Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 43

FEATURE

W

hen Gloria
Hwang started Thousand,
an urban bike
helmet company, she didn't want herself featured in any marketing materials.
Never mind the fact that she's the
brains behind the technology and
design. "I didn't want to put myself
out there," she said just before sitting down on the "When Womxn
Lead" panel during Summer Market. "I didn't fit into this industry. I
didn't think anyone wanted to see
anything from an Asian woman."
Hwang pointed to a phenomenon
in psychology called the familiarity
effect. "People want what they
can trust, and they trust what
they've seen before." So, Thousand's early marketing materials
featured the face of one of Hwang's
designers-a guy.
The risk of breaking the familiarity mold is, unfortunately,
very real and frustratingly high,
particularly for women and
especially for minority women.
New gender-bias research from a
March 2019 Stanford University
study shows biases can negatively affect people's perceptions of
products that are women-made in
male-dominated industries.
"When Womxn Lead" delved
into the reality of these biases.
The panel included Hwang; Jen
Gurecki, CEO of Coalition Snow
and editor-in-chief of Sisu
magazine; Michelle and Kenya
Jackson-Saulters of the Outdoor Journal Tour and WE Hike
to Heal, which leads women on
empowering hikes; Jenny Bruso,
an outdoor writer and founder of
Unlikely Hikers; and Brook Hopper, global marketing manager for
women's cycling brand Liv.
"Here we are in the outdoor
industry-it's no secret this is a
male-dominated space," said Gurecki, who used the Stanford study
as the backdrop for a conversation
about the resistance many women

have encountered as designers, executives, and lead organizers in the
outdoor industry. "I love data because data means that our feelings
are real," she said, rolling her eyes,
adding a sarcastic, "Thanks."
In the study, Stanford researchers pitted cupcakes against beer,
which they'd previously determined
as perceptually "feminine" and
"masculine," respectively. After
showing subjects one of two craft
beer labels-both of the same
design but with different gendered
head brewer names-they surveyed
the subjects' attitudes. When the
subjects believed the producer was

she said. "If you're a woman and
you decide to step out of your lane,
that's where the bias begins."
Michelle and Kenya Jackson-Saulters grappled with the
bias issue when they launched their
company three years ago. As two
queer, black women, should they
reveal their identities as masterminds-or keep themselves on
the down low? "We were told we
probably shouldn't be the face
of [the Outdoor Journal Tour]
because 'black women don't hike,'"
said Michelle. Being front-and-center might alienate potential clients,
threaten business vitality, and ulti-

"IF YOU'RE A WOMAN AND YOU
DECIDE TO STEP OUT OF YOUR LANE,
THAT'S WHERE THE BIAS BEGINS."
-JEN GURECKI, CEO OF COALITION SNOW

a woman, they said they would
pay less for the beer, and they had
lower expectations of taste and
quality. But when they repeated the
experiment with cupcakes, little
noticeable difference registered in
consumer attitudes toward male or
female producers.
"What we're seeing here is that
woman-made goods for sale in
male-typed markets are being
penalized for no reason other than
the fact they are made by women,"
one researcher said in a statement. "Our research suggests that
customers don't value and are less
inclined to buy traditionally male
products if they think they've been
manufactured by women. There's
an assumption that your woman-made craft beer, screwdriver, or
roof rack just won't be as good."
Gurecki, who manufactures skis
and snowboards, said reading this
study validated her personal experiences. "I thought: Thank God,
I'm less crazy than I thought I was,"

mately minimize their capacity to
do their healing work with women.
This bias, it seems, is universal.
The Stanford research suggests
that it's not men choosing manmade products over woman-made
products. It's everyone making
these decisions-implicit biases
steering all identities toward the
familiar, toward the tried-and-true.
"We're living in a time when
sexism and the patriarchy are still
super rampant," said Bruso, who
also won an Outdoor Retailer
Inspiration Award at Summer
Market. "Even if we've done a lot
of work on [the status quo], we all
have a ton of internalized misogyny
and yielding that we still do."
"It's all so ingrained in societal
norms. I think there are shifts-
maybe we've rotated-but I'm not
sure we've started moving yet," Michelle added. No matter someone's
position, disrupting norms begins
with acknowledgment. "It starts
by saying, 'What are my biases as

an individual? How can I step up
and look beyond that? And if every
person can do that in some form or
fashion, I think we start moving."
Breaking from the traditions that
inform biases, however, is risky for
a new business.
"Women's products and businesses don't just get to be products and
businesses. They often are shrouded in the fact that they are for women and by women," Bruso explained.
"There are so many things stacked
against that to start with."
As the Stanford study implies,
some of the safest business decisions in the outdoor industry will
keep companies in the trajectory of
male-centric history. But if minorities and women-or anyone who
doesn't look like the Google image
search results for "attractive"-
never see themselves represented
or advertised, how long will the
depoliticization of non-male design
take? When will society fully
accept that hiking, biking, and
owning a business is something
anyone can do?
Women-founded companies can
follow the age-old practice of female identity disguise-like Malinda Blalock posing as a man to fight
in the Civil War or J.K. Rowling
writing under a gender-neutral pen
name. It's a strategy many women
have adopted to assume the same
level of respect granted freely to
most men. But increasingly, women
are not taking the easy nor the safe
route. "At some point [yielding to
identity disguise] served us-it
was about survival. But now things
have changed," Michelle said.
"We get the opportunity to do
our part to change this pattern
recognition," Hwang added. If you
visit Thousand's website today, the
front page automatically rolls into a
video featuring two Asian cyclists,
one man and one woman.
"Excellence is the standard
for everyone," said Kenya. "It's
not whiteness or maleness.
It's excellence."

SUMMER MARKET 2019

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43



Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019

Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019
Contents
Sound Bites
Headlines
Portraits
Big Picture
Marketing
Research
Womxn Built This
Gear Awards
Sustainability
In the Aisles
Best Booth Awards
The Life
The Scene
Bark Page
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - Cover2
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 1
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - Contents
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 3
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 4
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 5
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - Sound Bites
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 7
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - Headlines
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 9
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 10
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 11
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 12
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 13
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 14
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 15
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - Portraits
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 17
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 18
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 19
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 20
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 21
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 22
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 23
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 24
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 25
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 26
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 27
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 28
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 29
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 30
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 31
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 32
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 33
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - Big Picture
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 35
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - Marketing
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 37
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - Research
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 39
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 40
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 41
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - Womxn Built This
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 43
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - Gear Awards
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 45
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 46
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 47
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - Sustainability
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 49
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 50
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - In the Aisles
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 52
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 53
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - Best Booth Awards
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 55
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - The Life
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 57
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - The Scene
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 59
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 60
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - 61
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - Bark Page
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - Cover3
Outdoor Retailer PostShow - Summer 2019 - Cover4
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