imperatives of customers and
senior executives that are majority
male, affluent, socially mobile, and
white. Fortunately, a great deal of
progress has been made toward
the creation of opportunities and
resources to better promote the
products and services of outdoor
recreation to an emerging demographic
that is growing more
racially and gender diverse. We
are indeed seeing an increase of
marketing and social media campaigns
that include more people of
color, women, the plus-sized, the
differently abled, and those who
identify as LBGTQ+. But to be
truly inclusive, there must also be
efforts to encourage members of
these same marginalized communities
to build senior-level careers
and brands of their own. Coleman
believes that equity and inclusion
must be design elements of every
product she makes.
" You should feel like you belong
Brown Girls
Climb
and expertise necessary to effectively
overcome decades of exclusionary
sales practices are likely
far beyond the capacity of a single
startup. Tough Cutie can't possibly
do it alone. But imagine how the
outdoor industry, as a whole, might
benefit if the marketplace and its
constituency of potential customers
was expanded to include
literally everyone.
For more than 10 years, Kenji
Haroutunian, the former director
of the Outdoor Retailer Show,
has hosted a gathering of BIPOC
professionals he calls the Inclusivity
Luncheon. Back when OR
was held in Salt Lake City, the
event drew a handful of Black and
brown folks to a Chinese restaurant
across the street from the Salt
" THAT'S THE THING ABOUT THIS BRAND
THAT I WANT TO COMMUNICATE. EVERYONE
CAN START WHERE THEY ARE. YOU
CAN COME AS YOU ARE AND KNOW THAT
THE BRAND IS GOING TO SUPPORT YOU. "
-BRITTANY COLEMAN, TOUGH CUTIE
here, and you have the gear and
the products that you know will
take you wherever you want to be, "
she says. " That's the thing about
this brand that I want to communicate.
Everyone can start where
they are. You can come as you are
and know that the brand is going to
support you. "
In a highly competitive retail
environment, many might believe
that such lofty ideals are too
ambitious for small companies to
possess. The financial resources
Palace. A few of us got together in
solidarity twice each year to support
our respective efforts toward
career development and commiserate
upon the industry's lack of
diversity. Over time the number
of attendees has grown so that
when we last met at the Colorado
Athletic Club in Denver, just before
the COVID-19 pandemic, the food
ran out as we welcomed a standing-room-only
crowd.
Diversity in the outdoor industry
is absolutely improving, but what
about those up-and-coming young
professionals who are trying to
make their way? " Eventually, you
can find your path. Brittany will
find her path. If they just stick with
it for 10 to 25 years, it'll happen, "
Haroutunian says with a chuckle.
" But what we're trying to do is
fast-track it. We're trying to put the
jets on and help us become a more
diverse industry now. "
At least a few companies are
proactively creating opportunities
to promote and elevate BIPOC
professionals to start their own
businesses. Brittany Coleman was
the recipient of an award from the
2021 Title Nine Pitchfest event.
Tough Cutie socks will soon be
available at Title Nine stores across
the country. By building a community
of so-called Movers and
Makers, the female-focused retailer
aims to bring positive change to
underrepresented communities and
create a more inclusive economic
environment. " Brittany is smart,
hardworking, and motivated to
make a difference-she is just the
kind of entrepreneur we are looking
to support, " says Title Nine event
organizer Lisa Gillian. " Women
receive only 2.3% of venture
funding and make up only 8% of
all Fortune 500 CEOs; we want
to see those numbers shift. If Title
Nine, a relatively small independent
retailer, can create opportunities
for underrepresented members of
our community, imagine what even
larger companies could do. "
ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE serious
about engaging BIPOC customers
and potential employees should
take notice of industry efforts to
reach communities that are so
OUTDOOR RETAILER SNOW SHOW 2022 /
23
BEN JOEL PINGILLEY

The Daily - January 28, 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Daily - January 28, 2022

The Daily - January 28, 2022 - Cover1
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - Cover2
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 1
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 2
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 3
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 4
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 5
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 6
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 7
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The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 9
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The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 12
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The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 19
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The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 23
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The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 25
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 26
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 27
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 28
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 29
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The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 33
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The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 35
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 36
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 37
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 38
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 39
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 40
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The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 42
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The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 44
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 45
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 46
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 47
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 48
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 49
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 50
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 51
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 52
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 53
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 54
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 55
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 56
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 57
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 58
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 59
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 60
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 61
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 62
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 63
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 64
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - Cover3
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/thedailyguidess23
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/dailySM2022_Day3
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/dailysm2022_Day2
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/dailySM2022_Day1
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/daily2022_Day3
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/daily2022_Day2
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/daily2022_Day1
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/daily2021_day3
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/daily2021_day2
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/daily2021_day1
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/outdoor-retailer-august-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/outdoor-retailer-july-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/outdoor-retailer-june-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/may_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/april_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/march_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/february_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/january_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/december_2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/theweekly_07302020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/theweekly_07212020
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/postshow2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/daily2020_day3
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/daily2020_day2
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/daily2020_day1
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/preshow2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2020winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/postshow_summer2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/day3_summer2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/day2_summer2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/day1_summer2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/preshow_summer2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2019summer
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/daily2019_day3
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/daily2019_day2
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/daily2019_day1
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/preshow2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2019winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2018summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2018winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/201707
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2017summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2017winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2016summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/2016winter
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