Hi. If you don't know us yet, we're two half-Asian kids from southern California. We grew up riding bikes, surfing, skating, fishing, car camping, and playing organized sports. We loved being outside, and yet didn’t consider ourselves “outdoorsy”. And we didn’t feel particularly welcome in more traditional outdoor spaces. That concept of what it means to be “outdoorsy”, and everything jammed into it, just never connected with us. It still doesn’t.
We need to work harder to change that.
The industry’s legacy services and publications have acted as the unofficial arbiters of the “outdoor lifestyle” since forever - centering the dominant narrative on white cisgender men, frozen beards, and unrealistic stereotypes of total mountain domination. But let’s get real - that’s not us, and it never will be. We can’t even grow beards.
This disconnect was the main reason we started the Outbound Collective in 2012. But it wasn’t until some serious self-reflection about our country’s ongoing struggles against systemic racism, and our privileged position within the outdoor industry (as well as an acknowledgement of our own unintentional perpetuation of that narrative), that our true potential finally came into view. We realized that as a community-driven outdoor media platform, we have a unique opportunity to change the narrative. We can bypass the industry’s traditional gatekeepers altogether. We don’t need to wait for their approval. We can just build a better alternative ourselves.
We’ve outlined a number of critical initiatives that we believe will enable us to accelerate our vision for the future. Each initiative shares a common thread, the prioritization of communities and individuals who have been, and continue to be, underrepresented and forced to the margins of the mainstream outdoor narrative. Our aim is to elevate their voices and to bring their experiences into the center of our storytelling.
We want to challenge the antiquated, traditional concept of belonging in the outdoors and provide a more equitable and inclusive alternative. We fully recognize that this is a massive undertaking, and that we’re a tiny company. That said, as biracial founders of a company that already reaches 15M+ people, we believe we’re uniquely equipped with: 1) an online platform that can effect meaningful change; and 2) the authentic resolve to make it happen.
Today, we’re taking another step in our journey toward realizing this vision. Things will undoubtedly get messy and we’ll likely screw up from time to time, but we’re going to give it everything we’ve got. And throughout this process, we will learn and improve.
If any of this connects with you, and you share our vision for building a better home for the modern outdoors, we’d love for you to join us. Friends and industry partners alike. If nothing else, we’re gonna have some fun and build something that we’re all proud of.
We hope to see you out there,
Brian & Tyler