Many more traditional gear companies are working overtime to figure out how to cater and market towards the millennial generation. That is those of us under 35, or maybe those of us who act like they are under 35. I read an article on Outside about the outdoor industry having a problem catering to young people who "couldn't care less" and while in many case this could be true there is still something missing in the market. For me it's a no brainer, I want companies to reach me, but why as a Millennial I am attracted to these "cool, hip and newer" companies trying to cater to my generation? It takes accepting change higher up for progression to happen and the progression is what is getting recognized by millennials.
1. Practicality- I would rather own gear that can do a lot really well then certain pieces of gear only doing one thing really well. For example: I love techie new gear just as much as the next gear junkie BUT sometimes my budget controls what I spend my money on. I want to know and understand what I am purchasing is the right and a well rounded decision. I wear Nuu-Muu dresses to work, post mountain bike ride and out on the town. I wear a lot of “casual” Patagonia because it also doubles and triples in practicality, as travel clothing and great pieces to have car camping.
2. Car Camping: More and more I find myself car camping, traveling out of my car or yearning for the ultimate adventure mobile to live out of. I want a car camping stove- I have the Cmap Chef, I lust for the fun camp chairs like ALite, Helionix or even REI’s new line of millennial camping gear. I also own a Poler Napsack because other than being a practical sleeping bag it is also a party trick or when I used to work in a REALLY cold office I would wear it at my desk, (yes I have NO shame to admit this either)
3. Spend Wisely: There are no impulse purchases, showing up and dropping thousands to have everything. I budget and plan... most of the time. Many places are now offering rental programs to help more people get out and enjoy nature. Kelty has an online rental program, called Get Outfitted, and the Alite Outpost, has a shop for rentals.
4. Thinking more Minimalistic: Out is the age and desire, for many, of wanting to own big houses and in is the time of wanting more life experiences. I look for gear that is practical in all aspects of my life. I recently moved cross country and only brought everything that fit into my Subaru Impreza and Thule Roof Box and this included my dog. While I sold some easily replaceable items it forced me to think more clearly about living minimalaisticaly.
5. I’m an Outdoorist: As an outdoorist I am a practical person in many ways and love the humor and clever designs and naming in many of these trendy pieces along with the practicality. I have a Napsack and rock a ninja suit as a winter baselayer. Both are some of my favorite pieces I have ever owned on so many levels. My idea of a date dress is typically the Morning Glory from Patagonia, I have the old halter and the new cross back.
Everyone seems to be wondering how to better market towards us BUT many places are afraid to take the risk as well. For me as a female, marketing towards women is more important than ever. But not frilly, pink, and flowers and butterflies. Tell me honestly what you tell the guys but tell it to me. Tell me a story an age old journalism tool is more and more pertinent in understanding gear and making purchasing decisions. I will buy a product with a story over something without one any day.
Social media is your friend. Take a look at Instagram, Facebook, Steller and Vimeo I want to see and learn more about your products show me them in action, on real people and not just professional athletes. If I see a teaser through social media 8 times out of 10 I will click through to read and learn more if I am interested in a story and learning more about the product or company. You want to share a story and social media is just another venue to help share these stories. I look forward to seeing the future progression and I wonder, will more companies figure out this problem they see themselves having.